It should surprise no one that I'm opposed to the recall of
In 2003, I was one of the few conservatives opposed to the recall of
Davis didn't deserve to stay in office, but the voters of California deserved to keep him. Democracy depends on accountability, not just for individual politicians but for their parties and programs.
As I noted in 2003, former New York Mayor
That logic applies even more for recalls. If California had had its fiscal reckoning in 2004 or 2005, the state — and the country — would be much better prepared to deal with its economic problems than it is now. The
This isn't to say that both parties deserve equal shares of blame. Davis' successor,
There's constant caterwauling these days about the need for
That's what California had in Schwarzenegger, a proud Republican of the Nixon-Rockefeller persuasion, married to a Kennedy no less. And California voters chewed him up and spit him out, preferring to stay on the destructive course set by public sector unions and their interest group allies.
Wisconsin's governor is no Schwarzenegger. Walker ran as a full-spectrum conservative promising to take on the political machine. "I was the original'tea party'in Wisconsin," he declared in 2010. The effort to remove Walker from office is not an attempt to hold him accountable for his failures — as it was with Gray Davis — but to punish him for his successes.
Walker has turned a deficit into a projected surplus while cutting property taxes. The state economy seems to have turned a corner, posting modest job gains. His union reforms have proved sufficiently popular that his opponent in the recall, Milwaukee Mayor
Perhaps most telling, now that government workers aren't forced to pay union dues, membership has dropped precipitously. The ranks of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employeeswere cut nearly in half in less than a year, according to the
Polls have Walker the narrow favorite Tuesday, but his opponents have made it clear they will do everything they can to win the ground game by getting voters to the polls. I am cautiously optimistic that voters of Wisconsin will see the folly of demanding a do-over at precisely the moment the state needs to stay the course.
I'm much less optimistic about California, whose problems today dwarf those of Wisconsin when Walker took office.
Still, if he fails, he shouldn't be recalled. The people of California should be punished for their mistake. Perhaps they'll learn from it and find their own Scott Walker the next time around.