Republican state Senator Jack Harper of Surprise really let it rip in a recent commentary for the Arizona Capitol Times, and some of his comments are under fire from the blogosphere.
The commentary, published on the Cap Times' "Capitol Voices" page on March 6, 2009, is about 1,500 words long, and starts out with warm fuzzies about "thank you for the great honor of serving you in the state Legislature," and goes on to discuss Arizona's handling of the state budget deficit. Harper then does a typical politico-spiel about his position on handling the 2009 budget, including that he thinks funds for public education should come from federal bailout money and not state funds, and that the state needs to look at public safety "as the next big pot of state spending."
The reason within Harper's missive evaporates, however, near the end of the piece, beginning with more warm fuzzies about how "Brighter days are ahead for Arizona." Ironically, that's where the commentary turns decidedly dark, and Harper goes off about "the under-employed or over-expectant."
First, Harper writes that parents of children who "require expensive treatment or therapy that is not provided by the federal government" should not expect the state to have funds for those things after June 30.
Then, he fires at the unemployed: "If you have been laid off from your job and are not willing to take a job that is available, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and AHCCCS for health care are going to fall short of what you could make by being employed."
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Finally, Harper makes this proclamation: "Arizona will not follow the country into socialism. If you feel you need greater assistance and are not able to move to another state, please turn to your local churches and give them the opportunity to show their generosity and love."
Local blog Random Musings observed that Harper seems "actually gleeful at the near-bankruptcy of the state and the prospect of ending all but federally mandated public services for the people of Arizona" and that Harper and others have "made it clear that they have no intention of doing their jobs of serving their constituents unless their arms are twisted."
Arizona blogger Eli Blake also criticized Harper's commentary on his Deep Thought blog, writing "We just don't have Republicans here in Arizona. We have some real wackos," sarcastically asking, "Can't you just feel the generosity and love emanating from Jack Harper?"
Actually, no, we can't feel that. But we can smell him emanating something else.