By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
By now, most people who were paying attention at all are aware that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed the infamous SB1062, a proposal to provide legal immunity for discrimination and other bad behavior if the person behaving badly could cite a religious justification.
At her announcement, she cited reasons for her veto such as the lack of an actual problem in AZ that the bill would address. She did not state that she believes that discriminating against the LGBT community is wrong.
Her veto letter is here.
The response from the primary force behind the bill, Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy, is here. Summary for people who are too busy to read it – “Waaaahhhhhh!”
Some people have criticized the governor for not citing a more “moral” reason for her veto, but my take tacks toward the pragmatic –
Doing good works for bad reasons is still doing good works.
A few random thoughts on the mess:
…Did the lege pass this bill because they were sick of Florida get most of the “crazy” publicity because of its unwillingness to convict armed white guys for murdering unarmed black teenagers?
…My guess is that the lesson isn’t completely learned yet, but it looks as if more people are beginning to realize that the Civics class depiction of the Arizona legislature (“two chambers, the House and the Senate, working for the betterment of all Arizonans“) isn’t reality.
The reality is that the two chambers of the legislature are the Goldwater Institute and the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy, and the “betterment of all Arizonans” is not the priority of either organization.
…Whither Ken Bennett? The Arizona Secretary of state is running for governor. With Jan Brewer out of town from last Thursday until Tuesday, he was acting governor until she returned.
SB1062 was officially sent to the governor’s office on Monday and Brewer didn’t return to AZ until Tuesday, giving him roughly 18 – 20 hours to look like a governor.
He didn’t do that.
Of course, it could have been worse – The bill passed on Thursday, but Senate President Andy Biggs held off sending the bill over to the Governor’s office until Monday. If Biggs had sent it over on Thursday, Bennett would have spent the weekend squirming as the focus of national attention.
Instead, he got to spend the weekend out of the spotlight.
…On the other hand, at least he took a position (opposed; a weak opposition to be sure, but opposition just the same).
Then there was Doug Ducey, AZ state treasurer and candidate for governor, who tried to be on both sides of the issue.
From his statement on SB1062:
First up – “…if I were governor, that I would veto SB 1062.”
Then – “”The religious liberty issues that SB 1062 attempts to address are legitimate ones…”
Note to Ducey (who probably isn’t going to read this, but it’s worth a shot anyway):
A few people will never vote for a Republican.
A few people will never vote for a Democrat.
Most people will never vote for a weasel.
…On the other hand, better a live weasel than a dead duck.
State Sen. Al Melvin, yet another candidate for governor and an unabashed supporter of SB1062, gave to CNN what is possibly the worst interview ever given by an Arizona politico.
The “highlight” of the interview came when Melvin pronounced from on high that there is no discrimination of any sort in Arizona.
And that was the high point; if you watch the video (at the link), pop the popcorn first. And put your feet up.
Caveat: I may use the term “dead duck” to describe Melvin’s candidacy, but I’m fully cognizant of the fact that this state once elected Ev Mecham; in other words, anything could happen.
…While Arizona’s image was deeply injured (again!) by the action of the legislature, those harmed the worst may be state senators Adam Driggs, Steve Pierce, and Bob Worsley. They have the worst of both worlds –
They voted for the measure originally, ticking off most of civil society.
Then they changed their minds and urged the governor to veto the bill, ticking off most of their base.
…There are 53 Republican members of the legislature. All but three, state reps. Heather Carter, Kate Brophy McGee, and Ethan Orr, voted for the bill.
Two, Carter and Brophy McGee, are…well…not “moderate” per se, but are known as two of a vanishing breed of R office holder, the ones who are occasionally struck by fits of sanity. Orr is known as an R who won a seat in a D-leaning district and has been triangulating his ass off ever since.
Carter and Brophy McGee have primary opposition, and did even before the vote. Orr doesn’t have a primary opponent as of the writing, and probably won’t get one.
…I’m not prepared to pronounce this one “over” yet, not with the lege still in session and striker season looming, but I expect that this one won’t be back until next year.
One way to make sure that it doesn’t return is to make sure that many of the bill’s legislative supporters don’t return next year.
In R-leaning districts, primary voters should give their votes to the candidates who would be good public servants, instead of to those who would only be good partisans.
Elsewhere, voters should give their votes to D candidates or other candidates would be good public servants.
Another way to make sure that the bill won’t come back is for the many people whose activism was activated by this bill to stay active. This stuff doesn’t happen when people are paying attention.