Sunday, August 7, 2011

MJS wrong: recalls warranted when people desire them

The Journal Sentinel released an editorial yesterday, and in the first sentence alone I have two separate ideas about the opinions of the JS staff.
So not only are the recall elections ugly and unnecessary, they're expensive - and offer even more reason for campaign finance reform that requires transparency from all groups. (Emphases mine)
One of those assertions I take issue with; the other, I can agree on.

First, on what the JS gets right: campaign finance reform is sorely needed. But we knew this long before the recall elections took shape. Campaign spending in Wisconsin has been growing and growing, and with five of the Senate recalls breaking records on spending for legislative races in the state, it's clear that something has to be done. The emergence of "anonymous donors," too, has me worried.

But the Milwaukee newspaper is wholly wrong on these elections being "unnecessary." That is entirely up to the voters of those districts to decide. Recall elections shouldn't be limited "only in the cases of exceptionally egregious behavior by a politician," as the Journal Sentinel later asserts. They should also be subject to egregious legislation or policies that the citizens of districts (or the state at-large) determine to be wrong for Wisconsin.

Consider an extreme example. Gov. XYZ submits a bill for the legislature to consider that severely limits a privilege of the people, let's say speech rights. A Sedition Act pushed by state senators who are supportive of Gov. XYZ could easily pass the bill -- but they also risk the people's ability to remove them from office for passing such legislation. Their actions while in office may not have been "exceptionally egregious," but the laws they put into place go against the values of the people in their districts.

In that extreme example, it is entirely justifiable to remove those senators from office. To restrict the justification for recall elections to the requirements the Journal Sentinel suggests acceptable limits the ability of citizens to take direct control of their government, thus limiting the people in that example from protecting their own rights.

In our present-day situation, the citizens of each senate district holding a recall have determined that their legislators warrant challenges based upon their votes within the past six months, including the controversial collective bargaining bill (but certainly not limited to that). It's their right, whether they're challenging Democrats or Republicans, to make that determination.

Recall elections shouldn't be subject to "egregious behavior" alone -- they should be deemed justified when constituents lose confidence in their elected official's ability to represent their district. That loss in confidence can come from both the senator's behavior AND a disregard for the people they're meant to represent. To suggest otherwise neglects what the purpose of recall elections was in the first place -- to give a greater role of democratic influence in our state's government.


  1. This post seems to be very informative for all users... I glad to find such good post..

  2. i don't think there was nothing wrong with mj' nose which when ppl make fun of it make me think this question "whats wrong with mj's nose?"

  3. I appreciate when I see well written material. Your time isn't going to waste with your posts.

  4. I am feeling very happy to join forums work.I am feeling very glad to join forums work.

  5. He recalls because people wanted him back....

  6. "I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians," Bachmann told a crowd of supporters recently. "We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending."

  7. That is entirely up to the voters of those districts to decide.