Jan Brewer’s Veto of SB-1062, Timing and Best Interests of Arizona

Grand Canyon SunriseYes, I framed the title of this article as if Governor Brewer has already vetoed the discriminatory piece of legislation known as SB-1062. Because it is a done deal and, frankly, has been from the start. I am thankful for all the support that national people, and regular citizens and groups from all over the country, have given to the veto effort, it has been extremely helpful in giving Brewer cover for the veto to come.

But it was coming anyway, and that was the case from the moment the bill was passed out of the state legislature late in the day last Thursday, February 20.

Indeed, as I write this, MSNBC has Joy Reid on the air babbling about “WHAT HAS TAKEN BREWER SO LONG!”. But that is symbolic of the hyperventilating demagoguery that has also been part of this discussion. The simple fact of the matter is that the bill was not even transmitted to the Governor’s office until Monday the 24th and Brewer did not return from her trip to Washington with other governors until late Tuesday the 25th. So, despite the hue and cry, the first real opportunity for Brewer to formally enter her veto is today. So, what is “taking so long”, at least until today, is not really a mystery in the least.

Now, let’s talk about why the veto was a foregone conclusion if you really understand Arizona politics. First off, let me start by saying that the often popular characterization of Jan Brewer as a raging ideological shrew is not particularly accurate on the whole. In fact, my take on her going back to the 1980s, when she was a somewhat amusingly unfiltered voice in the state house of Representatives, is that she is personally a decent lady, albeit one of a conservative bent. She is, however, an aggressively pragmatic politician, which factors into the following reasons she was going to veto SB-1062 from the get go.

Here are several of the critical reasons why:

1) Brewer took some hard lumps, and rightfully so, in the matter of SB 1070, the 2010 immigration enforcement law that was discriminatory in animus, and saw up close and personal what wrath could be generated by business and the national public on an issue like this. And, by the way, it should be noted that SB-1062 does not just provide enhanced sanction of discrimination against the LGBT community, but potentially a whole spectrum of other groups. These groups matter, and Brewer knows it.

2) Brewer has, for pretty much the entirety of her career been shepherded and advised by a close group of advisors, with the most primary one being Chuck Coughlin. There are others of current significance, including Grant Woods and Matthew Benson. Any move Brewer makes has involved advice from her inner circle and she listens to them. And she should, they have taken her way further than ever was imaginable when she started off in the legislature. What is one defining focus among all these critical advisors, but, again, notably Coughlin? The Arizona business community. Always. And the advisors, too, remember the 1070 strife and have seen the trend and movement in the country and courts on LGBT rights. Coughlin et. al are the definition of conservative, but they are not stupid.

3) The Arizona business community was hoping they never had to get to this point, but once SB-1062 was passed, there was simply no question but that they would lobby hard against signature by the Governor. It was far from just me who realized this, so too did one of the best local political reporters, Brahm Resnik. So too did long time Republican PR and political specialist Barrett Marson:

Just a few hours after passage of #SB1062, can there be any doubt that @GovBrewer will veto it? Biz groups en masse coming out against.

And boy have they. As a native here, it has actually been pretty refreshing to see big business step up on this one as they have. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Intel, Apple, JPMorgan Chase, GoDaddy Group, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Marriott Hotels, all major newspapers and a plethora of others started stepping up almost immediately on passage

There are other reasons, including the nearly across the spectrum outcry of major Arizona politicians, including both US senators, and even several of the state legislators who originally voted for the pernicious SB-1062. But my original analysis, along with many here in the Copper State, was that veto was inevitable because of the business interest.

Once the issue of “if” there will be a veto was out of the way, the real question became “when”. As described above, the timing of the veto did not even start until presentment to the Governor’s office Monday, and, really, last night when Jan Brewer returned to Phoenix. But now it is time. The damage and unnecessary humiliation from the whackadoodle legislature is already significant. Governor Brewer IS going to veto this thing, and she should do herself, and the state, a serious favor and do so immediately. I started agitating for this before Brewer even returned from Washington DC.

The point was also made this morning by a prominent Democrat in the state senate, Anna Tovar:

Well, we are very optimistic she will veto the bill, but again, every second she doesn’t veto the bill is a black mark on the state of Arizona. We’ve asked the governor as of yesterday to swiftly veto this bill when she arrived yesterday, the second she got off the plane.

Arizona is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, we want to focus on the priorities of our state.

That is a fact. Republicans are saying it, Democrats are saying it, the business community is saying it, I am saying it. Brewer has until late Saturday night to issue the veto before SB-1062 becomes law. It is widely expected she will do it, at a minimum, before Friday night’s Arizona Chamber of Commerce dinner honoring her, and that is almost certainly correct. But Friday afternoon is not soon enough. Not at all.

It is absolutely in the best interests of both the state of Arizona and Jan Brewer to issue her veto of SB-1062 immediately.

Do it now. Do not wait one more painful and damaging second.

22 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    It’s more interesting to speculate on why she’s having to have meetings about it, and ‘study’ it, before she can veto it. It looks more like she’s trying a CYA maneuver.

  2. bmaz says:

    @P J Evans: She is a politician, that’s what they do. It is the result that counts.

    But she has had enough time now (she had “meetings” this morning). Time to go!

