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Recalls Are for Cars, Not California Governors

When did the Target parking lot replace the voting booth?

July 24, 2003|Bill Maher | Bill Maher is host of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher."

New rule: No do-overs. Once you elect an official, unless he runs off with public funds or gets caught with kiddie porn, you're stuck with him.

He's the governor, not some dude you married in Las Vegas.

What's going on here in California, if you're lucky enough to not have been following this, is that the economy turned, so we're getting rid of the governor. But what if we drive him out of office and the economy still doesn't get better? I guess we'll have to burn him. And if that doesn't work, we'll kill his dog.

Yes, in baseball when the team stinks, you fire the manager. But you don't fire him because it rains. And you don't let the opposing team choose a new manager for you.

And you don't fire him between innings. And replace him with a Viennese weightlifter.

Here's why the economy turned: The dot-com bubble burst. (Obviously on the orders of Gray Davis.) The airline industry collapsed. (Just as Gray Davis planned.) We fought two wars. (Playing right into Gray Davis' hands.) And Dick Cheney's friends at Enron "gamed" the energy market and ripped off the state for billions.

So you can see the problem: Gray Davis.

And the obvious solution: A Viennese weightlifter. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Finally, a candidate who can explain the Bush administration's positions on civil liberties in the original German.

But there are still a lot of Democrats with sour grapes over the last presidential election, and they're not collecting petitions to replace George Bush with Bernie Mac.

Now, I'm not saying that I like Davis. Being enthusiastic about Davis would be like saying your favorite food is straw. But he fought for his country in Vietnam and won a fair election, and he's entitled to his term.

Maybe he's a lousy governor, but he was the one elected by voters who bothered to show up at the polls. Their efforts shouldn't be undone by disgruntled shoppers signing a petition on their way out of Target.

Anyone who thinks this recall is some great affirmation of democracy should review early American history. This is precisely the kind of direct involvement by the howling masses that the framers wanted to avoid.

But, hey, let's have the recall. And then the people who voted for Davis can have a recall and put him back in. And then we can throw him out again. It works well in Italy.

And it'll really help the state economy, too, when investors realize our political system is on par with Belize.

Oh, and a recall election will cost the state up to $35 million. Money we would otherwise just waste on schools and roads. And we'll still have to have a regular election in March.

But this really isn't about elections at all. This is about a congressman named Darrell Issa, a Republican car alarm magnate who wants to be governor and has spent $1.5 million of his own money to fund the recall effort.

Think about that as the silver lining the next time a car alarm wakes you up in the middle of the night.

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