Arizona Receives A Jolt Of Reality.

In a rare moment of clarity, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona’s anti-gay legislation disguised as a “religious freedom” bill. But don’t get the idea that Brewer had an epiphany of tolerance and inclusiveness. What she had was the commercial equivalent of electro-shock therapy. Not only had some of Arizona’s largest corporations – American Airlines, Intel and PetSmart, urged her to veto the bill. So did Apple, which recently agreed to open a plant in the state.

But the group that delivered the biggest jolt was the NFL Super Bowl committee which told her that they were exploring options to move next year’s Super Bowl from the Cardinal’s stadium in Glendale.

I’m guessing that our bleached blonde finger-wagger couldn’t reach for her veto pen fast enough!

So now it will be up to another deep red state to carry forward the Alliance Defending Religion hate bill known as SB 1062. But lest you think that this experience will be enough to bring the Arizona legislature to its senses, I encourage you to look at the steaming pile of bills still stinking up the statehouse. There are enough anti-federal government, anti-abortion, anti-environment, anti-wildlife, anti-voting rights, anti-civil rights, anti-education, anti-science, pro-Christian, and pro-gun bills to give the most ideological right winger an orgasm.

Arizona is a state of great natural beauty and warm weather. But the best part of visiting the state as a tourist is knowing that you don’t have to stay.

The Groups Behind The Group Behind The Group Behind The Legislators Behind The Bill.

Passage of SB 1062 by the Teapublican dimwits in Arizona’s legislature gives the impression that the entire state is intolerant, narrow-minded and bass-ackward. Of course, that is partially true. After all, Kansas, Maine, South Dakota and Tennessee all considered the same bill and ultimately rejected it. However, Arizona doesn’t deserve all the credit for being homophobic enough to pass SB 1062.

As it turns out, many of those behind the bill live outside our borders.

The bill began in the stink tank called Alliance Defending Freedom which was founded by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Televangelist D. James Kennedy, religious scare-monger Larry Burkett, Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, Christian broadcaster Marlin Maddoux, and former Reagan official Alan Sears. Alliance Defending Freedom has pushed the bill nationally through its many affiliated right wing groups. One of those, Center for Arizona Policy, an Arizona-based stink tank, then shopped the bill around the legislature in search of narrow-minded sponsors.

Of course, given the hateful leanings of the Teapublican legislature, finding a sponsor willing to institutionalize and encourage discrimination based on religious beliefs (no matter how wacko) was not difficult.

In the State Senate, Sens. Steve Yarborough, Bob Worley and Nancy Barto were more than willing accomplices. In the House, a Tea Party Who’s Who consisting of Reps. Farnsworth, Kavanaugh, Allen, Boyer, Coleman, Gowan, Gray, Kavanaugh, Kwasman, Lesko, Livingston, Montenegro, Peterson, Pierce, Smith, Thorpe, Tobin, Townsend, Barton, Mesnard and Mitchell all jumped in the clown car to rush to add their names as sponsors for the companion bill HB 2153.

Many of those who voted for the bill claim to have never read it. That’s entirely believable as most of them seem to merely occupy a legislative seat as representatives of CAP, ALEC, the Goldwater Institute and others. Three state senators who voted for the bill publicly expressed their regrets after seeing the backlash. However, most of the bill’s sponsors have dug in their heels citing what they believe is a misinformation campaign carried out by the “liberal” media and other “outside interests.” They seem unconcerned that the bill was originated by outside interests.

As Gov. Jan Brewer is meeting with legislators and advisers in order to decide whether or not to veto the bill, the state is already losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancellations for conventions and tourism. Many of the state’s largest corporations and most prominent business leaders have called for her veto. So have airlines serving the state, as well as the committee planning for next year’s Super Bowl in Arizona. Yet, I suspect Brewer is in no hurry to announce a decision. She has until Saturday to veto the measure to prevent it from becoming law. In the interim, she’s exactly where she wants to be…in the national limelight with all of the attention focused on her as it was before she signed the racist, anti-immigrant bill known as SB 1070.

