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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

GOP overconfident about gains

As most of you know, Nov. 2, 2010 was the day that a very, very red wave swept the political landscape. Here in Arizona, Democrats held 12 of 30 state Senate seats and 25 of 60 state House seats prior to the election. After the election, however, their numbers dwindled to nine Senate seats and 20 House seats. Republicans had healthy majorities before the election, and then gained effective supermajority status afterwards. And with Gov. Jan Brewer winning the governorship in her own right, Republicans can do just about anything they want.  

These are the types of majorities that enable swift action in order to fix a state’s problems, the kind of majorities that make even the 2008 session of the United States Congress green with envy. But one tiny problem has reared its head with this state Legislature. And that is an appearance of extremely polarizing and partisan politics.  

Now, what are they doing that would be deemed distressing? Last Thursday, the state Senate voted to create another special license plate. This time it sports a “”Don’t Tread on Me”” flag in support of none other than the Tea Party. Great, right? Now you can go around and let everybody know that you are a verifiable supporter of smaller government. The issue, though, is the fact that proceeds from the purchase of such a special plate would go to Tea Party groups. Again, you may not mind, but consider the flipside, as if you lived in a heavily democratic state.

Imagine yourself in Massachusetts. You live in one of only four state senate districts represented by a Republican (a whopping 10 percent of the state) and you feel like you are being suffocated by the color blue. Suppose the Massachusetts Legislature moves, unopposed of course, to designate a new state license plate declaring “”I Heart Abortions”” with proceeds of its purchase going to groups like Planned Parenthood. You are outraged and in utter shock over the fact that a government entity is openly supporting and funding such a controversial group. Again, the majority of the state arguably supports a woman’s right to choose, and, by extension, groups that provide abortion services. But does that mean the license plate move is right?

Then go back to the Wild West state of Arizona, where a majority of the population either belongs to a Tea Party group, or affiliates itself with conservative, government-limiting causes. There are still some in the state that do not want their Legislature exercising their power in such an openly partisan manner (yes, Maricopa County, there is a more liberally-minded municipality to the south of you with such views). And besides, you guys do know that there are plenty of bumper stickers that are equally effective at professing your small government spirit, right?

Now, many of you are using this license plate as more fuel for your state Legislature-bashing fire. This is more of an issue of image than an issue of substance. Yes, designating the Colt single-action Army revolver as the state firearm is not very substantive, but the folks up in Phoenix are busier than you think.

Simply taking a look at the official schedule of the state House or Senate will make it clear that all sorts of committees are considering bills put forth by senators and representatives. Just because something of significance has not quite made it to the floor for a final vote does not mean that legislators are not busy. You may not agree with anything the Republicans are doing up in Phoenix, but know that they are not just twiddling their thumbs.

But, as a word of caution to the GOP, in the minds of most people, liberal and conservative, divisive license plates pretty much equate to thumb-twiddling. Take a hint from the public reaction after national Democrats used their massive majorities to perpetrate the biggest government overreach in recent memory (aka Obamacare) — abuse of power leads to loss of power.  

— Tanner Weigel is a sophomore studying history and Spanish. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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