Tim Bee likes to tout his willingness to work with Democrats (check out the 'About' page on his campaign website, under the heading 'Statesman'), but it looks as if his bipartisanship is limited to situations where he doesn't have any choice, like getting a state budget passed. Without the OKs of Governor Napolitano and the Democrats in the lege, he wouldn't be able to say "Tim put policy and people above politics working with Republicans, Democrats, and the Governor to create a responsible budget" on his website.
Whether it is situations where he illegally suppresses debate because a bill or amendment sponsored by a Democrat might actually pass (AZCentral.com coverage here) or simply abandoning his duties for the week after one minute's worth of "work" on Wednesday, when left to his own devices, he shows his true colors as nothing more than a rabidly partisan and profoundly petty tyrant.
That was clearly illustrated on Friday.
On Tuesday, June 3, the Senate Democrats will be holding a public forum on the mortgage crisis and how it's affecting Arizona. In preparation for that event, they asked that champion of bipartisanship himself for permission to use a Senate hearing room to hold the event.
And in his usual spirit of bipartisan civility, Bee refused such permission unless State Sens. Pamela Gorman and John Huppenthal were given major roles in the forum. (PolitickerAZ coverage here; R-Cubed coverage here)
Like Bee, Gorman and Huppenthal are among the most reliably conservative (aka - pro-business and anti-consumer) members of the Senate. If the Democrats had given in to his demand, they would have derailed the forum.
Instead of surrendering to Bee's bullying, they spoke to the Governor's office.
Turns out the Governor is more interesting in addressing Arizona's mortgage crisis than Tim Bee or the Republicans in the Senate.
The forum has been moved to the 2nd floor conference room of State Capitol Executive Tower (4 p.m. - 6 p.m.)
Slade Mead over at The Dry Heat has the scoop that part of Bee's (and the Senate's) problem is that Bee hasn't been able to focus on his duties in the Senate (like seeing that a balanced budget is passed, like, before the end of the fiscal year) because he is running for Congress.
Does Senator Bee realize that when he screws up here in metro Phoenix, voters in Tucson hear about it? They don't even have to wait for the pony express to come in with the latest dispatches from the Republican Party headquarters anymore - many of them have radios or telephones. Some are even hooked up to a complicated series of tubes called the internets....
Anyway, somebody should tell Bee that every time he sacrifices true bipartisanship on the altar of petty gamesmanship, he loses even more ground to Gabrielle Giffords.