California Recall Threatens To Terminate Democracy

While tonight 50 million Americans from New York City to Cleveland are in the dark after the biggest blackout in US history, most Californians are still clueless as to what is really at stake in the upcoming October 7 recall election. Amidst the talk of the record number of candidates to potentially replace Governor Gray Davis, including such political luminaries as Gary Coleman and Larry Flynt, what has been lost is what this election is really about.

Car alarm millionaire and ex-con Darrell Issa spent more than a million dollars of his own money to have an election overturned. Certainly not many Californians like Davis, Democrats included, but he was elected fairly and legally, which is more than you can say about how Bush took the White House. Has Davis broken any laws that would warrant such an extreme political measure as a recall? No. Some try to pin California's record deficit on him, but that's disingenuous. California is suffering as much from the national economic downturn as it is from being swindled last year by Bush-friendly energy companies like El Paso, Enron and Duke.

But this is beside the point. The GOP succeeded in getting this undemocratic measure on the ballot, while creating a media circus worthy of Entertainment Tonight and People Magazine, by supporting aging action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's a wonderful chance for California to be the laughing stock of the country, which is really what Bush & Co intended all along. Does it matter whether the recall passes AND Schwarzenegger becomes governor? Not really. The damage is already done.

The question is not whether you like Gray Davis or not, or whether you think Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a good governor.

The question for thinking Californians to consider is simply this: Do you respect the electoral process, which is the very foundation of any healthy democracy? Or would you like to see constant campaigning in the state, so that governors are elected and recalled every eleven months?

Warren Hinckle has noticed what most pundits have not, which is that this recall circus is probably the only way Schwarzenegger could ever become governor, as he would be eaten alive in the traditional primary process:

The actor -- whatever his popularity -- could never be nominated for the Republican ballot in a party primary because his Hollywood-lib views on gay rights, abortion rights, immigrants rights and the environment are anathema to the Republican faithful. His political views seem closer to that of European socialism that anything recognizable in the Bushite influence on his adopted party. In that context the recall election presents the first opportunity for a liberal Republican to leap in a single bound Superman-like (OK, wrong movie) over the ideological roadblock of the Republican primary and open the second party the way Admiral Perry opened Japan to trade.

But don't forget, Warren, that Arnold's father was a Nazi. That should give him some credibility with the rank-and-file Republicans.