Thursday, March 4, 2010

Column: 'Birthers' didn't sway lawmaker

I'm sure the editors were very happy to print this stunningly weak response to Saturday's editorial.

If I were so generous as to allow that Rep Tobin is telling the honest truth here, I'd also be forced to accept that he's completely ignorant of long-established Federal law and process in this area, has no idea what's been going on for over a year with the 'birther' non-issue, and is as politically naive as a cinder block. Quite honestly, I've met the man and I'm confident he's not that stupid.

Given that, this column is nothing but smarmy political theatre, obvious to anyone with basic intelligence. I do think Andy's naive enough to believe that he can get away with dissembling this way, like a six-year-old trying his first magic trick for the aunts and uncles. Never underestimate the power of human self-delusion. And it plays well to the extreme-right base, who are similarly deluded. But out here in the reality-based community it ought to get him laughed right out of office.

What's sad is that it won't. He'll run again, and probably win again. Is there no Dem in District 1 smart enough and organized enough to stand up and take the easy electoral pickings represented by Mr Tobin? Get to work, people!

School budgets could be slashed

You have to be very careful when you've got a news story speculating about things that haven't happened.

Paula's story, sourced entirely from a talk by the director of government relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, is all about opinions and analysis of future possibilities. Paula does a lot of paraphrasing outside quote marks of what the man said, and writes it as if she is saying it herself on the paper's behalf. This is a high-school-level writing error. Further, the lack of a contrasting view elevates these opinions to the status of fact. Wrong, wrong, wrong, especially when you're dealing with analysis from an organization with a clear vested interest, like this one. The editors should have sent this one back for further research and substantial rewrite.

In fact the Legislature has several available options for dealing with the budget lacking the sales-tax extension, and ought to be encouraged to explore them all seriously. Instead, masquerading as analysis we get a misleading political frame: sales tax vs. school funding. While many Republicans will want to play it that way, it's really not that simple.