Sunday, October 28, 2007

Removing a governor

If you haven't read this Chicago Tribune editorial yet, don't wait now. The Tribune believes that voters should be allowed to recall a Governor...

Should Rod Blagojevich remain as governor of Illinois?

He shows no inclination to resign from office. And while the state constitution does allow for his impeachment by the Illinois House and trial by the Senate, it's doubtful legislators could bring themselves to such drastic action. So the realistic question becomes this: Given the multiple ineptitudes of Rod Blagojevich -- his reckless financial stewardship, his dictatorial antics, his penchant for creating political enemies -- should citizens create a new way to terminate a chief executive who won't, or can't, do his job?

That is, should Illinois join the 18 states that give voters -- as opposed to lawmakers -- the ballot power to remove state officials from office?

The Blagojevich experience suggests that the answer is yes, Illinois should write a recall mechanism into its constitution. Having endured the Blagojevich era, we believe voters never should have to endure another one like it. They instead should have the power to recall an inept governor.

The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a succinct summary of how a recall provision would be useful in a predicament such as Illinois': "Proponents of the recall maintain that it provides a way for citizens to retain control over elected officials who are not representing the best interests of their constituents, or who are unresponsive or incompetent. This view holds that an elected representative is an agent, a servant and not a master." (The NCSL takes no position on whether states should have recall provisions.)

This serious mechanism is rarely used. Only two U.S. governors have been recalled. North Dakotans ousted Lynn Frazier in 1921. In 2003, Californians voted to remove Gray Davis and, in a separate ballot measure, selected Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him.

9 comments:

DuPage Saint,  6:56 PM  

Let the Feds take care of it. We have too units of govt and too many elections now. If there was a recall provisions nothing would ever be settled. The taxpayers would go broke. And do not forget this is just Dems on Dems wait for Dems on Reps, Reps on Dems and Reps on Reps and every other permutation. If you were dumb enough to vote for Gov. Rod you deserve every minute of it.

Cal Skinner 8:56 PM  

There are a lot fewer elections now than there were when I entered politics in 1966. The Saturday before the primary election, my local school district had a referendum.

Want to guess how low the turn out was?

Anonymous,  9:01 AM  

After the daily Clout and Corruption stories inviolving Mayor Daley and friends, when will the Chicago Tribune apply the same article except, block out Blago and write "Daley" instead. Why do we put up with this criminal?

steve schnorf 1:10 PM  

We had a recall election 10 months ago. The Trib must have missed it. After 4 years to evalute his performance, the voters re-elected him. Now something has changed 10 months later? Give me a break.

Bill Baar 2:29 PM  

Steve's right.

And it's not like Illinois didn't know what it was getting either.

It's the next election that decides...none of this recall stuff.

fed up,  2:57 PM  

Ill voters got what they deserved. Blago was slicker more camers friendly and had alot more money so the voters who are unfortunatley mostly ignorant and watch alot of tv let blago stay. Do I want him gone yes but I really dont like this recall stuff elections every four years are fine. What we need are better informed voters.

Prairie Sage,  10:10 PM  

Good point Steve. And the crazy thing is, the guy is doing exactly what he said he would do, which is to oppose pretty much any kind of a sales or income tax and try every other possible way to raise revenue.

My concern with a recall is that it would make Governors even LESS likely to tackle tough issues for fear that a wealthy crackpot would demagogue an issue and force us all to waste time and energy on relatively minor issues relative to the major challenges facing the state.

It would also force governors to begin raising money the minute the polls close on election night to deter a recall challenge. Is that really what we want? Granted, we're not that far from that point today, but why make it inevitable?

Anonymous,  10:43 PM  

"fed up said...

Ill voters got what they deserved."

Really? I don't recall drowning any puppies just for the fun of it...

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