Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 19, 2011

BREWER BEATS BACK BIRTHERS.... Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is a favorite of the far-right, which made her veto last night of a ridiculous "birther" bill a pleasant surprise.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial 'birther' bill on Monday night that would have required presidential candidates to submit a long-form birth certificate in order to be on the ballot.

Approved in the state legislature last Thursday, the bill called for candidates to produce two or more qualifying documents in the absence of a long-form birth certificate, which include a "hospital birth record, early baptismal certificate, circumcision certificate, early census record or postpartum medical record signed by whoever delivered the child," the Arizona Republic reported. [...]

Brewer, notorious for being a hard-line conservative, shot down the bill on Monday as going "too far" even for the red state.

"I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth to submit their 'early baptismal or circumcision certificates,'" Brewer explained in a written statement. "This measure creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona."

The proposal appeared to be crafted with one individual, President Obama, in mind. Republican state lawmakers intended to create a standard that exceeded any legal requirements anywhere else -- it would even have made Americans born in Arizona after 1966 ineligible -- for the express purpose of trying to keep an incumbent president off the state ballot.

As conservative as Brewer is, she wisely recognized this as "a bridge too far." Credit where credit is due -- even far-right Republican governors are occasionally capable of rejecting needless and pointless extremism.

The next question is whether the veto will stick. Both chambers of Arizona's legislature have large Republican majorities, with GOP members outnumbering Democrats by a two-to-one margin, and with very few moderates. If unhinged Republican lawmakers are determined enough, they could override the veto of their own party's governor.

As of last night, that appeared unlikely, and Brewer's rejection of the conspiracy-theory-inspired bill ends the debate in Arizona. Still, it's one more thing to keep an eye on.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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What does Brewer have to hide? Huh?!?!?! Maybe she assumed the identity of a headless torso found in the Arizona desert. Not saying, just wondering...

Posted by: Nucular Pundant on April 19, 2011 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

Because there's a concerted top-down effort, despite Trump, to tamp down the crazy:

• Boot Beck
• Sideline Palin
• Let Tea Party wither; it's done its job
• Rove warns that birtherism is a trap

Posted by: Alex on April 19, 2011 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Brewer was born in Kenya too!



Posted by: mr. irony on April 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, and the legislature will come back with a "No Schwartze's for President Act."

It's a much cleaner, more direct bill.

On the serious side, good for the Governor.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Brewer is planning to run for President herself, and upon checking, found she does not have a penis to circumcise.

Posted by: DAY on April 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand the "Arizonan's ineligible after 1966" bit. Anyone?

cund, who knew you spoke Yiddish?

Posted by: MsJoanne on April 19, 2011 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats are like people burning in hell.
They'll take any small droplet of not-quite-insane water dripped on their tongue like some marvel and kiss the feet of the devil.
You know, instead of actually fighting.

Posted by: HMDK on April 19, 2011 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a goy boy, but I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Queens, NYC.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 19, 2011 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Rachel Maddow reported last night that Arizona doesn't even issue long-form birth certificates themselves, but they want to require POTUS candidates to have one.

Yeah, bridge too far....

Posted by: sue on April 19, 2011 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Jan Brewer, moderate Republican.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 19, 2011 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

Brewer also vetoed the Guns on Campus bill:

"The bill didn't define public right of way and also could have been interpreted to apply to K-12 schools in addition to universities and community colleges, Brewer said in her veto letter.

"Bills impacting our Second Amendment rights have to be crystal clear so that gun owners don't become lawbreakers by accident," she said."

They could still pass one that meets her criteria, but it's another example that even with her there are some lines that ought not be crossed. Astonishing that even extremists have limits...

Posted by: Todd for VT House on April 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

HMDK, recognized smart and proper moves from the opposition is a cornerstone of maintaining credibility in a broader context of criticism.

For instance, passing a healthcare law based on conservatives' long-favored solution should have earned Obama points from the right. But of course, the spawn of Orwell care not a jot about credibility.

Posted by: jTh on April 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

You know, instead of actually fighting.

What fight are Dems giving up because Brewer vetoed a crazy bill?

Posted by: Todd for VT House on April 19, 2011 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Rachel reported last night that Arizona did away with the long form birth certificate back in 1966. What she didn't report is that back in the days when the nation was sane, most other states did away with them as well. Go to your local department of vital statistics and ask for a birth certificate, they nice person behind the counter is likely to give you a certificate of live birth.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 19, 2011 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Her corporate backers probably told her to veto the bill for fear that AZ government would look weirder than it already is. Lest we forget, this is the person who wanted to kick 280,000 people off Medicaid, ignited cultural wars by signing SB 1070 the anti immigration bill, signed a budget which cut education spending in AZ, and plans to gut AZ Civil Service.


