Monday, March 09, 2009

Don't attempt the recall of Doyle

I know the frustration out there, and I understand that Governor Doyle has just proposed the most radical state budget in Wisconsin history. But CRG Network's plan to gather 500,000 signatures in 60 days to recall the governor is a waste of energy and is without sufficient cause. I would far rather see that energy, money and time spent to finding and organizing more conservatives to back candidates in the 2010 elections.

Philosophically, of course, I tend to be opposed to most recalls anyway. Recalls should only be for those occasions where the public official has violated the law or abused government power. In Governor Doyle's case, such abuses of his power or violations of the law have not been shown with sufficient evidence.

I am not going to question the motivation of the CRG Network (although it looks of Richard, Duke of York in Henry VI, part II, and the Cade Rebellion). But I am going to question the tactics.

There are three possible outcomes to the recall:
1. The recall falls short, but the Democrats become even more energized and resistant to any changes in the budget. This is the most likely scenario, and it happens to be the ugliest possible result.
2. The recall actually goes to the ballot and Doyle wins re-election. He then has all the ammunition he needs to crush the Republicans in 2010.
3. The recall succeeds, we get a Republican governor, and the Democrats in the legislature proceed to a scorched-earth policy in retaliation.

All are not-so-pleasant choices.

Let’s add to this list the very real probability that Democrats in the legislature will actually draw closer to the governor during the recall process rather than risk any perception that the governor might be vulnerable. Any hope of getting some Democratic defections on specific budget items would be over.

As for the chances of success, CRG has announced a recall attempt of Governor Doyle before only to fail.

Meanwhile, those of us who are philosophically opposed to recall elections over policy differences would be placed in the awkward position of defending the governor. Do we really want to divide conservatives and force some of them into the position of defending keeping Governor Doyle? How does that help in 2010? Forget my happy face. WTMJ-AM’s Charlie Sykes has already announced his opposition. I’m sure others will quickly follow.

Perhaps CRG Network and their supporters should be asking themselves that if this attempt to recall the governor picks up any momentum, how quickly would the Democrats turn around and use this political weapon against us with justification?

An “unnamed Republican source” told me that inside polling for the RPW indicates Governor Doyle is vulnerable. Sixty-six percent of those polled in the Milwaukee area media market think Wisconsin is on the wrong track. His re-elect numbers are below what an incumbent should have. We must not throw this away on some ill-advised and premature campaign.