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pudge (1)

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Journal of pudge (1)

Sunday August 10, 2003
01:08 PM

A Few Recall Thoughts

[ #14035 ]

One thing a lot of people are saying is that it is not right somehow that Gray Davis could get 49 percent of the vote in the recall election and then be replaced by someone who gets only, say, 15 percent of the vote. They say that this could happen is wrong.

But this can happen in most any election in the U.S. where there is a primary; you could lose the election with 49 percent and, if there are a sufficient number of candidates, the eventual victor could have a relatively small percent. This has been possible for many years; the possibility of it cannot make it unfair, unless the whole system is unfair.

Bill Maher said something absolutely ludicrous the other night: that a recall is not how the "founding fathers" of this country intended the system to work. What he apparently doesn't realize is that the "founding fathers" had no collective intentions for the details of the selection of the leadership of the individual states, but left that as a matter for the individual states to decide for themselves.

And, in fact, the people of the state of California, a hundred years ago, decided that this is the way things should work in California. It is a democratic process if for no other reason but that the people of California have stated this is how it should work. And if they don't like it, they can change the process so this can't happen again.

Every complaint about the recall itself, every court challenge to it, seems to me to boil down to "it's the law, it's been the law for a long time, there is nothing remotely illegitimate about this procedure, and if you don't like it, then change the law."

That's not to say you shouldn't be opposed to the recall procedure as used here; personally, I think people who wish to use it just because they lost last time are abusing the process. But abuse of the process does not make it illegitimate. And it should also be noted that for every person I've talked to who wants Davis gone just because they dislike him, there are several who want him gone because he lied about the depth of the budget problem during the last election, or because he has continued to mismanage the state's economy.

Bill Maher did get one thing absolutely right, though: he said that if you want to get someone in the governor's mansion to really change things, to shake them up, then Arianna Huffington is the candidate for you. I don't think I would vote for her if I still lived in California, but I would consider it ... how can any libertarian not feel some affinity for an intelligent, capable person who wrote a book called "How To Overthrow The Government"?

Right now, the most interesting candidates to me are Huffington and Peter Ueberroth. If the main problem is fixing the budget, you should get people who can fix that problem: Ueberroth is someone who is just plain capable, having successfully run Major League Baseball, the 1984 Summer Olympics, and numerous large and small businesses. The guy's got sk1llz. He does not have, however, popular backing or name recognition. But if you talk to southern California businesspeople who are thinking about leaving the state, if they could hand-pick a governor to turn things around, he'd be the guy, and that's something to consider.

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  • Philosophy aside, what has happened here is that once again, a handful of extremely wealthy Republicans have made us a laughingstock to the rest of the world. We have Gary Coleman on the ballot to lead the fifth largest economy in the world.

    And what's funny is that if the vote were held today, Arnold would win and he has no more experience than Gary.

    • The people of California decided they wanted it to work this way. You call it a circus, which it may be, but it is, in fact, what the people of California chose when they created the recall, and when they used it in the past. Calling it a circus and saying it makes us look like a laughingstock -- whether true or not -- are completely irrelevant and uninteresting assertions to me.

      Saying it is a "handful of extremely wealthy Republicans" ... it seems like you are trying to paint it as some fringe element c
      • The people of California decided they wanted it to work this way.

        I am a people of California, and I was not asked!

        The proceduralist perspective comes down to: dead people who you don't know set it up this way for you and unless you follow the other process the dead peopleset up for changing it, then it will stay this way and therefore all is as it should be.

        Well, no; if something is ridiculously broken, then pointing out that every step followed the letter of The Law (or, in Californian, The Lah) does

        • I am a people of California, and I was not asked!

          Sucks to be you. Especially living in Alaska!

          The proceduralist perspective comes down to: dead people who you don't know set it up this way for you and unless you follow the other process the dead peopleset up for changing it, then it will stay this way and therefore all is as it should be.

          Yes, that is exactly right, and good.

          Well, no; if something is ridiculously broken, then pointing out that every step followed the letter of The Law (or, in Califo
      • The people of California decided they wanted it to work this way. You call it a circus, which it may be, but it is, in fact, what the people of California chose when they created the recall, and when they used it in the past.

        Actually quite a lot of people are calling it a circus not just Jamie. Yesterday's Arizona Republic Headline "Hurry, step right up! It's California's circus'. The fact that California wanted it this way is completely irrelevant and doesn't mean that people shouldn't comment on how
        • Actually quite a lot of people are calling it a circus not just Jamie.

          I never contended or implied otherwise.

          Yesterday's Arizona Republic Headline "Hurry, step right up! It's California's circus'. The fact that California wanted it this way is completely irrelevant

          Irrelevant to what? Whether it is a circus? I already said this, that it may be a circus, but that whether it is a circus is unimportant to the reality of the situation.

          and doesn't mean that people shouldn't comment on how ridiculous the
  • As you pointed out it's all a moot: the law is the law. If people don't like the law, they should change it. On the other hand, our political system has been reduced to petty bickering and gamesmanship. Making a few cosmetic changes will hardly matter so I can't say that I particularly care one way or another how things turn out in California. Nothing will change.

  • A long, long time ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger's foray into politics was predicted by, of all things, a Shadowrun 2 supplement book. (Anybody who finds the phrase Paranormal Animals Of North America significant will know what book I'm referring to.)

    I'm waiting for horses with wings and dragons to start crawling out of the woodwork. Apparently SR2 is a map to reality. :\

    --

    ------------------------------
    You are what you think.
  • Some things are now obvious to me about government procedures:

    • Every election should have a planned runoff. No candidate should be allowed to be elected to any office on only a plurality.
    • If the two final candidates in any election poll within 1% (or some threshold) of each other, the election should be declared a statistical tie and the law should specify a clear cut procedure for resolving the tie (legislature vote, temporary electoral college, court proceeding, or whatever). Unless the number of vote
    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • I have no problem with plurality, as long as a majority chooses to accept a plurality. If that is what the people want, who am I to tell them they shouldn't do it? So I can't go along with "every election" and "no candidate."

      However, if it is a district of *mine*, that is a different story. In that case, I am conflicted. One nice thing about runoffs is that it helps third-party candidates, in that you might be more inclined to vote third party, as right now people might vote for Gore instead of Nader j
      • Well, when I said "should," I was assuming this was in a state/country/district where I/you have a vested interest in getting it right. Other governments can do whatever the people there want, and it's no skin off my back. I was just musing on what I'd do if I were writing a constitution (or whatever).

        Runoffs seem very fair to me. Seems like the Nader votes ought to go wherever the Nader voters wanted them, if he can't when. Maybe you'd enjoy reading about Condorcet's method and other interesting voti

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
        • I disagree with your statement that it is not impossible to do a perfectly accurate count of an arbitrarily large number of votes.

          You can disagree all you like, but it is, in fact, not impossible. :-) It is easy to imagine a system where accurate counts are not only possible, but immediately tallied. Yes, software has bugs, but that doesn't mean it is impossible to write software that is provably accurate in its tallies.
        • "a Republican watcher who asked why a Bush vote was being put in the Gore pile was expelled for being unreasonable"

          Wow, I saw this debunked almost three years ago... you still believe it happened?

          • I saw video of it on the evening news. I'm willing to listen if there's an alternative explanation for what I saw.

            --
            J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers