Long time readers will "recall" that I was an enthusiast for last year's election in which we Californians removed then-Governor Gray Davis and selected Arnold Schwarzenegger as his replacement. You may also remember the view of others -- held widely (and largely in good faith) at the time -- that the entire business was no more than a disastrous and embarrassing Circus that should never have been allowed to take place.
The Sacramento Bee's Daniel Weintraub notes today's one-year Anniversary of the Recall and concludes that it was hardly the civic disaster many feared:
A few things did change:
Californians paid $4 billion less in taxes than they otherwise would have, illegal immigrants didn’t get drivers licenses, the workers compensation system got some further fixes, and Indian gaming tribes got permission to expand on the condition that they give more money to the state treasury and grant their neighbors, their employees and customers rights they did not have before. Also, the voters are happier with the performance of their government – the executive and the Legislature – and have rated Schwarzenegger about as highly as any governor who has served in the last half century.
The recall was not a revolution. It was an election. Voters were given an opportunity to re-do the 2002 election, when they had expressed disdain for both major candidates, give a vote of confidence or no confidence to the incumbent, and start fresh with a new leader. They did that and, contrary to much of the punditry, survived. So did democracy. Life goes on.
One other change of note: We may no longer have a circus in Sacramento, but we still have a tent.