Evan Mecham

0622bad.jpgEvan Mecham died today. I hate to say it, but it is really difficult for me to come up with anything that resembles a eulogy here. Perhaps this is because I am either a dissident Democrat or part of the militant homosexual lobby. His impeachment shortened term embarassed a state that I am usually so proud of. He ruled largely by vendetta and ignorance.

He was governor during my politically formative late teenage years, so I guess you could say that whatever you read here is due to him.

Some good points about him: he served honorably in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War and flew P-38’s and P-51’s before being shot down and held as a prisioner of war for three weeks. He was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart for his service. He is also reputed to have sold a young man named Vincent Furnier his first vehicle.

Interestingly, the National Governors Association does not list Mecham on its list of former Arizona governors.

NB – For a complete rundown of Mecham’s term, I urge you to find High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Term and Trials of Evan Mecham by Ronald Watkins (no relation to Ralph Watkins).

6 thoughts on “Evan Mecham

  1. I’ve got a hundred or so Mecham True Facts (anyone remember, “Sam, don’t ever ask me for a true statement again…)

    But my favorite Mecham factoid comes from something Walt Nett dug up when he was political writer for the AZ Daily Star.

    Walt went to Salt Lake City to go through Mecham family records maintained by the LDS Church….turns out that Mecham had a relative during the Revolutionary War who was busy chopping wood one day. Someone came along and told him that the Continental Army needed him, so the Early Mecham put down his ax and marched to war.

    Four years or so later, he came home, finished chopping some wood, and THEN went home.

    Anyone who REALLY knew Ev Mecham would appreciate that story.

  2. I owe Ev a great deal. After all it was Mecham who got me interested in politics. Shortly after moving to Phoenix, I remember asking my mother what a certain antiquated racial slur meant. Her liberal, southern, sweet self nearly took my head off, and asked me where I had heard such an ugly word. “From the governor.” That night I began my essay entitled “Recall Mecham”. I was eight years old.

    And now that his hate-filled heart has stopped ticking, I try to remember that dancing on his grave makes me every bit as mean and nasty as he was.

  3. Dr. Peter Goudinoff had a “Recall Mecham” bumpersticker on his office door shortly after Mecham was elected, even before he was sworn in I believe.

    Ev was just one in a long line of interesting characters in Arizona political history.

  4. I remember the first time I came to Arizona to contemplate living here was to check out the graduate school at the U of A (though I ended up going elsewhere) and whole Mecham impeachment thing was going on.

    A few years later I was in Arizona for a job interview and it was the day Fife Symington resigned after being indicted.

    My only thought was, “you sure know how to pick ’em.”

    It was only later when I found out that the three-way governor’s race that elected Mecham had convinced the legislature to hurriedly rewrite the election law to provide for a runoff in order to avoid the consequences, and the result was a runoff that elected Symington, after he lost to Terry Goddard in the 1990 election.

    I guess the legislature not thinking things through is nothing new in Arizona.

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