Do American citizens need the power to recall elected officials?

       Every day the need for WE THE PEOPLE, US voters, to be able to remove corrupt, inept, incompetent, and ideological extremists from elected office becomes more apparent.  That’s true for politicians…right and left.  My apologies to good public servants — Yes, there are many.
       Let’s look at the evidence.  Alphabetically – Governor Blogajevich, President Bush, Senator Dodd, Representative Frank, President Obama, Senator Martinez, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Stephens, and on and on.  These characters vary from being political thieves and gross incompetents to individuals who believe our Constitution is only fit for toilet paper.
       Before you chuckle and dismiss the possibility, consider this proposal.  Every 1st Tuesday in November all members of the House of Representatives, Senate, and the President would be subject to a confidence vote.  It would be a simple process.  Each voter would check __ I Approve  __ I Don’t Approve of all officials who represent them.   This would not impact the normal constitutional election cycle.  All Representatives would continue to stand for re-election every two years, Senators in their six year rotations, the President each four.
       If an official received a NO CONFIDENCE vote of 60% or more he would be immediately removed from office.  Each state would replace the removed official (Rep. or Sen.) through a means of their choosing.  Eg. – Governor appoints replacement, special election, etc.  In the case of the President receiving a NO CONFIDENCE vote,  the Vice President would assume the office until the following November at which time an interim election would be held to determine a new President for the remainder (if any) of the term.   The 60% provides protection to officials and the electorate against temporary shifts in political sentiment and minority ideologies that vote in-mass that could skew results. 
       What are the Pros and Cons of such a Constitutional Amendment?  (That’s for the people, not politicians.) 
       Pros?  First, longer term office holders won’t be able to ignore the will of their constituents with impunity.  Second, inept, corrupt, and ideological zealot officials can be quickly removed from office before they can do continuous serious damage to the country.   For example, the current administration is trying to “Import votes” and take steps to stay in perpetual power.  This is is designed to deny many constitutional freedoms to segments of the citizenry.  Third, it makes all politicians more responsive to the people they represent, not to vicious scum groups like “Move on” or “Swift Boat.”  Lastly, it would make the office of Vice President far more important for the potential of that person becoming President would increase.
      Cons?
      It costs some money, some will say.  All one has to look at is the Bush/Obama bailouts and budgets to realize spending for an annual “election” is chump change compared to having an incompetent or a communist in office.  There is the inconvenience of having to (sigh) vote every year.  If you can’t see the disaster not voting causes, look at what’s been in the White House for the last 4 year’s and socialist zealot that is in there now.
      The states could adopt a similar procedure, hold the vote concurrent with the federal event, and keep governors and other state office holders responsible to the voters.  That lets We The People get rid of a Doggo like Blogo.
      If you don’t think the politicians FEAR We The People having this capability, try contacting your senators, etc. and asking them for information on what is required to initiate the change.  Or (joke of jokes) contact the White House.  Those folks think the Constitution is something rolled on a paste-board cylinder that hangs on the bathroom wall.  Senator Mel Martinez’s office has said they’d get something to me regarding initiating an amendment 7 times, dating back to the illegal immigration amnesty fiasco.  I haven’t seen anything, yet.
       There may be a better way.  Fine lets find it!  But, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent, this is something We The People need for it’s evident most politicians forget who put them in office the day after the election.  All you Tea Party people, isn’t this a way to make the true change this country needs?   Lets get the grass roots of America to demand the RIGHT OF RECALL.   I’d like to hear from those who agree and what can be done to get this started.

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4 Comments on “Do American citizens need the power to recall elected officials?”

  1. Elle Finch Says:

    Howdy Geezergator. I’m enjoying your posts even thought it’s clear we have different political standings. Keep up the commentary.

    Let me offer my thoughts on this post:
    I don’t think that the recall would be a good idea. I agree that some politicians bail on their constituents once elected, and I agree that we should hold them accountable, but I think more people should do that at election time. I think our efforts would be more effective if they went toward getting people to vote. But, it can’t be this showy “vote or die” MTV stuff. We need to talk to people in a meaningful way about why their vote is important. Less than half the people in this country decide who the president is going to be every four years. Less than THAT in each state decide who their senators/representatives are.

    The more people we can get to vote the more accurate a picture we’ll have of our country and the more accurate a map our representatives will have as to the course they should follow.

    That being said, a recall would also not be a good idea because of how unsteady public opinion is. One of the reasons SCOTUS justices have lifetime appointments is that they are supposed to be immune from political and public sentiment so that they can work freely and make the best legal judgments. I’m sure that the long term in the senate, with its great power, is for a similar reason.

    Public opinion is wishy-washy and such a frequent vote could make things worse. Representatives already start campaigning for the next election shortly after being elected. It seems they’re always focused on the next election. Imagine how much worse it would get if they worried about a vote every November. Ideally, they would all do good and do their jobs for fear of losing their jobs. Realistically, this would lend itself to more manipulation and grandstanding, and I think the voters would lose in the end.

    In summary, I think we would all do our country and its constitution a service if we encouraged people to vote in whatever way possible. If politicians could count on more than 2% of their district voting, they would worry a lot more about the things they say and do. I wish that more politicians would focus on getting into office to do the best job they can in the amount of time they’re given, rather than concentrate on making it a 30+ year career.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. I’ll continue to read and enjoy your blog. Cheers.

    • sandysays1 Says:

      Hi Elle,
      Thank you for your civility in your answer. I stand on the need for recall not withstanding your arguments. Your argument about the justices is very valid and as the founders intended in the check and balance system we have. Your point about the Reps and Senators worrying about their job is not. That is precisely what they should do. They are elected to represent the people not to do as they wish. I agree whole heartly that we should encourage EVERY US CITIZEN to vote. A lot of people have died to preserve that right. Your concern about the court of public opinion has some merit and my proposal reflects that. Is 60% disapproval correct? From a cost stand-point, if we had recall Bush would have been out and TARP would be alternative history. 700 billion would pay for elections for hundreds of years. The fact is that most states have elections at some point every year. Making a trip to the polls every year to express confidence levels in national reps would increse voting on state and locals if coupled. I’m not saying that my idea is the only way to go. Any proposal that will allow us to regain control of the political process is fine. Maintaining the status quo isn’t.

  2. hollycraw Says:

    Good thoughts and interesting ideas geezer gator.

    Definitely is time for citizen intervention in the political process. Term limits will never be addressed by Congress for congress, so we do need another way around.

    I have to agree with Elle–cost and machinations for doing an annual approval would be prohibitive.

    I just came across this site for National Initiative for Democracy (http://ni4d.us/) which may have one piece of the solution. The idea is for a third branch of the legislative department to be set up–we the people!–so that we could propose legislation or rescind bad actions or make constitutional amendments as needed.

    Fascinating ideas. I am so ready for discussion on what We the People still are able to do.

  3. sandysays1 Says:

    Hi Holly,
    Love your smile! See my reply to Elle. Really very little would have to be done from a cost or “circus” standpoint. For example, I believe constituents would be shocked if they knew what their Reps/Sens voting record. This is getting even worse since the TV, talk radio, and print are ALL so agendized they are worthless as information sources.

    Thanks to you and Elle I have an amendment to my proposal regardless. Why not have the government buy TV, radio, and print space in each congressional district and simply report the weekly votes providing a forty word summary of legislation. Wouldn’t you like to know what your reps are actually doing? This makes recall a lot easier. It’s a tiny cost compared to a war that’s a mistake, bailouts that wreck our economy, and an onslaught on our Constitution.


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