Pete Peterson is countering the conventional view that repealing the "Students Come First" laws authored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is more important than removing Luna from office in November 2012. Luna was re-elected in November to a second four-year term, which expires in January 2015.
Peterson, who finished fourth in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary with 5 percent of the vote, launched a second recall effort last month. The first fell far short, gathering about 50,000 of the 158,000 voter signatures necessary to put a recall on the ballot.
In a news release, Peterson says organizers who successfully focused on qualifying three referendums for November 2012 were misguided because the Legislature will simply pass new laws. The Idaho Education Association and Idaho Parents and Teachers Together put their efforts into the referendum campaign, collecting about 75,000 signatures on three petitions.
"Even if all three of the referendums are passed on November 6, 2012, the 'Good Old Boys' would start working on new laws to replace them on November 7, 2012," Peterson says in the release. "By the end of the legislative session in 2013, the three laws (or something very similar) would be back on the books.
"As my dead Daddy always said: 'You don't kill a snake by cutting off the tail. You kill a snake by cutting off the head.' The referendums are the tail of the snake. They can grow back. Mr. Luna is the head of the snake. If you cut off the snake's head, the whole snake dies."
Luna's spokeswoman did not reply to a request for comment.
Peterson also said he disagrees with the view that if voters removed Luna from office, Gov. Butch Otter would simply replace him with a "Luna clone."
"If we are successful in recalling Mr. Luna, it would be like the Titanic hitting the iceberg. The whole core of Idaho politics would be shattered for the next 15 to 20 years."
Peterson's full news release follows:
On Friday, July 29, 2011, I went to the Idaho Secretary of State's Office and formally created "The 2012 Luna Recall Committee". I have named myself as treasurer until I can find someone unlike me, both competent and honest, to take over as permanent treasurer. I hope to find this person by mid September.
The 2011 Luna recall made many mistakes and they are all correctable. To me, the biggest single mistake was a lack of pre-planning and organizing. We were still trying to plan and organize the recall in the middle of our 75 day window to collect signatures. Considering the time pressures and the lack of money, Mr. Morgan Hill, Jr. and Ms. Chelsea Lincoln did a spectacular job with the 2011 recall. By focusing on the November 6, 2012 election, we have almost a year to plan and organize before we start collecting signatures in June of 2012. In addition, the deleterious effects of Mr. Luna's policies will have time to show themselves. The 2012 Luna recall will have new faces, new energy, and most importantly, new tactics.
I would like to address two silly arguments that I hear often against a Luna recall:
1) Even if the Luna recall were successful, Butch would just appoint a "Luna clone" to replace Mr. Luna. Nothing would change.
I could not disagree with this argument more strongly. If we are successful in recalling Mr. Luna, it would be like the Titanic hitting the iceberg. The whole core of Idaho politics would be shattered for the next 15 to 20 years.
2) The three referendums are much more important than a Luna recall.
I don't agree. Even if all three of the referendums are passed on November 6, 2012, the "Good Old Boys" would start working on new laws to replace them on November 7, 2012. By the end of the legislative session in 2013, the three laws (or something very similar) would be back on the books. As my dead Daddy always said: "You don't kill a snake by cutting off the tail. You kill a snake by cutting off the head." The referendums are the tail of the snake. They can grow back. Mr. Luna is the head of the snake. If you cut off the snake's head, the whole snake dies.
1960 was the last time that technology played a key role in American politics (The Nixon - Kennedy television debates).
Although many folks feel that President Obama's 2008 campaign was a high tech campaign, I don't agree. I find it a 1960's style campaign with a few high tech bells and whistles. If it were truly high tech he would not needed to have spent millions and millions of dollars on media advertising.
2012 could signal a change in how politics is done in America. There is so much technology (The Internet, emails, facebook, twitter, blogs, youtube, smart phones, etc.), that there no need for expensive media. A very robust recall campaign could be run on a shoestring, given enough dedicated volunteers. I see no reason why a relatively small and unimportant political movement in a very small state could not become a world wide event.
Finally, more than anything, I want to have fun with all this. When it stops being fun, folks lose interest and drop out. As long as it is fun it is easy to find folks to help.
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