by Pamela Powers Hannley
The party faithful of the Arizona Democratic and Republican Parties gathered on Saturday, January 25, 2014 in Maricopa County for their respective State Committee Meetings. State law requires official political parties to meet quarterly. Precinct committee people, state and county party leaders, elected officials, and candidates gather to discuss strategy, issues, money, and candidates.
The outcomes of those two meetings show the STARK differences between Arizona's two major political parties. (Even where the two parties met shows their ideological differences. Democrats met in a public high school; Republicans met in a church.)
At the Arizona Democratic Party's (ADP) State Committee Meeting, the ADP continued to show its progressive side, unanimously endorsing a resolution against fracking. With only two dissenting votes, ADP also endorsed a resolution supporting the marijuana legalization initiative, Safer Arizona, which was endorsed by ADP's Progressive Caucus at the November 2013 State Committee Meeting. (BTW, if you support legalization, help them out by signing and circulating petitions and/or donating money.)
A resolution barring the ADP from accepting funds from members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was endorsed by the ADP's progressive caucus on Saturday, as was the fracking resolution. When proposed to the entire State Committee, it was tabled.
Many Democrats participated in a rousing floor debate with strong opinions both for and against ALEC money. The anti-ALEC contingent argued that with its anti-public education, anti-union, anti-choice, anti-Obamacare, pro-privatization stances, ALEC does not share the values of the Democratic Party; ALEC funds are tainted fund that come with strings attached. People in favor of taking ALEC money argued for accepting any other money that comes the party's way (because ADP needs the cash); others argued that the resolution was not enforceable. A few State Committee members claimed that there are Dem-leaning "ALEC infiltrators" who want a "seat at the table" and consequently joined ALEC just to see what they're up to; they claimed that those Dems would be "hurt" by this measure. ALEC infiltrators– seriously?
Meanwhile, on the other side of Maricopa County, the Arizona Republican Party– lead by dark money king Robert Graham and disgraced/recalled former Arizona State Senate President Russell "SB1070" Pearce– continued their "attack on democracy" by passing resolutions: to abolish the 17th Amendment (direct election of US Senators by voters); to institute caucuses to choose general election candidates (instead of having primary elections in which pesky independents are allow to vote); to support Joe Arpaio, Ted Cruz, and other Teapublicans; to nullify federal law in Arizona (yes, you read that correctly); to censure long-time Republican Senator John McCain for being to liberal; and much more. Tip of the hat to the AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona for a comprehensive list of the "bat shit crazy" resolutions that Arizona Republicans endorse on Saturday.
On Saturday, the Arizona GOP Winter State Committee Meeting passed a resolution to repeal the 17th Amendment, you know, the one that provides for a popular vote to elect U.S. Senators. Disgraced recalled former Senate President Russell Pearce, who still serves as First Vice Chair of the Arizona Republican Party, is the resolution author. As Steve Lemons of the Phoenix New Times commented, "You know, back when slavery was legal and women did not have the right to vote. Or as some Rs call it, "the good ol' days.""Arizona Republicans Seek to Abolish the 17th Amendment, Maybe Censure John McCain (Again) w/Update.
There was also a "Resolution Urging The Institution of Caucuses to Nominate Candidates for General Elections," because "Republicans should nominate Republicans without the threat of outside interference." In other words, the Arizona GOP is opposed to Arizona's semi-closed primaries in which registered independents are allowed to vote. They want a caucus where only the GOP crazy base is allowed to vote to preserve the purity and sanctity of the "precious bodily fluids" of the Arizona GOP. In fact, the resolution calls for an amendment to the Arizona Constitution "to allow parties to nominate candidates for each partisan office by caucus."
In other words, no primary elections, and presumably the end of nonpartisan elections, and you registered independent/no party preference voters can all go to hell! I would recommend to all registered independent/no party preference voters that you send the Arizona GOP the same message this fall.
