Anatomy of a Doomed to Fail Recall — Blind Passion, or Blind Egotism?


Posted by Bob Lord

This is related to a recent post by AzBlueMeanie, regarding Leonard Clark’s recall effort. AzBlueMeanie and I have an entirely different take on the wisdom of an effort to recall Brewer, but I’m guessing the exact same take on an effort to recall Brewer that is led by Leonard Clark.

I’d love to see a REAL effort to recall Brewer, for several reasons. First, I think we’ve reached a point where disruptive politics are valuable for the disruption alone. Each time a Scott Walker, or a Jan Brewer, is recalled, an energy is created that will make the next recall, the next referendum, or the next Occupy uprising that much stronger. Second, Brewer is a true piece of shit. She inflicted untold misery on hundreds of thousands of immigrants simply because SB1070 eased her path to re-election. She allowed transplant patients in need of public assistance to die. Now, she wants the power to summarily fire state workers. Third, if approached thoughtfully, a recall effort could be used to stimulate voter registration and participation by progressive voters, especially Latinos.

That said, I get the logic of those, like AzBlueMeanie, who’d rather not go down this path. I just think that in the end the potential benefits outweigh the easily identifiable financial and opportunity costs of attempting a recall.

But I don’t get Leonard Clark. Succeeding in a recall is a massive challenge. There are all sorts of considerations. When should the launch take place? Do we want Brewer on the November ballot or by herself in a special election? What will generate the volunteers? Will paid signatures have to be part of the mix? How much money will be needed? Where will the donations come from? How can this effort have the most positive effect on the 2012 election results?

It’s entirely clear Mr. Clark didn’t stop to consider these items. And here’s something else he didn’t consider, in question form: “If I launch this effort and don’t succeed, what impact will it have on better organized groups who may be planning to launch a recall effort at a future date?” That’s what really annoys me here. Obviously, Clark’s doomed to fail effort makes it nearly impossible for a real effort to recall Brewer to have a chance a few months down the line.

So what goes on in the head of a Leonard Clark when he goes down a path like this? It has to be either blind passion or blind egotism. Mr. Clark perhaps is so passionate about his cause — removing Brewer from office — that he just can’t delay long enough to think all aspects of the effort through. Alternatively, Mr. Clark is so driven by the desire to promote himself and draw attention to himself that the end result is of less importance to him. The question that would uncover what’s going on would be “The recall has no chance of succeeding if you’re leading the effort, but likely will succeed if you let X takeover. What‘s your preference?” Of course, he’d have to be on truth serum when the question was asked.

Truth is, I couldn’t even hazard a guess what motivates a Leonard Clark. But it drives me nuts that there’s a real possibility here that his idiocy is going to undermine an otherwise viable future effort to remove a truly despicable politician from office. And that’s a shame.


  1. I would also add that it would be easier for Mr. Clark to gain support if he didn’t respond so venomously to those who put forward modest reservations about his endeavor. While one person can recall any elected official in Arizona I do admit that filling 28,801 petition sheets (plus a margin for those signatures ruled to be invalid) would certainly require more than just a handful of activists.

    In any case Mr. Clark has put his contact info out there and created a functional if not ritzy web site. It still requires the support of We the People for his efforts to come to fruition.

  2. Mr. Lord, you only “talk the talk” while we “walk the walk”. Typical, elitist democratic and past unsuccesful candidate who can’t stand the fact that Facebook and the Internet have out flanked your stodgy, old and out dated party hierarchy. Wake up…you’re in the 21st century and you don’t scare me or my friends on this recall, the “The Arab Spring” isn’t just happening in the Middle East. D.I.N.O. applies to you in two ways: 1.) Democrat in name only and 2.) You really are a “dinosaur”. Please…go back and look up a real democrat like Franklin Delano Roosevelt or just re-register as a republican.
    Leonard Clark
    chair of the committee to recall extremist governor Jan Brewer

  3. Thank you Mr. Eichenauer, I just hope that Blog For Arizona will give us a chance to respond with our own article since they have written two articles slamming our recall campaign. And then…they allow Mr. Lord to write a follow up article spewing hate and venom against working class progressives who are doing what needs to be done because he (Mr. Lord) is all talk and throws his”big money” elite democrat talk at us. We at this committee to recall extremist governor Jan Brewer request an article in response to this clearly biased and unfair article. I would expect such a one sided article to come out of the right wing media but not from Blog For Arizona. Apparently, their friends at the highest elite positions in the democratic party are pulling the strings and are not listening to our working class brother and sister progressives.
    Leonard Clark
    chair for the recall of the extremist governor Jan Brewer 623-329-0284

  4. The above assault on my character and our recall of this etremist governor is a good example of why many have left the democratic party. Bob Lord and his “Rahm Emmanuel” democratic friends should re-register as D.I.N.O.’s, (Democrats In Name Only). Mr. Lord’s high falutin Ad hominem attack just shows why he couldn’t win his congressional campaign. He thinks that because he’s a big shot lawyer with alot of money that he can get away with attacking working class progressives like me. Again… I had no idea that you would allow such an attack to occur without allowing my friends on this recall to respond with an article. To allow such a venom, hate spewing non-electable elite democrat to write a whole article attacking me and my friends on this recall you show that you’re very biased and unfair. To bad. Sorry, that you have such hate in your hearts and side with a man (Bob Lord) before even giving us a chance. But….I will conclude by thanking you and your hate spewing venomous non electable democratic candidate for inspiring not only myself but my fellow progessives as well. You and Rahm Emmanuel can go jump in a creek !
    Leonard Clark 623-329-0284
    chair of the committee to recall the extremist governor Jan Brewer.

