By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
My last post was all about 2013; this one is all about 2014.
It's also all about satire, or at least I hope it is. However, given the frequent bizarreness of politics in Arizona, anything could happen…
Inspiration, and format, shamelessly stolen "gratefully borrowed" from Eli at Deep Thought.
Note: All of the below is satire. I hope.
– With great fanfare, the Arizona Legislature convenes its 2014 session. Among the promises made during the opening day festivities: that the lege will spend less time attacking public employee unions and education and more time on bringing jobs to Arizona.
The first proposal considered by the lege is a bill from State Senator Al "Slave Labor" Melvin that would have prisoners from the state's correctional system "volunteer" to work for political campaigns of statewide candidates who are former members of the Merchant Marine.
Senate President Andy Biggs tries to show that the 2014 Arizona Legislature is a "kinder, gentler" lege, run by "compassionate conservatives".
He assigns Melvin's bill to every Senate committee that Melvin isn't on. Melvin gets the message…sort of.
He abandons the measure, but promises to keep working on the issue.
– In late January, after a meeting between him, the finance director of his faltering gubernatorial campaign and a lobbyist for a manufacturer of body armor, Melvin proposes that the state's prisoners be put to work for a private contractor, manufacturing body armor for the state's law enforcement officers.
– In other news, State Rep. Carl Seel submits a resolution expelling all of the members who voted for Medicaid restoration in 2013. In an effort to gain Democratic votes, he offers to amend the measure to only include the Republicans who supported Medicaid.
It doesn't work.
– Melvin's proposal sails through the lege on a party-line vote and is immediately signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer. Well, "immediately" after her "advisers" meet with the same lobbyist.
– State Rep. Adam Kwasman offers an "reverse secession" proposal, that would expel the legislative districts represented by Republicans who voted for Medicaid expansion from the state of Arizona.
The measure fails when the members of Arizona's Congressional delegation point out that such a scheme would result in fewer seats in Congress for Arizona, fewer seats for state legislators to aspire to.
– Quality assurance tests on the first sets of body armor produced under Melvin's proposal indicate that maaaayyybe someone didn't think through the ramifications of having the state's convicts supply body armor for the state's police officers.
The title of the report of the testing: "Paper Mache".
After production is stopped, and at the suggestion of Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, the few complete sets of body armor are given as gifts to the heads of each public employee union in the state.
– State Rep. Bob Thorpe introduces a striker that requires all public school systems to supply body armor to their students. When it is pointed out that school budgets won't be able to afford both body armor and books, Thorpe reminisces "my Bible and my slate were good enough when I was a child, they're good enough for today's children".
Thorpe's measure passed the lege on a party-line vote and is immediately signed by the Governor, whereupon the state and the lege are sued by nearly every parent in Arizona.
– A court enjoins the new school body armor law, so the lege, desperate to be seen as doing *something* about the rash of school shootings in the US, cites the danger…to legislators…and bans school groups from visiting the state capitol.
– Thorpe tries to insert language into a budget reconciliation bill that would make it a Class 6 felony to be shot while not wearing body armor. The effort fails when someone tries to amend the language to exempt legislators.
– The lege starts wrangling over the budget, and fears rise that the session may go on into June. Then someone reminds them that this is an election year and that they need to get to campaigning. With that, a budget is proposed on Monday, April 21 and passed by both chambers of the lege on Thursday, April 24. The session wraps up in the wee hours of Friday, April 25.
– Disheartened by the occasional sanity exhibited by their candidates for governor, a delegation from the "bay at the moon" caucus of the AZGOP journeys to Toronto to recruit the mayor, Rob Ford, for the race. The delegation is made up of former state senators Lori Klein, Ron Gould, and Frank Antenori. Ford considers the proposal, and then looks the trio straight in the eye and informs them that he may be utterly crack-addled but still isn't stupid enough to go for a job where he would have to deal with people like them on a daily basis.
On their way back into the US, they are stopped at the border and barred from reentering the US. The border agent read some of the proposals submitted by the threesome during their times in the lege and decided they must have been on drugs. And based on their visit to Ford, still are.
