Friday, July 31, 2009

An open letter to the moderate Republicans in the Arizona Legislature -

This one is a bit of a vent for some of the frustration that has built up from watching the lege inaction over the last seven months...

Relax and please don't be insulted by the term "moderate." I'm not saying that you are actually anything other than very conservative Republicans who, in most other parts of the country, would be considered some of the leading lights of the far-right branch of the local GOP.

However, some of you have a sense of civic duty and professionalism, and by the standard set by the Arizona GOP, that makes you moderates.

And with the collapse of yet another horrible budget deal, a deal that wasn't horrible enough to suit certain members of your caucus, it's time for you to step up for your constituents and for all Arizonans.

It may mean working with the Democrats to get something done...OK, there's no "may" about it at this point.

It's time to fashion a budget with no tax hikes or cuts.

A small tax hike or two could be put to the voters, but any budget should be crafted assuming that nothing will pass; if one does, in fact, gain voter approval, a brief (and probably fairly relaxed) special session can be called to deal with the additional revenue.

Yes, your more extreme colleagues will threaten electoral retaliation during next year's primary season, but let's be honest here - they're coming after you anyway.

If you don't believe that, just ask former colleagues like Pete Hershberger, Tom O'Halleran, and even Jennifer Burns. And that's just from the 2008 election cycle.

You were elected to do a job, to represent the best interests of your constituents, and in the past you have done it pretty well.

I may not always agree with some of your proposals and your votes, but always thought that the intent of those proposals and votes was honorable.

Now, your state and your constituents need that integrity and professionalism like they've never needed them before.

Step up.

To the Democrats in the legislature -

I realize that most of you already realize this, but even a more moderate budget proposal will still have massive cuts to services and schools. Unfortunately, the revenue just isn't there to be able to avoid some heartrending decisions.

And equally unfortunately, fiscal sanity isn't going to return to Arizona government until January 2011 at the earliest, and then only if enough voters do their part and step up by actually voting for the best candidates, not for blind ideology.

If some Republican moderates approach you (and you know who they are), step up and work with them in good faith. The state needs you to do so.

To Governor Brewer -

To be totally blunt Governor, by no real world standard could you be *ever* be considered a moderate.

However, Arizona is *not* the real world.

By the standard set by your GOP brethren in the legislature, you *are* a moderate.

Whether or not you stand for a full term as governor, there is going to be a vicious battle in the Republican primary.

If you choose to enter the race, you will be the underdog, even if you roll over for the extremists' budget.

However, if you do so and are able to win in the Republican primary, in the general election you will be running on the legacy as "The Governor who crippled Arizona for two decades, and did it in less than two years."

Not the best legacy, or platform, for a general election campaign.

When the moderates and the Democrats come to you with a feasible compromise, step up and work with them.

To the majority of the Republicans in the legislature -

You had pretty much everything you wanted - significant budget cuts to education and human services, huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, gifts to the homebuilder's association in the form of a moratorium on impact fees, and privatizing state assets so that private companies can profit from taxpayers, and more, but that still wasn't enough for you.

You didn't want to allow the voters to consider a temporary tax hike that would have slightly mitigated some of the impact of the devastation you were wreaking upon society's infrastructure.

Simply put, you got greedy.

Now, if the moderates and the Democrats can find the spine to stand up to your ideological bullying, you'll get *far* less of your ideological agenda than you would have if you had just taken what was there in early June.

When the Democrats and the moderates bring together a budget, step aside.

And lastly, to the voters of Arizona -

Step up and get involved.

Step up and pay attention to candidates, their qualifications, and their records.

Step up and vote for the candidate, not the party.

I'd love for most of you to become active Democrats (hey, I am a Democrat after all :) ), but many of you cherish your independence. Also, some of you are dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, and I respect that, believe it or not.

Get involved anyway.

Independents - find a candidate or candidates that you can support, regardless of their party affiliations, and volunteer your time and financial support.

Republicans - do your part to ensure that the candidates that your party puts forward places the long-term needs and interests of their constituents and all Arizonans before the blind ideology of Grover Norquist and the craven avarice of corporate lobbyists.

Bottom line - Before we are Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, or Independents, we are Arizonans.

If nothing else, remember that when you cast your votes.


Eli Blake said...

I'm afraid you're way behind the times.

If only it were still in the state you describe it.

The Governor had a choice to go left or right, and she went right.

After failing to strike a deal with Pam Gorman she went after one of the other far right wackos that were holding out on the tax vote, and may have gotten Jack Harper in exchange for meeting his demand to fire 5% of state employees currently on payroll in every state agency and cutting 50% from the state auditor (Nothing like a side of people getting away with waste, fraud, mismanagement and embezzlement to go along with the budget cuts, right?)

I hope this deal also falls apart.

Jen said...

Craig...the best! Truly.

:::sigh::: wish you'd run, man...all Arizonans would be lucky to have you in our corner.

Eli Blake said...


Luckily the deal with Harper (which I've heard various things about whether it ever got beyond the conceptual stage) never got to a vote.

Even a lot of other GOP legislators can't see the point in firing thousands of state workers just purely to stroke Jack Harper's ego.

cpmaz said...

Eli -

With the collapse of the latest budget "deal", the Governor has a chance at a mulligan if she chooses to use it. My expectations are that she won't, yet I'm an eternal optimist (comes from a lifetime of being a Red Sox fan :) ).

As far as the Harper deal goes, it passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, and it was interesting to watch Tucson's Al Melvin vote to gut Tucson's Rio Nuevo project. That vote is going to come back and haunt him during next year's election.

BTW - You have a far higher opinion of the Republican caucus than I do. Not only do I believe that they would enjoy firing thousands of state workers, they'd actually enjoy firing *all* of them, except for prison guards and their own legislative staffers.

Oh, wait. They're trying to privatize the state's prisons.

Never mind the part about not wanting to fire the state's prison guards.

Jen -

Thanks for the compliments. I (and you, and lots of other folks) are in Arizona's corner. We just do our work outside of elected office.