Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Media panic over California

Mark Steyn beats up on the establishment media’s attacks on not only Arnold, but the whole recall process. I was watching one of the morning talk shows and Joel Kline of Newsweek said a couple of stupid things that brings all this into focus. He beat up on the recall (and referendum process) by making the following arguments: One, a hundred years (via Hiram Johnson and the Progressive movement) ago the referendum was a good idea because it tried to stop the sinister relationship between big-business and the politicians by giving ordinary folks the chance to circumvent a process that had become corrupted. Today, this relationship no longer exists, so it is unnecessary. Two, he actually said that back then ordinary citizens were more thoughtful and better educated about public matters, but that is no longer true today. That is, ordinary citizens cannot be trusted.

This view is not only amazing, but quite revealing. This same opinion--in one form or another--is reflected by the rest of the establishment media. Hence, their anger that Arnold is not talking to them, but prefers Jay Lenno, etc. Well, those of us who claim to be constitutionalists and therefore in principle oppose such things as the referendum and recall, we have to make choices, as we did in 1978. Perhaps oddly, while being constitutionalists, we also have a better opinion on the people’s capacity to govern themselves, to have an enlightened view of their self-interest, as well as a reasonable opinion regarding justice. The political class is not responsive to the people’s opinions; indeed, their well considered opinions, whether on taxation or immigration or race-based discrimination is ignored or cast aside by idologically dogmatic courts. And the people get angry. And the chattering classes chatter. And the politicians, at least occasionally, lose sleep at night, for fear of the people’s righteous indignation. Well, it’s an imperfect system. The political elites wanted it, thinking that the people would always be on their side. Wrong. They are now trying to deal with it and--because humor in politics is both good and necessary--I am happy to see them squirm. It’s a pleasure watching all of this--as the chattering classes continue to de-authorize themselves--as long as Bustamante doesn’t become governor! Despite the recent Field poll showing him two points above Arnold, I still do not think he’ll make it.

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