I can't recall

By AL DIAMON  |  April 13, 2011

If Dill had even the slightest grasp of how government works, she’d have told those literal people that such a process has been in place a long as Maine has been a state. It allows dissidents to recruit candidates to run against the allies of Republican Governor Paul LePage in next year’s legislative elections. And they can begin organizing for the 2014 gubernatorial campaign in an effort to replace LePage himself.

Both of these options are superior to recall for a number of reasons.

First, they don’t disrupt the functioning of the executive branch of government. A successful recall of the governor would leave virtually every state agency in limbo awaiting new leadership and direction. Almost nothing would get done. I mean, even less than usual.

Second, ousting a sitting governor would set the stage for a partisan bloodbath in the Legislature. The party that lost control of the Blaine House would almost certainly take revenge by refusing to cooperate in passing most legislation. Almost nothing would get done. I mean, even less than usual.

Finally, there are provisions in the state Constitution that allow the Legislature or secretary of state to ask the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to remove a governor who, for reasons of disability or advanced loopiness, can’t perform the job. Those fail-safe mechanisms mean a recall amendment wouldn’t really accomplish anything. I mean, even less than usual.

The next time do-gooders with second-degree burns on their hands claim we need recall, try recalling why we don’t.

Props to historian Paul Mills for his 2003 article on recall history. The rest of the research is my fault. If you want to get rid of me for that, e-mail aldiamon@herniahill.net .

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