Monday, September 14, 2009


*I was going to title this post "Republican newbies in the Arizona Senate cry about receiving criticism" but decided that was too long.

I think that the new title adequately sums it up, though. :)

As previously observed by Tedski at Rum, Romanism, Rebellion and Donna at Democratic Diva, three Republican state senators - Sylvia Allen (LD5), Steve Pierce (LD1) and Al Melvin (LD26) - had an op/ed piece published in the AZ Republic.

In it, they blamed the state's budget woes on the Democrats and, I think, a reporter (Mary Jo Pitzl) who wrote a couple of pieces that they don't approve of.

OK, they just thought her articles were unfair. Still, their piece was nothing more than an exercise in "it's not our fault, really!!"

They conveniently ignored the fact that for most of the session, they ignored the Democrats in the lege.

In keeping with their "ignoring facts" motif, they also spent a couple of paragraphs sucking up to Senate President Bob Burns, praising his "leadership" during the failed session.

Don't they realize how many trees had to die to publicize their genuflections before their caucus' leader? Doesn't matter - even if they knew, they wouldn't actually care.

Tedski's commentary on this op/ed was spot on, and Donna's take was briefer, but made up for its brevity with needle-sharpness.

As such, I won't waste your time with more commentary that will mostly just repeat what others have said. I do have a couple of observations to make though.

1. The Republicans' veteran legislators and staff need to do a better job of educating their rookies.

From the piece (emphasis mine) -

Check your facts. This year was not the first year in history we missed the July 30 budget deadline.
That quote goes a long way toward explaining the problems with this year's lege - the actual budget deadline is June 30, not July 30.

2. Another interesting aspect to this:

As a result of last year's elections, all three credited authors replaced members who would have helped break the logjam in this year's legislative session.

Pierce defeated Tom O'Halleran and Melvin defeated Pete Hershberger in their respective Republican primaries. Both O'Halleran and Hershberger took their professional responsibilities seriously and worked for their constituents, not the would-be Grover Norquists of the AZ legislature. As such, they were denounced as RINOs and targeted in the primary.

Allen replaced the late Sen. Jake Flake, who nobody called a RINO (at least not to his face). However conservative he may have been, though, he found ways to get things done in the lege. He didn't use his ideological leanings as a cop-out for incompetence.

Maybe today's op/ed signals a recognition on their part, publicly admitted or not, that their presence in the Senate contributed greatly to the dysfunction on West Washington.

Or not.

Since they started realizing just how poor the public perception is of their ability to govern (even among their own party), the Republicans in the legislature and the Governor's office have been blaming the Democrats for the failure to pass a balanced budget.

They must have a pretty low opinion of the electorate since they seem to believe that no one will notice that the Republicans control both chambers of the lege and the 9th floor.

Or that the budget was done in by Republican-only infighting.

Or that most of that infighting was over what was the best tool to cut out the heart of Arizona's future - an axe or a meat cleaver.


Jen said...

Typical of the GOP in general these days: Blame the minority. The Dems. The "illegals". Senator Melvin at a "town hall" this past weekend said the budget as it is now with Brewer's vetoes, is a "Democratic budget", causing many in the crowd to groan. To which he replied, "Please, this is a NONpartisan event." I don't think he or any other member of the majority party really comprehends what "nonpartisan" means, quite frankly.

And to your point of their inability to know the actual deadline for the budget, :::sigh::: honestly. Each candidate should HAVE to read the AZ Constitution prior to taking office. You can't swear an oath to what you don't know/understand.

Tempe Democrat said...

Rumor mill - Special Session in Oct to fix Revenue BRB and funding shortages...

No word if the referral is included.

Thane Eichenauer said...

I'll just say that the article is worth reading though the meat of the piece is the last paragraph.