On Monday night, there was a candidate forum for the Republican candidates for governor at the Pyle Center in Tempe, sponsored by the Tempe Republican Women's Club.
Being an adventurous sort (aka "having nothing better planned" :) ), I took a couple of hours out of my evening to sit in the belly of the beast...OK, that's a little over the top, but it was definitely "stranger in a strange land" time.
Note: Jan Brewer was a no show, but she sent some campaign staffers and her son to work the crowd.
It was definitely an educational experience. Some of the things that I learned (actual quotes in quotes, paraphrases not):
"The time for talking about issues is past." - Hugh Kealer, CPA, tea partier, Republican candidate for governor
We can solve the state's fiscal crisis by cutting the state budget 50% across the board. - Steve Slaton, real estate appraiser, candidate for governor
Free enterprise is the answer to the state's fiscal crisis. - John Munger, businessman, candidate for governor
Fewer regulations are the key to the state's prosperity. - Munger
$0.53 of every dollar spent on education in Arizona is spent on administration. - Kealer
Health care reform is unconstitutional. - Pretty much all of them, none of whom is a constitutional lawyer
Illegal immigrants are the cause of all that ails the state. - Pretty much all of them, in one form or another
If illegal immigrants are the first cause of all that ails the state, welfare recipients and fraud are a close second - Most of them
Because of that, all welfare recipients should be fingerprinted. - Dean Martin, state treasurer, candidate for governor
All welfare recipients should be subject to drug testing. - Kealer (I think this one actually is already law in AZ, but not sure if it is in place yet. It was in the special session budget that was just passed.)
Arizona should opt out of Medicare. - Munger (I think that the state's seniors may weigh in on this one.)
And the jaw-dropper of the night, the title of this post, from candidate Slaton, who was expounding on how the state's air quality and environmental folks have gone overboard and are driving businesses away from Arizona -
"We all want clean air, but there's a limit!"
One of the candidates, Matt Jette, was pretty much the only candidate who exhibited any appreciation of the fact that most issues are nuanced, with shades of gray predominating, while the other candidates pretty much see everything in two shades, black and white (except for immigration issues, which are brown and white.)
About the only thing that he had to say that received anything more than perfunctory applause was during a question about photo radar. Where the other candidates stated that they opposed it, he said if people has such a problem with receiving tickets in the mail, they should just not speed. Other than that, though, things like "Obama isn't the evil empire" and that illegal immigrants "aren't bad people, but there are bad people among them" don't exactly play well with the R/TB base.
In other words, he doesn't have a snowball's chance in Phoenix of making any headway in the R primary.
Overall, it truly was a pretty valuable evening - it served as a great reminder of why we need to make sure that Terry Goddard has all the support he needs to become governor. None of the Rs in the running that have a chance of winning offer one iota of sanity. The state desperately needs him to win in November.
Edit on 3/23 to update:
Last night when Kealer spouted his "53 cents of every education dollar is spent on administration" stat, I knew he was full of it, but I didn't have the actual numbers handy to rebut right then and there. After the meeting, I contacted David Safier, an expert on the ed situation here in AZ (and a fellow writer at Blog for AZ) for more info.
He directed me to this annual report from the Arizona Department of Education detailing education expenditures in Arizona for the 2007/08 school year.
I don't know where Mr. Kealer ginned up his "statistic", but the report shows that in unified school districts (aka - "public"), 9% of money went to administration and in charter schools, 21% went to administration.
Either one is significantly less than "53%".
Thanks to Dave for his analysis of the report.