Arizona Threatens, GOP Caves
Arizona’s Bad Reputation Intimidates The National GOP To Award A Presidential Debate
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in her official photo.
By John Monahan
Special for Modern Times Magazine
Sept. 7, 2011 — Arizona republicans have assembled quite a national reputation.
Although not the biggest or most powerful state, the passage of SB 1070, combined with hardcore states-rights views emanating from the legislature has earned Arizona its ornery reputation. From sea to shining sea, it is clear that the state legislature and its governor will pass laws and take actions that they know will not actually accomplish anything but to ruffle a many feathers.
So, when the state and Gov. Jan Brewer started making noise about trying to unseat South Carolina, Iowa and of course, New Hampshire, as the site of the nation’s first presidential primary, the republican national committee wasted little time in taking action.
That’s right. All Arizona had to do was threaten that they would try to unseat the chosen three in holding the first primary contests. Most states go along with the bargain, mainly because they know that someone has to go first and someone has to go last. And, if a state wanted to attempt to raise its profile in the process, its government could try to move up the date of their primary. But most times, the states use common sense and decide to go along in order to get along.
Besides, if most states would attempt such a thing, they would be informed that South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire would just move their contests back even further, and since they have the backing of the national party and the media, they would win anyway. New Hampshire will be first right now because that is what tradition warrants.
But Arizona is not like most states. Even in the face of ridicule and scorn, the national GOP bigwigs know that Gov. Brewer and the legislature laugh in the face of common sense. For example, the budget deal in the last session in which they cut taxes for businesses while turning down millions from the federal government and cutting health care.
So, when Arizona threatened, the GOP caved and rewarded them for not making a mess of the republican primary schedule in order to further their own agenda.
To be fair, Michigan, Georgia and Florida are also looking to move their primaries to a date before the March 6 Super Tuesday date that the national republican party has determined will follow Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. States are required to submit the date of their primary election to the GOP national party by Oct. 1. According to party rules, any state holding a primary on or before Feb. 28 will lose half of its delegation at the national convention as well as other sanctions.
Brewer played down the attention — after the GOP capitulated, of course — by telling Howie Fisher of Capitol Media Services, "I didn't want to upset the apple cart.”
Sure, Jan. Sure.
Maybe she didn’t want to upset the cart, but it was made very, very, clear that if someone was to threaten that they were going to topple it over, Gov. Brewer was going to make sure Arizona got in on it.
Some might see this as a display of leadership. Granted. Maybe a presidential primary would not have come to Arizona without the hardball tactic.
But how much pride can a state resident really feel when they realize that the main reason the GOP capitulated was because Brewer and Arizona have developed a sullied reputation: a lot like that of a drunkard uncle?
Sometimes, it might be nice to see Uncle Red Nose, but he usually stays a little too long and almost always makes a scene.
John Monahan is a freelance writer, formerly of Arizona.