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Matthew Yglesias has some thoughts about the whole California-Gray Davis recall thing. I have to say I agree with his take, in general, even given my limited knowledge of what’s going on. I think it sets a pretty bad precedent to have a recall for someone who’s merely unpopular, as opposed to criminal or somehow unable to execute the duties of office entirely. In cases like these, I’m reminded of the George Carlin take on democracy that I quoted last Election Day: “If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain.”

Matthew is also right about this: “One does note in this, along with the ’98 impeachment effort and the re-redistricting going on recently, a somewhat disturbing disregard for the procedural norms of the American republic on the part of the GOP.” This is something that’s been disturbing me for a while now. It also shows up in the current judicial-nomination process, when during the Clinton years, the Republicans made use of every procedural trick they could to deny pretty much any Clinton nominee who happened to be opposed by any Republican, but now, with a President of their own party, gladly change the rules at will to deny Democrats the same ability. We seem to be entering an era when everything is about partisan advantage. I expect the ugliness to only increase from here. (And, to be frank, it will probably happen on both sides. But right now it’s the ascendant GOP that’s reworking the entire political infrastructure to its own benefit.)

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