Recall Schwartzenegger?

Why not? It’s now obvious, even to the voters, that his fiscal sleight-of-hand has only made the budget crisis worse. A recall vote coinciding with the Presidential vote would mean a heavy turnout among Democrats. Seems worth a shot to me.

Everyone knows that Ahnold is made of pure teflon, and that none of his blunders will damage his popularity.

So far, everyone has been right. But all things have an end, and perhaps the Gubernator’s Reign of Error may be among them.

It turns out that &#8212 surprise!&#8212 you can’t actually cure a $10B budget shortfall with $3B worth of tax cuts plus a lot of dishonest accounting. And, since he lacks the leadership skills or the guts to force a tax increase through, the Guv is going to propose drastic budget cuts, some of which &#8212 including releasing 22,000 prisoners and reducing parole supervision &#8212 are likely to annoy his Republican base, while others, especially cuts in education, will enrage the Democrats. And I don’t think even the California electorate can be talked into the notion that this is just unpredictable fallout from the housing crunch. Even if they could be, they’re likely to be in a foul mood in November, and it shouldn’t be hard to focus some of that fury on the tallest thing on the California political horizon.

So, sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander, why not recall the so-and-so?

It turns out to be possible to solicit petition signatures over the Internet, which makes the project affordable. And if the petition were timed to put the election next November, when the Democratic Presidential candidate figures to carry the state by at least ten or twelve points, there’s a reasonable shot at getting rid of him, and maybe putting into office the sort of Democrat who wouldn’t win a Democratic primary but might govern competently and honestly: Leon Panetta, for example.

Now, this is the sort of harebrained scheme I often come up with, and generally I don’t take such fantasies very seriously. But I can say with confidence that there’s a serious effort by some big-league players, albeit an effort that has so far flown entirely under the radar screen, to make this happen. Really and truly, California can’t afford &#8212 fiscally or otherwise &#8212 three more years of misrule.

I’d be interested in your thoughts. mark (at) samefacts (dot) com will reach me.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: