A spot on must read from Politico. As far as I'm concerned most recall elections, regardless of political party, are supported by whiners who are unhappy that they did not get their way politically and who refuse to admit that elections have consequences. Strong words, I know. But true, nonetheless.
With the nation's latest recall contest set for Tuesday in Wisconsin, politicians who have endured recalls say it's such a disruptive, divisive and unsettling ordeal that there should be a much higher bar for forcing elected officials to face voters before their terms are up.
The process hits hard both at the office and at home, jeopardizing the ability to govern and legislate, while also hurting private family life, according to those who have faced recalls. From death threats to constant attacks from the media, the officials say, the tumultuous nature of recall elections makes it extremely difficult to stay focused on fulfilling the promises they made as candidates and doing the jobs to which they were elected.
Ahead of Tuesday's recall in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker is trying to hold on to his seat against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, POLITICO spoke with six pols around the country in both parties who've already endured recalls — some survived, some didn't — to hear their unique perspective on what it's like to have your political future suddenly, unexpectedly up in the air.
Recalled or not, all agreed on one thing: The process has become far too commonplace and should be reserved for only the most egregious cases involving accusations of corruption, malfeasance or criminal charges. Today, simply collecting enough petition signatures can trigger a recall, regardless of the reason.
"Because of these disagreements on the philosophy of governing and individual votes, the recall is becoming more of a normal operating procedure," said George Petak, a former Republican state senator in Wisconsin who was recalled in 1996.
"That's a sad commentary on the state of political discourse today," he added. "When a disagreement takes place, the specter of exposure to a recall election is hung out there as a sort of carrot-and-stick philosophy. 'Either march to this particular drummer or you may be exposed to this [recall] process,' which I think is really, really unfortunate and inappropriate."
And Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle, a 2011 recall survivor, said he's another example of the process run amok.
"It's probably a good idea for it to be for a specific purpose related to malfeasance or some type of criminal activity," said Suttle, whose critics tried to oust him for what they charged were "excessive taxes, broken promises and union deals that cost taxpayers millions." "I had no malfeasance of office, no criminal activity. All I was doing was doing what I promised I would do in the campaign."
Woodrow Stanley, the former mayor of Flint, Mich., who was recalled in 2002, also complained the process is used far too often as a way to oust a political enemy, rather than ensure good government.
"This was a belief I had before I was a victim of a recall," said Stanley, currently a Democratic Michigan state House representative. "I don't believe in recalls as a method of solving a political grievance. I think elections are conceived to take care of the rightful discussion and ultimate resolution of political differences."
Like his fellow politicians hit with recalls, former Wisconsin state senator Dan Kapanke warned about their impact on the governing process.
You can read the entire article, "Recall Victims: Stop the Madness," here.