Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 21, 2010

NOT A GOOD WEEK IN ARIZONA.... The Grand Canyon State appears to have fallen in a deep political hole.

Less than a week ago, the state Senate in Arizona approved an odious immigration measure, which, among other things, makes it a crime to lack proper immigration paperwork in the state, and "requires police officers, if they form a 'reasonable suspicion' that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person's immigration status." Arizonans would be eligible for arrest if an officer thinks they might be an illegal immigrant and can't prove otherwise.

Yesterday, the far-right push took another ugly turn, with Arizona's state House advancing a "birther" bill.

The so-called birther bill won initial approval from the state House on Monday, advancing legislation that would require presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate before they can be on the ballot in Arizona.

The bill originated from a group that believes President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S. and is ineligible to be president.

Rep. Judy Burges amended Senate Bill 1024 to include a requirement that Arizona's secretary of state inspect a presidential candidate's birth certificate before that candidate could qualify for the ballot.

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican, isn't sure if the proposal is even legal, since state-level requirements for a federal office are inherently suspect.

But substance aside, the fact that fringe lunacy is being taken seriously at this level suggests a strain of contemporary Republican thought that's gone stark raving mad.

For what it's worth, this nonsense still has some major hurdles to clear before becoming law in Arizona. The state House voted to add the measure to another piece of legislation yesterday, and is yet to formally approve it. The "birther" bill would also still need support from the state Senate and Gov. Jan Brewer (R).

Nevertheless, the effort itself, and its progress, is an embarrassment.

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

Bookmark and Share


Posted by: LTC on April 21, 2010 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

They lost. This is the result. I vote we return Arizona to Mexico.

Posted by: Mudge on April 21, 2010 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's unconstitutional- see the 10th Amendment. The state has no power over federal domains and vice versa. The want t for state elections? Fine, let them have their little bigoted ballot boxes. The SCOTUS should strike it down if it comes to their bench.

Posted by: johnnymags on April 21, 2010 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Arizona's new motto: "I Forgot To Take My Medication."

Posted by: MattF on April 21, 2010 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

If Al Quaeda drops a Stupid Bomb on the state of Arizona, and the GOP-owned media doesn't report the attack---------well, this is the logical result....

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 21, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

I've recently decided there are two states that I am no longer considering for vacation - Arizona and Virginia. Although I have kids and grandchildren in Virginia, we are choosing North Carolina to meet up. My husband is Italian-American, first generation American born, and is often mistaken for Hispanic when we are abroad. I can only imagine my reaction if he were asked to prove himself an American citizen while visiting Arizona. I'd probably be jailed, not him. I'm not dropping a dime into those states. If these states start seeing a drop in their tourism dollars, perhaps they'll reconsider their racist attitudes.

Posted by: Joy on April 21, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Since the birth certificate has been made public - what's the issue?

Oh, I forgot, the birthers think the State of Hawaii is in on the conspiracy to issue false birth certificates for black Kenyans who might become President some day.

But all of this just deepens my view that the "natural born" phrase is a relic of the 18th century that should be repealed. Any U.S. citizen of age should be eligible to seek the Presidency. Why, for example, should Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm be ineligible for the Presidency because she was born in Canada (her parents moved here when she was six). And yes, I think the Governator should be eligible to run (he's a U.S. citizen but is ineligible since he was born in Austria).

We live in a world now in which not everyone is the product of a marriage between the high school football quarterback and the homecoming queen - Obama’s history is a prime example. If we don’t fix this, we are going to encounter case after case in the future where the birth history is unusual and we will get bogged down in fights over obscure birth documents. Any U.S. citizen should be able to run. That’s the American way.

Posted by: Virginia on April 21, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

I'd love to hear from longtime Southwestern political observers. From afar, this looks like the nativists who elected Pete Wilson governor and passed Prop 187 (is that the correct #?) in California in the 1990s have fled the West Coast, retreated inland, and are trying---a la King Canute---to stop the tide of demographic change.

In the long run I suspect they'll have about as much success as he did. In the short run it could be ugly.

Posted by: massappeal on April 21, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

I've recently decided there are two states that I am no longer considering for vacation - Arizona and Virginia.

Not asking you to reconsider, just a thought on the political makeup of these states: The hard thing for the Dems who live in these states is that they're really not a tiny minority (and in VA's case, quite often a majority). The wacko winger activity in both AZ and VA is a function of the extreme polarization going on as well as the GOP's shift to the hard right--a bare majority or only mildly ascendant right wing can come up with all sorts of insanity that the current minority has to stomach or work twice as hard to stop.

