Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) January 11, 2016
In an otherwise unremarkable (for a conservative Republican governor in the pocket of Koch Industries) State of the State speech on Monday, Governor Doug Ducey said a few remarkable things. One of which was a (good, and long overdue) proposal to create a task force to address thousands of untested rape kits in Maricopa County. He has assigned Sen. Katie Hobbs, a long-time advocate for violence victims and children, to it. So far so good. (In an interesting side note, lobbyist Chris Herstam pointed out on KJZZ to host Steve Goldstein after the speech that the Governor’s announcement appeared to be a dig at Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was seated in the audience and whose office had failed to follow up on rape investigations. If you recall, Arpaio endorsed Ducey over several challengers eager for his blessing in the 2014 primary election.)
But then he said this other thing that sent ripples through social media. He announced that he had directed the state’s Department of Economic Security to start publishing the names and photos of “deadbeat dads” online. Whatever one thinks of the ethics and effectiveness of such public shaming campaigns, the likelihood of this one producing an appreciable stream of revenue to struggling single mothers is probably low.
The whole thing has the feel of being a focus-grouped strategy to blunt the charge that Ducey has been anti-woman, with his attacks on Planned Parenthood and savage cuts to aid to poor families. How can you say Doug Ducey hates women when he’s going after rapists and (presumably male) child support scofflaws? It’s a clever ploy, I’ll give him that much, but shaming men who are behind on child support on Twitter is a (very) cheap substitute for real help for struggling Arizonans.