cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
We have weathered the “recall elections” after additional millions of dollars were spent. There is now discussion, and there will be a bill proposed, about changing the state’s constitution as it pertains to what would constitute grounds for recall.
The debate seems to center on there needing to be actual malfeasance in office in order to begin a recall process versus simple disgust over a vote taken by the officeholder. The thought apparently is that sometimes a politician needs to take a tough decision that may be unpopular with his or her constituents but good for the state as a whole and should be protected from recall in such situations. The Brewer’s stadium vote is a case in point for this argument when the deciding vote cost that member his seat.
The recall of Democrats was prompted by the three weeks or so some of them spent away from Madison while the Senate was in session to preclude a quorum thus preventing a vote to occur. That might meet the requirement of malfeasance although that is probably subject to debate.
The recall of Republicans was originated as more of a ‘tit for tat’ response to the recalls of Democrats and dealt with the fact that sufficient disgust existed to gain the necessary signatures to cause the recall elections. These recalls began with emphasis on the ‘union busting’ by Republicans although that theme was seldom if ever used in the ensuing campaigns by the Democrat challengers.
Having just witnessed the furor that was unleashed during the recalls, it seems to make sense that we have some language in our state’s constitution that would make recalls something that couldn’t simply be put together without good and sufficient reason.
The danger may be that the ‘recall genie’ is now out of the bottle and future recalls could become more frequent if some change isn’t made. This process would take several years and two different legislative votes so it wouldn’t be in place for the coming threatened recall of Governor Walker. That shouldn’t enter into this discussion because it will be possible if there is the level of angst needed to gain more than 500,000 signatures.
There is an opportunity every two or every four years to make changes for reasons other than malfeasance. I fear that we might see our government devolve into rolling series of recall elections that would be very disruptive. On balance, I would be in favor of tightening the recall process to preclude abuse of the right.