Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Washington Post's bizarre article discussing the recall misses the mark badly

Today, both the New York Times and Washington Post have articles on the recall. The Times piece is basically a straight forward story on Colorado. The Washington Post's piece though is something else entirely. It is a botched attempt to criticize the recall and one I'm just not sure where the numbers come from:

The problems are all over the place. I am completely confused by the numbers listed in the Washington Post article -- the numbers make no sense whatsoever based on any data I've seen. It states that 32 successful recalls have taken place since 1911, and have 11 of them have taken place since 2011. I don't know what those numbers are referring to at all. There have been 36 state legislative recalls (two of the candidates resigned during their recall -- does that affect the data?), and 15 of them (not counting Colorado's two) have taken place since 2011.

I'm also mystified by the 21 recalls that have gotten on the ballot and failed and the 13 recalls that have failed over the last two years -- are we talking about in Wisconsin (which would be incorrect as well) or is it some other number? Even the number of states with the recall is wrong -- it is 18, not 17.

There is also this statement, which is simply total wrong:
The recall election, once reserved for forcing out elected officials accused of a crime, ethics violations or gross misconduct, has become an overtly political tool. 
In the 11 states with a political recall (like California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado), the recall was never about misconduct. It was an overtly political tool designed to "arm the people to protect themselves hereafter" in the words of California Governor Hiram Johnson.

And, while I agree about the nationalized of politics in general, there are plenty of examples showing the recall going beyond local concerns (the recall in Oregon in 1935 was over a failure to support the Townsend Plan).

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