Yeah, you read that right.
The New York Times and the labor unions -- led by the AFL-CIO -- announced their rabid opposition to the recall of a democratically elected governor.
They even went so far as to label the recall effort "an unwise move with potentially damaging ramifications" being led by "wealthy, opportunistic politicians"; a plan that could create "instability"; a "rendezvous with potential political chaos"; a "hijacking of an election"; a "tangent of mischievous politicking"; a "sorry indulgence"; and a source of "mischief" -- among other descriptions.
Of course, their cries of woe have nothing to do with the efforts to recall Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, whose efforts have saved the state millions of dollars and increased the protection of personal freedoms for those who don't want to join labor unions.
Their state of outrageously outrageous outrage was over the efforts to recall unpopular and failed California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis back in 2003.
The New York Times editorial board believed that the recall effort was the "Wrong Remedy in California" (as the editorial headline read):
Recalling Governor Davis, however, is not the answer. It is an unwise move with potentially damaging ramifications.
Why would it be so damaging? Eeeeeeeeevil politicians -- especially those nasty Republicans -- would see this as an affirmation of their supposed belief that elections don't really matter (apparently those no-good GOPers were emboldened by their successful stealing of Florida for George W.
Hitler Bush in 2000):
Previous recall attempts in California have run out of money and steam. This one is more durable. Darrell Issa, a Republican congressman from San Diego County, has contributed over $1 million to the current effort. This, too, should give Californians pause. Allowing wealthy, opportunistic politicians to overturn fair elections when politicians fall out of favor with the public is unhealthy.
Of course, though the Wisconsin recall of a successful governor would "help" the state of Wisconsin, the recall of a failed governor in California -- in whom even liberal columnist and Michael Douglas' spurned lover (Darn you, Catherine Zeta-Jones!) Maureen Dowd could find little to like, calling him an "unappetizing" figure who sought to "[keep] the focus off his own transgressions" -- would serve only to create disaster . . . or something:
Californians can still avoid a political quagmire by voting to keep the governor they already have -- at least until the next general election. Otherwise, a state recovering from an huge deficit will face an even worse form of instability.
The Times editorial board didn't stop there with their claims that California would suddenly burst into flames. In an editorial titled "California Chaos," the Old Gray Nag warned:
California is now rolling inexorably toward a rendezvous with potential political chaos that it does not need in its present fragile condition and that somebody in authority should have found a way to avoid.
Despite the fact that even Democrats and liberals noted that Davis was a loser (Dowd quoted one Dem consultant saying "People can't stand the guy. It's truly a remarkable feat to spend your whole life in public service and engender no personal loyalty."), as the California recall process moved along, the Times attempted to convince the country that a recall of a duly-elected governor was such a bad idea that it was becoming less popular even among it's main supporters and financiers who were finally coming around to the Times' way of thinking:
Even Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican millionaire who bankrolled the recall petition, has begun openly questioning his investment in this tangent of mischievous politicking.
Naturally, the labor unions (who effectively serve as money launderers for the Democratic Party) backed Davis and refused to back a recall effort. Here's what the Times news pages reported in "A.F.L.-C.I.O Joins Fight Against California Recall" about Big Labor's position:
Gov. Gray Davis of California, turning to one of the Democratic Party's traditional pillars of support, received the backing today of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. in his recall election.
The executive council of the national labor organization, meeting in Chicago, approved a resolution that opposed the recall and endorsed a central component of Governor Davis's strategy: that no prominent Democrat should run as a possible successor to him.
"We call on all state leaders in the Democratic Party to stand united with the governor, and stay off the recall ballot," the resolution said. The council's vote was unanimous, said one official in attendance, Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, a group that took a similar stand over the weekend.
Wait. Now why would unions -- who are leading the charge against Scott Walker in Wisconsin -- oppose the recall of a governor whose efforts were hurting the entire state, including the unions' many middle-class dues-paying members? Principle. It's all about principle -- standing up for elections and not letting them be "hijacked" by political opponents. Or so they claimed:
The California Labor Federation sent a letter on Monday to the state's Democratic elected officials alerting them to the "unequivocal position of the labor movement" on the recall.
"I am telling people that you have to stand on your principles," Mr. Pulaski said in a telephone news conference from Chicago. "We are not guided here merely by the short term or practical reaction of politics, but a principle upon which we stand, that this is a hijacking of an election."
Joining the labor unions' chorus, the Democratic National Committee -- which happens to support the recall of legally elected and highly successful Gov. Walker -- denounced the "partisan Republican effort" to recall the sitting executive:
In another show of solidarity with Governor Davis, the Democratic National Committee issued a letter today, signed by nine presidential candidates, opposing the recall and calling it a "partisan Republican effort" aimed at furthering "the right-wing agenda" of President Bush and other Republicans in Washington.
The letter called California an important "Democratic holdout" against the Republicans, sidestepping any mention of Governor Davis's low job performance ratings or the state's budget problems.
As the recall campaign was coming to a close in early October 2003, the Times editorial board lamented the atrociousness of the whole recall effort that "loosed" all sorts of "mischief" on the Golden State:
The recall campaign that is -- finally -- coming to a conclusion has further demeaned the governor's office into something resembling a civic ducking stool. Time and hope remain for voters to defy recent polls and reject the recall of Gov. Gray Davis as a sorry indulgence.
Not to be outdone in the left's attempt to explain to the nation how awful and un-American the recall of a governor is, Times columnist Clyde Haberman cried:
No matter who wins and who loses in the California recall election today, one result is already certain: the circus out there makes one proud to be a New Yorker.
On second thought, drop the word ''circus.'' It isn't fair. The circus deserves better. It at least lets you know going in who the clowns are.
This electoral exercise -- there, is that better? -- shows that New Yorkers have far more fortitude than Californians. Don't you think we have plenty of politicians who inspire voter remorse? But do we mope and whine about it, and then try to undo an election months after it was won fair and square?
Sooooo, the recall of an elected governor is horribly evil horribleness that undermines democracy with pure partisanship from opportunistic jerks seeking to overturn fair elections -- except when the agenda of the progressive left and the funding of Big Labor are at stake.