After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 American spirits were dismal. The Japanese were told by their leaders their mainland was invulnerable to American attack. To both sides Japan was invincible.
President Roosevelt, perhaps having a keener sense than his generals for the necessity of high morale at home, told his joint chiefs of staff he wanted to bomb the Japanese homeland as soon as possible.
Four months later Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle led 16 American bombers on a nearly suicidal air raid over Tokyo and other “invulnerable” Japanese targets. The targets were successfully bombed.
None of the planes made it back. Eight airmen were taken prisoner, three put to death. The bombing did barely any damage to Japan’s physical war machine. On a spreadsheet the operation was a massive waste of money, machines and men.
It was symbolism, but it was so much more than symbolism. It was proof. Proof to Americans in and out of uniform that we could fight back. Proof to Japan that their leaders were in error. We could and would strike at their heart.
Doolittle himself underestimated his own feat. He feared he would be court-martialed for losing every plane. He got a promotion instead. The only insult would be Alec Baldwin portraying him in the movie. Fortunately, he wasn’t alive for that.
With that raid as a mental model let’s turn to the progressive attack on Colorado.
For those who don’t believe in governmental involvement in just about every aspect of our lives, the political outlook of Colorado seems bleak and permanent. They are in need of a symbolic victory against the empire of Boulder, which holds power over all Colorado. And the empire needs to learn all of Colorado ain’t Boulder.
Their “Doolittle Raid” could well be the recall of State Rep. Rochelle Galindo in Weld County. The effort is already underway.
While there is chattering of recalls all over the state, born of frustration, it is a dangerous gambit. Not only is the survivor of a recall more empowered and rewarded for his political votes, but a failed recall also energizes the survivor’s whole team to double down on their agenda. Look at the failed coup against Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker as proof.
So, if a recall is the weapon of choice then the choice of the target becomes critical, so does a clear-cut, indisputable reason for recall.
In 2013 the reason was the attack on our Second Amendment rights. It cost the political careers of three state senators and put a chill through state legislatures around the country. The Michael Bloomberg battle plan to attack gun owners on the state level was setback nationwide (thus he’s doing it on the city level now – see Boulder).
Many feel this year’s gun confiscation bill, disguised as a “red-flag” bill, will be reason enough for successful recalls. It won’t. As much as it rips due process from Coloradans and is more an assault on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments than the Second, it won’t read that way to enough average voters who understandably want eminently dangerous people disarmed.
What those in the Boulder/Denver power bubble don’t get, or don’t admit if they do, is the economic devastation that their new “re-write” of state oil and gas regulations will have on northern Colorado, especially Weld County which produces 90 percent of the state’s oil and gas.
Galindo voted for Senate Bill 181. Galindo voted many of her own constituents out of their jobs. Now they will return the favor.
The recall will be successful if, and only if, this recall is about her oil and gas vote taking food off kitchen tables in Greeley. If pro-gun activists make this about her red flag vote, or if religious activists make it about her vote to teach transsexual values in school, she’ll survive. Greeley is still a college town, and those votes don’t cost your next-door neighbor her job.
Galindo’s removal from office technically does absolutely nothing to the balance of power in Colorado. Democrats have so many votes to spare in the state house her absence won’t even be noticeable.
Her removal, if even successful, would be a meaningless, expensive endeavor.
So was Doolittle’s.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.