Give Arnold a chance

I'm dismayed.

Not because Arnold was elected Governor of California last night. The people of California spoke, and last night they chose a new governor, with such a forceful mandate that there is no way to doubt the will of the people. And they had every right to do so.

The recall itself was a function of the classic GOP disdain for democracy - and they were counting on low turnout overall, but high turnout amongst disaffected voters, to propel their chosen candidate McClintoc to power. But the people of California responded en masse, and chose a socially liberal, bipartisan-minded Governor, someone who was fresh, someone who stood outside the tainted circle of politics.

And Gray Davis, in the most gracious concession speech since Gore in 2000, put it best:

"My friends, we've had a lot of good nights over the last 20 years, but tonight the people did decide it's time for someone else to serve. I accept their judgment.
I am calling on everyone in this state to put the chaos and the division of the recall behind us and do what's right for this great state of California.
And I pledged to Mr. Schwarzenegger tonight the full cooperation of my administration during the transition, we want to let the new governor know what the challenges are, what the status is of various issues in Sacramento, we will do that."

As the San Diego Union Tribune editorial notes, the recall may have required GOP partisan money to get started, but it tapped into a massive vein of voter discontent which must not be trivialized as we analyze the results. And in so doing, the recall offers hope for a historic opportunity in California:

All the same, the voters' drastic action yesterday also creates an uncommon opportunity for structural reform of state government, starting with the out-of-control budget process. It is our fervent hope that the recall of Davis less than a year into his second term will concentrate the minds of legislators of both parties. The paralyzing partisan polarization that has stymied progress in Sacramento for years must come to an end. As Schwarzenegger aptly stated last night, "For the people to win, politics as usual must lose." In that spirit, Republicans and Democrats must work together to solve the chronic problems confronting the state.

After yesterday, it is clear the voters are demanding nothing less.

No, I am not dismayed by Arnold's victory. I'm dismayed by the reaction to it.

I'm dismayed by Hesiod's view the vast majority of people are fools. That condescension towards the common man is as profoundly distasteful to me coming from the left as it does from the right.

I'm dismayed by Kos's plan to launch RecallArnoldNow.com. In so doing, he legitimizes the tactics of the GOP. This isn't a game, to see who gets the most tallies under their column marked D or R. It's about what's best for California - and Arnold deserves a chance to carry out the will of the people.

The single reason I support Dean is because he promises a return to the shared sense of duty to the country, rather than partisan loyalty. His campaign isn't about building a vast network of D-lever-pulling robots. It's about bringing people in to a common cause, reaching across party lines, and putting the needs of our nation above the petty political interests of the party. ANY party.

The recall is over. Arnold won. Now the challenge is fixing California - and all energies must be devoted to helping that cause succeed.

Kevin Drum is as always the voice of sanity - and I'll leave him with the final word:

Trying to mount a recall against Arnold would be bad for California, bad for the Democratic party, and only distracts attention from the bigger task at hand: electing a Democrat to the White House in 2004. It's time for the circus to stop.

This is one time that we should accept defeat graciously and turn our attention to more important things. Remember, anger is only useful if it's focused and channeled on something worthwhile, and recalling Arnold isn't it. Let's not blow it.
Eyes on the prize, folks, eyes on the prize. I don't actually care all that much who the governor of California is � and I live here! � but nothing in this world would give me more pleasure than to see George Bush sent packing back to Crawford next November, never to be heard from again. That's the goal to keep front and center.
Plus, to be honest, I really don't want California to be a continual war zone. We really do have some problems to solve here, and running two recall campaigns a year isn't going to help us do it.

UPDATE: Kos has more details:

If timed to coincide with the March primaries, the new recall effort will cost the state little. The reason this recall cost so much is because the state had to create an entire election from scratch. In March, we're already having an election -- the presidential primaries (both Democratic and Republican).
But he should have to prove himself the same way the GOoPers forced Davis to prove himself -- 50 percent plus one.

And once the Republicans have been bitten by a recall, then maybe both parties can sit down and amend the constitution to make recalls a much fairer process and difficult proposition.
It'll now be our turn.

Not good enough. Just because there's an election planned for March anyway is not justification for yet another divisive recall campaign. It's wrong. "they started it" is Bush Administration highschool bully rhetoric, not a declaration of principles. And "we must hold a recall to prove that recalls are bad" is as morally bankrupt as "we must burn the village in order to save it"

I'm aghast at this.

UPDATE 2: Jerome Armstrong, who I greatly admire and respect, is also on the wrong side of this:

It's simple, the GOP muscled the situation to avoid the democratic process.

NO, it's not that simple. Yes the GOP funded the recall - but the recall was done legally, and it did unleash a massive wave of legitimate voter discontent - which can be harnessed, as Howard Dean pointed out:

"Today's recall election in California was not about Gray Davis or Arnold Schwarzenegger. This recall was about the frustration so many people are feeling about the way things are going. All across America, George Bush's massive tax cuts for the wealthy are undermining state budgets, causing cutbacks in services and increases in local property taxes. Were recalls held in every state, it's quite possible that 50 governors would find themselves paying the price for one president's ruinous national economic policies. Tonight the voters in California directed their frustration with the country's direction on their incumbent governor. Come next November, that anger might be directed at a different incumbent...in the White House."

The Arnold victory is actually a dark omen for Bush. We must remain comitted to the main goal. ANy focus other than Bush will be disatrous. And Arnold's ability to help Bush is limited - he's a social liberal.

The recall was truly democratic. It's not relevant whether Arnold got 50% of the vote. Its relevant that Arnold got more yes votes than the recall got no votes! Its relevant that voter turnout was record high - far greater than that during Davis' election last year!

No comments: