News

The Bird Claws at State Democrats and Likens the GOP's SCA-gate to the Granddaddy of Political Scandals

LOCAL LOSERS

A bucket of warm spit. That's the phrase Franklin D. Roosevelt's veep, John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner once famously coined to describe the institution of the vice presidency. He actually called it "a bucket of warm piss," but the G-rated version is more familiar to most.

The phrase applies equally, in The Bird's mind, to the Arizona Democratic Party, which proved itself on Election Day to be just as worthless a saliva bucket as the office of the vice presidency, albeit on a local level.

This mockingbird spews this insult not at the candidates who busted their hind ends to challenge local GOPers for races statewide, but rather the Arizona Democratic Party, run by chairman Don Bivens and executive director Maria Weeg.

Because in a year when Democrats elected an African-American to the presidency and change broke out in unlikely places like North Carolina — where Democrat Kay Hagan trounced U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, or New Hampshire, where Dem Jeanne Shaheen did likewise to Republican lizard-man and U.S. Senator John Sununu — Sand Land Dems blew it, big-time.

Yeah, sure, Dems held onto the congressional seats won in 2006 by Harry Mitchell and Gabby Giffords, and picked up one with Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick's win over Republican Sydney Hay for indicted Congressman "Slick" Rick Renzi's vacated seat.

But until about 8:30 on election night at the Wyndham Hotel in downtown Phoenix, where Dems traditionally watch the returns, Bivens and his fellow Donkey Kongs were talking up a dust storm about how Dems had a million registered voters and were probably gonna take the state House, maybe even the state Senate. Hell, it's the same line they'd been feeding their followers since the beginning of the year, touting their fat, million-dollar fundraising advantage over an impoverished state GOP.

Yet, even Barack Obama's victory speech that night couldn't obscure the obvious to this avian, who was on hand at the Wyndham to observe the debacle. Local Dems were big losers. They didn't pick up seats in the Legislature, they lost seats, and both state House and Senate remain firmly in GOP control. Worse even, as Governor Janet Napolitano will likely be skipping off to D.C. to somehow serve the Obama administration, Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer would then become guv.

Granted, Nappy has been a sheepish chief executive during her tenure, but occasionally, she's vetoed some of the more deranged bills that right-wing wackjobs like Russell Pearce (formerly a state rep, now a state senator) have tried to turn into law. Once the doorknob smacks her fanny on the way out, the stopgap of her under-used veto will no longer be in place.

In Maricopa County, the situation is darker. On par with the Black Hole of Calcutta. Or the Fourth Avenue Jail. Take your pick.

The Bird refers to the fact that Mr. Civil Rights Abuse himself, Joe Arpaio, was re-elected to a fifth term. Joe's unctuous, Harvard-educated ally, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, has likewise been returned to power. And with a Republican super-majority retained on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, where sole Dem Mary Rose Wilcox struggles on as the loyal opposition, the state's most populous county remains firmly in the grip of reactionary forces.

To go geek on ya, it's as if, during the initial Star Wars flick, the rebels never destroyed the Death Star, and Darth Vader never went careening off into space. In Maricopa County, Republican rule is absolute, and your rights as a U.S. citizen are not worth much more than a drop in the aforementioned saliva bucket.

Just don't tell that to Emily DeRose, the state party flack whom executive director Weeg had answer this talon-bearer's questions rather than answer them her own damn self. The Bird can't blame Weeg for hiding behind her lieutenant. After all, Weeg's got a job to save. Her own.

"We did win big, statewide," the Pollyanna-ish DeRose informed this avian. "We took a majority of the statewide races that were on the ballot. And we took a majority of the congressional races. So it's certainly — while not a night of all good things — was really a night for us to celebrate."

Yep, you heard her right, Bird-lovers. DeRose said "celebrate." As for the "majority of the statewide races," she means two out of the three seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission on the line.

The third's still in play, as this wren writes, between Dem Sam George and Republican Bob Stump. As for the congressional spots, the Dems have five to the GOP's three. But our U.S. Senate seats remain Republican, as neither was up for grabs.

"I think we did a really phenomenal job," enthused DeRose. Um, but what about not taking the state House, or the losses here in Maricopa County?

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons