There are times when a liberal’s article catches my attention because its author thinks through an issue and makes logical conclusions that are based on the available information and evidence. I am not at all timid about noting such times when rational conclusions are reached by variant ideologies. Such is the case found in this week’s issue of “Lib-Quote of the Week.”
In a widely distributed article, Jonathan Zimmerman, “a lifelong Democrat and a career educator” according to his own words, considers the potentially chilling impact of recall elections that are initiated solely on the basis of differences in opinion and ideology:
But I'm also appalled by the recall campaign against Walker by Wisconsin Democrats, who Tuesday chose Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to run against Walker in a June 5 special election — a rematch of the 2010 contest. The recall epitomizes the petty, loser-take-all vindictiveness of contemporary American politics. And if you don't agree, I've got two names for you: former California Gov. Gray Davis and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
…But if voters tried to remove everyone they disagreed with, Feinstein responded, no public official could effectively serve anyone. As she argued in the ballot pamphlet for the 1983 recall election: "Orderly government cannot prevail on the shifting sands of a recall brought, not because of any corruption or incompetence, but because of a difference of opinion on an issue."
In the case of the current Scott Walker recall drive, the organizations supporting the removal of Governor Walker are decidedly liberal. In the two historical cases cited by Mr. Zimmerman, most of the organizations seeking recall could probably be considered conservative. Regardless of the ideology, recall petitions initiated for anything except proven corruption inhibit the functional practice of representative government. As Mr. Zimmerman notes, political leadership that is now considered great through the lens of history often initiated and implemented ideas and plans that were unpopular. Had they been subjected to special interest group recalls, they likely would have been unable to accomplish the very tasks that made them and this nation great.
There will always be significant differences between contemporary conservatism and liberalism; that is a given. However, there are a few moments such as this when some of us can come to agreement. I give a nod to Mr. Zimmerman’s concluding thought:
I'm not comparing Walker to Washington or Madison or Lincoln. But Wisconsin voters should let him serve out his term, just as Feinstein did three decades ago. "She was guilty of neither crime nor incompetence," the San Francisco Examiner wrote in 1983 after voters rejected the effort to recall Feinstein. "The people recognize the injustice of it, and the offense to the process of democracy."
Let's hope Wisconsinites come to the same wise conclusion, no matter what they think of their governor.