I believe AZ's congressional delegation has one less member than its Republican delegation, and we all know how VA went in the last presidential election/previous gubernatorial elections and to which party both of its senators belong. Arizona had Napolitano and, if I'm not mistaken, has even trended bluer for the past few years outside of McCain's candidacy; it does have a healthy Democratic presence. It's still far redder than Virginia, of course, but in both states the nuttiest element of the GOP has enough power to get away with its crap without totally owning the state as it does in uniformly red places.

My own vacation boycott, such as it is, applies to South Carolina, which appears to have no rational politicians and few sane voters left in it. :)

Posted by: shortstop on April 21, 2010 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

I vote we return Arizona to the Apache Nation.

Rocks surrounding Sedona have far more intelligence than the RepuG leaders and their insipid followers. Perhaps, there is, also, far more brain power to be found in the matter being mucked in the stalls at Turf Paradise, than, in the state legislature. But, I could say the same about the difference between what is mucked at Gainesway Farms and that under the toupe of Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 21, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Are we pretending that the American people are intelligent enough to see this insanity unfolding and capable of realizing it as being insane? Aaaaahahahahahahahahha!!! Obama's approval is falling off a cliff, and the Republicans---crazy as all f(bomb)---are going to be rewarded for their lunacy with big victories in 2010. Matter of fact, the truth of the matter is that the crazier the Republicans and their supporters become, the more likely it is that they will be rewarded by the American people. Report this stuff if you must, but, please, don't pretend that doing so is going to alert the American people to some secret that is going to suddenly make them realize just how nuts the GOP has become. More and more Americans see how insane the Republicans are...and more and more Americans agree with them.

Posted by: ralph Kramden on April 21, 2010 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Oh oh Arizona, banjos playing through the broken glass
Swing lo Arizona

Posted by: Trollop Young on April 21, 2010 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

There were a least a half-dozen GOP legislators who questioned the birther bill on its merits and legality. And they all voted for it anyway since the hard right has them fearful of being primaried. Arizona is California's suburb. We are demographically quite similar. What we aren't is sufficiently advanced in political consciousness. Bill like this one will eventually wake us up.

Posted by: walt on April 21, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

walt, may I correct one thing - Arizona is California's white flight no-taxes suburb.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 21, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Sue Lowden must have a direct pipeline from Arizona for her ideas!

Posted by: Ted76 on April 21, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK


Good for you for removing Arizona from your vacation list. If you ever still consider the southwest, I suggest New Mexico. It's actually quite "blue" in the northern 2/3.

Posted by: Zandru on April 21, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Please vacation in Georgia. We have women testify about their Ben Wa balls.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on April 21, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

...a requirement that Arizona's secretary of state inspect a presidential candidate's birth certificate before that candidate could qualify for the ballot.

That's nothing. Imagine the reaction if Obama, complying with the law, casually offers his birth certificate. "Here ya go." Done & done, right?

Posted by: Grumpy on April 21, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Are we sure this isn't a ploy on the part of Arizona's Secretary of State to get a nice Hawaiian vacation on the state's dime? After all, if s/he decides that the same certified copy that s/he issues in Arizona isn't good enough when it comes from Hawaii, then the only possible choice is to take a trip to Honolulu to look at the records personally. And if there are a few mai tais consumed and maybe a little sailing and sightseeing getting charged to the state, who's to know?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on April 21, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think their "birther bill" goes far enough ... I think it should include anyone running for the U.S. Senate as well. Er ... sorry Sen. McCain. You're not qualified to appear on the ballot.

Posted by: G.Kerby on April 21, 2010 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Vacation in Alabama. We have nice lawns.

Posted by: * on April 21, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

I miss Public Enemy.


Posted by: PaulW on April 21, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Let's all e-mail bomb Judy Burges with the vital necessity of including a Voigt-Kampff.
Bet she bites.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on April 21, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

If Janet Napolitano were still governor, this stuff would all be vetoed.

Pedantic note - I believe the dominant Native Tribe in what is now Arizona, in terms of population, was Navajo, not Apache, and that is almost certainly true today (there is a significant, vibrant Navajo presence in Monument Valley and adjacent areas).

Posted by: hopeless pedant on April 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I believe AZ's congressional delegation has one less member than its Republican delegation...

In the House it's 5 dems to 3 republicans . Of course you know the Senators.

Maybe I'll post something tonight that will explain AZ politics a bit...

