They are both mainly about accountability. Sure, there are plenty of problems in the new Iraq. But such issues are secondary to the main goal of our invasion, which was to depose Saddam Hussein. We understood that making Hussein accountable for his threats and depredations was the key, not only to pacifying Iraq but also to reducing the threat (by increasing the expected cost) of aggression by North Korea, Iran and other hostile opportunists.
Similarly, recalling CA Gov. Gray Davis isn’t mainly about finding a replacement with better policy ideas. It’s about making Davis accountable for his incompetence and thereby encouraging elected officials to behave better in the future. It’s unfortunate if Arnold Schwarzenegger (assuming he’ll be Davis’s replacement) doesn’t have a good program but that’s secondary to punishing Davis. CA voters who support the recall in large numbers seem to understand this, as do members of the political class who oppose it.
In situations like these, often the fastest way to figure out whether to support a particular course of action is to look at who opposes it. You can’t go far wrong with a foreign policy whose opponents are mainly dictators, anti-American European politicians and leftist whackos. Nor as a rule will you go wrong backing domestic policies that are opposed by incumbent pols, establishment journalists, unions and big-business go-along-to-get-along types.