I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but the state of Arizona has been in full election mode for some time now. Every corner in town is littered with competing campaign signs, and we held our primary just this past Tuesday.
When you’re liberal in Arizona (Democrat out of necessity, though yearning for a genuine progressive, because in Arizona, even the Democrats are Republicans, just slightly less batshit than the Tea Partiers that have taken over our state legislature; I give money to Al Franken D-MN, just to have the slightest hope of any kind of progressive representation in Congress, however indirect) primaries are kind of a non-event. This ballot shows why:
While there are dozens of Republicans running for the various offices across the state, we’re lucky if we can muster up a single Democrat to run against whichever of the interchangeable Republicans wins their primary. Most of our candidates run unopposed, and as you can see, often we can’t even find one to run. I seriously considered writing myself in for Superintendent of Public Instruction, but then I’d have to live in Phoenix, or commute 2 ½ to work every day, so I decided to retain my retired status. Besides, I was a teacher, and no one in this state thinks teachers know anything about education. They prefer businessmen and career politicians.
I suppose I can’t blame Democrats for not taking the electoral plunge. We are a red state of the fire engine-reddest kind, and it would be a lot of money, sound, and fury, ultimately signifying nothing. I live in one of the bluer parts of the state, which is not in any way to suggest that we are anywhere near a majority in these places. Rather, there are just enough of us to turn the red slightly towards purple, but still primarily red.
So for liberal Arizonans (I swear we exist!), primary elections are something we must get through to find out which asshat our probably doomed candidate will go up against.
There was some good news after Tuesday, though. Running for re-election was Tom Horne, who made his bones as State Superintentendent of Education by making it his mission in life to kill the Mexican-American Studies program at Tucson Unified School District, a program that was doing well by Latin@ and other interested students. He continued the effort when, after refusing to get a real job when his term as Superintendent ran out, he ran for Attorney General and passed the anti-MAS torch to his able sidekick, John Huppenthal, successor to the superintendency. Horne had been in legal trouble lately for a hit-and-run fender bender, not to mention being investigated for campaign improprieties. Nonetheless, Horne went into the primary with the astonishing optimism that only the truly arrogant and clueless can muster. “There’s no question I’ll win the primary,” he said.
I cannot tell you how delighted I am that he lost the primary. I don’t know that I’ll like the guy who beat him any better, but Horne is a putz, and I’ve had more than enough of him. Buh-bye.
His heir, Huppenthal, was also running for re-election, and I very much enjoyed his campaign posters, by which I mean I nearly vomited from the hypocrisy.
As I mentioned above, Huppenthal continued the charge against Mexican-American Studies at TUSD, having been given the power to basically outlaw it by AG Horne and the AZ state legislature. John Huppenthal also made the news in recent months for anonymously posting comments to blogs suggesting all Spanish-language media be shut down, that Mexicans are innately prone to criminal activities, that all welfare recipients are “lazy pigs,” that FDR caused the Great Depression, not to mention other tasty nuggets. From his work computer, on work time, both paid for by the taxpayers who might reasonably expect that he was actually doing the job they elected him for. Not that that’s the worst part about it; it’s just garnish on heaping plate of shit. And though he admitted to all of it, he didn’t see any reason to step down because of it, and even ran for re-election, seemingly confident that all would be forgiven, or at least forgotten soon enough for him to win. Honestly, I was amazed by his audacity. And then I was amazed that I could still be amazed by a politician’s audacity.
So to see him posed with a diverse group of children was disingenuous at best, astoundingly cynical and dishonest at worst. I’m going to go with the latter, myself. He lost his primary, too. As he should have. Again, I’m delighted.
But my favorite tactic is that all Republicans in my state seem to be running against not each other, not even against their Arizona Democrat opponents, but, in fact, Barack Obama. It’s even on their campaign signs, and everyone from the dog catcher on up seems to think this is a winning strategy.
I first saw it at the top of a campaign sign for the Arizona Corporation Commission.
I can’t speak for everyone, but last I checked, Obama wasn’t running for the Arizona Corporation Commission. He’s not running for a damn thing anymore; he’s been president for 2 terms. I’m sure he can’t wait to get a cushy academic job when we replace him in 2016. This sign makes no sense at all. Sadly, though, it’s probably a productive strategy around these parts.
Then again, maybe I’m reading it wrong. Maybe I should be reading it literally. Maybe those guys really want to fight Obama. A little karate? A little MMA? Old-school boxing? Olympic wrestling? Krav Maga? In which case, I will buy tickets to that show, because my man Barack is fit; he’s gonna kick their asses.