The people of Wisconsin, we suspect, have never been happier for an election season to end. The effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker ended last week with the first-term governor surviving a spirited challenge from Democrats, teachers and labor unions to end his term early.
Pundits and analysts are in a frenzy to make sense of the outcome of this odd election and what it means in the grand scheme of state and national politics. But we're still trying to make sense out of why it ever happened at all.
The mechanism to recall state elected officials exists in only 19 states (including Illinois), although they are, thankfully, rarely used. Prior to the Wisconsin recall election, there had been only two instances. Both times, the targeted officeholder lost his job, most recently in California when Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was removed from office in 2003 and replaced with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Wisconsin's Walker breaks the short string, but we doubt he's feeling all that good about it. While he deserves to be held accountable for his policies and performance, that's what routine elections are for.
In our view, about the only reason to have a recall election should be to rid the state of a stubborn officeholder who has committed a crime but manages to skirt the intent of the law, avoids removal and refuses to resign.
The millions and millions of dollars spent by the state of Wisconsin, the campaigns and special interests which flooded the state's airwaves during the recall election is mind-boggling. One report on Wednesday stated more than $3.6 million was spent on advertising during the week before the election. In a time of economic uncertainty across the country, one would think all that money could have been put to better, more constructive use.
The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.