QUEEN Victoria would be embarrassed by the the current trends in increased American inequality of income, Republicans are not.  Sell-outs to big money all, the Republicans voted for Paul Ryan's proposed budget which would destroy Medicare and cut taxes for the wealthiest. 

It's all very fine if you can like the upper class cover health costs out of pocket, but for the rest of us we know if they operated in the public interest their admin costs would be 3% like Medicare not over 10% as now, nor would they have raised rates in a recession.

To solidify the trend, The Republican Supreme Court gave corporations pre-20th century influence in politics. Many other Republicans would  continue the march backwards and stop unemployment insurance, repeal the minimum wage, or like AZ Governor Jan Brewer jail undocumented workers in privately run prisons at state expense.

I admire many things about the 19th century -- abolition of slavery, intellectual curiosity, the progressive movement, neo-classical architecture, workers rights but not mid-Victorian prejudice, greed, morality, and states rights arguments, the worst of the 19th century, which our post modern era Republicans seem to love.

The Republicans would kill that which made our society great, the best of the 19th century- a movement up and up in terms of societal cooperation, income equality, human rights, a strong federal system, public education, and a spirit of scientific exploration all values set into law and American tradition Republicans would repeal but which the rest of us love.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on April 19, 2011 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Alex makes the pertinent observation: Republicans are dialing down the crazy. Karl Rove understands that this prairie fire is getting out of control. This is the operational principle: keep the pot boiling but no so it burns down the house.

Posted by: walt on April 19, 2011 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Brewer is planning to run for President herself, and upon checking, found she does not have a penis to circumcise."

Geeze, I'm not so sure. Has anyone ever taken a close look at "her"?.

As far as the gun bill, I heard she was thinking of taking a college class this fall and , well, you never know what can happen when armed college students get pissed-off about taking unannounced spot exams...

Posted by: stevio on April 19, 2011 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Mr Byers, about the accuracy of those certificates you mentioned. For many years, I was not aware the birth certificate for myself on file in Topeka was incorrect. The document has a misspelled version of my mother's maiden name. Apparently, the original document came from a KCK hospital and someone wrote down the incorrect information. The plastic certificate I carry from the State of Kansas does not have that information on it. However, when, I applied for Social Security, the SSA would only accept the document from the Registar's Office in Topeka and not my plastic card from them. The upshot is I have to remember the misspelling, whenever, I have dealings with the SSA. Their suggestion was it was the Registar's problem in Topeka to correct this. Yeah, by all mean, find that nurse from many many years ago who made the mistake. Stand over her grave site and make her own up.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 19, 2011 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, berttheclock, my middle initial is incorrect on my PA drivers license- and has been for 50 odd years. I'm keeping mum, lest I end up in one of those FEMA gulags!

Posted by: DAY on April 19, 2011 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

I think she realized the two obvious problems with the law. First, it accepts documents that are not legally valid and would not be accepted by the US State Department. Second, it could just as easily keep her fellow Republicans off the ballot. As berttheclock pointed out, many of us could not meet the requirements of the law. I couldn't, and I have three forms of birth certificates. I have the hospital issued form, which is not a legal document and would be rejected at the federal level. I have a state issued official copy, but it doesn't list the hospital. And I have the original long form, but the State of Pennsylvania does not release their original documents, so like Obama, I don't have access to it. And then all three of them list my city of birth as Fountain Hill, PA, which is a city that no longer exists. That last part about the non-existent city has caused me plenty of nightmares at the state level, but the feds at least have a process for dealing with that situation.

Posted by: fostert on April 19, 2011 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

fostert, you hit the nail on the head. A lot of Republicans wouldn't be eligible to run under the Arizona law. We aren't talking about something that is exclusive to Hawaii.

By the way I didn't know anybody issued circumcision certificates until the Arizona law. What is the female version of the circumcision certificate?

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 19, 2011 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Love your observation DAY!

I do say Bravo to Gov. Brewer on this one, though I don't expect such an act of sanity the next time crazy comes across her desk! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 19, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

A close friend of mine was born in Kentucky. Shortly, after his birth, the court house near the hospital burned down and all records, including his, were destroyed. Whenever, I talk with him, there is something in the back of my mind which keeps pondering, "Who really is this man?"

Posted by: berttheclock on April 19, 2011 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

It seems like the governor would have cheerfully signed the bill, but for the unfortunate reference to the President's penis.

