Fox News host Jeanine Pirro asked Sarah Palin this morning whether the runaway Dems from Wisconsin should be fired, just as regular people would get fired for refusing to do their jobs. Palin answers more accurately that they should be “recalled,” as elected officials can’t be “fired” except by the voters who elected them to office:
“Yes, they absolutely should be fired,” Palin said, speaking of the Democratic state legislators who fled Wisconsin in order to avoid voting on Walker’s budget plan. “They should be recalled. You know, they retreated. It’s not like they reloaded, they retreated. They’re not doing their job. Bless his heart, that Wisconsin governor is doing all that he can to allow his state to be solvent and he certainly isn’t getting any help from the Democrats.”
Wisconsin law restricts recalls to those legislators who have served at least a year, which means that those Senators who got elected in 2010 are immune from a recall at this point. Nevertheless, recall campaigns have started against 14 state Senators in Wisconsin — eight Republicans and six Democrats. Don’t expect too much from any of these efforts:
Voters aren’t keen on recalling state legislators.
The recall debate in Wisconsin is limited by a law disallowing recalls before an elected official has served a year into the current term. This law will prevent a recall from being launched against the governor, the Assembly and half of the senators. But the other half of the Senate is vulnerable. And a recall fight would come at a time when recalls are undergoing a national resurgence, especially in the past two years.
But recalls of state legislators still remain a relatively rarity. There have only been 20 recalls (that I’ve documented) of state legislators in the country since the first state adopted the recall for state officials in 1908 (with 13 resulting in removal). However, thanks to both a falloff in voter turnout and in improved technology, there has been a marked uptick in state legislative recalls. Thirteen have occurred since 1983, including the critical ones for observers of Wisconsin’s current dilemma.
With polls showing the electorate split and somewhat negative on Walker’s proposal, efforts to recall Democrats or Republicans would likely fail, as most such efforts do. The real test of fleebagging will come in the next legislative elections in 2012, when both parties have to run on their actions in this standoff.
Update: The DC had the quote slightly incorrect; Palin said, “and he certainly isn’t getting any help from the Democrats,” not “he isn’t certainly to be getting any help from the Democrats.” I’ve fixed it above.