Monday, September 20, 2010

Amster: Brewer brings only embarrassment

Randall's back after a hiatus of a few months, and going after the slo-mo train wreck that is our Accidental Governor. While I'm happy to agree with him that electing Ms Brewer to the job for four more years would be a very bad move, we're not gonna get any other result if we're loose with the truth.

Randall writes, "During Brewer's tenure, Arizona has moved to the bottom of the charts in education, health care, and economic vitality." Blaming her for any of this is simply unfair. Our Legislature has been working hard to spiral us in on all these measures for many years, and if anything we were headed for even worse until Brewer intervened with her own budget late in the session this year. (I won't give her credit for the budget, though, that's her staff, and it was still truly awful.) The Legislature would have slashed education funding further by an order of magnitude and sold off most of our parks and public buildings to boot. The economy is a macro problem that the Legislature aggravated by its failure to address our idiotic revenue structure. Blame Brewer for failure of ideas and failure of leadership, but not for the failures of others.

You can blame her for signing 1070 (which Gov Napolitano vetoed several times), but not for making Arizona a national embarrassment over it. That was a big team effort, including Sen Russell Pearce (currently a favorite for Senate President, be afraid), Sheriff Joe Arpaio, nutbars like Chris Simcox, the Corrections Corporation of America and many others. Brewer was essentially the bystander who gets to answer the media questions. Blame her for failure to stop it, don't give her credit for driving it.

What really ropes me off is Randall bending over backward to blame Dems in a misguided attempt at "balance" (or did the editors stick this in?): "Janet Napolitano didn't exactly leave us in an enviable financial position, nor has she been proactive in managing the border situation that has so many people up in arms." We would certainly have been far better off if Gov Napolitano had been able to get her own policies implemented by Legislatures full of hostile and idea-free Rs, but blaming her for their policies is wrong. As for the border, as I recall it she did everything legally within her power to increase border security and bring federal attention to the issue here. That Rs are willing to pursue illegal means does not make them better at it. "Brewer's gubernatorial opponent, Terry Goddard, has likewise been mostly missing in action during his tenure as Attorney General." By what measure, Randall? As I recall Mr Goddard has done more than any other state official to reduce cross-border traffic in guns, drugs and cash, and crime in our state is down substantially since he took office, due to several factors including the quality of our law enforcement efforts and policies -- set by Mr Goddard and Ms Napolitano before him..

Even in calling Brewer out, Randall has trouble getting it right. He writes that she "capitulated to extremists" over immigration and ethnic studes, but "capitulated" implies resistance. No, she was a partisan there from the get-go. "Cooperated" would be more descriptive, in the sense that she arranged the cookies while the principals wrote the bills.

Yes, Brewer is a disaster in the past and in our future if we don't wake up and get moving. But her critics have all the good ammo in the world and no need to resort to the sort of mischaracterizations and misdirections so emblematic of the right. If the left can't write clear, honest critiques, why should anyone trust us more than them?

Here's that opening statement again, just in case you missed it:

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