...Spent yesterday morning with State Rep. Russell Pearce (R-National Alliance), and no, I haven't gone over to the Dark Side.
He held his Legislative Workshop at the Arizona House of Representatives in front of approximately 85 attendees.
A pretty good turnout for a Tuesday morning...until you remember that 270 signed up for it. :)
It went better than expected, but Pearce and his fellow travelers may be benefitting from pretty low expectations there.
They used a video to explain the technical process whereby a piece of legislation moves from idea to bill to law; of course, that video was a 10-year old Horizon episode (aka - PBS), not something useful produced by the lege.
Other than Pearce himself, other speakers included Reps. Rick Murphy and Andy Biggs, House Speaker Jim Weiers, Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor, and KFYI talk-jock Bruce Jacobs.
With that particular cast of characters, is it any wonder that this allegedly 'non-partisan' workshop regularly took potshots at Democrats and liberals?
From Bruce Jacobs' call for everyone to "get involved"...except for liberals, who should "stay home and not participate" to Andy Biggs' criticism of Governor Napolitano's refusal to call the lege into special session over the looming budget deficit, it was open season on non-conservative, non-Republicans.
Of course, that shouldn't have been a surprise after Pearce's warm early (8:15 a.m. or so) welcome of uber-bigot Rusty Childress.
In regard to Pearce's erstwhile primary challenge to Jeff Flake in CD6, he never came out and said that he was running (bringing AZ's resign-to-run law into play), but he certainly sounded like someone who was campaigning for the Republican nomination - dropping Ronald Reagan's name at every possible opportunity, railing against activist judges, and calling himself a "lobbyist for the taxpayer."
Last note on this (for now, anyway) - I won't say that Pearce had home-field advantage, but of the 80 or so attendees, the only Democrats that I noticed were me and Sue Dolphin, a House candidate in LD4. There may have been a couple of others, but the crowd was dominated by Pearce supporters.
The session has aired on AZ Capitol Television and should be available on the lege's website shortly.
...From the "I *really* want to hear their rationalizations for this one" department...
Yesterday, six members of Congress, Reps, Broun (GA), Campbell (CA), King (IA), Marchant, Mica, and Westmoreland voted against HR3315, "To provide that the great hall of the Capitol Visitor Center shall be known as Emancipation Hall."
The only thing that I could find in the record of the debate on the bill was a statement by John Mica expressing a concern that the "monumental spaces" in the Capitol should be named after function, not historical events (like the emancipation of slaves).
Seems pretty lame, doesn't it?
I don't want to assume their opposition was rooted in base bigotry, but when you look at the list of Reps involved and the states that they represent (GA, CA, IA, TX, FL, GA again), one has to wonder.
...When Bush vetoed the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act yesterday, he sent a letter to Congress citing as a reason $3.2 billion appropriated for programs he wanted to kill and another $1 billion for earmarks. He said that overall, the bill had $9.8 billion more in discretionary spending than he wanted.
Now, a billion dollars is a lot of money to the likes of me, and probably to each of the readers of this blog.
And $9.8 billion is 9.8 times "a lot". :)
However, the total of the bill in question was over $600 billion; $9.8 billion is 1.6 percent of that.
Bush thinks that this $9.8 billion over one year will prevent a balanced budget and vetos the bill while pushing a $1.6 trillion war that is funded off of the budget cycle? A war that costs the U.S. $12 billion monthly?
He's a hypocrite when he calls out Congressional Democrats as "fiscally irresponsible."
...The House is scheduled to take up HR4156, the Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act, 2008. It funds continued operations in Iraq to the tune of $50 billion; the only concession to the 2/3 of America that believes Bush is doing a poor job with the war in Iraq is a strongly-worded but non-binding suggestion that a troop withdrawal start now and be completed by the end of next year.
My suggestion for Christmas presents for the Democratic leadership in Congress?
A year's supply of wet noodles to replace the ones that they've whipped Bush into shape with this year.