Attention Pundits: This is What Real Bi-Partisanship Looks Like

From House Minority Leader Chad Campbell’s Facebook feed:

“Describing mine and Gov. Brewer’s relationship these past couple of years as “frosty” is definitely one way to put it… That being said, I give her credit for taking on Medicaid expansion and some school safety issues in her State of the State speech today. I sincerely hope we can put aside our differences and work together on these key issues, as well as others.”

And this, from Tucson’s own Democratic State Senator Steve Farley’s Facebook feed:

“Governor Brewer just told us she will fight to expand AHCCCS coverage to everyone below 133% of the poverty line. I haven’t been this happy with a State of the State since Gov. Napolitano! She has quite a battle against her own party now….”

Here is a statement from Bill Roe, the Arizona Democratic Party Chairman:

“I am glad that Governor Jan Brewer agrees with Democrats and is calling for full expansion of the Medicaid program under President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. Expansion will give Arizona’s economy a much-needed boost by creating jobs. It is the right thing to do since it will provide Arizonans with adequate health care. We hope the Governor’s leadership is enough to convince members of her own party to put the needs of Arizona ahead of petty political brinkmanship.”

The opposition party in Washington D.C. could learn a lot from these people.

No Big Surprise

Becky Pallack has a story in this morning’s Star about national Republicans throwing in the towel on the CD 3 race.

I’m always struck that people are shocked about how resilient Raúl Grijalva is. The Republicans had their best shot at taking him down in 2010, when the national mood gave every Democrat a strong headwind and the Republicans had a decent candidate. Grijalva’s ill preparedness that year and the boycott didn’t help either. Still, they couldn’t do it.

I’m sure the Republicans are blaming redistricting, but they really have to look at the rhetoric that comes from their state leadership and their own very poor candidate for thirty to forty point drubbing they are about to take in CD 3.

Early on in the campaign, Grijalva pointed out that for all the rhetoric about his being “out of touch” with the district, none of the opponents he had drawn at that point actually lived in the district. It illustrates something I’ve seen for a while. I hear knocks along the lines of “how does he keep getting elected?” from people (even Democrats sometimes) who don’t live in the district. Well, maybe he actually knows what his constituents are concerned about? Maybe they agree with him?

The whole “how does he get elected?” thing doesn’t seem to get asked about, say, Trent Franks for some reason.

By the way, ever notice how many Gabriela Saucedo Mercer stickers you see on pickup trucks in Eastside driveways? Not in the district either.

It’s been a funny thing to watch for a while. When I attended the 2004 Democratic Convention, I chatted with a columnist for the Republic who was still in shock that Grijalva won the primary in 2002. He wasn’t a fave of the money folks in Phoenix, after all. That was supposed to trump being active in the community of the folks that were going to be voting, I guess.

Yep, Saucedo Mercer has been cut off from the NRCC. It would be nice to say that it is because she’s a wingnut, but they are spending money on Steve King’s race after all. Let’s not give them too much credit.

By the way, let’s not pretend that the Republican establishment has cut her off completely. That recent kerfuffle about the governor cancelling an appearance not with standing, la Cervecera didn’t withdraw her endorsement and Saucedo Mercer is still considered polite company in Republican circles.


I first got wind of this earlier this week (because I talk to the wind, the wind cannot hear…) when someone pointed out to me that la Cervecera’s name had been scrubbed from Gabriela Saucedo Mercer’s website.

I held off on writing about it to give Nick Martin a chance to do a story over at Talking Points Memo. You can thank me later, Nick.

Brewer was slotted to do a fundraiser for Mercer today, but Brewer was under pressure after Mercer’s intemperate and intolerant statements about Arabs and Muslims.

Not to worry, “internationally recognized” comedy magician Brad Zinn will still be headlining. As a side note, one of my campaign events featured Rich Hopkins, who is big in Croatia.

It must be noted that Brewer did not have any comment on what Mercer said, and is still a supporter of Mercer’s. Also keep in mind that Mercer has earned the financial support of Augusta Resources, Rosemont Copper and Raytheon. I get why these guys aren’t the biggest fans of Raúl Grijalva, but it boggles the mind why they’d endorse her brand of wingnuttery. I’d understand if they want to back a winner, but she’s a sure loser. It really makes one wonder about their own views.

Campbell Calls Out Governor on Prison Contract

Thank you Chad Campbell for shedding some light on la Cervecera’s shady prison deal:

Campbell chides Brewer, legislators for wasting tax dollars on for-profit prisons

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX –Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), released the following statement after learning the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was awarded a contract today to build 1,000 new, for-profit prison beds by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).

