by Jim Nintzel
We just love watching Republican John Munger on the political face-off on Arizona Illustrated. His ability to blame Democrats for everything is sometimes breathtaking.
Wednesday night was a great example. For example, he blamed Democrats for sitting on the sidelines during the state budget negotiations, forcing Republicans to cut education, health care, social services, economic development dollars and everything else the state spends money on. (For the depressing details on those cuts, you can check out my feature story this week.)
Munger's spin: Democrats refused to negotiate with Republicans, forcing the Republicans to go with the most radical members of their caucus to get a budget passed.
Or, as he put in a masterstroke of double standards:
"The problem right now is that the Democrats in the House and Senate in the Arizona Legislature have decided not to oppose--it's fine to oppose ideologically as the Republicans in Congress are doing, opposing something ideologically--but to obstruct, which is a difference. To obstruct what's happening and try to put the Republicans, and resultingly, the state in a bad situation. The Democrats are not casting a vote for anything... . As a matter of policy, they are sitting this out."
This borders on ludicrous. Let's leave aside the efforts that the Obama administration made to include Republicans in the stimulus plan, which is an effort we haven't seen mirrored by Republican leaders at the Arizona Legislature.
The plain truth of the matter is this: Legislature Democrats offered a number of alternatives. The Republicans dismissed them. They completely ignored the budget proposal put forward by Democrat Janet Napolitano before she left town and turned the Ninth Floor over to Republican Jan Brewer.
Secondly, it has been Republicans who have repeatedly insisted in recent years that budget proposals have enough GOP votes to pass. And the GOP have not looked fondly on Republicans who negotiate with Democrats. In fact, any lawmaker who was inclined to work on a truly bipartisan budget agreement would find himself with a big ol' RINO target on his back in the 2010 primary.
And, as Tedski points out over at Rum, Romanism and Rebellion, putting Sen. Russell Pearce in charge of the appropriations committee is hardly a step toward bipartisan consensus.
Hey, it would be great if moderate Republicans could work with Democrats to come up with a smarter budget plan. But when everything besides massive cuts has been declared to be off the table, why would any Democrat help give Republicans cover for a slash-and-burn budget?
Munger goes on to say that not a single Democrat voted to save Science Foundation Arizona. Huh? Every Democrat voted against the budget that eliminated $21.5 million in funding for the program, which provides matching grants for science and medical research. The reason it was cut: Five Republicans, including Frank Antenori, David Gowan and David Stevens of Southern Arizona, said they would not vote for a budget that included it. We will grant you that a budget alternative proposed by House Democrats also zeroed out funding for Science Foundation Arizona--and we'd add that it was a bad idea, whether it came from Democrats or Republicans.
Here's the actual video if you're interested in watching.