They're thoroughly searched, even being subjected to MRIs, colonoscopies, and brain scans. Nothing is found, except by the colonoscopies. However, even those show nothing unexpected, just a volume of material that is almost unprecedented in the annals of human biology, and they are released.
– Governor Jan Brewer finally succumbs to massive outside pressure and sends a letter to CPS head Clarence Carter requesting his resignation.
When the letter reaches the offices of CPS, it is ignored.
– Al Melvin's campaign for governor ends when it turns out that his nominating petitions were circulated by the same Abraham Lincoln he frequently quoted during the campaign.
A Lincoln that didn't exist.
All of the petitions that were signed on the back by "Honest Abe Lincoln" are thrown out, taking Melvin's signature quantity below the threshold required.
– At a debate involving the Republican candidates in CD1, there's a little "I'm more conservative than thou" tit-for-tat.
Candidate Andy Tobin proposes requiring lifetime drug testing for welfare recipients, even when they no longer receive public benefits. Fellow candidate Adam Kwasman goes for the Grover Norquist endorsement and counters by proposing that welfare recipients be decapitated. A third candidate, Gary Kiehne, urges compromise – decapitation for welfare recipients, and lifetime drug testing for the headsmen.
Onlookers start muttering about drug testing debate participants.
– The Cardinals open training camp with a revamped team, The Bidwills, following the example of the University of Arizona marching band, rent the defense of the Northwestern State (LA) football team. And rent the UA marching band to serve as the offense.
– News breaks that President Barack Obama has found a cure for cancer.
– The Arizona Legislature convenes in a special session to pass a resolution in support of…cancer.
– GOP operatives sue to bar people who would be disenfranchised by HB2305 from voting on the measure in November, saying that they have a conflict of interest.
The case is promptly heard by the Arizona Supreme Court, who dismiss the lawsuit with a brief opinion.
Loosely translated from the Latin: "Thanks for a laugh, but you are morons." (It sounded more profound and professional in Latin, hence the use of Latin in the opinion)
– The results from the primary election late in the month indicate that Republican voters have ceded some of the November races:
Tom Horne wins the nomination for Attorney General, setting up a rematch of the 2010 race against Felecia Rotellini.
Ev Mecham is written in by a majority of Republican voters in the race for the nomination for governor. They are expressing their disappointment over the failure of Al Melvin to make it on to the ballot.
In CD1, "none of the above" is the choice of R voters to face incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick.
– After a televised gubernatorial debate, local pundits are turned off by Democrat Fred Duval's use of complete sentences and words with more than two syllables and declare the corpse of Ev Mecham to be the victor.
They deem the silent Mecham's performance to be "Brewer-like".
– Led by the R members of Arizona's Congressional delegation, the US House tries to implement a limited government shutdown that only covers the delivery of early ballots by the US Postal Service.
The scheme falls apart when it is pointed out that the Postal Service isn't actually subsidized by the federal government and can't be arbitrarily shut down for partisan gain.
The schemers pledge to keep trying.
– The election results show that while the Republicans will retain their majorities in both the Arizona legislature and the US House of Representatives, those majorities will be smaller.
The day after the election, the Republicans respond to the news by sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "LALALALALA – I can't hear you – LALALALA!!", over and over.
The day after the day after, most of the Republicans are admitted to hospitals to have surgery to dislodge their fingers from their ears.
– The Cardinals go winless, and by the end of the season, fanless. However, the Bidwills call the season a success because they lowered the team's personnel costs to near zero.
– The new GOP caucuses in both the state senate and the state house of representatives announce their mass resignation, citing the fact that the voters of Arizona overturned HB2305 in November.
The tag line of their resignation letter – "Partisan politics isn't much fun when you can't disenfranchise the people who won't vote for you".
– Clarence Carter finally resigns, but only to take a new job in a new agency – Arizona's Department of Fetal Protective Services. He is recommended for the job by Cathi Herrod and Trent Franks.