Given that, it’s difficult to predict what she will do. Common sense advice and civil rights concerns have seldom swayed her before.

In 2004, Thomas Frank authored What’s the Matter with Kansas? The book explored the conditions and beliefs that led to the hateful political environment that exploded in Kansas. Maybe it’s time for Frank to write a follow-up: What’s the Matter with Arizona?

Vote For SB 1062? Who Me?

Since the bill legalizing discrimination on religious grounds passed the Arizona Senate, three of the Teapublicans who voted for the bill are now calling for our finger-wagging governor to veto it. They claim that they really didn’t understand all of the bill’s implications in their rush to vote it into law. But now that the state has, once again, become a laughing stock, they have changed their minds.

That presumes, of course, that they had minds to begin with.

You see, the Tea Party brand of hate is so strong in Arizona, it seems that our legislators are always in a hurry to embarrass the state. No time to listen to Democrats. No time to seek advice from leaders in the business community. No time to seek the advice of mainstream religious leaders. No time to listen to reason. If it will harm minorities, including Democrats, they must act fast.

And this isn’t the first time. Last year, the Teapublican-led legislature passed a bill making sweeping changes to the state’s election laws that would make it more difficult for non-Republican candidates to get on the ballot and to raise campaign funds. When Democrats, Libertarians, and other parties collected more than enough signitures to place the issue on the ballot, this year’s Teapublican-led legislature repealed the law. They’re now in the process of trying to sneak the law past the electorate one piece at a time.

In other words, they haven’t changed their minds. They’ve merely changed their tactics.

And now that the public outcry against SB 1062 has made it difficult to institutionalize discrimination in the state, they’ll look for new ways to demean and diminish the rights of minorities. After all, this is the state that refused to accept Martin Luther King Day until it cost Arizona the opportunity to host a Super Bowl. It’s the same state that passed SB 1070 making it illegal to have brown skin and speak Spanish, then spent tens of millions trying to defend its racist agenda in court.

Make no mistake. SB 1062 certainly won’t be the end of discriminatory and mean-spirited laws in Arizona. As long as Teapublicans control the legislature, it will always be in a hurry to embarrass the state.

Arizona’s Right Wing “Job Creators.”

When Gov. Janet Napolitano was replaced by the finger-wagging Jan Brewer following Napolitano’s appointment to become Director of Homeland Security in 2009, the last check on Arizona’s right wing-dominated legislature was eliminated. That led to such bills as the anti-immigrant SB 1070; bills that made it legal to carry guns in bars; bills that protected guns, not people; bills that cut tens of millions from public schools while cutting taxes for corporations.

All the while, the right wing legislators claimed that their top priority was job creation.

Therefore, it seems fair to judge their efforts by looking at the jobs created in Arizona compared to the rest of the nation. Since the end of the Great Recession, the US has regained 77 percent of the jobs lost according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the same period, Arizona has recovered just 46 percent of the jobs lost. Despite being one of the states hardest hit by the recession, Arizona ranks just 44th in job creation since February 2010.

The statistics show that Arizona has recovered just 66 percent of jobs lost by the information industry, 40 percent of those lost in professional and business services, 34 percent in other services, 32 percent in trade, transportation and utilities, 29 percent in government, and just 27 percent in manufacturing.

How can that be?

According to Teapublican legislators, the best way to create jobs is to cut taxes. Yet Arizona’s corporate taxes are among the very lowest in the nation. They also claimed that SB 1070 would allow Arizona citizens to reclaim jobs from undocumented workers. Somehow, they believed that chasing tens of thousands of immigrants from the state who rent homes, purchase cars, buy groceries and buy clothes would improve the state’s economy.

Apparently they also believe that outlawing a Latino studies program in the Tucson school district, eliminating the poor from Medicaid, attacking the federal government, cutting school budgets, redirecting money to private schools and private prisons, closing rest stops, closing state parks, demanding further proof of Obama’s citizenship, and telling the world that Arizona is unsafe, would entice tourists and sophisticated corporations to come here.

Maybe, just maybe, the right is wrong.