Posted by: rea on April 19, 2011 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

1. The birther bill: I don't think Brewer has Presidential ambitions, but she probably is interested in running for Governor again in Arizona. Vetoing the birther bill isn't really likely to lose her a significant number of votes, but signing it would have risked alienating the less crazy business community in Arizona. The birther bill had little chance of actually keeping Obama off the ballot, even if it were to do so it wouldn't affect the outcome of the election, and it would have cost Arizona money, both in terms of future boycotts of the state and in terms of legal expenses in defending the constitutionality of the bill.

2. The guns on campus bill: You shouldn't take too seriously the public statement for opposition to the bill. I'm guessing that the real reason for opposing the bill (aside from the fact that it is a silly piece of legislation which will do nothing to make campuses more secure) is that the public colleges and universities in Arizona lobbied heavily against it--they are concerned that this piece of legislation makes gun violence on campus more likely, therefore increasing the system's insurance costs, and they are probably also concerned that it will significantly reduce the number of out-of-state students that they attract; this will affect the system's financing.

Posted by: DRF on April 19, 2011 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

IF you are going to celebrate a governor' s veto, find the video of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and his veto of a variety of stupid bills in MT. It is schticky, but nice to see a democrat say something definitive and point out how f***ing stupid the yahoo wing is.

Posted by: bigtuna on April 19, 2011 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

The cons have come to realize that they must appear less radical and at least a little bit sane if they are going to enact their insane radical agenda. That's why ailes is sitting on Palin and others on Bachman, although both women can function as herders for the deeply disturbed right. Rove's a party boy and will probably fall into line, but will the kochs and gramms follow suit? Stay tuned for the next episode.

Posted by: CDW on April 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

re: the gun bill - I have heard it from the horses' mouths, as it were, that if various gun bills pass, depending on their form, there will be Univ. presidents who will resign. Of course, that could be the effect the yahoos want - - depopulate the universities with "liberal" presidents and install citizen presidents to crack down on thos god damn pucks and fuzzy headed professors.

Several states are considering open carry laws - that is, packing out in the open, not concealed, no permits.

Posted by: bigtuna on April 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Just for fun I dug out the official birth certificates for myself, my spouse and our two kids. After looking at them, I wish all of the birthers would look at their own to see how ridiculous their "long form" rant is. Note that two of us were born before President Obama. Here's what we've got:

Nebraska, 1953 Certificate of Live Birth

California, 1954 Certification of Vital Record (requested and issued in 1999 in order to obtain a passport; spouse did have a photocopy of "Notification of Birth Registration" from the state director of public health but it wasn't "official")

Washington State, 1984 Certificate of Live Birth

Washington State, 1988 Certificate of Live Birth

Posted by: Cornhusker on April 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

My mother's birthdate was wrong when she originally went to SS. It was THEIR mistake and what a hornet's nest when the original birth certificate no longer existed because the county building it was in with all the other records, burned down. She got it corrected by jumping through all their hoops and when she needed to update SS again, they again had it back to the original mistake. She gave up.

Posted by: Schtick on April 19, 2011 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

When Brewer became governor she tried to be more moderate than expected but soon went back to the far right because of an intransigent Republican legislature and shifting political winds. Nice to see her corporate Republicanism trumping tribal wingnuttery.

Posted by: karl on April 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Notice that at the same time she vetoed the "Guns will be allowed on university campuses" bill. But the Australopithecines in the Leg will probably override.

Posted by: jhill on April 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

But poor, stupid, beholden Bobby Jindal would....


Posted by: ET on April 19, 2011 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

circumcision certificate

This requirement would satisfy the condition that the candidate is the correct sex and skin color (compared to attached color chart).

Besides being a sexist piece of legislation (surprised anybody?), would an attached, notarized image be sufficient evidence?

I think they need to push through a bill that library cards have a picture of their junk on it.

and what DAY @ 8:11 said.

Posted by: Kevin (not the famous one) on April 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Brewer is still licking her political wounds after her judicial crucifixion over the ill-conceived immigration bill last year, and she's hesitant to dip her toe in the waters of tea party fanaticism again.

Posted by: labman57 on April 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

So no one younger than 46 could be president...

Given demographics of the two parties, it's an effective, in unconstitutional strategy.

By 2060, we could have difficulty finding anyone to elect, though.

Baptism? Circumcision? Are they f'ing kidding me?
This from the party that wants to supply a phrase from the Constitution backing every law they pass at the fed level?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on April 24, 2011 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK
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