“Numerous reports show the state stands to lose millions of tax dollars on the deals Governor Brewer and her Tea Party legislative allies continue to make with for-profit prison operators. We absolutely should not reward this company with a multi-million dollar contract if it will waste the state’s resources,” Campbell said.

“Saving the taxpayers money and protecting public safety is not a partisan issue. Yet Brewer and the Republican leadership have ignored evidence that shows private prisons are unsafe and waste the state’s money. The bottom line is we need to protect safety while protecting tax payer dollars and expansion of private prisons does neither,” Campbell said.

“Brewer and the Tea Party legislature swiped $50 million from the Attorney General’s Mortgage Settlement Fund – which was supposed to be used to help Arizona families trying to recover from the foreclosure crisis – and used the money to pay for unneeded contracts with their special interest cronies like this one. There is no rational explanation for why Republicans have gone to such lengths to expand private prisons. Clearly, they don’t have the right priorities,” Campbell said.

Department of Corrections reports consistently show that the state is losing money on private prisons, and security audits indicate there are serious safety flaws in all of Arizona’s for-profit prisons.

Currently, there is enough money set aside in the 2013 budget for 1,000 new private prison beds, but the state has the option to add another 1,000 beds, for a total of 2,000 beds in the next few years. The American Friends Service Committee issued a report indicating that if Arizona adds the 2,000 private prison beds, the state could lose more than $10 million a year.

For more information on for-profit prisons in Arizona, go to Details about the ADC contract award are due to be posted this evening on the agency’s website:

Now That’s What I Call Racism

Jan Brewer accused Barack Obama of “race baiting” this morning and was angry about accusations of bigotry.

Being accused by la Cervecera of race baiting is a bit like being accused by Randy Travis of public intoxication.

Since her side is free of race baiting and bigotry, I’m sure she’d be more than happy to see who her party is running for congress in CD 3:

Yep. Middle Easterners are dangerous. Send Jamie Farr back.

A blanket statement that all people of a certain ethnicity or origin are dangerous regardless of what they as individuals have actually done…hmm…yes kids, that’s called racism.

Brewer is scheduled to do a fundraiser for Saucedo Mercer on September 12th. Of course, since she’s against race bating and bigotry, she’ll cancel, right?

I’m not counting on it.

The interview was posted on Western Free Press’s website back in June of last year, but that hasn’t stopped a legion of Republicans from giving her their support. Will any of them drop it? Will the press put any pressure on them to?

What Was Weak Last Week

First off, any of you guys and gals realize that next week both Jan Brewer and Ken Bennett will be out of the state?

Normally I’d be giving a hearty “hip hip hooray” for la Cervecera being out of office, even if it’s temporarily. This time, however, the feeling is tempered by the fact that this means Tom Horne will be acting governor.

Anyhow, what little tidbits did I miss last week:

– Republican consultant Sam Stone and I are starting a new feature in the Tucson Sentinel, a little back and forth called the Sandbox.

That in it of itself isn’t weak, what’s weak is Matt Heinz campaign manager Evan Hutchison taking to the comment section to call the two of us “cowards.” This is apparently for acknowledging what everyone knows: Heinz is scheduled for a loss on Tuesday. Somehow, putting this on a website with our names on it is “cowardice.”

Hutchison also takes a shot at Stone for his exit from Martha McSally’s campaign. This means Hutchison did more research on Stone’s background than he did on Heinz’s before he tried to paint the guy as a progressive leader.

– Surprise surprise: there is more negative campaigning from Ken Cheuvront against Katie Hobbs. Cheuvront’s new tactic is a phone bank telling voters that Hobbs is supported by “special interests.” This is because the groups that have been paying for pro-Cheuvront mailers (The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Association of Realtors and the Home Builders of Central Arizona) aren’t special interests at all, right?

– Remember when I wrote about the silliness of Martin Sepulveda taking an Onion-style article about Linda Lopez seriously? To recap, the photo in the article isn’t Lopez, and the article refers to an Arizona newspaper that doesn’t exist. Well, one reporter who is usually pretty good (so I’ll leave his name out) got wind of it from angry posts at his site, and called a friend of mine to find why Lopez would say such things to reporters. There is no limit to Tea Party outrage over something totally made up.

Sound and Fury

Funny thing about Jan Brewer’s so-called action yesterday: it doesn’t do anything.

Hey, I didn’t say that, she did. Here she is at yesterday’s press conference:

It actually is no different than what was already in place.

It’s true. Since the president’s directive doesn’t actually grant any new legal status to anyone, Brewer’s “executive order” amounts to announcing that she’s enforcing things that are already covered by state laws.

