Here’s the political context. Politics, as they say, is local, until it becomes nationalized. Here, the interests of Arizona’s right wing Republican extremists stands to heap disaster on the national party. Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona’s former secretary of state, ascended to the state’s highest office after it was vacated by Janet Napolitano, President Obama’s current Homeland Security Secretary. Brewer is locked in a tight election for governor with Arizona’s Democratic Attorney General, Terry Goddard. It was a tight race, that is, until the Wicked Witch of the West unleashed her Flying Monkey Right police to terrorize Arizona citizens.
Since Arizona’s Nazi bill was signed into law, Goddard jumped ahead of Brewer, 47 to 44 percent. Latino voters are flocking to Goddard. His support among Latinos more than doubled since September. Goddard now leads Brewer among Latinos by 71 to 25 percent. Even among party-identified voters, Brewer trails Goddard: 73 percent of Republicans favor Brewer to 88 percent of Democrats for Goddard.
Arizona is turning into a pariah state that is increasingly toxic to the rest of the nation:
- In New York, Mayor Mike Bloomberg said: “[M]any people from around the world may think twice before visiting Arizona and subjecting themselves to potential run-ins with the police. As a city, New York may well benefit from another state undermining its own international competitiveness -– we’re happy to have those businesses and tourists come here.”
- Colorado Congressman Jared Polis, who is Jewish, said the law is reminiscent of Nazi Germany: “I think it’s a very fair comparison and I hope that we’re not headed on the same trajectory that Nazi Germany was. But this was a very recent experience for Jewish Americans and Jews worldwide and it’s something that when we see similarities we start ringing alarm bells.”
- In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on official travel to Arizona. A measure was introduced in the city assembly condemning the Arizona law as an “affront” to our Constitution.
Welcome to “Jaime” Crow, 2010. If Jim Crow laws in the 50s and 60s were all about making African Americans jump though hoops to exercise their right to vote, Arizona’s anti-immigration law is a tacit recognition of the growing influence and importance of Latino voters, particularly to the Democratic Party. With this Arizona law –- which was drafted by an out-of-state Birther, Chris Kobach, who is running for secretary of state in Kansas -– the extremist controlling right wing of the Republican Party has written off the Latino vote and will focus instead on suppressing Latino turnout in November.
This calculation spells doom for Republican hopes of retaking the House or Senate. Most objective political observers, in either party, recognize this strategy as a train wreck of immense proportions for the Republican Party. In fact, many Republicans are running for the tall grass and away from the Arizona law as fast as they can. Marco Rubio, darling of the Teabaggers, is compelled to protect his Latino flank as the son of Cuban immigrants and oppose the Arizona law in a pretzel-like twist that also criticizes President Obama. Rubio can only pray that the Teabaggers who saw him as “such a nice young man” before SB 1070 won’t now turn on him as the ultimate Beckista mole, secret friend to invading hordes south of our borders. Jeb Bush, whose brother’s single progressive domestic initiative was a sincere effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform, has come out against the Arizona law. As has the despicable political sharpie Karl Rove.
Illustrating just how serious a political mine field this Nazi law is for Republicans, even former Colorado Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, who ran on an anti-immigration plank and was a featured speaker at the Tea Party Convention, worries the Arizona law has gone too far. Meanwhile, Gramps McCain is deciding on yet another political facial to make it look as if he’s for the law at the same time that he’s against it. Blaming the President after you introduced the immigration reform bill you’re now running away from won’t cut it, Gramps.
Which brings us to the Teabaggers. This rabble of scared, angry, low-information white voters has caused mini-electoral convulsions within GOP ranks throughout the country. In Florida they backed Rubio and threaten to force moderate Governor Charlie Crist to run for the Senate as an independent. In Utah, distinguished conservative Senator Bob Bennett is threatened with political decapitation by a know-nothing Teabagger insurgency supporting nonentity candidates. Senator Bennett’s crime? Apart from not being a wingnut, his length of service and seniority in Washington -- a tradition dating back to the first days of the Republic -- is suddenly a career-ending political liability. In Idaho Teabaggers endorsed a Democrat, giving Republicans there conniptions.
The Republican Party does not handle chaos and disorganization well. Indeed, the Democrats hold the advantage in this area. But when Will Rogers famously said, “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat,” he could not have anticipated the state of disarray the Republican Party finds itself in today.