  5. Well as usual….I would have suspected that rather than right wing extremists criticising us for conducting a recall against this extremist governor Jan Brewer, the criticism as usual would come from the circular firing squad known as the “elites in the democratic party”. Mr. Lord, I remember your candidacy as an “elite democrat” and its long odds, as a matter of fact…I don’t recall attacking you or being a nay sayer about your campaign. To the contrary, I supported you. And…I recall you had alot of money but it still didn’t help you.

    When are you elite democrats going to listen to your grass roots and progressives and stop wasting your time by triangulating thinking you are Bill Clinton?
    You know as well as I that the republicans are going to show up to vote in November like they always do but that your criticism much like that of Rahm Emmanuel will only dicourage people from coming to the polls in November.
    I know of many dis-enchanted Independents and progressives who will be much more inspired to come to the polls to vote knowing they can vote against this extremist governor Jan Brewer than are willing to do so now listening to frightened nay sayers such as yourself always de-crying: “it just can’t be done”. Please, Mr. Lord, set your huge ego aside and do us a favor: “If you’re not going to light your candle” than pass it over to us so that we can light it and prevent this extremist governor from continuing to cast our beloved Arizona into the dark.
    P.S. I have always had alot of respect for but….you continue to pummel our recall campaign while not giving us a chance to write an article in response like you have just done for your elitist/wealthy democratic friend. It would be nice to be treated equally.
    With respect,
    from a concerned citizen of Arizona
    Leonard Clark -Chair
    of the committee to recall extremist governor Jan Brewer. 623-329-0284

  6. I couldn’t agree more. But there’s an explanation why Citizens for a Better Arizona isn’t involved. Hundreds of people have volunteered on the CBA website to carry petitions. But you know somehting? Hundreds of petiton carriers aren’t enough, you need thousands. Until you have enough volunteers and contributors lined up, in advance, it just doesn’t make sense to pull the trigger.

    How many volunteers and how many contributors do you suppose Leonard Clark had lined up before he pulled the trigger?

  7. You say “If Clark doesn’t collect 432,021 valid signatures by June 2nd of this year that isn’t because Clark was blinded by passion or egotism it was because Jan Brewer wasn’t doing as bad a job as he alleges.”

    Really? A recall requires 25% of the number of votes cast in the prior election, whcih translates into perhaps 15% of registrered voters. And Clark won’t even get to 50,000 signatures, let alone 432,000, which will leave him at under 2% of registered voters. So, will his failure be due to lack of voter sentiment or his own blithering incompetence? A recall effort typically turns not on the level of voter sentiment, as you so confidently assert, but on the degree of organization. Look at the Pearce recall, which succeeded. You can’t claim the voter sentiment wasn’t there, but do you think if Randy Parraz had blindly filed a recall petition without doing the hundreds of hours of groundwork he did, he nonetheless would have succeeded? So, while your assertion that failure is about lack of voter sentiment may have some surface appeal, it doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

    Which I susupect caused you to completely miss my point. I wasn’t suggesting that Clark was obligated to wait for another group to launch the drive. My point was that it’s reckless of him to launch an effort like this without laying the groundwork first. If you look at the Pearce recall and the Walker recall, the common thread is organization prior to the launch. You’re dealing with an incredibly compressed timetable for gathering signatures. If you don’t have your ducks in a row before you file, you’re doomed. If Clark had taken the appropriate steps first, he might have had a chance.

    So, it’s not so much that folks are saying “it can’t be done” but rather that they’re saying “it can’t be done this way.”

  8. I believe a Brewer recall would succeed, but I was hoping that Citizens for a Better Arizona would lead the charge. Waiting until the election in Nov 2014 to remove Brewer is simply too long a time. She and her cronies in the legislature are illiterate extremists. Fortunately, we’ll have a chance to replace the lege in November. It would be nice if we could send Brewer out with them.

  9. I presume that if someone had told Leonard Clark that they planned to spring a recall Brewer campaign on March 1st then he would have been happy to wait a couple of weeks for another recall effort to occur.

    I have little sympathy with a line of thought that advocates that Leonard Clark (or any other resident of Arizona) should wait (presumably forever) until those who presumably know better get around to organizing themselves.

    Such a group has failed to present itself since the Mimi Pryor campaign to recall Jan Brewer expired on May 28th of last year.

    Leonard Clark has given me and many other non-Republicans a unique tool with which to break the ice with Arizona voters on the topic of how well (or unwell) a job is Jan Brewer doing as government. If Clark doesn’t collect 432,021 valid signatures by June 2nd of this year that isn’t because Clark was blinded by passion or egotism it was because Jan Brewer wasn’t doing as bad a job as he alleges.

    I say that if you or anybody else thinks that Jan Brewer is doing a bang-up job then you are welcome to not sign petition RC-01-2012. If however you think Brewer IS doing a bad job then I suggest that you hunt down Leonard Clark, give him a buck to pay for 5 copies of the petition (though I know he is happy to give them away) and thank him for his service in toppling a Republican that needs recalling. Clark isn’t hard to find, just listen for the words “Recall Jan Brewer”. I would be willing to bet that Clark utters those three words 20 times any given day.

    If enough people drop their campaigns advocating “It can’t be done.” then Clark and his supporters will be that much closer to evicting Jan Brewer from 1700 West Washington.