by David Safier
Here's another voice in the growing intra-party Republican battles that've been heating up in Arizona and across the country. Rich Crandall, who left his AZ Senate seat to lead Wyoming's Department of Education, gave the Republic an interview. Shorter Crandall: More education funding, good; Far right wing Republicans, idiots.
Ed Supe John Huppenthal recently changed his tune, calling for more funding for education after fighting funding hikes when he was a senator. An analogy would be a doctrinaire Republican who lost his high income job and finds himself advocating for a raise in the minimum wage. "Oh, I get it. Now that I can't pay the bills, I see the light. Money matters." Crandall, who looks moderate in comparison to the crazies in his party, agrees.
Q: What does Arizona need to do to improve its education results?
A: State Superintendent John Huppenthal really summed this up well last month when he talked about school funding in Arizona. A 2 percent inflation adjustment each year for the next 10 years will not get the job done. If Arizona is going to crack the top 10, it will take significant strategic investments of resources.
Next, Crandall goes after Republicans who make him look moderate. He calls himself "a part of the Republican Senate crowd that worked to solve problems," as opposed to "critics who simply sit on the sidelines throwing stones." When asked about the future of the AZ Republican party, he goes after the crazies at LD meetings. Too bad he left out the crazies he served with in the Senate, but nevermind.
"Spend some time at my legislative-district meetings and then answer this question. Rarely are practical solutions to complex problems discussed.
"Instead you see the same 40 angry people trashing Gov. (Jan) Brewer and her “RINO” (Republican in name only) friends for trying to find long-term solutions that came about as a result of compromise.
"Matthew Benson, the governor’s former spokesman, summed it up well: “They continue to marginalize themselves. They won’t be happy until you can fit the Arizona Republican Party into a phone booth.”
"Republicans will still dominate for the next four years, but after that, who knows?"
Sounds like Crandall is predicting a purpling of the state he'll be watching from his perch in Wyoming. If 5 percent of Arizona's voters come to their senses, and they're joined by another 5 percent of potential voters who usually sit out elections, he may be correct.