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Fritz Feds

Saturday, September 20, 2003



Gore and Davis trot out a dead horse Ever since he started working closely with Bill Clinton, Gray Davis has been trying to pretend that the recall initiative is somehow anti-democratic. On August 21, for example, the Sacramento Bee reported:

At Wednesday's town hall, the governor even invoked Clinton's name. He sought to portray his recall, funded by wealthy GOP Congressman Darrell Issa, as the latest in a string of right-wing Republican efforts to deny office to Democrats.

"This recall is larger than just California. It's something that's been going on nationally for some time," Davis said. "The Republicans couldn't beat President Clinton in 1996, so they tried to impeach him in '98. In 2000, it looked like Al Gore might actually win, but they stopped the vote count in Florida. Here in California, I won the election fair and square, and now nine months later Republicans who financed this recall through Darrell Issa are trying to seize control just before presidential elections."


He apparently hasn't given up on this argument.

According to an article today in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Former Democratic Vice President Al Gore stumped the state with Gov. Gray Davis on Friday, trying to link the 2000 presidential election fiasco in Florida and the California recall by reminding Democrats that "when the people vote in an election, it should be afforded the respect that's due."

Gore received an enthusiastic reception from a crowd of 150 labor and party activists at a San Francisco labor hall, where chants of "Recall Bush! Recall Bush!" echoed through the building. The 2000 Democratic presidential candidate urged Democratic voters to cast a "no" vote on recall against Davis.

In San Francisco and Los Angeles on Friday, Gore and Davis compared the recall to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton and the Florida election debacle, in which the U.S. Supreme Court refused Gore's request to recount votes after the results were disputed in several counties.

"Al Gore should have been president of the United States," Davis said. "Nobody can speak with more clarity as to what the Republicans are doing and the attempt to overturn legitimate elections that they lost the first time around."


I guess Gore has bought into the laughable notion that somehow the recall is actually anti-democratic. Not only is this argument incoherent, it is actually a criticism of the labor and party activists that were shouting "Recall Bush." Apparently the irony of opposing the recall because all recalls are bad while also wishing they could recall the President was lost on these folks.

Davis is also trying to get some mileage out of the "recall is anti-democratic" argument:

"What happened in California really began when they tried to impeach Bill Clinton after they couldn't beat him in '96, when they tried to stop and did stop the vote count in Florida because this man, Al Gore, had already gotten more votes than George Bush," Davis said.

"Now they're coming out to California to try to overturn an election they lost fair and square," Davis said, referring to his re-election in November.


How can these two actually continue to make this argument with a straight face? Gore and Davis have to be either so intellectually dishonest or so dimwitted that they don't understand what democracy actually means. I think that there is a legitimate argument that on the continuum between republican and democratic government, the recall provision is too democratic because it makes it makes it too easy for the voters to continually change their minds and vote their representatives out of office. But to call any fair election (and Davis is not taking the position that the ACLU is taking in the Ninth Circuit case) anti-democratic is demonstrates an utter ignorance of basic political theory. A person who doesn't know what democracy is cannot be qualified to be either Governor of California or President of the United States.


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