by Michael Bryan
I suspect that the Arizona GOP will pull a Jonestown now that Janet has handed them the keys to the campsite. With no effective institutional opposition from Democrats to be had, there is a danger that their most ideologically intoxicated members will convince the rest to drink the Kool-aid, herding their elected officials into the same sort of suicide pact that has decimated the national GOP over the past several years. The only question in my mind is how many innocents will they take with them?
This year's budget is one example of the the GOP's unhealthy isolation out in the jungle where they can only hear their own leaders' ranting and the threatening distant drums of hostile tribes. This budget will prove extremely unpopular when its draconian cuts start affecting our schools, universities, and health case system.
The next budget might just finish the GOP majority in Arizona for a generation if the whispers about the extent of the cuts prove accurate. Faced with crisis, the GOP seems determined to give us a well-planned disaster.
Such short-sighted and cold-hearted management of the public fisc is the very sad and hard reality of GOP dominion over our politics, and it is going to harm Arizona families and the Arizona economy both immediately and over the long term.
The only bright spot is that perhaps Arizona's voters will finally get a straight-up, no bullshit look at what the Arizona GOP really stands for. I have little doubt that given such an unambigous track-record to judge, Arizonans will finally choose to entrust the Democratic Party with leadership of the State, just as they have done with the Federal government.
But there is also a humorous aspect of the GOP's new-found freedom to pass whatever crazy shit occurs to them.
Take for instance HCR 2024. It's a fun little resolution that sticks it to the big, bad Federal government based in the sort of state nullification claim discredited around the time of the Civil War. This level of Constitutional scholarship is on par with those internet spams claiming that the income tax is unconstitutional. Somebody ate the wrong weed or bug out there in the jungle to come up with this scheme.
Your elected GOP lawmakers apparently think it worth the State Legislature's time to reclaim our sovereignty under the 10th Amendment by declaring "[t]hat all compulsory
federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or
criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose
federal funding be prohibited or repealed."
In other words, pretty much the entire GOP House caucus is claiming that things like the Civil Rights Act, The Federal Highway Act (and about every transportation bill passed by Congress since the 1950s), the Help America Vote Act, and, of course, No Child Left Behind, not to mention Medicare and Medicaid, are unconstitutional.
Of course, they haven't whipped themselves into such a psychotic state that they are actually proposing the state government do anything effective about this trampling of Arizona's 10th Amendment rights, other than transmit the resolution requesting the Feds to cease and desist forthwith. Good luck with that, guys and gals.
Next thing you know they'll be barricading themselves in the capital buildings and shooting any Federals that come calling.
It's nice to see that at least we are getting some much-needed comic relief from our legislator's salaries. However, it is disapointing to see the names of some GOP legislators on the sponsor list whom I had hoped would use their majority and compliant Governor legislating for a stronger Arizona (albeit with a different view of the public good than my own), and less time merely feeding red meat to the most anti-statist of the GOP's base.