What if Governor Ducey were a Democrat?

13 Jul 2016 01:55 am
Posted by: Donna

Doug DuceyPhoto by Gage Skidmore

Governor Doug Ducey appears to be poised for an easy reelection in 2018 and people who know far more about inside GOP baseball than I do tell me he fully intends to run for President in 2020. He will do so on the strength of what I guess are considered impressive accomplishments over on his side of the aisle – cutting corporate taxes, starving the schools, demolishing safety nets for the poor. You know, the stuff that makes him the Koch Brothers Manager Trainee of the Month for their wholly owned Western Subsidiary.

Recently the Governor used his political capital in a startling way:

With a sweep of the pen, Gov. Doug Ducey canceled all state contracts with lobbyists.

The move comes as part of the administration’s sweeping program to look for more efficiencies in state government…

…The executive order, which takes effect immediately, instructs the Arizona Department of Administration to terminate all existing contracts and revokes the procurement authority of government entities to spend on professional lobbyists. A state entity may ask to enter a contract only if they can prove that doing so is in the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare of the state and the taxpayers – a request that must be submitted in writing and will be heavily scrutinized.

Swooning has ensued:

Political observers say Gov. Doug Ducey has expanded on the authority of the executive branch more than his predecessors in recent months, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

The former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery has brought the management style of an executive not afraid to make big decisions, such as firing lobbyists.

“That’s what happens when you elect a CEO,” said Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix. “That’s what I think the electorate wanted when they elected him. He’s a decision-maker.”

Yep, Ducey is definitely acting like a CEO here, which is surely the kind of autocratic leadership that Arizonans crave! And his motivation for issuing this executive order was clearly in the interest of fiscal responsibility and the advancement of democratic principles and not petty vindictiveness or Ducey being power-grabby, oh no never.

The failure of a bill that would have moved 19 health-profession regulatory boards into the Arizona Department of Health Services was among the reasons Ducey issued the executive order last month, terminating all state contracts with professional lobbyists, said Daniel Scarpinato, the governor’s spokesman. The decision means state agencies, regulatory boards and commissions cannot spend public dollars on contract lobbyists.

“He clearly has taken steps to increase the control or the authority of the governor as the head of the executive branch,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler.

It’s cool how when a Republican Governor blatantly uses executive orders to expand his power and punish opponents that’s just ducky but when a Democratic President uses them (and much more sparingly than his predecessors) to do things like granting legal status to DREAMers (after years of GOP obstruction in Congress), well, he’s a megalomaniacal tyrant! Neat. And do you think Ducey won’t use procurement clause executive orders to go after other people and entities *cough*PlannedParenthood*cough* he opposes in the future?

Governor Ducey and his fan club seem strangely undisturbed by public health and safety concerns when it comes to partnering with health care corporations to write legislation allowing them to treat Arizonans like a cash cow, as they did last year, in what became this year’s Theranos debacle:

Theranos had at one point attained a $9 billion valuation on the strength of an apparent scientific breakthrough—whose details were kept secret even from the company’s investors—by which Theranos claimed it could detect medical conditions from just a pinprick of blood. (It turned out the company stopped using those testing machines entirely last summer and voided all their results.) In the media, Theranos was cast as a quintessential Silicon Valley success story.

If there is a way forward for the much-diminished Theranos now, though, it won’t be in California but in Arizona. By way of Theranos’ partnership with Walgreens, Arizona customers provided the bulk of the startup’s business. Phoenix was the company’s biggest market, and Theranos’ Scottsdale lab performed 90 percent of the company’s bloodwork.

In a statement released on Thursday night, the company said it would stop patient testing at its Newark, California, lab until further notice but would continue to provide service for customers at its Arizona facility.

Theranos has pressed on in Arizona despite bad news. Walgreens closed its Theranos facilities in June, not long after Arizona State University Health Services shut down its Theranos centers in downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale. A $350 million deal between Theranos and Safeway collapsed in November. It was largely Arizona customers who learned in May that they may have received faulty blood reports from the company. But Theranos pushed ahead in the state, launching an effort to open a half-dozen independent testing centers this year. An independent network of Theranos centers in Arizona was always the goal, the company said.

In one very important respect, Arizona was a better fit for Theranos than California. The company’s biggest achievements were in sales, marketing, and deregulation—rather than in medical technology. In the spring of 2015, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey traveled to the Theranos lab in Scottsdale to sign a law, co-authored by the company, allowing Arizonans to request any blood test without a doctor’s note. In this, Holmes liked to say that Arizona was a model for the rest of the nation.

The Theranos business failure was not quite analogous to that of solar company Solyndra but Republicans certainly made a big political stink over the latter for years to demonize President Obama. It doesn’t take much to image them doing their utmost to ruin Governor Janet Napolitano over Theranos here in Arizona had their disaster, with its continued implications for Arizona consumers, happened on her watch.

IOKIYAR is not merely an acronym expressing long-term liberal frustration with sucky hypocrisy. It’s a real obstacle to good governance.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Comment by Andy March on July 13, 2016 9:18 pm

    If President Obama were a Republican he would be celebrated Reagan-style for saving the economy,creating jobs, lowering unemployment, crushing the Iran nuclear threat and, best of all, – killing Bin Laden.

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