Darrell Issa should level with us

Philip Muller is a member of the California Bipartisan Commission on Internet Political Practices

California’s constitution was created and expanded with checks and balances intended to produce slow and thoughtful lawmaking. It also contains mechanisms for recalling politicians who engage in egregious acts. None of the 31 attempts to recall California governors has ever made it to the ballot.

California is replete with relatively new and unusually efficient political communication tools, including talk radio, 24-hour cable TV, Internet access, vast and easily accessed voter databases, and armies of paid signature gatherers. A relatively small amount of money can produce—apparently has produced—the 900,000 signatures needed to force a recall election.

Darrell Issa, an ultraconservative multimillionaire, has spent more than $1 million of his own to force a special election this fall, when he plans to run for governor himself. His prospects are enhanced by the fact that in special elections, relatively few people vote. The election likely will cost California taxpayers $35 million.

Times are tough. People are looking for someone to blame. Signing a recall petition must have seemed tempting to folks who did not realize, or care, that doing so would enhance the current legislative stalemate, economic chaos and political instability.

At a time when the governor and Legislature should be focused on finding solutions to California’s extraordinarily difficult fiscal problems, Issa’s drive to force a special election for his own personal gain is simply wrong.

All of us—Democrats, Republicans and independents alike—should try to contribute honestly and thoughtfully to solving the enormously difficult problems facing our state. Issa’s cynical recall campaign does just the opposite.

Issa’s attempt to recall Governor Gray Davis is more about a wealthy political opportunist taking advantage of hard times than it is about a genuine concern for the well-being of all Californians.

Now that Issa appears to have forced a recall election and is running for governor, don’t you think he should tell us his plan for balancing our state budget? What programs does he intend to cut? Whose taxes does he intend to raise?

If he wants to be our governor, he needs to start leveling with us about everything.