Laurie Roberts goes there: Arizona governor is a ‘dictator’


imussol001p1Whoa! The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts has decided that the honeymoon is over and goes there — comparing Governor Doug Ducey, the man hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona (h/t Charles Piece), to a “dictator” for his preference for secretive government.

Given his unfortunate (fortuitous?) name, the obvious choice is to borrow Benito Mussolini’s Il Duce [eel doo-chey; “the leader”] for Ducey’s dictator name. Now if the cartoonists will please follow up on this.

Laurie Roberts writes, Is Doug Ducey a governor or a dictator?:

Let’s see, Gov. Doug Ducey got elected with the help of dark money and he’s surrounded himself with dark-money supporters, some of whom are now operating as his political muscle.

He pushed his budget through the Legislature like a bullet train and has announced that he doesn’t need legislation to begin work on his $24 million plan to help private charter-school operators expand their businesses.

Now that the time for public hearings has passed, he suddenly wants to dissolve the Department of Weights at Measures. And oh yeah, he wants Republican legislators, still in full-blown honeymoon thrall, to give him a secret police force.

I fully expect Ducey to come out any day now wearing a general’s uniform with a lot of braid and shiny medals. [See above]

All around the Capitol, people are whispering and wondering what the heck is going on with Ducey and his top advisors.

“Are they trying to shut the public out of this stuff?” one Republican legislator privately wondered. “It is a trend I am concerned with… All of these crazy harebrained ideas that have come out of nowhere haven’t come out of nowhere. They’re strategic things that the other far-right conservative governors that have presidential aspirations have done elsewhere.”

The generalissimo‘s staff says there’s nothing nefarious afoot.

“I think we’re getting things done and we’re getting things done in the way the governor said he would, which is at the speed of business,” Ducey’s spokesman Daniel Scarpinato told me.

Of course, the problem with that is that business is generally conducted behind closed doors and what the head guy says, goes.

Kind of like a banana republic.

Where opposition is immediately stomped out.

When Mesa Superintendent Michael Cowan spoke out against Ducey’s plan to cut school funding in a February robocall to parents, a dark-money group that invested $1.5 million into getting Ducey elected struck back hard. Sean Noble’s American Encore countered with its own robocall and several blogs over several weeks, attacking the guy and claiming that two-thirds of his district’s money is spent outside the classroom.

Ms. Roberts gets the Banana Republic analogy correct:

‘Banana republic’ is a political science term for a politically unstable country, whose economy is largely dependent on exporting a limited-resource product, e.g. bananas. It typically has stratified social classes, including a large, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy of business, political, and military elites. This politico-economic oligarchy controls the primary-sector productions to exploit the country’s economy.

You will recall that Sean Noble is the bag man for the “Kochtopus” dark money groups who launder their anonymous campaign donations through his American Encore. During the budget negotiations, the “Kochtopus” groups “the Goldwater Institute, Arizona Free Enterprise Club and National Federation of Independent Business were the only organizations to register in favor of the proposed budget.” Some in GOP waver on state’s budget plans. Scott Mussi, the “Kochtopus” operative from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, recently penned this op-ed in The Republic, Actually, Arizona passed a great budget.

Remember, Il Duce Ducey is the man hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, now to be known as the Banana Republic of “Kochtopia.”

Earlier this month, the budget, a set of 13 bills worked out between Ducey and legislative leaders, was introduced on a Wednesday night and went to the floor of the Senate and House at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night, after Republican holdouts were hauled up to the governor’s office with a plea (command?) to “be reasonable.”

By 8:30 a.m., on a Saturday morning, the budget – with cuts to schools, to universities, to hospitals, to the poor — was the law of the land, so to speak. Or of the kingdom.

The budget included $24 million for Ducey’s plan to guarantee loans so that charter school businesses can expand their operations. Ducey has acknowledged that his Arizona Public School Achievement District will need additional legislative approval, just not until next year.

Despite that, he plans to get started as soon as the Joint Legislative Budget Committee vets the funding.

