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September 5, 2003

Daily Herald |
Lieutenant governor pushes for recall ability
: Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn thinks Illinois voters -like those in California - should be able to recall a governor they believe is doing a bad job. "There ought to be the ability to pull out of office someone who has violated their oath," said Quinn, a Democrat. "I don't think voters should have to tolerate a lousy incumbent unfit to serve out their term."

... Right. Because the recall is doing such wonderful things for California, what with the rest of the country considering this to be just one more wacko thing happening out there, and the state's bond status being just one or two notches above "junk", and the very real possibility that, unless turnout in California's general elections increases sharply, they'll turn into our very own version of 1970s-80s Italy, with caretaker governors serving no more than two year sentences in office. Really, we need that so very very much.

I point out, purely for the sake of argument, that under Quinn's apparently stated conditions, California would not actually be having a recall. Gray Davis has not violated his oath of office in any way, shape, or form. He hasn't been found guilty of any crime -- for which impeachment would be the proper punishment, and not recall, in any event. Californians are just frustrated, and taking it out on the governor who is a symbol of that frustration for them.

The idea of recall is not completely foreign here. Quinn led an informal, Internet-based recall petition against then-Gov. George Ryan in 2000. Quinn said he's certain if Illinois had recall that Ryan would have not served his full term given his flip-flop on tax increases and the growing corruption scandal that emerged after he'd taken office.

I point out once again, that if the recall is limited to those who have violated their oaths of office, even Ryan wouldn't have been eligible. Ryan did not, as far as we know, violate his oath of office as governor, after all; flip-flopping on a tax pledge may be unwise, but it's not illegal. His actions as secretary of state have never reached a court, to date; although some of his underlings have been tried and convicted, the US attorney responsible for the corruption case has not yet brought charges against the former governor. (One would also add that, at least technically, being charged with a crime isn't in and of itself evidence of anything, since you haven't yet been found guilty in the courts.)

So, really, let's just let California and North Dakota and Nevada keep the recall madness to themselves. We've got quite enough issues of our own without importing that one.

Like, you know, the whole Illinois: Land of Logos program. (Chicago Tribune, registration required.)

Posted by iain at September 05, 2003 02:21 PM


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