As Mr. Zimmerman once crooned long ago, the times they are a changin', and though progress has generally leap-frogged our benighted state, there are odd signs that Arizona is slouching toward the 21th Century, like some rough beast come round at last.
See also: -Arizona Organix Steps Out as the State's First Authorized Medical-Marijuana Dispensary -New Medical-Marijuana Poll Shows High Support by Arizonans; Poll Done by Same Firm Used by Pot Foe John Kavanagh
Why, the mere fact that GOP attack-Schnauzer Chuck Coughlin is shilling for Medicaid expansion, and signing on Governor "GED Jan" Brewer as the point-lady for this worthy cause, must be a positive sign of some sort.
No doubt Senor Coughlin is making bank repping the hospital industry, which will in turn benefit greatly if an estimated 400,000 Arizonans are made eligible for health care as a result of Medicaid expansion.
Moolah for the big shots, and a medical safety net for the poor. Now how could anyone be against such a private-public partnership's scoring federal booty?
Naturally, I'm all for it, but then, I ain't no teabagger.
Next, there's this little tidbit that I find eyepopping: Constantin Querard, Dark Prince of Sand Land's Far Right, supporter of recalled, disgraced ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce, and founder of the uber-conservative Arizona Family Project, is now pimping for the medical marijuana industry.
I could hardly believe it myself, but there it is, in black and white, on the Arizona Secretary of State's online guide to lobbyists, under Querard's name, the info that CQ is a "Lobbyist for Compensation" working on behalf of Arizona Organix, the state's first-ever duly licensed purveyor of medical Mary Jane, which opened for business December 6, in Glendale.
I gave Arizona Organix a jingle, and co-owner Bill Myer confirmed that a coalition of pro-medical ganja businesses, of which he is a part, recently hired Querard to work for them. I observed that this was a bit unusual, as Querard claims to be a dyed-in-the-wool social conservative.
"He has their ear, doesn't he?" offered Myer, whose establishment was, at that moment, overflowing with customers.
"That's why he was hired," Myer stated of Querard. "The GOP is his specialty."
At least, a particular slice of the GOP, known to be anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-Obama, anti-drugs, and, um, anti-medical marijuana.
For instance, Querard's dear friend and onetime client Russell Pearce is on record as being against medical marijuana. Ditto for Pearce's pal Sheriff Joe Arpaio, though Arpaio was once OK with the concept years back.
However, when it comes to mercenary consultants who front right-wingers like Pearce and Arpaio, they're all aboard the gravy train.
When I called Querard for a response and left a message, I did not expect a reply. But I did get one from none other than Republican consultant Jason Rose, a guy who heretofore has backed both Arpaio and Sand Land goose-stepper (and disbarred ex-county attorney) Andy Thomas.
See, Rose is part of a passel of lobbyists and political consultants who have been helping the Regulated [Medical Marijuana] Dispensaries of Arizona stand up against legislative efforts to put the kibosh on medical pot.
Rose told me that this effort began as a response to state Representative John Kavanagh's attempt to put a repeal measure on the 2014 ballot, an effort that never got past a 2nd Read in the state House.
The inclusion of Querard was part of having "a diverse team," said Rose, to convey the message that a repeal or a revote on medical marijuana would be "bad policy and bad politics."
Rose admitted it was he who recruited Querard to the cause of the leafy green.
"[Constantin] is an opponent of full-blown legalization," explained Rose. "You will never see him advocating for it, ever."
Still, Rose says both he and Querard see the Medical Marijuana Act as fait accompli, and that even if its passage in 2010 was close, it won, and the GOP has to respect that.
"This is really stupid politics on the part of those in the GOP who want to mess with the will of the people," he said. "Flipping your middle finger at the voter? Not a good political recipe."
In other words, elections have consequences, just like Coughlin over at HighGround has argued to GOPers regarding Medicaid expansion. Though Rose did not see the analogy.
"That's an entirely different issue," he maintained.
Joining this hemp-y love-in is none other than Chad Willems' Summit Consulting, which Rose recently commissioned to do a poll, showing that 55 percent of likely Arizona voters supported 2010's Medical Marijuana Act.
Summit backs Arpaio, as you no doubt know, but Willems' firm also had as clients in 2012 both John Kavanagh and his wife Linda, currently Mayor of Fountain Hills.
I'm not naive. I know all of these political consultants fly the Jolly Roger. Still, Querard, the red-blooded paleoconservative, moonlighting as a pimp for prescription doobie-smokers, is hi-larious.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
I couldn't help myself. I called up Querard's old nemesis, Chandler attorney Tom Ryan, who of course laughed his socks off.
"It tells us what I've always thought, which is this: he's never been an honest broker of the work that he performs," Ryan stated, after zipping his gut back into place. "For him it's always been about how much cash there is in it for Constantin Querard."
Ryan continued, "Anytime he's out there claiming to be a social conservative, I would say, `We shall know them by the fruits of their labor,'
"But in Mr. Querard's case, I'll make an exception, we'll know him by the weeds of his labor."