On last night’s Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow did a short bit on how Janet Napolitano’s impeding promotion will leave Arizona with a Republican governor. Maddow noted that we should learn to pay attention to rules about gubernatorial succession.
Of course, before a snarky little comment like that, Dr. Maddow should take a look at the recent history of our state. Durring her (and my) lifetime, we’ve gotten lessons in the rules about gubernatorial succession four times, and are about to have a fifth. One of those four times, when Bruce Babbitt became governor, we got a lesson in “what happens if the Seceretary of State can’t be governor?”
Back in 1988, when Evan Mecham was impeached, there was a great deal of controversy about Rose Mofford becoming governor, since she was of a different party than Mecham. During one appearance by Mofford, a car dealer that raised money for Mecham decided to strip the state seal from Mofford’s lectern.
In the aftermath of that, conservative legislators started pushing for Arizona to have a Lieutenant Governor. Yep, this meant that fiscal conservatives who see government waste everywhere wanted to create a highly paid position in state government with few responsibilities except to check the newspaper for gubernatorial illnesses and cabinet openings (Okay, this isn’t the only thing that they would check the newspaper for: they could do the Jumble). They even managed to get a referendum on the ballot back in 1994, which was defeated by a nearly 2 to 1 margin.
Matthew Benson over at the Republic dug up an old op-ed by one of the people pushing for the Lieutenent Governor amendment. In it, the author complained that being Secretary of State doesn’t qualify you for Governor, and that the Secretary of State becoming governor “frustrates the will of voters.”
we have seen what happens when the governorship is thrust upon an unwilling and untrained secretary of state, no matter how sincere or well-intentioned. Arizona deserves more than just a caretaker governor.
The writer of that: Jan Brewer.
(Of course, it is also worth noting that the “caretaker” she was referring to here was Mofford. Does she really think that Mecham’s tumultuous half-term was preferable to Mofford’s “caretaker” administration?)
Oh, and the article ends with Brewer, once again, claiming she’s made no plans about what she would do as governor:
Much has been made of the potential policy shifts that could come with a Brewer governorship. In her op-ed article, she wrote that “Arizonans deserve to have a governor that will continue the same general policies as the one (voters) elected.” Does she still believe it?
“I’m not pledging anything,” Brewer said. “(Napolitano’s departure) hasn’t happened, and I’m not going there.”
Nope, she hasn’t thought about reversing any of Napolitano’s policies. Sure.