"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rethinking Recall

My previous post had two questions above the fold, the first of which probably caused many of you to react, "Good Lord! He's lost it. He's gone completely over the edge.", and as a result never even notice the second question (let alone actually open the post and read it).

That second question was "Can individual states enact measures to allow recall of their U. S. Congressional reps and senators?".

That part of the post asked if we could do it.

This post concerns itself with should we do it.

The people who hammered out our Constitution were a pretty savvy bunch, well versed in various forms of government tried in the past and up to that time, including parliamentary systems with their version of "recall" known as a "vote of no confidence".

They knew about this option, but chose not to incorporate it into our system.

The checks and balances they incorporated included the staggering of Senate elections, to provide a degree of stability, so a radical fad or cult idea could not overturn the government in a single election; there would still be 2/3 of the Senate remaining, plus the Supreme Court to fall back on. The reasoning being that if the new fad or idea was truly worthwhile, over the next two years, more seats would be picked up in the Senate to further its' hold. On the other hand, if the romance was over after two years, maybe it wasn't such a hot idea after all.

To insure that stability, they did not provide for a "vote of no confidence"; it would take an impeachable offense to get a sitting representative, senator, or president yanked out of office before his (or her) term was up. That person would still be answerable to the voters, but only at the next election.

Looking at some of those in office now, I suspect the Founding Fathers (after they stopped spinning in their graves) would tell us, "Now look, we gave you a good system, but we didn't take you to raise. You should know what can happen with whoever you elect, so Shouldn't you be damned careful who that is?!!!"

I rather doubt they would have much sympathy for our plight now.

A "vote of no confidence" would undermine that stability, making our system more vulnerable to change on a whim. Recall of reps and senators, which sure sounds tempting to me at times, would fall into the same catagory.

Those old boys who gave us our Constitution may have known what they were doing by not including any version of a "recall" option. They may have had different words for "Murphy's Law", "The Laws of Unintended Consequences", and "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!", but I'll bet the concepts were not alien to them.

Having been all for it lately, I now consider, "I'd like to think I've had some good ideas at times, but this ain't one of them."


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