AZ Republic engages in some last minute hippie punching to shore up Prop 123

09 May 2016 02:44 pm
Posted by: Donna

Bob Robb is very disappointed in you hippies

Before I begin let me state that I plan to vote for Prop 123 so the following is not intended to be an argument against it.

I tell you, if there’s one thing you can count on here in Phoenix besides sunny weather is the tendency of the editors at the Arizona Republic to strain has hard as they can to spread blame on liberals for debacles that are unequivocally the fault of the Republicans. Republicans had already been gutting public education for decades when they used the recession of the late 2000s as an excuse to violate the state’s constitution and refuse to adjust school funding as required by voters in Prop 301 in 2000. Prop 123, which is on the ballot this month, asks the voters to approve taking higher disbursements from state land trust fund to settle the lawsuit filed by education groups and (partially) make up for the funding lost.

On the pro side of the measure are Governor Ducey, both Republican and Democratic legislators, and various civic, business, and education leaders and groups. On the anti side are the State Treasurer, the League of Women Voters, and other equally civic-minded groups and individuals. There are people of good faith and (in my opinion) bad faith on either side. There are also people from across the political spectrum on either side. But you would not know that from today’s AZ Republic house editorial, in which Robert Robb (who most likely wrote it) focuses his stern glare squarely on liberals, whom he believes to be producing most of the opposition to Prop 123:

Prop. 123 won’t be straightforward because a growing number of liberals who are typically rank-and-file supporters of schools have decided they’d rather pillory the Republican governor than supply badly needed funding to public education.

They have dived into the fever swamps and resurfaced with conspiracy theories about GOP leaders pulling a fast one on the schools.

It is rank nonsense and always ignores this key fact: The top leadership in public education has signed on to and supports Proposition 123. The compromise could not have happened without them…

Liberals think they know better

Segments of the left that practice a highly partisan brand of politics are essentially patting all of these education advocates on the head and telling them, “Sorry, but we know better than you what’s good for schools.”

Further, they’re insulting the education leaders who were plaintiffs to the lawsuit and who signed on to the settlement. They’re telling them they were duped.

While they’re busy patronizing education leaders, they’ve found their new darling in Republican State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who when he’s not getting thrown out of Mesa hotels for screaming, loves nothing more than a good fight with the Governor’s Office.

While I’m well aware (believe me) that liberals are not immune from susceptibility to conspiracy theories (cf immediate accusations of “election theft” by Hillary Clinton every time she wins a primary) and there have, admittedly, been recent conspiracy rumblings around Prop 123, it’s unfair to characterize the opposition to Prop 123 as primarily comprised of left wingers indulging in conspiracies and baseless personal animus toward the Governor. Not trusting Doug Ducey and Republicans in the legislature to do the right thing as regards public education is a sign of mental acuity, not paranoia, even if you think people are wrong about Prop 123.

It’s also absurd to downplay the considerable opposition to Prop 123 from the conservative side, as the Republic editorial does, as “factions of fringe conservatives”. There are plenty of conservatives opposing it in the publicity pamphlet, many of whom seem to believe it’s a stealth tax of some sort or whatever equally silly reason they put forth. The fringe-iest conservatives here exert at least as much influence as liberals do and I’d say it’s a safe assumption that Treasurer DeWit, the hotel screamer who chairs Trump’s presidential campaign along with (still popular among Republicans) former Governor Jan Brewer, enjoys a far bigger fan base among right wingers in Arizona than he does among the Left.

In other words, if Prop 123 fails it probably won’t be because of liberals, who make up 20% of the electorate. It’s likely that most rank-and-file Dems, even the liberal ones, will vote yes on it because it’s for education the money will go to paying teachers, as the multiple ads running in favor of it say. This preemptive blaming of liberals is clearly a bid by the Republic (or at least Robert Robb) to further marginalize liberals, which I guess takes priority over even passing Prop 123. Because wouldn’t using that editorial space to encourage supporters to get on the phones and doors to get the vote out be more productive than hippie-punching?


  1. Comment by BruceJ on May 9, 2016 3:28 pm

    Remember the unshakeable axioms ofmodern political punditry:

    BothSides Do It
    It IS Always The Dirty F*ing Hippies Fault

    No negotiating with terrorists, Vote No on Prop 123.

  2. Comment by Bill on May 9, 2016 5:29 pm

    I’m quite confident that a post-election analysis will show Democrats supporting 123 in greater proportion than Republicans. But you can already see the blame game starting if it goes down.

  3. Comment by Donna on May 9, 2016 5:44 pm

    If Ducey can’t sell “This puts money in the schools without raising taxes!” to AZ voters then he has no one to blame but himself!

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