Every day for almost a week now the lead story on nearly every Arizona news show and newspaper front page has been about the nationwide backlash over SB 1062. Once again we look like the nation's butthole. Heck, Tuesday morning the "religious freedom" bill was a feature story on the Today Show, and later that afternoon it was the lead story on CNN's Crossfire. My email inbox is flooded every morning with petitions from around the country urging Brewer to veto this POS. Happily on Wednesday night the governor did just that!
No sane person spoke out in favor of SB 1062. Arizona's two Republican senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, urged the governor to use her veto pen, as have the state's largest chambers of commerce, business leaders, tourism officials, all of our pro sports teams and the 2015 Super Bowl committee. Even legislators who voted for the bill changed their alleged minds and asked the governor to veto it.
Most importantly, Democrats are energized and clearly have popular opinion on their side. Polls show the public does not support SB 1062, even among Arizona Republicans:
A poll commissioned yesterday by a Phoenix political consulting firm finds that twice as many Republican voters in Arizona want Governor Jan Brewer to veto SB 1062 than want her to sign it.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) has probably benefited as much as anyone. She'll be in a tight race this year in a flip-flop district with House Speaker Andy Tobin, who just happens to be one of the main backers of the bill. Kirkpatrick writes in Tuesday's email:
Make no mistake, Speaker Andy Tobin is one of the architects of this heinous piece of legislation. Sources are now saying that Speaker Tobin 'slammed through' this horrible bill in less than 24 hours and that his strategy was meant to silence opposition from the business community and activist groups.If not for Tobin, SB 1062 probably wouldn't have seen the light of day. Kirkpatrick was on All In with Chris Hayes Tuesday, and her online fundraising has upticked since Tobin's role in passing SB 1062 has been made public.
While the Dems are surging, Republicans are split and look hateful and stupid. Senate president Steve Pierce was one of the three GOP goonballs who recently wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer, encouraging her to veto the bill, after they had voted for it. He tried to explain his new enlightened position Monday on Chris Hayes's show, but looked foolish. Pierce is the president of the Senate! He schedules all bills for committees and final reading, so he knows what's in them. But Pierce said on All In with Chris Hayes that he didn't know the bill was discriminatory! Yeah, he did. That's after a day of debate when Democrat after Democrat, including an openly gay member, stood up and talked about how discriminatory the bill is, while Pierce was presiding over the debate in the Senate.
Also, a very bright light is being shone on Cathi Herrod and the Center for Arizona Policy, our own version of Focus on the Family. At the same time, more Arizonans are learning (in case there was any doubt) that Herrod and far-right Christian fundies run the legislature in lockstep with ALEC. They chair nearly every committee, they control what bills get heard, they usually determine the outcome. Look under the covers of any anti-LGBT, woman, or immigration bill in Arizona, and you'll find Herrod and her Republican toadies.
They're scrambling now, like cornered rats. Republicans are trying to distance themselves from other Republicans, Republicans are blaming SB 1062 on other Republicans, Republicans are speaking out against this most Republican bill (only 3 Republicans didn't, no Democrat did).
Meanwhile, people are getting together. Remember, Arizona is still the only state where MLK Day was passed by a vote of the people, not a governor's decree or legislative action. And in 2011 when crazyman Russell Pearce, the powerful Senate president, went too far with his racist agenda, even the conservative Mormon voters in District 25 recalled his ass.
Every day this week there were rallies at the Capitol and marchers in the streets while alliances are being formed. One hopes more youth get involved and voter drives mobilize to overturn the fundy majority in the legislature. Thanks, SB 1062! Now we reserve the right not to re-elect peckerheads.