GOP’s Gimmicks-R-Us Shop recycles a bad idea

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Back in 2006, Barry Goldwater's nephew, Don Goldwater, ran for governor of Arizona. Don had a rather extreme solution to illegal immigration. Don Goldwater proposed building a "tent city" where undocumented immigrants would be indentured "as labor in the construction of a wall [along the border] and to clean the areas of the Arizona desert that they're polluting." Latinos Lean Left: Bringing Down the GOP's Big Tent | The Nation (December 18, 2006). How'd that work out for you Governor Goldwater, er… never mind.

Dean Martin

The GOP's Gimmicks-R-Us Shop has recycled this bad idea in 2010, this time for GOP gubernatorial candidate Dean Martin. Last week, Martin unveiled a multi-pronged border security plan that calls for the immediate deployment of 3,000 troops to the Arizona-Mexico border, and a new partnership with Sheriff Joe Arpaio to house illegal immigrants in "tent city" style jails. Dean Martin's border plan includes statewide tent city for migrants:

Martin said if elected, his first action as governor would be signing an executive order to deploy troops to the Arizona border at state expense — despite the state's ongoing budget woes. He proposes to pay for the $50 to $60 million per year cost by refinancing the state's debt and by utilizing existing prison space — rather than building new prisons.

Part of that plan involves working with Arpaio to establish a "statewide" tent-city style jail system, specifically designed to house illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes at low cost. "There is no reason the state of Arizona should be building comfy new prisons for those who are violating our laws," Martin said.

Other components of Martin's effort include the completion of a border fence, to be funded both through private citizen donations and state monies, and the creation of a rancher relief fund that would compensate Arizona ranchers and border property owners for damages they incur when "illegal aliens and smugglers cross their property."

He said the funds for that would come from property seizures generated by Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) cases.

First, I find it disturbing that every Republican politician in this state pays homage to a demagogue like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man who is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and a grand jury in Maricopa County for engaging in political witchhunts against his political opponents. There are separate investigations into his misuse of county funds, and for unlawful racial profiling – you know, that unlawful practice Republicans claim would never occur in Arizona – associated with Arpaio's immigrant sweeps. This is not the kind of person with whom smart politicians should associate. I guarantee that if Arpaio is indicted, all of these politicians will soon be saying "Joe who? Never met the guy."

The second disturbing thing here is that our current State Treasurer is proposing yet another Republican "something for nothing" idea. "We can do all this and it won't cost you one red cent more in taxes." When are damn fool voters going to stop falling for this GOP shell game?

I am curious to know how "Governor Martin" arrived at 3,000 new border troops as the appropriate number. How does this half-measure square with the Kyl-McCain "10 Point Plan" which calls for 6,000 new border troops? I can hear it now, "Dean Martin is soft on the border!" Republican politicians love to play the "escalation game," more is never enough.

I am disappointed in the news media coverage of this press conference. Maybe I missed it, but I do not believe one reporter asked Dean Martin about recycling Don Goldwater's plan from 2006. Now, its true Martin did not expressly say to build a tent city along the border and indenture undocumented immigrants to build the border wall and police the border for garbage at prisoner wages. But Joe Arpaio makes his prisoners work, even for their meals. The Don Goldwater plan is understood with a wink and a nod. Maybe a reporter will ask this question during the Citizens Clean Elections debate this week.

Finally, I am curious to know how Dean Martin proposes to resolve jurisdictional issues. Joe Arpaio is the Sheriff of Maricopa County, not the state of Arizona. I know residents of Maricopa County always confuse the two. It's a safe bet that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff with the longest expanse of international border with Mexico, is not going to permit Joe Arpaio to run tent cities within his jurisdiction. And there are other county sheriffs in Arizona who feel the same way.

— With my apologies to the real Dean Martin, who was a decent guy. This Dean Martin, who is playing off the name with his slogan "familiar name, new voice," (get it?) is offensive.

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