Don't waste time trying to recall Senators Bennet and Udall

The activist group Restore Our Colorado (with which I presume some of my friends may be involved) has been attempting to start a petition to recall Colorado's two Senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.  While they're both Democrats, the group states (and I basically believe them) that their motivation is non-partisan, that their objection to these Senators is the Senators' behavior in contradiction to the federal Constitution, state laws, and the will of the people.

While I completely agree with ROC's characterization of Udall and Bennet, their efforts at recall are misguided, and not just because a recall of someone elected to federal office is probably unconstitutional or at least not legally permissible at this time.

Beyond that, however, I believe the effort is a poor use of the time, energy, and resources of people with whose patriotic, principle-centered motivations I completely agree.

The folly of trying to recall Bennet is clear:  He's extremely likely to lose reelection before a recall, even if one were legal, could be accomplished.  Even if a recall could be accomplished rapidly, however, what could the possible benefits be? Given that we have a Democratic governor who would presumably fill the seat with someone with roughly similar views as those Bennet already holds, the only realistic outcome is the seat going to a liberal who is less unpopular than Senator Michael "Who?" Bennet.  A recall of Bennet therefore could only harm the stated goals of Restore Our Colorado.

The same problem exists for a recall of Mark Udall if it were to be accomplished quickly.  We would simply get another Democrat in the seat.  If it were accomplished later, there would be an entirely new set of problems, even more important than the recall of short-timer Bennet would be: the erosion of our electoral system.

It's often said and deserves to be said again that elections have consequences.  People have the right to elect bad politicians, i.e. politicians who are incompetent or don't understand the Constitution.  This is not to say that the politicians have the right to ignore their oath to protect and defend the Constitution.  They should read is and endeavor to defend it, but at the end of the day you have to understand what you're defending -- and most Democrats don't.

My strongly-held view is that the only way people will learn the lessons of what happens when enough people with enough power don't understand or care about the Constitution is to go through that situation -- as we are right now.  The public will not revolt against Progressivism, our own smiley-faced version of fascism (to paraphrase Jonah Goldberg), until they have lived through it.  Like it or not, the nature of our system of government is that we live with our mistakes and, with luck, learn from them.

A recall of a Senator elected in an election which wasn't close, which had no hint of election fraud (at least none that I'm aware of), simply sends the message that elections don't matter.  That's the wrong message for America even if the person who would be recalled deserves to be.

To be sure, an argument could be made that this government is as close as we've gotten in a long time to the sort of tyranny which Thomas Jefferson said that we have an obligation to overthrow.  But even though I think Barack Obama is a committed socialist who neither likes nor understands America, even though his policy agenda is destructive of jobs and liberty, it has not gone far enough or long enough to call for revolution, whether that term would be meant as armed revolution or as toppling an essentially well-functioning electoral system, the stability of which is crucial for our nation and the world. One of the key elements to an optimally functioning economy is a sense of political and regulatory stability.  Clearly we don't have the latter right now, with Democrats targeting everything under the sun for government control.  But can you imagine how much more insecurity business would feel if politicians were suddenly being yanked out of office left and right?  Furthermore, have ROC considered the fact that opening the floodgates to a recall process for federall officeholders would likely be used at least as effectively by unions and the left to attack non-leftist politicians?  If recalls became even slightly commonplace, our political system would start to resemble Italy's and that's good for nobody but anarchists (and maybe labor unions.)

I agree with ROC that Udall and Bennet should lose their jobs, but they should lose them in the right way: at the ballot box at election time.

Those behind the recall movement should redouble their efforts (which they say they're already making) at voter education and registration. They should work on other ways to get pro-liberty voters active in the political process, i.e. not just voting but also being involved in the primary process so that voters are presented with the most pro-liberty, pro-Constitution candidate on the ballot.

While I appreciate the motivation of any group who bases their arguments on the Constitution and references the Magna Carta and the Federalist (and Anti-Federalist) Papers, I urge Restore Our Colorado to consider the possibility that a short-term victory for them would be a long-term defeat for the causes they care most about.

  • Tackspitter
    Comment from: Tackspitter
    02/03/10 @ 04:12:12 pm

    I couldnt agree more. Well written and thought out Ross.