Sunday, June 20, 2010


The take of this Politico story is that teabaggers -- and persons unknown -- are trying to recall New Jersey senator Bob Menendez, just because they think they can, but we shouldn't worry about that, or the fact that there's a desire in wingnuttia for more recalls where this one came from, because heck, it's not as if allowing all federal elected officials to be permanently subject to recall, regardless of what U.S. law seems to say about the subject, could ever be declared legal by, say, the Roberts Court, now could it? That's just crazy talk, right?

Tea party forces are seizing on a new strategy in their attempt to purge Senate incumbents from office: the recall.

While it's not entirely clear whether their approach will meet constitutional muster, that hasn't stopped determined groups of grass-roots activists from trying in nearly a half-dozen states.

The most prominent attempt to recall a sitting senator is currently unfolding in New Jersey, where Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez awaits a state high court ruling on whether a recall effort against him can go forward....

Other states where nascent recall efforts have been launched against Democrats include Louisiana, where Sen. Mary Landrieu has been targeted, and North Dakota, where Sen. Kent Conrad is the target. Tea party leaders said their allies in Colorado and Michigan are also closely monitoring the RecallNJ effort for clues on how to proceed....

Given the fact that we live in a country where 10%-30% of the citizens believe that the mere election of a Democrat in a perfectly fair election is a violation of the Framers' intent and a harbinger of incipient tyranny, if the courts -- state courts or, on appeal, the Roberts Supreme Court -- allow this to happen, this could put virtually every elected Democrat at the national level in the position of having to run a literally permanent campaign.

Ah, but, Politico assures us, what are the odds that this can proceed?

Still, there are several considerable obstacles to recall efforts: There’s currently no explicit provision providing for the recall of a federal official, and case law in some states has gone against such efforts before....

"There’s two trains of thought," said RoseAnn Salanitri, a 60-year-old, stay-at-home mom who said she came to the idea of pushing for the Menendez recall after doing months of research on the law. "It can be [a loss] if we were inclined to roll over and play dead if they don't agree with our position."

But "we're prepared to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be. Sure, [that would] stall the petition drive in New Jersey, but should it go to the U.S. Supreme Court, it literally opens the door to the entire country to do this...."


Ah, but aren't recall campaigns expensive?

Less clear is exactly how the New Jersey court battle -- a hugely expensive effort -- is being funded. Salanitri said the group now has a 527 committee in place for a legal fund....

Um, if it's a hugely expensive effort and it's going forward, you can assume it isn't being funded by a bunch of retirees in tricorn hats. Peek under the rock and I'm sure you'll find some deep-pocketed parts of the movement-conservative government-in-exile footing the bills.

And that's the problem. If this is allowed to proceed -- here and the several other states where activists want to do it -- it's going to happen whenever any Democrats slips near or below par in approval. (Menendez is currently at 38% approval, 43% disapproval, according to Quinnipiac.) It hamstrings every elected Democrat, or at least every Democrat who might be serving in a state where Republicans can set the dates of special elections to ensure low turnout, except among the fired-up right-wing faithful. It means every Democrat has to raise an even bigger war chest -- for scheduled and unscheduled elections. It might majke Democratic rule impossible.

And by the way, RoseAnn Salanitri makes no secret of the fact that these don't see Menendez as having a particularly egregious record -- they're just targeting him because they need a test case and he's there:

"We could only pick one. ... Simply, [Menendez] is a younger man, and he's in better health, and we thought he had a longer career ahead of him."

Which means everyone's a potential target.

These bastards are the ones who claim to burst into worshipful tears at the sight of the Constitution, and yet they have no interest whatsoever in respecting the results of free and fair elections.

I suppose this could be turned on their guys someday, but for now, this is a recipe for government destabilization. If they get to do this once, they'll never stop doing it.

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