Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Judges aren't the only ones sitting this one out

Besides today's ruling from the AZ Supreme Court saying that the lege should send the governor the budget bills that they've passed, but refusing to actually order the lege to do so, a number of other officials in the state are avoiding the dogfight on west Washington like the governor and legislature have leprosy.

The Governor has released a list of supporters of her budget. While that list is a long one, filled with names from all over the state, those names all have one thing in common.

None of them, even the elected officials, can be said to have much of a future in elected politics.

There are a number of chamber of commerce/business types, as well as mayors and city/town council members, but few of those names are recognizable outside of their bailiwicks.

That's not meant to be an insult to any of those luminaries, but when the biggest names on the list are folks like Mayors Elaine Scruggs (Glendale), Bob Walkup (Tucson), Mark Nexsen (Lake Havasu) and Doug Von Gausig (Clarkdale), it makes people wonder where the "big" names are.

Neither Walkup nor Scruggs, fairly well-respected in their areas, has shown interest in higher office. As for Nexsen, Von Guasig and most of the others on the Governor's list, well, Lake Havasu, Clarkdale and the hinterlands of the state aren't necessarily the best locales from which to launch a bid for statewide or federal office.

So where are the (relatively) young up and comers?

Why are they so silent?

Since I'm not exactly a close personal friend with any such local officials (most of them are Republicans, not the sort of folks I tend to hang out with :) ), I can only speculate.

That speculation?

Politics. (Yeah, that's hardly a surprising insight in a political blog :) )

Actually, practical politics.

For instance, some folks have speculated about the absence of any support from the Mayor or City Council of Mesa.

The simple fact is that the most influential politicians in Mesa aren't the Mayor or on the City Council. They're in the lege, and in the persons of Russell Pearce, Kirk Adams, and Chuck Gray, are leading the quest to shut down the state government. The municipal officials in Mesa may be uncomfortable with the actions and goals of the legislature and their potential impact on the city, but it's difficult for any elected official to buck a machine.

Other folks have questioned the absence of Hugh Hallman and the Tempe City Council from the Governor's list.

That one is even simpler - a majority of the members of the Tempe City Council are Democrats and have no desire to pick sides in what has become a Republican civil war. In addition, Republican Mayor Hugh Hallman wants Jan Brewer's job; he's not going to public support anything she does between now and next year's elections.

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