The worst idea the new American Party has come up with

I really groaned when I saw this:

Party to undertake “Recall” initiative for elected officials

In the interest of holding our elected officials accountable and in keeping with our Party’s core principles, the American Party is undertaking a RECALL initiative in South Carolina. This initiative is aimed at enhancing governmental accountability by amending the State Constitution to allow registered voters to recall elected officials who violate the trust placed in them by the electorate.

We would like to invite you to join us at our press conference to announce this initiative:

Thursday, September 25th
1st Floor State House Lobby
(enter through visitor’s entrance under the north state house stairs)

Please be on hand by 9:45am. Contact Scott Malyerck at (803) 446-2881 with any questions.

Thank you for your continued support.

Dr. Jim Rex and Dr. Oscar Lovelace

This alternative party had already succumbed to the temptation of embracing other populist nostrums that sound far better, to the unthoughtful, than they are in reality — term limits, for instance.

Recall petitions are as bad as government by plebiscite, which I half expect Messrs. Rex and Lovelace to embrace next.

One of the worst thing about politics today is that elected officials are so busy looking over their shoulders, fretting about the next election, that they seldom pause to govern. This would make the looming pressure of election hover over them even more ominously and destructively. The perpetual campaign would, if anything, be even more omnipresent.

We need lawmakers who can step away from whatever fads and fashions are running through the electorate at a given moment long enough to deliberate and govern. This pulls them in the opposite direction.

This is disappointing.

5 thoughts on “The worst idea the new American Party has come up with

  1. Doug Ross

    “One of the worst thing about politics today is that elected officials are so busy looking over their shoulders, fretting about the next election, that they seldom pause to govern. T”

    With the high rate of re-election for incumbents, I don’t think this is true. Once in, it takes death or prison to get someone out normally.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The problem is that from the moment people get into office — actually, before they are elected — they completely rule out ideas that might be unpopular, even when those are the best ideas.

      To get that, you have to agree with me on such things as the need to raise the gas tax to deal with our road needs. To pragmatic people, this is a no-brainer — this is the mechanism we have for paying for roads, and it is the fairest possible way to do so. It hasn’t been raised since 1987, and that rate doesn’t pay for nearly as much as it did then — while the needs are greater.

      If you spend time studying the state’s needs and how to meet them — in other words, if you engage in the deliberative discernment process that representative democracy is intended to promote — these conclusions are inescapable. If you care more about doing the right thing than getting elected (or getting recalled), you raise the gas tax.

      But both left and right hate gas tax increases, so politicians scatter like chickens at the mere mention of the topic.

      I was very encouraged by the headline in The State today: “Lawmakers consider gas tax hike.” But those lawmakers are hiding behind their assertion that they can’t do it without Nikki Haley leading the way, which she has assured us all she won’t do, especially in this election year.

      Well, recall power makes every year an election year, and every minute an election minute. There can NEVER be a moment when pols are likely to show any political courage…

  2. Doug Ross

    A case in point – do you believe the incompetence displayed by the Richland County delegation responsible for selecting the election commission members was a result of “looking over their shoulders”? or was it pure arrogance knowing that they will get re-elected no matter what they do?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You’ve got a number of problems here. A couple of them:

      1. These people aren’t elected to run the election commission. They’re state legislators. Which is why they sure as hell shouldn’t be running the election commission. But we have this bizarre anachronism left from the days when there was no county government in SC, and local legislators made all local decisions. This should have been changed 40 years ago, but has not — partly because the situation is too complex for most voters to understand, so there’s no hue and cry for change.
      2. Race-based, party-based apportionment ensures that either these people, or people just like them (if you force the matter with term limits), will hold those seats. Each district is a special-interest, demographically narrow haven, rather than encompassing a broad spectrum of the electorate. The election board has been a black Democratic patronage sanctuary. The politicians protecting the incompetents on the board and staff have constituents who tend to see calls for their dismissal as the white establishment picking on black officeholders unfairly. The calls for reform come from other districts. These pols ARE responding to their constituents. You and I just aren’t their constituents. You see all these calls for reform, and you think they are ignoring the will of the people. But these calls aren’t coming from the consensus of the people in their districts, and they know this…
      1. Doug Ross

        So your premise is that these politicians are doing what the people who elected them want them to do but that those same people should not have the opportunity to vote on specific issues because the elected officials are better informed? That makes no sense. Either the politicians aren’t voting based on better information or the voters have enough information to influence the politicians.

        I would rather have the voters decide on the big issues and let the legislators deal with the little things. It isn’t logical to say a voter is informed enough to select the best representative but not capable of being informed enough (once every four years) to decide, say, that gays should marry. How much more information is needed to make that decision? Or to remove the Confederate flag from the state house? Does that require voting for someone else to make that decision? Absolutely not.

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