Spirit from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol
Mortal! We Spirits of Christmas do not live only one day of our year. We live the whole three-hundred and sixty-five. So is it true of the Child born in Bethlehem. He does not live in men’s hearts one day of the year, but in all days of the year. You have chosen not to seek Him in your heart.
Can we learn from past history? May we glean wisdom from the recall of two other governors in the nation’s past? Come mortal, take my hand and fly with me.
1921 – Governor Lynn Frazier was recalled as Governor of North Dakota (pictured above left)
2003 – Governor Gray Davis was recalled as Governor of California (pictured above center)
2012 – Governor Scott Walker to be recalled as Governor of Wisconsin (picture above right>
Look you now, at the similarities and contrasts of recalls past
We fly over North Dakota to see the similarities of the hard economic times and the opposing political stances for a solution.
Lynn Frazier was the first American governor to ever be successfully recalled from office. Frazier was a Socialist before the word and the movement came to be seen as the sacrilegious and diabolical threat to capitalism that it is today. He was recalled because the opposition faction of the Republican Party finally got strong enough to throw him out. It’s that simple,” said Jerome Tweton, a former history professor at the University of North Dakota.
The recall stemmed from the conflict between the socialist-leaning Nonpartisan League, of which Governor Frazier was a member, and the Independent Voters Association, a conservative and pro-capitalist faction. Frazier and his party supported state ownership of industries, while the IVA opposed it. A dispute broke out specifically over government ownership of the Bank of North Dakota and State Mill and Elevator.
The campaigners had been able to gather 73,000 names on petitions asking for the recall of Frazier, Attorney General William Lemke, and Commissioner of Agriculture John Hagan. These men made up the Industrial Commission, which acts as a board of directors for the state-owned entities. The date of the recall was set for October 28, 1921. Read more about Friezer Recall
Friezer’s ouster as governor did not end his political career
In the midst of the Depression, North Dakota Senator Lynn Frazier and North Dakota Rep William Lemke, with the blessing of FDR, introduced the “Frazier-Lemke Farm Bankruptcy Act” which was passed on 28 June 1934. This act effectively delayed the banks right to repossess a farmer’s land for five years, though the farmers did have to pay the banks rent, with the amount determined by a judge. It was extended until 1949.
Read more about Friezer as Senator
We fly ahead a full 82 years into the time when the next American governor was successfully recalled. Look you now, at the recall of California Governor Gray Davis in 2003.
Democrat Gray Davis was already in his second term when citizens formed a committee called the Recall Gray Davis Committee. They needed about 900,000 valid signatures. They obtained over 1.6 million signatures, and an election date of October 7th, 2003, was set for this special recall election.
An argument that sounds familiar? This time presented by Democrats..
Davis supporters have criticized the process, citing of the high cost of the recall. The vote could cost taxpayers as much as $35 million, with a majority of the money going toward printing and counting the ballots and producing a voter information guide for California’s 11 million households.
And now here in California we have a small group of Republican operatives who don’t represent the vast views of the people of this state who have come together, abused and exploited the recall process and are attempting to hijack the state, all at the cost of $40 million to the tax payers of the state.
Read “Oh, the cost of democracy”
The rolling block of anger
Davis was re-elected despite a first term beset by energy problems, blackouts, and high electricity prices, and economic woes caused by failing dot-coms. The resulting drop in state tax revenues at the beginning of his second term put the state budget far out of balance had his popularity far out of favor.
Dissatisfaction with the governor is widespread, according to Mark DiCamillo, director of the well-respected field poll, which found 67 percent of voters held an unfavorable opinion of Davis. Read more about Davis’ problems
Unlike a Wisconsin recall, in California voters make a mark for removal, followed by a separate vote for a replacement candidate. On October 7 2003, voters were asked first to vote yes or no to Davis’ removal and then, asked to vote from a list of candidates vying to replace him. The majority of the voters opted to oust Davis, the candidate with the most votes became governor the next day. That candidate was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Here we are back in Wisconsin 2010. Time of recall present.