Posted by: koreyel on April 21, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Humm... let's see what's happening in AZ... the budget cut 300,000 peole from the states version of medicade (this may change), the department of commerce is going to be run by local business in the name of economic development, carring around loaded guns without traiing is permitted and one may conceal them. They cut the funding for Az highway rest stops and Jan Brewer thought they might get volunteers to clean them. Then they cut the budget for state parks so that 2/3 of them have to close (or be taken over by the counties), then they want to close the juvenile jails and turn that function over to the county.

Oh then there's that whole local enforcement of federal immigration laws thing... plus the state has cut funding for state university education so that tuition is up 31% this year, plus 24% last year.

Phoenix has instituted a FOOD TAX

The roads are crumbling, the state's economy is hell, AND they want to cut taxes for the rich even further.

And now the legislature want to check the birth certificates of presidential candidates...

Man, this state is so messed up, one could weep.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on April 21, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I wish one of these birthers would get asked about Obama's passport. Obviously he has one and applied for it to the federal government at some point in his life (he went to Indonesia with his mom as a kid according to his bio).

So Obama's mom procured a fake birth certificate when Obama was a grade schooler? Or the Passport Office knew the birth certificate was a fake and they gave a kid a U.S. passport anyway? I mean really--wtf?

Funny how John McCain actually would have produced a birth certificate from another country, Panama. I wondered if that wasn't part of this attack on Obama--a good offense is the best defense.

Posted by: BerkeleyMom on April 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

I actually think this is a great opportunity. As Steve regularly points out, McCain appears on the Sunday gossip shows almost every week-- he should be asked every time he goes on if he supports the birther bill. "Sen. McCain, as a former failed presidential candidate, would you have agreed to produce a birth certificate in the manner this bill requires?" Then watch him try to squirm out of it.

Posted by: Brian on April 21, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, not Panama. When he was born, it was a US territory, not part of the country of Panama. I can't imagine he has a Panamanian birth certificate.

(Which of course is besides the point - children of US citizens born outside the US are automatically natural born US citizens).

Posted by: hopeless pedant on April 21, 2010 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

And in addition to being generally crazy ideologically, we Arizonans are also very poor. It's a super-low-wage state. "What's the matter with Arizona?" is "What's the matter with Kansas?" on steroids.
We Arizonans south of the Gila would like to point out that we are different down here. You'd be safe on vacation. But don't drive, because there's no place on the highways for a pit stop.

Posted by: jhill on April 21, 2010 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, koreyel and all Arizonans, for weighing in. Interesting stuff.

Posted by: shortstop on April 21, 2010 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Birther nonsense, gestopo tactics used on non-caucasions...

Yep, before we know it all citizens of arizona will be issued arm bands - or perhaps giant "A's" to apply to their clothing to identify them as citizens. Wait, I've seen that somewhere before...

AZ is taking giant leaps back. Guess their off my list of potential vacation destinations.

Posted by: jilli on April 21, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Just got back from a week in AZ and got to see some of this crazy up close. The immigration measure is really stirring people up out there, to the point that there were some holding vigils outside the governor's house because she feels it's OK to disrupt their lives in their homes. (This same governor, apparently rattled, went on the teevee to address a law enforcement heroes gathering and rambled on and on about food stamp fraud.) There is an AZ Rep. Sinema, a constitutional scholar, who scored points on Mayor Arpaio on CNN this morning by pointing out the legal flaws in the measure.

The birther bill was reported on local news out there with some embarrassment, and for what it's worth, was immediately followed by a story about a toilet dropped into the median of a very busy intersection in Phoenix with "McCain Stinks" in bold script across the tank.

The worst news is that anyone can carry a gun in AZ, and there were gun shows just about everywhere we traveled.

Posted by: Gaia on April 21, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Won't the "Show Your Papers" law apply to Anyone in Arizona, even those just driving through from, say, California? Won't anyone who crosses their boundary be at risk for an expensive, embarrassing, and inconvenient run-in with the citizenship police? How will neighboring states respond to this obvious threat? Will it be necessary to negotiate some kind of intra-state treaty? Perhaps hassles can be avoided by obtaining some sort of "passport" in advance? All that cd be set in motion at least until there is a challenge under the Interstate Commerce Clause reaches the Supreme Court for final disposition.

And what about truckers making deliveries from out of state? Won't there be additional legal costs, occasional delivery failures, and other expensive new costs that will have to be added on as part of the price of Arizonans doing business with Outsiders?

