First off, I regard the idea of recalling an elected official to be akin to the very common private sector practice of at-will employment. That is, someone can be fired for either a very good reason or no reason at all. If an elected official is simply pursuing policies that are contrary to everyone's best interests, that is, there is no good reason why that person's employers should be entitled to show up before their next performance review (an election) and say, "Here are your walking papers, and don't expect either a severence package or a good reference." Why? Again, this is how the private sector works, and if we want government to operate like a business (which I think is a terrible idea for a lot of reasons, except in this case), then that's how we handle employment.
If you're going to run a campaign to fire an at-will elected official, however, you probably ought to plan things out well; and you probably ought to be capable of executing with precision. Voters in general don't tend to like firing at-will elected officials (an exception was the member of the Shepherd Village Council who was recalled a few years back chiefly because she's ugly and a dislikable person), and instability in government is generally a turn-off to people who wish to build something.
This brings us to last week's announcement, coming on the heels of a failed gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin, that the recall campaign in Michigan was ending and would be replaced by a think tank. Tony T. and Joe D., friends of this site, talk about it in a segment of First Shift last Friday. Joe D. was always cool to the idea of trying to recall benevolent overlord Rick Michigan while Tony T. was behind it. For his efforts and to his credit, Tony T. renounced his support without trying to pretend he'd never offered it (so many people appear to believe their past statements and support for things can disappear the six-week media memory hole).
I'd like to suggest that the recall folks rethink the idea of a think tank, because the recall didn't appear to be very well thought out in the first place (right up to where it appears that in finding out what happened if they were successful, they asked around only until they got the answer they wanted, not the only most likely to be correct). There are a lot of reasons for that, starting with the fact that they essentially announced their intention to recall the governor the minute he took office and everyone realized that while Scott Walker couldn't be immediate recalled. I don't think those are appropriate reasons to recall an elected official. What more, I very much doubt that anything more than a small minority of voters would disagree with me.
As I noted last week, the campaign's communications director, during the few short summer weeks they could gather signatures, was actually literally phoning in the job ... from Wisconsin, where he was working on their recall. Here is something else I didn't realize until last night. From Michigan's Rising "Who we are" page.
Julius Muller is a Web Developer with five years of experience in web design and promotion. As the CEO of Michigan Rising, he brings to the table a multi-national level of experience and knowledge to help this organization stay on track with its stated purposes and established goals. Although currently a resident of Florida, Julius lived in Michigan for eight years, has family ties to Michigan and remains one of the most stalwart members of the Executive Board.
Successful campaigns have at their core enough professionalism to recognize that you don't recall a sitting governor with as your chief executive someone who doesn't even live in the state, or have as little as eight years past residency. I mean, part of what their communications director was complaining about (while campaigning in another state) was the influence of out-of-state influences. By selecting as their chief executive someone who defines that, they have completely taken that off the table, and had things come to it given benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's defence campaign powerful ammunition. Part of the bio that made Rick Michigan so appealing was that he stayed in Michigan because he likes it here. What would have been Julius Muller's excuse?
In his segment, Tony T. expressed regret for the campaign's volunteers, especially those from last year, when things appeared to be better organized (and perhaps organized by different people). It's sad that time, effort, and passion were wasted, which was one of my complaints from the beginning. Recalling the governor was always going to be a tall order. Retaking the state House, and winning state Supreme Court seats (and I hate that court seats have come to this), are much easier. So would putting ballot initiatives on the ballot to energize the base. Speaking of that, let's contemplate contrasting successes and failures ... two recalls of the governor failed; a ballot initiative to repeal the legislation that sparked it all, the emergency manager law, succeeded and now only faces continued stalling to put matters to a vote. There is a lesson to be learned in there. Also, and I say this as politely as I can ... how many of those volunteers and donors who wasted time and money on this doublechecked the organization's website and saw that it's CEO lives in Florida and thought through what that meant.
Finally, when I originally came out against the recall last year, there were people outraged that I'd bother to express as such. Let this be a lesson that sometimes you really do need to hear from people you regard as friends that you're on the wrong path. For those unclear what I'm on about, each time I'd mock, ridicule, deride, or criticize this thing, I'd hear from people who agreed and who are affiliated loosely under the same general political banner. That is, I wasn't some loose cannon out peeing in people's water because I like to encourage hilarious failure.