It’s ridiculous bloviation disguised as action, and I’m sure we’ll hear how this is another demonstration of her gutsyness or some such nonsense. What makes this worse than her usual grandstanding is that she’s basing her “order” on the wrong headed right-wing thesis that Barack Obama “granted amnesty” to millions of people.

It was nothing of the kind. It’s a temporary reprieve. Heck, the fact that it’s not a more permanent solution is a big part of the criticism from Mitt Romney surrogates Carlos Gutierrez and Marco Rubio. Brewer knows that no one has been granted any sort of legal status here.

Brewer could have chosen to have a press conference where she said something like, “Hey, they are still illegal…” and make some sort of statement about lines in the sand or something. Instead, she chose to perpetuate a lie because it’s convenient for her supporters. And, heck, while she’s at it, she gets to metaphorically kick some Mexicans around.

I guess I should just be glad she hasn’t called for shootings.

Well, Who Needs Tourism Anyway? Right Jan?

Edwin Leslie, an adviser to Jan Brewer on tourism issues, has quit over her latest crusade against gay and lesbian state employees.

With limited funding of state parks, underfunding of promotion of our state, hostile rhetoric towards Hispanics from our state’s leaders and even closed signs at rest stops for a time, the question is why it took the guy so long to figure out that la Cervecera and company have been bad for attracting visitors to our state.

Hoping for a Few Activist Judges

La Cervecera announced that she will not be calling the legislature into special session. For those that don’t remember (actually, it was only the last post), the governor was going to call a special session to deal with a citizens’ initiative to give Arizona a “jungle primary.”

I don’t pretend to know why the session got called off, but something makes me think it was not a sudden love of direct democracy and it’s attendant urge to leave things like this up to the voters. More likely, it had something to do with Senate leadership worrying that they would not have the members for a quorum. Also, the governor and the legislature were still in disagreement over what would be discussed: the governor’s proposed tinkering or the “Operation: Voter Mindfreak” proposed by folks like Frank Antenori.

(Appologies to Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson, Criss Angel and Geoff Tate for that one)

That’s okay, la Cervecera has found a new crusade. She’s asking the US Supreme Court to review a decision that allows state employees to place same sex partners on their health insurance.

Wow, it’s a two-fer. Nuestra gobernadora is taking a swing at two of the Republicans favorite piñatas: homosexuals and state employees. She’s doing it and she ain’t even up for re-election.

Glad to see her priorities are straight…so to speak.

We Love the Voters ‘Cept When We Don’t

Get ready. Next Tuesday, the legislature will guest star Tom Hanks as alcoholic uncle Ned.

That’s right, it’s a very special session.

At issue is the citizen’s initiative to give Arizona a “Jungle Primary.” All candidates will be on the same primary ballot with the top two finishers going to the general election.

The idea here is to limit the influence of political parties, which will of course hail a rebirth of Jeffersonian Democracy and cooperation. As we’ve seen, bodies that are elected on a non-partisan basis, such as the TUSD school board, are free of the bitter division that has been the hallmark of partisan bodies.

Yes, my tongue is firmly in cheek there. You can see that I’m not buying into the arguments of supporters.

Still, it got the signatures and it deserves to be voted on by the voters. It is out of the hands of the legislature and the governor, which is exactly what was intended when the initiative provision was written into the state constitution back in 1911.

Nevertheless, the governor and legislature are prepared to take their case to the people and, in a open democratic fashion, convince them to vote it down and…um…no.

Instead, they hope to trick them.

Hey, I didn’t say it. For all my problems with Frank Antenori, when he’s running a game, he’s happy to tell us. Here is the Arizona Republic:

Senate Majority Whip Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, said many lawmakers, Republican and Democratic alike, don’t like the citizen initiative and would favor an alternative.

But he admitted confusion is part of the game plan.

“If you put two or three (similar proposals) out there, they vote ‘no’,” he said of voters. “That’s the default.”

Yep, at least he’s honest.

The governor is pushing for a less drastic move. The initiative would allow a candidate to run with any label they want, or none at all. The governor is exploring ways to make it so candidates have to run under a recognized political party or “independent.”

(Should this pass, I will announce my candidacy for governor as a candidate of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, because no one can really stop me.)

This could make many elections, de facto, non-partisan races. Now here’s the funny part.

Remember how the Republicans wanted to force the City of Tucson into holding non-partisan elections? Remember their arguments about good government and all that? Now, we’re hearing what a huge problem it would be if people hid their true affiliation in runs for legislature and state wide office.

Hmm. It wouldn’t be about who holds power in the state versus the city, right?