Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That's the way we became the Brewer Bunch!

Arizona has an interesting history with its Governors. Some are indicted, some impeached, some die, some resign. Jan Brewer is the latest in a line of Secretaries of State who first assumed the position after something happened to the elected governor. In Brewer's case, Janet Napolitano jumped ship to join the Obama administration. You can't really blame Janet! (as her campaign signs proclaimed her) for getting out at the first opportunity. It couldn't have been much fun battling the hillbilly factions over everything. And the prospect of more of the same probably had her sitting by the phone, desperately awaiting something--anything--to free her from the purgatory of being a Democratic governor in a state run exclusively by and for Republicans. To understand how she managed to get elected in the first place, you have to hearken back to a time when a now extinct species, the moderate Republican, roamed the earth. Enough of these gone but not forgotten creatures preferred Napolitano to her opponent, and they joined with the Dems and Independents to swing the election in her favor. Unfortunately, the legislature itself remained staunchly right wing Republican, so poor Janet could do nothing to help the state except veto their more outlandish proposals. Anything, even being the Homeland Security pinata, would be preferable to that, and so adios Janet!, hola Jan.

Now, Janet Napolitano was not a great, or even perhaps good governor, but compared to her successor she seems almost Olympian in retrospect. And that's because Jan Brewer is yet another career politician who doesn't think government provides any benefits that couldn't be better served by the private sector . Government apparently only exists to provide her with a job to pay for her scotch and face lifts. Oh, and to grease the wheels for her cronies in the private prison business. That's the one thing that government under Brewer can and must do: redirect the wealth of the people to a select few. By God, let's privatize everything! Sell the buildings we do the people's business in, and then turn around and lease them back? Why not! Gut AHCCCS? Can do! Overturn the 14th Amendment? You betcha! States' Rights Now, States' Rights Forever! Spending years being paid to do something you don't agree with or even fundamentally believe in might cause ethical issues for some people, but Jan has come through unscathed and untroubled. And because she was soooo tough on those damn illegals, who are, let us never forget, the cause of all our problems, the hillbillies chose her over the eminently more qualified Terry Goddard.

We've had ciphers in the Governor's chair before. Rose Mofford comes immediately to mind. But dear, sweet Rose wasn't surrounded by the venal and craven cabal that props up Brewer. Here's a clue: when you see the phrase "former adviser to Fife Symington" in someone's resume, keep one hand on your wallet and head for the nearest exit. Of course, the real power behind the throne is the de facto governor, the odious Russell Pearce, but I'm afraid that tales of the Grand Imperial Wizard of Mesa must wait for another time. Just typing his name has made me nauseous, and I must retire to the nearest bar to collect myself...

One last thought for today: Ayn Rand was a mediocre novelist and a truly awful playwright whose ideas only appeal to the most selfish amongst us, and the worst angels of our nature.

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