Man Without Qualities

Monday, July 21, 2003

Davis Descending XVI: The Early Worm Gets Eaten

An early election would tie the recall even more strongly to the ongoing California budget crisis, since the Governor's performance respecting the crisis and his resulting approval numbers would all be fresh for a September ballot. That in turn means that Republicans would have a much larger incentive to hold to discipline and not pass a budget for as long as possible, for at least two reasons. The impact on the Governor from Republican intransigence goes up, because an ongoing crisis resulting from the want of a budget will drive the Governor's approval ratings ever downward (along with those of the Republicans, but they are not facing a vote this September), thereby increasing the chances of a successful recall. But the impact of their own recalcitrance on the legislature's Republicans goes down, because the earlier the election is held, the more time Republicans (and the entire legislature) will have to recover in the polls before they have to seek election in 2004.

On a separate point. There have been widespread worries that judicial intervention would "bog down" the recall effort. But so far judicial intervention has only accelerated the process. The Man Without Qualities was and remains deeply skeptical that the courts would "bog down" the recallers - and has noted that the prospect of a challenge to the counting scheme bogging down in extensive court delay is exaggerated - unless the state supreme court wants it that way (where there is no reason to think the mostly-Republican-appointed supreme court does value such delay). Nationally, state courts have recently been much more activist in imposing a "more voter choice" principle, sometimes to the point of ignoring fairly clear statutes, as in the New Jersey/Torricelli mess. California can be expected to follow that trend - and its courts will likely defer to executive officials unless those executive officials tender decisions which restrict or delay "voter choice." It therefore makes perfect sense that so far the California courts have not supported the secretary of state construction of state law allowing counties to delay in counting and reporting recall signatures, since that would mean "less voter choice." Nor have efforts to make the courts disallow recall signatures gathered by non-Californians gained traction to date, where in that case the I am not saying I necessarilly approve of such judicial behavior, I am saying it is the likely course.

Kausfiles has some interesting links: here and here and here. Among other things, these links show that anyone who ignores the brilliant Willie Brown in matters of California politics is a fool - a fact that holds regardless of whether the incompetent, affirmative-action baby the Clintons maintain at the helm of the DNC says that no Democrat will run to replace Gov. Gray Davis if a Republican-led recall drive reaches the ballot.

The inappropriateness of Terry McAuliffe as DNC chairman is made all the more apparent by his making his absurdly premature assertion (concerning matters over which he has no control anyway). Any sensible person in Mr. McAuliffe's position should know that it may, in fact, become necessary for the Democrats as a whole to boot Gray Davis - although that is by no means where they are today.

Comments: Post a Comment