Jan Brewer Caves on Redistricting, Won't Call Second Special Session on AIRC

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There are some messages so loud and clear that even someone as dense as Arizona's grammatically-challenged chief executive gets the message.

Less than a week after the release of a poll showing Governor Jan Brewer's disapproval rating at 49 percent, with 32 percent of Sand Land voters willing to recall her from office, Brewer has issued a statement saying she will not call another special session over her fight with the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, as many Republicans would like for her to do.

While defending her illegal decision to remove AIRC chair Colleen Mathis -- one quickly overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court -- she nonetheless turned down Republicans who would like a shot at placing a repeal of Prop 106, the redistricting proposition approved by voters in 2000, on the ballot.

"I've seen no evidence to date that indicates voters are ready or willing to throw out the Commission structure," Brewer stated in her press release. "Moreover, the Legislature has yet to produce a consensus set of redistricting reforms to propose to voters."

She continued: "I know that some legislators, especially those of my political family, are anxious for me to call a Special Session so that they may pursue a ballot proposal to repeal or reform Prop 106.

"But we cannot act in haste - or in anger - when it comes to something as critical as the way in which Arizona draws its congressional and legislative districts. Our action must be reasoned and rational, and there must be a defined path to victory with voters. I will not call a Special Session on this topic unless and until I believe those bars have been met."

A bit of a volte-face, eh? Of course, Brewer manages to concede while at the same time vaguely threatening the Arizona Supremes.

"I...believe the Arizona Supreme Court grossly erred in returning the Chairwoman to the Commission. There may be another time to deal with the Court, but it's important at a time like this that we keep our eyes on the bigger picture."

"Deal with the court"? Who the hell does Brewer think she is? If I didn't know better, I'd guess she'd been watching that Showtime series The Tudors on DVD. But that'd be way too Masterpiece Theater for someone of Brewer's limited cranial capacity. 

Bottom line: Spare us the vague threats, Jan. You're not that powerful, even with a supermajority in both chambers. 

Indeed, Brewer's power play ended like a bad booby trap, with her as the boob. She removed Mathis in a dictatorial act, lacking any legitimate grounds for that removal, and thought she'd get away with it.

She didn't. First the Arizona Supreme Court shot her down. Then the people spoke, and aimed the prospect of a recall at her lame duck administration. Brewer, realizing she was on the precipice, stepped back.

She better pray the idea of her recall doesn't take hold. Because if it does, she'll be back in Glendale on a permanent retirement with her ex-chiropractor hubby, watching old tapes of her appearances on Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, mumbling, "Those were the days..."

UPDATE 5:51 PM: The state Senate leadership was not amused by Brewer's balk at the abyss. It issued the following statement, which shows you just how eager the Rs were to scuttle Prop 106:

"We are disappointed in Governor Brewer's decision this afternoon to not call a Special Session on redistricting. After all the unconstitutional decisions and alleged violations of law by IRC Chair Mathis, voters deserve the opportunity to revisit the concept of an independent commission drawing the legislative and congressional maps. The flaws of having one unaccountable and unelected person making such vital decisions for the state have been exposed.

Senate and House leadership have met numerous times with the Governor and her staff, and we have assured her as recently as this morning that we had the votes necessary to put a Prop. 106 repeal or reform on the ballot in February.

"We urge the Governor to reconsider her decision to not call a Special Session."

State Senate President Steve Pierce, Majority Leader Andy Biggs, and Majority Whip Frank Antenori signed off on this sucker.

Whether they know it or not, Brewer just did them all a huge favor. The times they are a changin', gents. And the people want a little less moonhowlin' from their elected leaders, and a lot more common sense.

(Note: For more on the AIRC and what it's up to, check out Steve Muratore's Arizona Eagletarian blog, which is all over the subject like white on rice and then some.)

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