Monday, January 07, 2008

To Jack Harper I say this: Thank You.

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from independent voters concerns the divisively rancorous of partisan politics these days, and how they place the blame for that on both parties equally.

Then someone comes along to show everyone precisely where that blame belongs...

State Rep. Russell Pearce (R-National Alliance) has been making a strong early push in the race for the 2008 Legislative Loon award, what with his efforts to 'de-citizenfy' babies because he doesn't approve of their parents and his now-abandoned run at Rep. Jeff Flake's seat in the CD6 Republican primary (from the *right* of all places!).

However, the winner of the 2007 Legislative Loon award, state Sen. Jack Harper, isn't giving up his title without a fierce fight.

From Amanda Crawford at the AZ Republic's Plugged In -
Sen. Jack Harper is responding to the outcries of constituents, he says, in a bill that will allow independents to vote in presidential primaries while sticking it to the Dems at the same time.

The bill, which Harper filed today, would allow unaffiliated voters, Repubicans and members of minority parties to choose which primary they vote in, Democrat or Republican. Registered Democrats, however, would only be able to vote in the Democratic primary.
When asked by a reporter, Harper declined to defend his proposal to grant Republican voters more freedom than Democratic voters. The only thing that he stated, over and over, was "that the independents are no longer disenfranchised."

Harper's bill, SB1064, would allow someone (emphasis mine) "who is registered as independent, as no party preference, as a member of a political party that is not entitled to continued representation on the ballot pursuant to section 16-804 or as a member of a political party that is entitled to continued representation on the ballot pursuant to section 16-804 and that has the highest number of registered voters as of the last day on which a person may register to be eligible to vote in the presidential preference primary..." to cast a ballot in any party's presidential preference primary.

As of October 1, 2007 (the date of the most recent voter registration count on the AZ Secretary of State's website), the Republican Party has a voter reg advantage of just over 141,000 voters.

Even the cosponsor of the bill, Sen. Jim Waring, was surprised by anti-Democratic (and anti-democratic) language (apparently he didn't read the bill before signing on as a cosponsor - how foolish is that?), stating that he won't vote for the bill unless it is changed to a fair one.

...For proposing a bill that is so beyond the pale that even one of his fellow conservative Republicans has publicly stated his opposition to it...

...For finding a reservoir of shamelessness within himself that is deep enough to both propose a bill that is so completely contemptuous of democratic principles *and* to avoid publicly standing behind it...

...For giving the Arizona Republican Party a public face that truly represents the party's core values...during an election year...

...For helping to illustrate in stark contrast the differences between the two major parties...

...For all that and more (check out his SCR1007, another attempt to create a state-funded vigilante force), I say this to Jack Harper -

Thank you.

The funny thing is, if he had just proposed a clean bill, one that allowed independent or non-affiliated voters to vote in any presidential preference primary that they wanted to, he would have been hailed by independents and maybe even earned a little respect from Democrats (yes, even me :) ).

Guess he's more interested in winning the Legislative Loon award again than in winning respect.

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