Airline passengers changing planes in Phoenix will be at risk also, at least if they leave secured areas of Phoenix International Airport (PHX), where it wd be impossible to tell legal Arizonans from super-sneaky aliens without checking everyone's credentials. Perhaps the State Department can negotiate the appropriate documentation and work out standard procedures for handling passengers grounded in the state unexpectedly during any type of flight emergency, but without having the necessary documents on them.

Airports, inside secured areas anyway, might be a lower priority for monitoring than bus stations, however. Lots of Greyhound passengers might dare to exit their inter-state vehicle, creating a supervisory nightmare, and expensive enforcement delays.

Certainly no one should expect to hold a trade show or convention in the state until all this is sorted out. At least Native Americans who live within the state can have their interests represented by the Bureau of Indian Affairs if they get into trouble while "off the reservation."

Sounds pretty much as though the only safe thing to do is to treat all of the state's borders as requiring a passport in order to ensure greater compliance and prevent unnecessary misunderstandings.

Good thing the state is wealthy enough to administer all these new restrictions, defend each case in court when challenged, and good thing the higher price of imported non-AZ goods can be accommodated so easily, without any problem in passing along the added costs involved any time a corporation doing business in the state needs to put someone at risk by sending them into the militarized zone to conduct routine business.

If the added cost of raw materials, construction supplies, and pure administrivia has to be added to the price of burgers at each new fast food outlet, will there be an impact on product pricing and significant losses in the number of those employed at both low and high ends of the work force?

Perhaps it would be advisable to have an economic impact statement prepared before state Replicans put this absurdity into practice. They cd begin by setting aside plenty of time and money to fight the illegal Kenyan administration's inevitable challenges. Even more urgent might be a backup plan for the instant loss of food and medicine while out-of-state companies and workers scramble to obtain suitable documentation before putting officers and employees at risk of incarceration.

Just another anti-American nightmare, brought to you by the bigot party and its xenophobic, paranoiac poseurs. Sinjin McBraindead may already be on board, so perhaps AZ is only the start of a truly national trend to protect all U.S. citizens from the risk of an open society.

Looks like this sideshow for Virginia's featured entertainment is turning into a double feature. Pass the popcorn! What with the bread shortage, we're going to need better circuses like these.

Posted by: Tomm on April 21, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Obama can produce his birth certificate just as soon as Bush produces his full health exam records from 1971 when he was grounded in the Texas Air National guard. Did he crash that F-104 because of cocaine abuse? I guess we'll never know. What a patriot.

I know, let's ignore this lifelong pattern of massive waste of taxpayer money through careless wanton destruction of military hardware (let alone lives), and instead, bitch and moan about the guy with brown skin.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

So now when my wife and I visit Arizona this fall to visit her family, we have to ensure that we carry some form of "immigration paperwork" wherever we go. I presume a US passport would suffice. I kinda doubt I'd ever need to produce mine, since I'm a pasty white boy born and raised in Wisconsin. But my wife is a Mexican-American, born in Glendale and raised in Scottsdale. My wife and I each happen to have one, which is fortunate; I wonder what would happen if we didn't? And if she leaves it in the hotel room one afternoon?

I envision a lot of work for lawyers arising out of this one.

Posted by: bucky on April 21, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I mean, not that the Fourth Amendment is anything but toilet paper these days, but does anyone else ALSO see a huge probable-cause problem with the immigration law? I mean, now we can incarcerate people for not being able to prove that they AREN'T committing a crime?

Posted by: Daddy Love on April 21, 2010 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here in the Sonoran desert it's not just rain in short supply. You do not need any permits anymore to carry a concealed weapon... go anywhere, anytime with a .40 cal in your waistband just like Doc Holliday used to do. The exception is bars that have a properly posted sign with specific proscribed language posted in the proscribed manner. Then you can't pack your hogleg... unless the bar didn't use the exact language or post in the exact manner.

Between the cult from Utah and the phuquetards it makes this state very difficult to enjoy.

Posted by: BigSky on April 21, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting conflicts. Immigration and defense against invasion are federal responsibilities, but the president and both major political parties are corrupt on enforcement of immigration laws, the Dems in order to fix future elections by rewarding border sneaks with citizenship and through the Jackpot Voter Breeding Program (JVBP), and the Repubs of course heavily favoring the odious wage slave trade to bring in cheap labor for biz in order to replace middle class American workers.

Then there is the conflict between patriotic Americans who believe in rule of law, like the Tea Party; and immoral, unpatriotic Democrats, liberals, anti-white racists, and Hispanics whose first loyalty is to race rather than to America.

Posted by: Luther on April 23, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly