Wednesday, September 11, 2013


So I guess gun control is the real third rail of American politics:
In the first recalls of state lawmakers in Colorado history, State Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron were both removed from office Tuesday by voters upset with their stance on gun control.

Unofficial final results updated by the El Paso County Clerk at 10:02 p.m. showed 50.96 percent of voters in District 11 wanted Morse to be recalled....

Giron, who was winning in the first preliminary data, has also lost. Unofficial results show 56 percent of voters in District 3 in favor of recalling her....
Prior to the election, I was reading that the recalls might fail, or at least Giron's might, because voters generally disapprove of recalls:
For one thing, while a majority of Coloradans dislike the gun control law, a roughly equal number oppose the recall.
That's part of what saved Scott Walker when he faced recall in Wisconsin, remember?
Wisconsin voters had strong opinions on the merit of recall elections. Sixty percent told exit pollsters that recall elections are only appropriate when there has been official misconduct, and another 10 percent think such elections are never appropriate. Just 27 percent of Wisconsin voters supported holding recall elections for any reason.
But there you go -- that didn't matter in Colorado. You agitate in a liberal way by putting a union-busting governor on a recall ballot, and voters in the middle will punish you for your rudeness. But you do the same to a gun-control legislator, and that's not considered bad manners, probably because the gun lovers are so much better at wrapping themselves in the flag and the Constitution. They're not insolent, smelly hippies -- they're patriots. They can get away with being angry and shouty (see: tea party, as opposed to Occupy). aThey can get away with foisting recalls on regular folks.

Why is that? When the hell is liberalism going to start seeming like a branch of Americanism? How many more decades can the 1960s define what left and right stand for, in the eyes of middle Americans?


UPDATE BooMan's take:
The lasting legacy of this defeat will probably be a steady stream of recall elections all across the country, as Republicans realize that they have a much better chance of winning low turnout recall elections than high turnout general elections. Remember, they terminated California Governor Gray Davis while we failed to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

The lesson is that the Republicans don't have to accept the results of elections and can get a second bite at every apple.
That's true. If they could have petitioned to recall President Obama, they would have done so. They are motivated voters and Democratic voters often aren't; they are voters whose voting habits are largely unaffected by vote-suppression laws, while many Democratic voters aren't.

The GOP may never figure out how to overturn voting results at the national level, but they've got the rest of the electoral landscape pretty much custom-designed to suit their purposes. And centrist voters don't see anything wrong with how they operate, because they wave flags a lot.


AND: Alec MacGillis writes:
[Angela] Giron went so far as to tell me late last month that the future of [Mike] Bloomberg's [gun-control] group was riding on the recall: "For Mayors Against Illegal Guns, if they lose even one of these seats, they might as well fold it up. And they understand that."

Giron was a bit heedless in that assessment.
I don't think she was. Bloomberg has made this personal, and he's an easy target for ridicule -- liberals hate him for coddling his fellow plutocrats and for defending stop-and-frisk, right-wingers hate the gun-control efforts (and the earlier defense of the "Ground Zero mosque"), people across the spectrum mock his campaign to restrict large sodas. In my Twitter feed, hypocritical right-wingers -- Citizen United fans all, I assume -- whined that the NRA was outspent by the hated Bloomberg in Colorado. As MacGillis notes, other groups whose spending can't be tracked made up the shortfall -- but no one motivated pro-Morse and pro-Giron voters the way a desire to beat the hated Bloomberg motivated the pro-recall gunners.

Bloomberg has made himself a cartoon villain, diminishing his effectiveness. He should stop trying to be the face of this movement, because so many people don't like him, but his ego won't allow that. Yeah, he writes a nice check, but he's still a liability to this cause.


Victor said...

Maybe after the most effective Reich-Wing propagandists and wielders of wedge-issues are dead and buried - like Murdoch, Ailes, Rush, and Glenn.
Until then...

And besides, guns are a poor issue for Liberals to stand on, because they're a tangible item - people can hold one in their hands - and things like rights, aren't.

Back when we were younger, Steve, very few people had guns. I only knew a couple of kids in HS whose father's even had hunting rifles - and this was in Upstate NY.

Now, with decades of political pressure, marketing, and proliferation, pretty much every one knows someone who has a gun - and that person probably doesn't look capable of being a stone-cold serial killer.

And everyone has a image of a DFH in their heads. And if they don't, the righties will be happy to define what one looks like, and stands for.

Besides, while people probably know relatives or friends who have at least one gun, very few people know anyone who's had a problem voting.
And no one expects one of "theirs" to get pregnant, and not be able to get an abortion - only "those" people have that problem.

Mr. Driscoll said...

I remember the conflicts of the '60s between the hardhats and the DFH's and this is exactly what happened here. Pick your fights more judiciously.

Philo Vaihinger said...

"If they could have petitioned to recall President Obama, they would have done so."

And repeatedly, and as often as the law allowed, even if only to prevent him from spending more than an absolute minimum of his time on his job as president.

Lawrence said...

Boo Man is right. The activists won with a thin majority in a special election where our side didn't bother to show up. People need to vote. We can't do this any other way.