Just Above Sunset Archives
August 24, 2003 Odds and Ends
A continuation of a meme - regarding last week's rant....
Last week I did a rant on coups d'etat, and in particular how the Republicans are actually trying to get around open and fair elections and overturn them. The idea was to connect the dots. If you cannot win elections you can impeach those in office, or fund a recall, or force a second or third redistricting of voters - yes, Republicans are trying to gain additional congressional seats in Colorado and Texas, trying to find ways of overturning legal redistricting plans. All it all, ways to overturn elections.
Apparently this idea of devious Republican right-wingers getting around elections they don't like is gathering steam. Tim Noah in Slate magazine points out -
Well, yes. Jesse Jackson in the Chicago Tribune wrote about it the previous week. And he made reference to the French revolution and the Reign of Terror. I'm not so such that holds up to close scrutiny.
But Tim Noah examined the argument. See Does the GOP Subvert Democracy? Gray Davis may be onto something. Timothy Noah - Posted Thursday, August 21, 2003, at 4:20 PM PT SLATE.COM
His conclusion is
Well, Noah cites David Tell of the Weekly Standard who points out the removal of Clinton from office wouldn't have subverted any elections because Clinton would have been replaced by Vice President Al Gore.
Not any better for the Republicans.
As for the business with the Florida votes that decided the last presidential election, Noah says, "...if we focus on the fact that Gore was trying to count votes while Bush was trying to stop the counting of votes, and that Bush ultimately persuaded the (unelected) Supreme Court to do just that even though the Florida counts were very, very close, it's the Republicans who subverted democracy." Well, Noah's argument is quite detailed, but that's his conclusion.
One no and one yes then.
As for the redistricting?
Well, that's a maybe. It is a bad idea, and no one has done it before, but it can be argued either way.
As for the California recall?
Well, the ballot out here is curious. The first section is a yes-no up-down on recalling the governor. If he gets one vote more than fifty percent, well, he stays. If not, the person with the most votes on the second part of the ballot - where he cannot be listed, by law - the list of one hundred thirty-three others - that person gets the job, as long as that person has the largest number of votes. And that will probably be far less than fifty percent of the votes cast.
So spending almost two million dollars on an unprecedented recall can pay off. The Republicans may be able to gain the office with less than a tenth of the votes they would normally need to win it in an election.
Scheduled elections are for wimps. There's always a work-around.
By the way, the fellow who lost to Davis last year, Bill Simon, has dropped out of the race. And another obscure candidate withdrew, as it seems he was being sought by the police in another state for a felony of some kind. Others may drop out soon. One never knows.
As of today, Sunday the 24th, the polls are running fifty to forty-five in favor of recalling Davis. And the polls indicating favorites to replace him put the Lieutenant Governnor, Bustamonte, ahead of the actor, Arnold Swartzenegger. But these figures will change, and more folks will drop out.
Right now it looks as if most folks like the idea of giving control of the state and all its difficulties to a German-speaking fellow from Austria who admits he loves power but refuses to say exactly what he'd do with it. Curiously he holds dual US-Austrian citizenship.
Paul Krugman points out in the New York Times that the key moment in Arnold Schwarzenegger's Wednesday press conference came when "the bodybuilder who would be governor" brushed aside questions with the declaration, "The public doesn't care about figures." Krugman says this was "fuzzy math" on steroids - Mr. Schwarzenegger was, in effect, asserting that his celebrity gives him the right to fake his way through the election. Will he be allowed to get away with it?
Of course he will, Paul. He's decisive, in that charming German way.
Perhaps Davis will prevail. Perhaps there will be a run on brown shirts out here.
From last week - Larger issues raised by the Calfornia recall as I see them...
The Republican right cannot easily win elections. The obvious solution is to work around them. Yeah, yeah.
Banana republics have coups d'etat where those who can't win an election just seize power. This usual involves tanks and guns and crap like that. Seriously, you have to admire the Republican right for being a bit more subtle than that. They pretty much deserve to take over the country from the fools who think elections actually matter. There are always work-arounds.
More power to them. Political power and wealth are for those with the guts and ideas to grab them. We are a nation of entrepreneurs. Success is for those with audacity... and the right attitude.
I'm getting grumpy, as you see.