Influential GOP strategist Sean Noble of the consulting firm DC London is calling on recalled, former state Senate President Russell Pearce to "resign or be removed" from his position as the Arizona GOP's first vice chair because of Pearce's remarks advocating the coerced sterilization of female Medicaid recipients.
"There's nothing conservative about [fascism]," Noble stated via his Twitter account on Saturday. "Pearce doesn't represent Republicans. He must resign or be removed."
Pearce's grotesque remarks came during one of his regular weekly radio broadcast on KKNT 960 AM, while he railed about government programs such as Medicaid.
"You put me in charge of Medicaid," Pearce told one caller, "the first thing I'd do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations. Then, we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."
I first reported these comments in my weekly column, noting that Pearce, ironically, helps run a county program for the poor called the Elderly Assistance Fund, as part of his new county job, which pays a handsome $85,000 per year.
Popular websites such as the Raw Story picked up on Pearce's comments, as well as other comments he made about welfare recipients.
Noble's call for Pearce to resign was immediately challenged by liberals online, who claimed that Pearce represented the views of the Arizona Republican Party in general.
Noble rejected such assertions.
"Remember," he wrote via Twitter. "Republican voters in the most conservative city in US repudiated Pearce twice: recall & primary."
Noble is referring here to Mesa, where a coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents recalled Pearce from office in 2011.
In 2012, Noble's firm DC London helped SkyMall owner Bob Worsley defeat Pearce in the Legislative District 25 GOP primary for state Senate.
And this year, DC London helped Worsley beat back a challenge from Pearce's revenge candidate Ralph Heap in the GOP primary.
On Twitter, Noble stated that he raised the issue of Pearce's remarks, "because I believe in freedom & his comment is one of the most unfree things I can imagine."
Pearce was elected First Vice Chair of the state GOP in 2012, and he was re-elected to that post in January of this year. The position is unpaid.
Removing him from his office before 2016, when he would be up for re-election, would require a special meeting of the GOP state committee.
According to the Arizona GOP's bylaws, a special meeting could be called by the state chair, "or signed by 20% or more of the members of the state committee representing at least nine counties, or signed by 40% of the voting members of the executive committee."
But state chair Robert Graham was not willing to go there when I spoke with him Saturday.
Graham said he had talked to Pearce about his comments, and that Pearce told him that he actually had been reading from an old letter published on Snopes.com.
Graham said he believed Pearce would be issuing a statement soon explaining that he had been quoting a statement from someone else, and did not mean it to be attributed to him.
"Those remarks are just terrible," Graham said, "They do not line up with the beliefs of [the Arizona Republican Party]...I will never defend those words."
Though Pearce did not identify those remarks as being a quote from someone else on his show, they apparently are from a 2010 letter to the editor of the Waco Tribune..
This incident reminds me of a mass release by of Pearce's e-mails from his time in the legislature.
In those e-mails, Pearce often forwarded racist comments by others without indicating they were not his.
Back in 2006, Pearce cut and pasted, then e-mailed to his supporters a racist, anti-Semitic screed from the neo-Nazi National Alliance website.
From his own racist beliefs to his palling around with neo-Nazi baby-killer J.T. Ready to his being the main proponent of Arizona's ethnic cleansing legislation Senate Bill 1070, Pearce has long been an embarrassment to the Arizona GOP.
Problem is, he remains very popular among rank and file Republican Party activists, who control the GOP state committee's proxy system of voting.
I contacted Noble and explained what Graham had told me.
Noble said it did not change his position that Pearce should resign.
"Whether [that statement] came from somebody else, that he is adopting, or it came from him, the fact that he would so casually talk about tubal ligation, it's just completely wrong," explained Noble.
A debate over welfare or Medicaid benefits is one thing, Noble said, but what Pearce had stated was beyond the pale, and resembled a dystopian society, such as the one in George Orwell's 1984.
"If he had any honor, [Pearce] would resign," asserted Noble.
"When you've been elected by the party to a position within the party, and you espouse a view that is so contrary to everything that the party believes, then you've got to leave."
Pearce's stupidity also offers the Republicans' enemies a cudgel during an election year.
Shortly after Noble made his statements on Twitter, I received a press release from the Arizona Democratic Party, in which executive director DJ Quinlan condemned Pearce's remarks as "unacceptable," and asked if GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Ducey agrees with Pearce.
"How can we expect Doug Ducey to lead this state if he can't even stand up to the most extreme elements of his party?" Quinlan said in the release.
Interestingly, Noble supports Ducey's candidacy.
I have queried the Ducey camp on this and will update this post if they get back to me.
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By the way, Pearce did not address his recent controversial remarks or make any apology for them on this week's broadcast of his radio show.
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