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Mr. President, Urge Republicans to End Davis Recall Bid

June 29, 2003

This article has been signed by Democrat Eli Broad, chairman of AIG SunAmerica Inc.; Republican Arthur Rock, a founder of Intel; Republican John Doerr, Silicon Valley venture capitalist; Republican F. Warren Hellman, chairman of Hellman & Friedman; and Democrat Art Pulaski, president of the California Federation of Labor.


Some people say that when California sneezes, the entire nation gets a cold. History shows that this statement is not as exaggerated as it might at first seem. From the anti-tax revolution started by Proposition 13 in the late 1970s to the severe recession of the early 1990s to the energy crisis of the early 2000s, what happens in California usually creates powerful ripples across the country.

That is why President Bush should exercise his leadership and call on a small faction of California Republicans to halt their recall effort against Gov. Gray Davis.

President Bush should not do this because he agrees with Davis or his policies, nor should the president act just because many people in his own party believe that the recall effort will ultimately be disastrous for the California Republican Party.

The president should demand an end to the recall effort because the nation cannot afford to have California's economy remain stuck in reverse. And no matter what you think of Gov. Davis, the fact is that the energies of all of our elected officials must now be focused on solving California's serious problems -- the budget and the state's economy. The recall, of course, would have just the opposite effect. If a recall begins, every decision will become highly politicized; every issue will become clouded by partisanship.

The 40 million unbudgeted dollars that would be diverted to pay for a recall just seven months after the election is taxpayer money that should be used to buy our children textbooks or provide health care to the elderly. Wall Street would look aghast at these unparalleled events, and a reduction in the state's vital bond rating would be sure to follow.

In short, a recall would throw this state into chaos -- guaranteeing that California's deep economic malaise would continue.

Why should Bush care about any of this? The reason is simple: The national economy cannot recover unless the California economy recovers.

Though certain parts of the country may see some economic improvement, the bottom line is that the U.S. economy cannot return to robust, long-term growth if the California economy continues to languish.

Mr. President, California is in a very tough spot. And a tough stand by you against the narrow wing of your party that advocates this recall would demonstrate your respect for California voters -- those who cast their ballots for governor just seven months ago. And by stopping the recall, you would give Californians the opportunity we need to focus our energies on revitalizing our economy -- a revitalization that is essential to our national economic recovery.

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