Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jan, Janet, What's the Difference?

The difference, unfortunately, comes down to life in Arizona having been mostly tolerable due to Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano's heavy veto pen keeping a rabid Republican legislature at bay, and now having the prospects of being far less tolerable once uber-conservative Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer sails into the seat Napolitano will vacate in January to become head of Homeland Security.
That could result in the state pulling back from Napolitano-backed efforts on climate change, emissions caps, increased health insurance and education spending. It also could push the state forward on immigration controls and penalties for businesses hiring illegal immigrants and abortion rights restrictions, according to officials familiar with Brewer and Napolitano.

“I think we can kiss goodbye to the climate change efforts and any leadership on that,” said Sandy Bahr, state coordinator for the Sierra Club environmental group. “I don’t think much of the environmental progress will stay. With this legislature and Jan Brewer, we are in a world of hurt when it comes to protecting the state’s resources.”

Napolitano vetoed anti-abortion bills coming out of the Legislature, including a partial-birth prohibition that would have piggybacked on a federal ban. Napolitano signed off on some get-tough immigration bills forwarded by the right-wing Republicans but vetoed others.

For a state that is rapidly churning through its few remaining pristine open spaces that are in proximity to urban areas and has local and county boards that roll over for real estate developers on a regular basis, a state that languishes at the bottom of the nation when it comes to primary and secondary education and teen pregnancy, well, this isn't great news. It's spectacular for land speculators and the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association. Saguaros and public school kids in South Tucson? Not so much.

Jan Brewer also vigorously opposed the inclusion of language in the gay marriage-banning ballot measure explaining that gay marriage was already illegal under Arizona statute. And she was happy to bring the lovely Diebold touchscreen voting machines to Arizona, and then called Arizonans who objected to their use--after they had been demonstrated to be unreliable and unverifiable--anarchists and conspiracy theorists.

So Brewer and the Republican legislature get two years to de-fund public education and slash environmental protection in Arizona and make 700,000 East Valley voters deliriously happy to the point that they vote her back in for an additional 4 years, and in return Arizona gets... what? The honor and prestige of having an Arizonan serve as the head of a cabinet-level but really poorly structured department? And what, really, does Napolitano get out of it? If she manages to streamline DHS and get it to do something actually useful, like, say, maybe checking shipping containers and airline cargo, maybe she gets a pat on the head. Will it springboard her into the Senate, if that's where she sees this ending? Not likely.

Impending senses of doom keep me from my rest.


1 comment:

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