Jewish World Review August 14, 2003 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5763
Dems whine, democracy shines
"This is an attack on the institutions of our government. That's what Republicans do." --Dick Gephardt, in the echo chamber.
Of course what John Kerry conveniently left out is that this "insult" to democracy is provided for by state law, and the one million plus Californians who signed the recall petition were pursuing their rights under that law. Ditto for the absurd "attack" on the government charge. What is "wrong" to an overwhelming majority of Californians is the fact that Gray "Skies" Davis has presided over a tanking of the state's economy, which has driven businesses out and pessimism in. Plus, why are senators and congressmen from other states suddenly authorities on the laws of California? Do Boxer and Pelosi make a point of lecturing Massachusetts on its local election law?
The "it's not fair!" complaint of the political, media, and legal elite lately relates to far more than just the recall. The Washington Post editorial page has similarly railed against the Texas state legislature's redistricting plan, and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is busy blasting the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines as too restrictive. (Justice Kennedy apparently didn't think he had demonstrated sufficient legal "evolution" in the Court's sodomy case.)
All this hand-wringing and whining by the elites is undoubtedly related to their frustration that they haven't had such good luck at the polls lately. Their views on everything from bilingual education to the death penalty aren't being embraced by a majority of Americans, so they figure it's easier to just circumvent those pesky voters altogether. How? By looking to activist federal courts and international institutions for aid and comfort. Judges and UN delegates are not accountable to American voters who still-gasp!-reject the notion that the U.S. should become more progressive, more like France.
Back to California, the hysteria on the left is all too predictable. The Los Angeles Times warns that "the recall is an unpredictable ballot gamble, a hand that shouldn't be played." Powerful reasoning. Of course politics itself is unpredictable, as if that small matter known as life. Given Davis's pathetic poll numbers, it's safe to say that Californians think a much riskier "ballot gamble" was voting for Davis in the first place. Contrary to what the Gray Skies supporters are alleging, California will survive the recall. Democracy is not being thwarted, it's being pursued. There may be freaky people among the 200 folks on the ballot, but the recall effort itself is not a freak show-it's a legislative remedy designed to give the beleaguered populace an escape valve. The voters are trying to take control back from a system that failed them. What is more American than individuals banding together to rise up against what they consider to be an abysmally bad leader?
The Democrats in the running for the presidency are injecting themselves into an intra-state matter because they know their chances at the White House are kaput if California goes GOP. (Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman also unloaded a verbal assault on the recall.) If Californians were truly repulsed by the 1911 statute authorizing recall elections, they had 90+ years to repeal it. They didn't. So elites like Kerry want to repeal if for them after the fact and outside the legislative process.
Laws and voters can be so inconvenient.
By bemoaning the recall, Dem-elites are digging themselves into the mother of all sand traps. Californians have a right to determine their own political destiny without pols from outside the state interfering. Republicans and Democrats should see by now that there is a significant percentage of voters out there who feel like no one is listening. Sooner or later, as we saw in California, the people will stand up and say-no more. There is nothing more democratic than that.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
08/12/03: What would Reagan do?