DEAR GOVERNOR DUCEY:
We're now nearly two weeks into what I fear will be your Reign of Error, but so far, so good. The sky hasn't fallen; you haven't eliminated all taxes and given the money to your rich friends; and you haven't once used the word "wetback." Well done, Sir, especially considering the threatening tone of the dark money-fueled campaign that got you elected.
You can probably tell that I didn't vote for you. I wouldn't vote for you if you were running unopposed or against Evan Mecham. I might vote for you if you were running against Hitler, Kim Jong Un, or that crazy-ass Le Pen woman from France. However, you're still the governor of the state in which I choose to live, so I have to hope for the best. I'm not like your fellow Republicans in Congress whose sole purpose over the past six years was to do all they could to see to it that President Obama failed because, if he (and the country) had succeeded, that might have meant that they had been (gasp!) wrong.
I don't want you to fail. I want you to grow into the job and maybe realize that you represent all Arizonans, not just the ones who live down the street from you in the gated community. I'd like you to learn that the word "tax" is not like "child molester." It's not always an evil thing. And I'd like you to at least think about some of the pre-conceived notions that you and others carry into office and maybe leave cracked open—just a little bit—the door that leads to Reconsideration and then, a bit further down the hall, Enlightenment.
I also want you to know that I'm not with those guys over there, the ones who wanted to recall newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas before she even took office. That's just crazy talk. People at least deserve the right to screw up before you kick them out of office.
Please know that Sam Brownback's "experiment" in Kansas is an utter failure and would not have a different outcome if it were tried in Arizona. (The only reason that Brownback got re-elected by the skin of his teeth is that enough Tea Party crazies emerged from their bunkers to keep a Democrat from getting elected and dragging the state into the 21st century.)
Please know that spending even one more penny of the state's money to fight the courts over the money that is rightly owed to the public schools is not only folly, but an outright dereliction of duty. And don't align yourself with that band of legislators whose latest proposed strategy to screw over the schools is to simply ignore the courts. That train has already passed the stops of Folly and Dereliction of Duty and is barreling straight ahead to the end of the line, Criminal Activity. Anybody who, as part of their job, publicly swears to uphold the law and then turns around, when things get inconvenient, and proposes ignoring the law...that person belongs, at the very least, out of a job and, more probably, in a jail cell.
And please know that you're not going to have all the right answers. Nobody does. A very common phenomenon is that people with a lot of money tend to believe that they're smarter than everybody else. (A lot of them also believe that they're better than everyone else.) You don't have all the answers. Heck, no offense, but you probably don't even have all the right questions to ask.
You've led a charmed life. You managed to get into a fraternity—at ASU!—even though you're Catholic. (That actually is quite amazing.) You became a millionaire and got out just before the unstable pyramid (ahem) settled. That does not mean that all of your ideas for "fixing" Arizona—a state that really isn't all that broken, especially compared to other places—are going to work. Most of them should never even get past the germ-of-an-idea stage.
The biggest favor you can do yourself is to rid yourself of the crackpot notion that a person who is successful in business will automatically be successful in government. That's like saying, "I'm a good basketball coach, so I will be able to do origami." Business and government are almost totally unrelated and you would do yourself (and your constituents) a great disservice trying to equate the two.
The head of a business has one responsibility—to make money. Success is tangible and quantifiable. A governor has many responsibilities, only one of which is not losing money. The chain of command in a business is clear, from workers to management to CEO to shareholders. Meanwhile a governor is like the hub of a wheel and has to deal with department heads, other elected officials, special-interest groups, homeowners, the media, public-service unions, and other agencies—all at the same time.
A good business has to be nimble. Good government has to be solid and take the long view for the public good. A business doesn't have to be transparent in its dealings. Government doesn't have to spend money on marketing. The list of differences is long and compelling.
You made a lot of money as a businessman. Please try to be a better governor.