Speaking of full-speed ahead, Ducey last week popped out a surprise proposal to break up the Department of Weights and Measures. That’s the agency that ensures that a gallon of gas is really a gallon of gas and that the pound of hamburger you pay for really is a pound. You don’t hear much about the agency because it does a decent job.

On Wednesday, Ducey proposed eliminating Weights and Measures and farming out its duties to other state agencies. By Thursday, the bill had already had the one and only public hearing it’ll get.

While he was busy killing off Weights and Measures, Ducey was also creating his own secret police force. The new Inspector General’s Office, we are told, will keep an eye out for fraud and waste.

You know, like the Attorney General’s Office does?

Under Ducey’s plan, the new IG would be “a law enforcement agency that confers all investigative powers and privileges appurtenant to a law enforcement agency under state law.”

Inspectors will carry badges, have subpoena power and report directly to the governor. And oh yeah, as proposed, their work will be confidential.

“A political appointee who reports to politician boss & has police powers to conduct secret investigations,” tweeted Republican Scott Smith, who ran for governor last year. “What could possibly go wrong?”

Within 24 hours, Ducey’s IG plan cleared the only public hearing it’ll get en route to final passage this week.

* * *

To quote from that well-known authority on all things, Wikipedia: “Secret police forces are accountable only to the executive branch of the government, sometimes only to a dictator.”

Ms. Roberts is correct. Will Il Duce’s Ducey’s secret police be wearing fine Italian-made Blackshirts?

The “Kochtopus” believes in the neo-feudalism model of Corporatism (i.e., a “corporatocracy”), which does not differ substantially from the corporatism of Italian Fascism:

In Italy from 1922 until 1943, corporatism became influential amongst Italian nationalists led by Benito Mussolini. The Charter of Carnaro gained much popularity as the prototype of a “corporative state,” having displayed much within its tenets as a guild system combining the concepts of autonomy and authority in a special synthesis. Alfredo Rocco spoke of a corporative state and declared corporatist ideology in detail. Rocco would later become a member of the Italian Fascist regime Fascismo.

Italian Fascism involved a corporatist political system in which economy was collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at the national level. This non-elected form of state officializing of every interest into the state was professed to reduce the marginalization of singular interests (as would allegedly happen by the unilateral end condition inherent in the democratic voting process). Corporatism would instead better recognize or “incorporate” every divergent interest into the state organically, according to its supporters, thus being the inspiration for their use of the term totalitarian, perceivable to them as not meaning a coercive system but described distinctly as without coercion in the 1932 Doctrine of Fascism[.]

You can’t make this stuff up. “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Where were these reporters, Ms. Roberts and others, and the Arizona Republic DURING the election? They were falling all over themselves to tell us what a wonderful guy Ducey was, the Editorial board endorsed him over Democratic candidate Fred Duval, who I will add was run over by the Kovh brothers bus while Ducey lied about what Fred would do to students, and over a reasonable moderate within the Republican Party, Scott Smith. The only response that doesn’t involve an expletive is “So NOW you tell me?!” With as much sarcasm as can possibly be contained in one phrase.

  2. There in lies the problem of giving to someone who has a business background some sort of credibility in running a government. Business does not equal government, it never has. They are two different entities entirely. There are a plethora of reasons to point out here but the one that people need to understand is this: A business is run by a CEO and board who only elect what they want while the CEO does what he wants. Damn the employees as they do not have a say. A government is run by the PEOPLE and it is the PEOPLE who should always have a say and be fully enlightened of their government’s/politician’s actions. Those who feel as if the process of government is too cumbersome or slow and wish to usurp the process of our democracy risk losing our democracy completely.

  3. If Obama did this stuff they would scream bloody murder about his dictatorship. But Dick Cheney is OK with this under the “unitary executive” theory. Il Douchey should just call himself the “unitary executive”. I don’t need no stink in’ public to bother me. I don’t need no stink in’ legislature to question me!

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