Terry Goddard, Arizona's Spineless Attorney General, Betrays His Base of Supporters
GODDARD'S ICE PICK
Saturday's massive anti-SB 1070 march in Phoenix — estimated at anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 strong — concluded at the state Capitol, where several speakers and performing acts took the stage to address the faithful.
Aside from Mexican-American recording artist Jenni Rivera, the ethnically and racially diverse crowd reserved its warmest reception for Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who led attendees in chants of "Si, se puede!" and looked like he was coveting the honorary title of Phoenix's "first Hispanic mayor," much in the same way President Bill Clinton was once dubbed, in pre-Barack Obama times, America's "first black President."
As he's done elsewhere, Señor Phil blasted Arizona's reviled "papers, please" legislation. He urged the Obama administration to quickly file a much-anticipated legal action seeking to enjoin the law from taking effect.
"Let's call out to the [U.S.] attorney general and the president of the United States," he told the crowd, "to, please, come to Arizona and file that lawsuit to stop this law now!"
Granted, Gordon's not running for anything these days, but his stance is in marked contrast to Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, who recently slipped Sand Land's Hispanic population an ice pick to the kidney by vowing to "vigorously defend" the law if and when the feds file suit.
See, Goddard, a Democrat, wants to be governor, just like his daddy was long ago. But since Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 on April 23, she's shot past Goddard in the polls, as if someone spiked her prune juice with crystal meth.
The most recent Scott Rasmussen survey had Brewer at 52 percent, Goddard at 39. That is, if you buy the results of a pollster who consistently under-represents Hispanics and is as skewed right as Glenn Beck's gray matter.
Thing is, Goddard buys 'em. Either that or he has his own polls similarly showing him in the ditch. So he figured it was time to kick the brown folk in the pants and go nativist to win voters' approval.
After meeting with a team of law dogs from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department, Goddard held a snap press conference to tell the public in gunslinger terms that "Arizona will fight back" if the DOJ files, and he'll be the one playing Gary Cooper in High Noon.
Goddard previously had labeled the law "misguided" and bemoaned "the unfunded mandates on law enforcement agencies" as a result of the law's forcing cops to ask for the IDs of those they reasonably suspect are in the country sans docs. But here he was acting like the feds were doing a bad thing in possibly trying to halt a rotten statute.
"I told the lawyers that it would be just plain wrong for the federal government to sue to stop Arizona from dealing with something that the federal government has ignored for so many years," the spineless pol told the press.
Goddard went on to tut-tut the concerns of civil libertarians, Latinos, and just about everyone with a lick of sense that the new law will lead to racial profiling. He claimed that it would be wrong to assume that Arizona police officers would ever act in an unprofessional manner.
To which, I say, let's spray-paint Goddard brown, stick him in a pickup truck, and leave him in the barrio the next time Sheriff Joe Arpaio does a sweep. Joe's thugs can then teach him all about "professional" law enforcement.
You'd think he'd learned that lesson from harassment by Arpaio from a bogus investigation that the sheriff kept going indefinitely to mess with the AG's head. But apparently not.
In an extra stab of the ice pick, Goddard announced that his office would defend Arizona's counties, which have been sued by organizations including the ACLU, MALDEF, and the NAACP, in an attempt to have a federal judge intervene over SB 1070.
Goddard's about-face is similar to Senator John "Duh Dang Fence" McCain's 180 on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Not that such a flip-flop's going to save Goddard's caboose in the fall anymore than it's going to save McCain's.
To the argument that some have made that Terry's just doing his job, defending the state in court like he must, Governor Brewer offered the best comeback: She up and said that if the feds sue, she doesn't want Goddard to defend her — she'll get her own lawyers.
Hell, the hate-group FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) would do it pro bono. After all, one of its attorneys, nativist extremist Kris Kobach, wrote the odious legislation for its prime sponsor, state Senator Russell Pearce, the neo-Nazi-hugger.
So now Goddard's ostensibly aligning himself with the nativist forces, effectively spitting in the faces of those who marched Saturday — and in everyone else's who opposes the law.
After crooning a tune or two onstage, songstress Jenni Rivera pretty much summed up to her audience the situation with Arizona's immigration law.
"What this law is trying to do is not only . . . separate families," she said. "[Those who support it are] trying to discriminate, to single us out. They're haters, baby."
In fact, what Goddard doesn't get is that there is no middle ground on SB 1070. You're either on the side that marched Saturday — which included Latinos, whites, blacks, Native Americans, and every faith and nationality — or on the side that rallied at Tempe's Diablo Stadium later the same day in support of the law.
That faction, save for the very few shills of color that the nativists made sure were on the bill, almost was completely Anglo, hateful, and ready to blame what it calls the Mexican "invasion" for everything from a non-existent crime wave to low property values.
Its orators included such Hispanic-bashing opportunists as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Mark Spencer, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association representing PPD cops.
Spencer, for example, recently compared the undocumented to child molesters at a press conference with Sheriff Joe, where Arpaio promised to lock up any illegal immigrants that Immigration and Customs Enforcement refuses to take.
Spencer, who uses his forum as police union president to play the nativist flute, recently attacked the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of birthright citizenship on PLEA's Web site.
He did this by observing that Danny Martinez, suspected in the slaying of Phoenix police officer Travis Murphy, was a U.S.-born citizen but was born to immigrant parents who eventually became naturalized Americans.
You know, thus making Martinez an "anchor baby" in the parlance of Hispanic-haters.
I wonder whether Spencer would complain about an American child of immigrants who became a cop, a fireman, or a soldier.
What bothers Spencer and others like him is not so much Martinez's citizenship by birth as his last name and the color of his skin. The fact that he allegedly murdered a cop is (to them) secondary.
Which is why I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with one of the white supremacists who attended the Tempe event, local neo-Nazi Harry Hughes.
In his "Just Another Day . . ." blog, he wrote about attending the so-called "buycott" with other neo-Nazis, stating:
"We were quite pleased to see so many White People gathered in one place to support the rule of law. As expected, many of the speakers made a point to stress that, 'We are not racists.' Perhaps, they think if they say that enough times, they might actually believe it."
Sadly, Hughes was dead-on. For as despicable as his ideology may be, the guy is, unlike most nativists, at least honest about his racism.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.