While I share the concerns of many over the use of a recall process to remove a sitting governor, Gray Davis had to be recalled in the end. As I explained in this Initium yesterday, the governor's decision to sign legislation forcing almost all the state's businesses to finance health insurance for their employees was an attack that could not be justified. At a time when California's government cannot finance its own operations and where the private-sector is recovering from a recession, the health care mandate demonstrated Davis was unfit to live in a free society, much less govern one. Whatever one thinks of the governor-elect, at a minimum we are likely to see a moratorium on any additional anti-business mandates.
Had Davis been retained last night, there is no doubt in my mind the Democratic governor and his union allies would have used the victory to exact retribution on businesses for their support of the recall. California's unions, notably their government-worker unions, are led by some of the sickest, anti-capitalist bastards in the nation. While I would not expect a new governor to reverse all of the California's problems in one term, it is essential to clearly identify the public sector unions as the major political barrier to genuine free-market reform in the state.