Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just how bonkers are conservative activists in AZ these days?

A few days ago, right-wing Arizona blog Sonoran Alliance posted a highly implausible hypothetical it gleaned from a rumor mill. Heaven forbid!
I guess I’m a little behind in the rumor mill but this just crossed my input lines. I’ll toss it out to all my legislator friends to confirm.
The rumor is that State Representative Heather Carter has her sights on the House speakership.
How would she accomplish this one may ask?
The first step is to obviously get re-elected to her seat.  Next, she needs the votes of all her Obamacare Republican seatmates. Chances are, a deal was cut sometime ago to whip those votes into place. Carter would then cut a deal with House Democrats to make sure the Republicans (note: these are the majority Republicans who did not vote for Obamacare expansion) don’t hold a majority when it comes to selecting leadership. That deal with Dems would likely include handing over committee chairmanships to Democrats.
Dios mio!

Well, I'm not one of Sonoran Alliance's "legislator friends" but I have to figure this is more over-the-top paranoia than anything plausible. Now, the concept is not unheard of. A decade or so ago, Republican Randall Gnant became Senate President when that chamber ended up with 15 Democrats and 15 Republicans. The structural result was that Democrats ended up with some key committee chair positions.

Of course, the right-wing is attacking Carter because she voted for the Medicaid restoration. In fact, all of the Republicans who did so are now political targets, many of whom are facing primary election challengers. So, why is this rumor implausible?

Primarily because there's a much better candidate for this scenario than Carter. There's one member of the House GOP caucus who already has a reputation as a contrarian and few people dare mess with him. Because he's a BIG guy. That would be Bob Robson who now represents LD18 (west Chandler, south Tempe and Ahwatukee). Two years ago, rumor had Andy Toxin... er, Tobin, removing Robson from his chairmanship of the Rules Committee because he wouldn't always "play ball" the way his caucus wanted him to do. For whatever reason that didn't happen and Robson remained Rules chair.

From perspective of the House Democratic Caucus, a Speaker Robson would likely be less susceptible to bullying from hard core GOP members like Eddie Farnsworth.

Alas, while Sonoran Alliance has not publicly made this connection to Robson, it has attacked him nevertheless.

SA reposted a 47-second video clip (from Arizona Daily Independent) claiming to be evidence of Robson stealing campaign signs. Whether or not somebody witnessed Robson stealing signs, the video is evidence of nothing of the sort.

Nevertheless, what some might consider GOP infighting, others will reasonably label an effort to hold elected officials accountable. Primaries are reasonable accountability efforts. Posting videos of somebody leaving a gas station and calling it criminal activity is not.

But before we completely write off these conservative zealots, it really is important to understand that politics -- ALL politics -- is conflict. Even sneaky, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours style of deals made in the proverbial smoke-filled room is just a way to deal with conflict. Sometimes that's a reasonable way to handle it, sometimes it's not.

Ultimately, however, empowering an informed electorate is crucially important for restoring sanity at the Arizona Legislature.

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