These anti-democratic measures are logically interconnected. You see, by suppressing the vote of "those people" who tend to vote for Democratic candidates, the Arizona GOP can ensure that only the white right people vote. Especially in their party primaries by caucus. And by controlling the state legislature (it has been in GOP control since the election of 1966),they can gerrymander congressional and legislative districts to ensure GOP control in perpetuity, if not for that pesky voter-enacted AIRC problem. Finally, if they repeal the 17th Amendment, it will be the Arizona GOP state legislature in perpetuity that decides who represents Arizonans in the U.S. Senate, not the voters of Arizona. No Democrat need ever concern him or herself with the U.S. Senate. The Arizona GOP is anti-democratic and authoritarian.
Some of the other resolutions on the agenda for the Arizona GOP Winter State Committee Meeting included:
Resolution Against "Amnesty." This anti-immigrant resolution appears to be poor timing, considering thatHouse Republicans to Offer Broad Immigration Plan this week, although early reports are that the House GOP plan will provide for some "legal status" (i.e., a permanent underclass on noncitizens) but no pathway to citizenship.
Resolution Supporting Joe Arpaio. Because anti-immigrant hysteria trumps Russel Pearce's good buddy costing the taxpayers of Maricopa County millions of dollars in court settlements, attorneys fees and costs. And that political witchhunt thing he engaged in with disbarred and disgraced former Maricopa County Attorney "Saint" Andrew Thomas? Pffft, no big deal.
Resolution Supporting U.S. Seantors Ted Cruz and Mike Lee And Those Who Stand With Them. This is support for the Tea-Publican economic terrorism of taking the government hostage and shutting down the government last October over the extortionary demand to "defund ObamaCare" or we will default on the U.S. debt and destroy the full faith and credit of the U.S. and the world's financial system and economy. By the way, the bill to fund the government passed on a 285-144 vote in the House, with 87 Republicans in favor. The bill passed the Senate on an 81-18 vote, with 27 Republicans in favor — Including John McCain and Jeff Flake.
Tenth Amendment Resolution. This is a Neo-Confederate Tenth Amendment Center measure for "sovereignty" under the Tenth Amednment — and "nullification" of federal regulations in Arizona. It's as if these people never heard of the American Civil War and the post-war amendments to the Constitution, including the 14th Amendment. I know they all feign ignorance about the federal Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. And you wonder where all those Tenther "states' rights" bills come from.
Which makes this next resolution so damn ROTFLMA hilarious!
Resolution Supporting United States History Education. I wholeheartedly agree! But what they, of course, are talking about is revisionist history, which is a cottage industry of the conservative media entertainment complex. It is Tea-Publicans who are in desperate need of remedial American history education.
Resolution in Support of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Riiight. This is the same measure that nearly bankrupted the state of Colorado several years ago and voters had to undo their foolish action by suspending TABOR just a few years later. How do you spell "fiscally reckless and irresponsible": TABOR.
So while the media villagers all fixate today on the Arizona GOP censures McCain for ‘disastrous’ record, because the media villagers are John McCain's base, they are failing to report the far more important story here of just how batshit insane the Arizona GOP crazy base has become. They are anti-government and anti-democratic. This is not your father's GOP. This is a radical extremist fringe organization that is a threat to popularly elected democratic government.
As the AZBlueMeanie pointed out the national and statewide media have been focusing on the Arizona GOP's censure of McCain. The real news lies their anti-democratic, secessionist resolutions.
OK, people, 2014 is an election year. Do you want a party that thinks they know best and wants to suppress voting— or just take it away? Or do you want a party who fights for democracy and workers? Just sayin'…
Related articles and video from past State Committee Meetings:
Arizona Democratic Party Shows Its Progressive Side at State Committee Meeting (Nov 2013)
AZ Democratic Party Mobilizes Citizens' Veto Against HB3505 (video, July 2013)
Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema on Bipartisanship (video, April 2013)
Arizona Senator Steve Farley on Medicaid Expansion & the 2013 Legislative Session (video, April 2013)
Pima Dems Elect Jorgenson, Party Slate by Acclamation at Reorg Meeting (Jan 2013)
AZ Dem Reorganization Meeting: Not a Good Day for Incumbents (Jan 2013)
Andrei Cherny's Election to Arizona Democratic Party Chair: The Rest of the Story (Jan 2011)