There was a time back in the day when The Arizona Republic used to report on state legislative races, providing readers with profiles of the candidates and their positions on the issues. It was an invaluable resource that informed voters. But after massive layoffs in recent years, The Republic apparently no longer has the resources to do this type of reporting so you are on your own. So much for an informed electorate today.
But The Republic does apparently have the resources to assign reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez to do pearl clutching stories based upon press releases from the Martha McSally campaign attacking Kyrsten Sinema for things that she – and many others by the way – said years ago.
This is news?
Here are just two examples. First, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez reported, Kyrsten Sinema in 2011: ‘There’s something wrong with the people in public office in Arizona’:
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema seven years ago ridiculed as “crazy” the Republican elected officials leading the state at the time, and the anti-illegal immigration legislation that began in Arizona and was being replicated in state Capitols across the nation.
Sinema, then a state senator and now the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, in a 2011 speech told the Texas Stonewall Democrats that all Republicans in Arizona were “crazy” and could not be distinguished from the conservative “tea party” activists whose influence helped lead to legislation that she and others deemed harmful to Arizona.
The video of Sinema’s 2011 remarks resurfaced Thursday on social media and was recirculated by allies of Sinema’s Republican Senate opponent, Rep. Martha McSally.
In her 2011 comments, Sinema repeatedly slammed Arizona Republicans — often generating laughs from the audience — with variations of the term “crazy.”
“Over the past several years, people have watched what was happening in Arizona, and been like, ‘Damn, those people are crazy,'” Sinema says in the video.
“Is it something in the water? No, the water’s fine — we stole it from Colorado,” Sinema says to laughter. “There’s nothing wrong with the water. There’s something wrong with the people in public office in Arizona. People say, ‘Oh, the tea party, the tea party.’ Please. Those people have been in charge for, like, 20 years in Arizona. They’re just, they’re called Republicans.”
As a child growing up in Tucson, Sinema said she remembered learning a song about Arizona’s famous Five C’s: copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate.
“But I would add a sixth C,” she said. “It’s called ‘crazy,’ because that’s what’s happening in my state, is pure craziness. Pure craziness.”
Sinema started her remarks with: “Arizona: Coming to a state near you.”
She warned that the so-called model legislation crafted in Arizona would eventually appear in their state legislatures with the help of groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. That organization, which wields tremendous power with conservative lawmakers in Arizona and across the United States, is best-known for producing ready-to-introduce “model” legislation crafted with input from corporate America.
Torunn Sinclair, McSally’s spokeswoman, said in a written statement the video shows Sinema is not fit to serve in the U.S. Senate.
First of all, this is a press release dressed up as reporting. This is wrong. It violates journalistic standards.
Secondly, nothing Kyrsten Sinema said is false and was born out by the actions of elected Republicans at the time. This is just Republican “snowflakes” clutching their pearls and feigning outrage.
I know that Yvonne Wingett Sanchez was not born yesterday, she was around at the time for the context of these remarks, which she buries deep in her reporting, after giving prominence to the McSally press release.
At the time of Sinema’s remarks, Arizona was ground zero for the debate over illegal immigration.
In Arizona, Republican lawmakers — namely then-state Senate President Russell Pearce and then-Gov. Jan Brewer — had gained international attention for their efforts to make life more difficult for undocumented immigrants. Their controversialbill, Senate Bill 1070, was the nation’s toughest immigration bill at the time and sparked a national outcry.
The law led to a torrent of canceled trips to Arizona by would-be tourists and conventioneers,and travel bans by cities and organizations around the country who deemed the legislation discriminatory and in violation of federal law. The state and its lawmakers were routinely excoriated in comedy routines.
In 2011, the year of Sinema’s remarks, Republicans at the Arizona Capitol had introduced other legislation targeting undocumented immigrants.
One bill would have required hospitals to check a person’s legal status and notify law enforcement if they suspected the person was in the United States illegally. Another would have banned illegal immigrants from going to state universities and community colleges, and from getting federal benefits.
A third targeted the issue of birthright citizenship.
All of the bills failed.
There was a widely used meme at the time that Arizona Republicans put the “AZ” in crazy. Everyone used it, including this blog. Here is a post from Bartblog at Bartcop in 2010. Gov. Jan Brewer: Putting the AZ in Crazy.
Here is The Republic’s own Laurie Roberts on the birtherism of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Secretary of State Ken Bennett in 2012. Once again, Arizona is the nation’s laughingstock:
Aaaaaaaaand we’re off to the races once again.
The race, that would be, to determine the loopiest, looniest oh-so-laughable state in the land.
* * *
Yes, because it’s been 10 minutes or so since we were a finger-wagging, militia-loving, gun-toting, sovereignty-seeking circus sideshow on the national landscape.
Remember the good old days, when we were just known as the Grand Canyon State?
Timothy Egan of the New York Times followed up on Laurie Roberts op-ed. There’s Something About Arizona:
We interrupt reality to bring you Arizona, once known as the Grand Canyon state. So glorious, this home to sublime cacti and ugly javelina, an outdoor stage for the high histrionics of geologic time, but so very, very crazy. Even a spate of recent temperatures in the 105-degree range cannot explain the latest doings of government by crackpots.
* * *
A headline in The Arizona Republic — “Once Again, Arizona is the Nation’s Laughingstock” — was too kind.
So to all the pearl clutching “snowflakes” in the McSally campaign and anyone feigning outrage over the “putting the ‘AZ’ in crazy” meme, suck it up buttercup! Get over yourself. This is just a stupid distraction that The Republic should not have published.
The second example from Yvonne Wingett Sanchez appears today, about another Republican “snowflake” feigning outrage. Meghan McCain: Kyrsten Sinema’s old joke about Arizona Legislature ‘ignorant’:
Meghan McCain weighed in on Arizona’s U.S. Senate race again Friday, lambasting U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema for an 8-year-old joke that described Arizona as the “meth lab of democracy.”
Sinema’s 2010 comments made during a liberal gathering — she actually was reusing a punchline about the state from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” — came in the era when the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature had passed Senate Bill 1070, the hard-line immigration-enforcement law that sparked a divisive international debate.
The Daily Show with John Stewart, “Law & Border” (vido link) segment, April 26, 2010.
Even Meghan McCain weighed in on that law at the time, writing it was “seriously flawed, but it’s trying to solve a serious problem.”
The 2010 video of Sinema, now a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, was released Friday by the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is backing Sinema’s GOP rival, U.S. Rep. Martha McSally.
A conservative blog post about Sinema’s “meth lab of democracy” quip [that would be the right-wing Daily Caller] caught the attention of McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View” and the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Clutching her pearls, “snowflake” Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter:
“I am so incredibly proud to be born and raised in Arizona. My home state is so much of who I am. What an utterly bizarre and ignorant thing for anyone to say — let alone another person born and raised.”
Is it just me, or have you also noticed that every time Meghan McCain even just burps, The Republic writes a “news” report about her? The Republic is clearly promoting her for something. This is someone who makes a living off her father’s name and reputation. What has she ever done?
Here’s another classic The Daily Show with John Stewart, who regularly lambasted John McCain in “Mess O’Potamia” segments over the Iraq War, in a segment entitled “Wrong Off” (video link) that Meghan McCain can clutch her pearls and reach for her smelling salts over.
Why is The Republic even reporting this nonsense? This is just a stupid distraction that The Republic should not have published.
The Republic should probably not be hosting the debate between Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema on Monday, given such insipid biased reporting. They will likely allow McSally to engage in these idiotic distractions rather than discuss the serious policy questions that Arizonans care about. And that will not inform the voters.