Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Hodge Podge: Let's Recall


Let's get in our political time machine and return to the year 2002 in politics. Unpopular Governor Gray Davis was re-elected in California by a smidgen under over five percentage points over Republican Bill Simon.

Just 10 months later, Gray Davis would be out on his keester after being recalled by California voters. His approval rating, in the 60's during his first term, was at around 22 percent at the time of his ouster from office. In an election that included everyone from porn stars to Gary Coleman, the California electorate turned to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to change the state's fortunes.

Well, it took nearly seven years, but guess who's approval ratings are now at 22 percent? If you said Arnold Schwarzenegger, you are correct.

That's right, the once-popular "Governator" has seen his popularity ratings terminated as mismanagement and circumstance have reigned supreme in the Golden State.

Like Davis, it's not all his fault. Governing in "Cal-eee-for-nyah" is not that easy for an executive. A state law that permits referendums on almost any issue makes it nearly impossible to work an agenda, in my view. It took seven years, but it seems Californians are now thinking the grass wasn't any grayer...er...greener on the other side of the fence.

Today, the choices to replace Schwarzenegger are, well, honestly, less than inspiring. You have former Governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, who is a 72-year-old veteran of California politics at every level and former Ebay President Meg Whitman, the Republican. Having gone with an outsider before, you'd think that maybe an old hat might be a good experiment now. Despite the unpopularity of Schwarzenegger and the 16 percent approval of the state legislature, either candidate or neither candidate can claim the mantle of front runner.

It begs the question: Why would anyone want this job? California is a mess right now, and, as hard as you work now, you can be cast out of office in a recall. You have to be a little crazy to run.

I'm sure someone has asked at some point, "Why did we recall Gray Davis, again?"

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