AZ Sen. Majority Leader McComish: we looked at [SB1062] clinically


For Arizona Republican state lawmakers, apparently hindsight is 20/20.

Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson and a GOP candidate for governor, reacted to the veto by calling for lawmakers to regroup and make another run at legislation similar to SB 1062. But that idea appears to be a non-starter.

“Noooo,” Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, said when asked about the prospect of resurrecting the bill. “I would urge leadership not to.”

[Majority Leader] McComish said he would not support legislation similar to SB 1062.

“If there was a 1062- esque vote, no — not for me, anyway,” he said. “Where we missed the boat was not understanding the perception of the bill. We looked at it clinically.” (emphasis mine)

Phoenix Republican Adam Driggs, who voted for SB 1062 but later rescinded his support, said, “I’m not going to do anything that would reinvigorate the turmoil — there’s no reason to go there.” Driggs said that the legislation was widely misunderstood and that lawmakers miscalculated how the public would react to “erroneous” perceptions about the measure.

Questions the corporate media should have asked must include “WHY did you not understand the perception of the bill? What exactly do you mean by “looked at it clinically?” and “Was there not citizen testimony before the bill was voted on?” That, of course would have caused a reasonable person to question whether this bill was anything other than a special interest payback to a major source of campaign contributions and entertainment expenditures.

I bring this up for several reasons. First, it has been increasingly and painfully obvious that corporate media has failed to fulfill its civic duty to hold those in positions of authority accountable to the voters who vest that authority in them.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

For more insights on the matter of corporate media (he simply refers to it as the “mass media”), the Twitter account for the late Media Theorist Marshall McLuhan is the place to go. For example,

The mass media systematically preaches tolerance for the corruption and sickness of the upper class.
— Marshall McLuhan (@Marshal_McLuhan) February 28, 2014

For anyone who may dare to disagree with McLuhan’s sentiment, I invite you to submit comments presenting sound arguments in rebuttal.

Perhaps Upton Sinclair’s insight from a century ago is relevant to our situation this week.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

However, another example of the Arizona Republic, tacitly if not explicitly, pushing the McLuhan’s notion is in a column by Laurie Roberts reflecting on the winners and losers in this week’s SB1062 debacle. She said, “Democrats: Scored because they voted unanimously against the bill. Singed because nobody noticed.”

Of course, if it were true that nobody noticed, the blame for it would rest on Roberts and every other local corporate media commentator/columnist. But the fact is that DESPITE long term, concerted efforts by the Republic and every other corporate media outlet in Arizona, people DID notice that the Democrats in the Arizona Legislature stood firm and united on this issue.

Now, WHY did McComish and the majority Republicans in both chambers not HEED what was as plain as the noses on their faces?

Several post-mortem examinations by “East Coast Media Elites” (including Gail Collins; and David Brooks, starting at 6:00 into the Newshour video clip) have blamed Arizona’s Clean Elections public campaign funding system for this week’s turmoil. Brooks’ “analysis” borrowed from Collins but he specifically cited this as a Tea Party vs Corporate elite question of who runs the Republican Party.

They could not get any farther from the truth than that. First, other than Al Melvin, there was no obvious overlap of the Tea Party with the real force behind SB1062, Cathi Herrod’s Center for Arizona Policy.

However, to understand the role of campaign finance in this week’s turmoil, I refer you to Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor emeritus of Social Psychology at Arizona State University. Cialdini’s research is the foundation for pretty much all that we know about the topic of Influence these days. In fact, his book by that title is the seminal treatise on the subject.

Fundamental to the psychology of persuasion is RECIPROCITY.

People do nice things for other people every day. What they might not realize, says Robert Cialdini, is that by doing so, they’re putting money in the bank.

The tendency among humans is that we want to give back to those who have given to us,” says Cialdini, the Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and Distinguished Professor of Marketing in the W. P. Carey School. Cialdini is the author of “Influence: Science and Practice” and a renowned expert on persuasion. […]

“This is not just universal to the influence professions I examined,” Cialdini says. “This is a tendency that is universal throughout all cultures of the world.” […]

Blending in among professional persuaders and their persuaders-in-training, Cialdini observed the remarkable skills of America’s leading influence professionals — salesmen and advertising reps, military recruiters and cult leaders, fundraisers and political lobbyists — in hopes of better understanding how the science of persuasion is put to practical use.

That tendency is called “reciprocity,” and according to Cialdini, it’s one of the six psychological principles that make persuasion work.

“This is not just universal to the influence professions that I examined,” Cialdini says. “This is a tendency that is universal throughout all of the cultures of the world.”

Cialdini has spent years studying persuasion. He’s conducted scores of tests in the controlled setting of a university, published numerous books and articles on the subject and helped push forward the idea that being able to influence others is not the result of charm or dumb luck, but is rather a precise skill — a skill rooted in science.

So that brings us to the relationship between Cathi Herrod’s advocacy group and the Republican dominated Arizona Legislature. Nobody disputes that Herrod’s organization authored SB1062.

Herrod is a registered lobbyist. As such, she is required to file reports on her spending for government officials. Her reports for the third and fourth quarters of 2013 show minimal activity.

Going back to when the legislature was in session, the second quarter of 2013, you find one non-itemized (beneficiary not named) expenditure for $467.01 and 37 individual expenditures, mainly for state lawmakers, ALL Republicans, for food and beverage entertainment. The least expensive was $85, the most expensive, $340 for Senate Education Committee chair, Kimberly Yee. House Education chair Doris Goodale was second highest at $255. By the way, Superintendent of Public Schools John Huppenthal is on that list too, coming in at $85.

Of course, other than hating on the LGBT community and fighting women’s health care choice, education is one of Herrod’s top issues. She’s big on homeschooling and, of course, enriching Steve Yarbrough by way of STOs (School Tuition Organizations, which divert taxpayer donations away from the General Fund and therefore away from public education).

Herrod’s first quarter 2013 report shows one non-itemized expenditure for $1414.12. Two other expenditures, each for $2411, benefited Steve Yarbrough and Nancy Barto. Barto chairs the Senate Health and Human Services committee, through which all of Herrod’s legislation aimed at women’s health care choice must pass. What on earth could Cathi Herrod have spent more than $2,000 each on Yarbrough and Barto to do? Why has the largest newspaper in Arizona not questioned either Herrod or Yarbrough or Barto about that?

This is just what they’ve reported. We know that Yarbrough has been personally enriched as a result of legislation favorable to CAP, to the tune of more than $700K just in one year. Who knows what other money may have changed hands.

Two of the three senators who apparently KNEW before they cast their vote on SB1062 and were the first three to speak up about their regret — Steve Pierce and Adam Driggs — are on multiple CAP lobbying reports.

The bottom line here folks is that any of the legislators who paid ANY attention KNEW what they were voting on before they voted. And they KNEW it was wrong. They were, however, caught in a net from which they could not escape until it was too late.

I wish the campy, cartoonish shenanigans we’ve seen lately from the Arizona Legislature were only fantasy.


And a BIG thanks to good friend Lisa Hoffman for the assist on research included in links above.


  1. Our local PBS station covered the SB1062 debacle and their “political correspondent” Conover basically repeated the Repub talking points word for word. It was just an innocuous bill until the homosexual community got upset.

    I stopped donating to our local public radio and tv when I realized that they really really don’t like any mention of the gay…

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