  3. Teddy says:

    I have a theory, based on something I heard about the State Senate being capable, upon the request of three Senators who voted for a measure, that it can be called back, or “reconsidered.” I think Jan wants those three Senators (Pierce, et al) to request the Senate to call 1062 back, thus sparing her the veto. That way, she’s off the hook.

    But take all the time you need, Jan — because every day, national media highlights and focuses on yet another set of bigots in yet another state (Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and possibly on Oregon’s ballot this fall) who want to implement anti-gay segregation. And every time these measures get the sunlight they deserve, they shrivel up and die.

  4. bmaz says:

    @Teddy: You have great political instincts, but I hope (and think) you are wrong here. There is a pretty small, but powerful set still pushing the law, including the groups that actually wrote it, including the Center for Arizona Policy and Alliance Defending Freedom (yes they are exactly what you would expect) that demand a little attention first.

  5. Peterr says:

    @Teddy: Sorry, Teddy, I don’t buy that theory for one minute.

    She’s already on the hook, and if the Senate calls the bill back and kills it there for her, it only makes her look weaker and more ineffective. “Sparing her the veto” means she so weak that she can’t stand up for herself. She can’t bear that and still govern effectively.

    Of course, if she *could* govern effectively, she might have had a word with the folks in the legislature BEFORE they passed this pile of crap, put it on her doorstep, and lit it on fire.

    The fact that it passed at all reflects poorly on her, and all the pearl-clutching in the world (“Oh, whatever shall I do with this bill . . . ?”) doesn’t change that fact. It’s not as if she was in one party and the legislature is filled with clowns from the other party. She’s governing over a state whose legislature is dominated by her own party. The legislature glories in legalized discrimination and the unconstitutional doctrine of nullification, and she hasn’t said “Boo!” about it.

    This. Is. On. Her.

    Regardless of whether she vetoes it or not.

    Arizona is fighting it out with Kansas to see which state is more inhospitable, more backwards, and more xenophobic. Right now, it’s a close call, but I still put Kansas ahead of Arizona, but not by much.

  6. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: No, behind the scenes, through her peeps, she was quietly weighing in against the bill from what I understand. Its passage is pretty much on the wing nut legislature.

  7. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Behind the scenes, she’s willing to call out the wingnut legislature, but she’s not willing to do so out front?

    If true, then we know who governs in Arizona, and it’s not Jan Brewer.

    And the only way she can prove otherwise is to veto this crap now. The more she dithers, the more power she acknowledges they have over her.

  8. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: If she was a really good politician, it never would have reached her desk. If she was an average politician, she would have vetoed it when she sat down and found a pen.

    Dithering, consulting, and posturing before vetoing it is evidence that your characterization of her above is on target: “She is, however, an aggressively pragmatic politician.”

    And at the forefront of any aggressively pragmatic politician’s mind is a single question that gets asked over and over again. The question isn’t “Is this [bill/policy proposal/potential nomination/etc.] beneficial to the people of Arizona?” It’s “Who do I have to keep happy to keep my job?”

    The longer she delays in vetoing the bill, the clearer it becomes that she doesn’t know the best answer to that question, which makes her a mediocre politician at best, all of her aggressive pragmatism notwithstanding.

    And if she ends up NOT vetoing the bill, it makes her a cravenly hateful fool.

  9. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: A governor who rules his/her party doesn’t get put in a position like this by his/her party.

    A governor who leads his/her state doesn’t need 24 hours to veto something that the whole state government was talking about for quite a long time, behind closed doors and on the floor of the legislature, as well as on the pages of the local papers and the television screens of local television. She learned nothing in the last 24 hours of substance that she didn’t already know — or should have already known.

    She vetoed it. Good for her. She’s proven she’s not a cravenly hateful fool. Wonderful. But if she aspires to anything more than that, she needs to grow up and govern.

  10. Mauimom says:

    ” the bill was passed out of the state legislature late in the day last Thursday, February 24.”

    Bmaz, shouldn’t this be “Thursday, February 20”?

    Check your calendar. Feb. 24 was two days ago [Monday], as referenced in your article.

  11. Kelly says:

    bmaz – agreed with your ultimate conclusion, which was

    It is absolutely in the best interests of both the state of Arizona and Jan Brewer to issue her veto of SB-1062 immediately.

    Do it now. Do not wait one more painful and damaging second.

    My point is that who cares what her geographic location was for any amount of days? This is the 21st century. Meetings happen virtually all the time.

    Phone calls to assuage petty jerk organizations feelings happen all the time. Jan could have wielded the veto pen yesterday, or Monday, and managed press as well in that time line.

    So fine, she vetoed today, and that’s good.

    What I am missing is the strategic piece from gay rights orgs. They totally fell down on this. The response in the case of Arizona should have been “Not only No, but Hell No!” and to begin exacting a pound of political flesh, demanding employment and marriage equality.

  12. bmaz says:

    @Kelly: There is no auto pen for signing bills here. And she got back too late to pull it off last night. I got no beef with her timing. She gets an atta boy today.

    As to the LGBT groups, this thing was done pretty stealthily and then rushed thru. Even a lot of people here got blindsided by it. It was only introduced into committees in mid January. That is really fast track. And I am sure it was done for that purpose.

  13. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: So Brewer is a pol who didn’t realize what was going on right under her own nose and it took her all day to figure it out?

    I’m not sure this helps her reputation, but whatever . . .

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