One of the many problems with holding a statewide vote on whether to oust Gov. Frank Murkowski would be its almost certain impact on future governors.
First and foremost of the negatives is that state leaders in the years to come would be reluctant to make tough decisions. And those are often the decisions the state needs most. But if unpopular decisions will send recall petitions flooding into the streets, future governors are far too likely to be watching polls instead of doing what's right for the state.
The writers of Alaska's constitution decided that the governor's term should be four years. That allows the state's chief executive to do what seems right with the knowledge that he or she must face the voters after four years in office, not whenever any dissatisfied elements decide they want a new election.
Alaska needs governors with real guts, people willing to make unpopular decisions that will improve the state and the lives of its people. After making such a decision, each governor should have the balance of his or her term to try to convince voters that the decisions being made are right for Alaska.
The classic example of a political leader who governed with his eye on the polls, who pandered to the largest voting blocs, was President Bill Clinton. His idea of getting tough on terrorists, for instance, was a rocket attack on a desert tent and then making his tent blitz look like an act of courage. After his term ended came 9/11 and it then fell to Clinton's successor, President George W. Bush, to do what needed to be done on the terrorist issue.
Now a small group of activists are threatening to launch a recall campaign here, hoping they will benefit from the tendency of many people to sign any petition they are presented. Ordinarily such an effort would be largely ignored by the news media, but coming right after the successful recall and special election in California, the Alaskan dissenters have received even national mention.
Such petitions would need 57,871 signatures to put the recall question to voters. They are unlikely to get even a fraction of that number, but the best answer to those asking for your signature is an emphatic ''No.''
The Voice of the (Anchorage) Times - Oct. 20
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