Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Biggs(hot) new Senate President -- wacky media writers blame Democratic voters

Just when I thought I had seen it all... the GOP caucus of the Arizona Senate moved quickly today to appoint Andy Biggs(hot) its President for the term of the 51rst Legislature which begins on the second Monday in January, 2013.

Well, that is not a surprise as much as the twisted logic Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts invokes to lay blame for Biggs(hot)'s ascension on LD 26 Democratic voters properly exercising their franchise. Last night we found out that my fellow voters and I elected Democratic candidate Ed Ableser to represent us in the Upper Chamber -- instead of Republican Jerry Lewis.

As important as yesterday's legislative elections were, today's were equally as crucial when it comes to determining what kind of a Legislature we will have next year.
Democrats picked up four seats in the Senate but Republicans still hold the advantage, 17-13.
The question is, what sort of Republicans will lead the chamber?
A mix, as it turns out.  Andy Biggs -- leader of the Senate's ideologues -- defeated the more pragmatic Senate President Steve Pierce for the top spot, on a 9-8 vote. (Note to Dems who were pushing for Ed Ableser over Jerry Lewis. This is why it was important to get Lewis in there.)  But John McComish won as majority leader and Adam Driggs as whip. McComish and Driggs are from the more pragmatic wing of the GOP.

In response, friend Michael Keith Stevens opined:
Yeah, that's a pretty stupid comment on her part. It's kind of like saying it was important for Democrats to vote for Romney so that the Super Pacs would quit dumping millions into anti-Democratic campaigns. 
Fellow blogger (Democratic Diva) Donna Gratehouse told Roberts:
It's a contest between the ideologue with the 100% Center for Arizona Policy voting record or the pragmatist with the 100% Center for Arizona Policy voting record. Both of whom are ALEC members.
Roberts replied to Gratehouse:
What can I say, I'm an optimist. Given that it's a choice between the two, I'll take the more pragmatic one over the ideologue. 
Now, I have to point out the obvious. Gratehouse laid out the argument for choosing an identical can of beans (or tuna fish, or sauerkraut or whatever you'd like it to be) based SOLELY on which label you prefer. Gratehouse goes on to say:
If you're going to claim that guys like Driggs and McComish are forced (the poor dears) to vote for that stuff and don't believe it deep down inside, at some point you're going to have to acknowledge they can't be trusted to stand up to the hateful and bigoted elements of their base whenever it goes against their self-interest. That is, if you really believe they are closet moderates, which I don't. I see them as true believer radical reactionary conservatives. Like Oprah says, when they show you who they are, believe them. 

To accept Ms. Roberts' conclusion -- that a KOOK flavored Arizona Senate can be blamed on voters who elected a Democrat (in this case, Ed Ableser) -- one would first have to accept that it's my responsibility to vote for a candidate for reasons other than who is the better of the candidates in a given election race. Or, that I must decide for whom to vote based on what someone ELSE thinks is most important.

I suspect there are people in my legislative district who chose to vote for Jerry Lewis for the reason Ms. Roberts thinks should have taken precedence. It is THEIR vote and they got to choose on what basis to make that decision. They voted, that's honorable and I applaud them. Of course, besides Roberts, the Phoenix New Times put a lot of effort into influencing the outcome of this race. Brazen electioneering by reputed journalist Stephen Lemons. THAT I consider despicable.

On the other hand, despite local media efforts to subvert their franchise, the MAJORITY of voters in LD26 (at the latest count 4:46pm today, Ableser has 16,455 votes; Lewis has 13,186 and the Libertarian has 1,671 votes) have spoken loud and clear. The ten percent (10.44%) differential between Ableser and Lewis is very close to the same margin by which Lewis beat Pearce last year.

I found an interesting story on Canadian news website the Orangeville (Ontario) Citizen from 2008, since it's Canadian, their system is a little bit different than ours, but the concepts still apply:

10 good reasons why you should exercise your franchise
1. The importance of a constitutional guarantee. For good reason, Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms proclaims: "Every citizen in Canada has a right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein."
In today's world, where dictatorships seem to keep springing up just about everywhere, that's a right that ought never to be diminished.
2. There's no such thing as a vote "thrown away." Ultimately, every vote counts. Even in cases where an election result is a foregone conclusion, the winner will watch closely just how many votes went the other way.
3. We have plenty of choices. Thanks to our parliamentary system, voters can have starkly different reasons for how they vote. Some will base their vote on the attractiveness of a party platform or the party's leadership, while others will base theirs on local issues or their opinions of the local candidates.
4. There are good reasons to vote Conservative. If you're a traditionalist and/or a supporter of the status quo, there's surely no better local alternative than a vote for Mr. Tilson.
5. There are good reasons to vote Liberal. Although St├ęphane Dion may be the weakest leader we've seen for a long time, he has a strong team and must be seen as courageous in promoting the party's unpopular Green Shift.
6. There are good reasons to vote NDP. Under the strong leadership of Jack Layton the party has moved toward the middle of the road, with little evidence it's controlled by socialist ideologues.
7. There are good reasons to 'Go Green.' Although all parties portray themselves as concerned about the environment and climate change, the others seem mainly to be adopting policies long espoused by the Green Party.
8. There are even good reasons to vote for the Canadian Action Party. If you're a strong Canadian nationalist, this is the party that best reflects your views.
9. The exercise is pretty effortless. Unlike the task faced by electors south of the border, who are called upon to vote for a multiplicity of would-be office holders ranging from the presidency to local dog catchers, we have a super-simple ballot, which in the case of Dufferin-Caledon has just five names in alphabetical order and spots for you to mark your 'X'. What could possibly be simpler?
10. Not voting is the ultimate 'copout.' Although, as we've said earlier, there's no such thing as a wasted vote, there's also nothing positive to be said about not voting.
It sends no message at all, since it can reflect anything from ignorance to pure laziness. So this time, please . . .
Vote as you like, but VOTE!
The Orangeville Citizen promotes citizenship, at least in this piece. On the other hand, the Arizona Republic's Laurie Roberts promotes God knows what, and Phoenix New Times' Stephen Lemons promotes hero worship... that and accusing people who disagree with him about Jerry Lewis of committing homosexual acts. (This happened, Lemons made that accusation to and about me)

People who know me know I can be passionate about the things I write. But I try to keep it fact based, even when using figures of speech.

But I digress.

I'll grant Roberts' sincere desire to root out the kookiness of RWNJs like Andy Biggs. It would be nice, however, if there was more actual political insight behind her ideas.

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