By DEXTER DUGGAN
PHOENIX — Arizona’s entrenched establishment was prepared to do serious economic damage to its own Grand Canyon State in order to win what it wanted with massive lies.
That’s the worrisome conclusion after Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 on February 26 amid gales of false assertions that the bill would mean widespread, unconstitutional discrimination against homosexuals, thus setting off “devastating” economic repercussions to Arizona.
It was an “anti-gay bill” whose bigotry affronted business executives and potential tourists by allowing religious extremists simply to refuse to give homosexuals any customer service, the establishment claimed — and the liberal national media echo chamber reverberated.
“I know the entire business community is galvanized, in a way that I’ve never seen, against this legislation,” Arizona’s senior U.S. senator, “maverick” Republican John McCain, was quoted widely. His hyperventilating was representative of the bill’s elite foes.
American Airlines and Apple, Delta Airlines, Petsmart and Yelp warned Brewer to veto the bill or else subject the state to serious damage. Major League Baseball chimed in. The National Football League raised the specter of yanking next year’s Super Bowl from the Phoenix area.
Even left-wing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, bumbled into the controversy, declaring that the bill couldn’t possibly be considered constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
After Brewer cast her veto, left-wing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a New York Democrat, congratulated her.
The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest daily paper, led media attacks here against 1062. The Republic and McCain are among the cozy leading figures of the corrupt local establishment, who seem to think everyone else in Arizona is to curtsy to them.
Either McCain knew there was no legitimate basis for the hysterical opposition to the legislation, in which case he was as dishonest as the rest of the corruptocracy.
Or else he shielded himself from finding out the facts, which would hardly recommend him as knowledgeable enough to act on the international scene, where he often interposes himself.
How did major business organizations from coast to coast become involved almost overnight in uniting to war against a two-page piece of legislation to protect religious conscience?
Would it be unreasonable to think that phone calls and e-mails began flying back and forth between Arizona’s upper crust and elsewhere to assemble quick opposition to a bill that homosexual activists — now part of the “progressive” apparat — wanted to see dead?
McCain and his kind had an obligation to stand up for the people of Arizona, instead of smashing another punch into their midsections.
With the prospect that Arizona would be pummeled economically, not only good business sense but also simple justice demanded that people like McCain get in touch with business executives and say something like, “Hey, cool it. There’s no ‘anti-gay bigotry’ going on here. Don’t be fooled by media blather. Arizona looks forward to doing business with you.”
A former Republic reporter told The Wanderer on March 3 that the newspaper won’t allow anything to get in its way of promoting the LGBT cause and also illegal immigration. He added he’s somewhat sympathetic to the paper’s position on immigration.
He declined to be named out of concern over possible bitter responses.
Anyone who took the trouble to read 1062 would see it doesn’t even address preferring heterosexuality over homosexuality. A homosexual baker, for instance, could as easily take advantage of the conscience protections in order to refuse to decorate a customer’s cake with a message like, “God Hates Gays.”
In a news release, conservative Arizona Republican State Sen. Al Melvin explained: “Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been law since 1999. SB 1062’s sole purpose was to update two sections of it. First, to clarify the definition of ‘person’ to include all types of businesses and legal entities.
“Arizona laws largely conform to that, but more clarity was best,” Melvin continued. “Second, to address the infamous photographer case in New Mexico where courts ruled that RFRA protections did not apply in a case involving two private parties.”
Melvin, a gubernatorial candidate this year, continued to support 1062 even while most of his GOP competitors ran away from it when the elite glowered against the bill.
When a few liberals tried to bring common sense against the hysteria, they seem to have been ignored.
Liberal Paul Bender is former dean of the Arizona State University College of Law. Howard “Howie” Fischer is a news writer for Capitol Media Services. A number of smaller newspapers around the state carry his enterprising reports. Fischer generally is thought to incline to the liberal side.
The Arizona Capitol Times, a news source often followed by lawmakers and lobbyists, posted a Fischer story on February 25 quoting Bender. It began: “The hype and rhetoric on both sides of SB 1062, now awaiting action by Gov. Jan Brewer, may disguise the fact that the measure does far less than some have suggested.”
Fischer wrote: “Bender said states began enacting their own versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after the Supreme Court ruled that federal law did not extend to states. What SB 1062 does, he said, is extend that Arizona law to a private right of action. . . .
“Under current law, the right to claim religious freedom extends to individuals, religious assemblies, or institutions. This legislation would expand that to also provide a shield to associations, partnerships, corporations, churches, and other business organizations,” he wrote.
When the hysteria mounted for Brewer to veto the supposedly bigoted, repressive 1062, one of the bill’s cosponsors, Republican Sen. Nancy Barto, issued a statement saying in part:
“The opponents are desperate to distort this bill because they don’t want to discuss its true meaning — diversity. Our pluralistic society demands tolerance for differing viewpoints, and this bill merely affirms those principles. The religious beliefs of all Arizonans must be respected, and this bill does nothing more than affirm that. Those that oppose this bill oppose our diverse society and do not have tolerance for their fellow neighbors with deeply held religious beliefs.
“That is unfortunate,” Barto continued, “because when laws force people to speak or act contrary to their conscience, it injures not only the dignity of the afflicted, but the dignity of our society as a whole. In Arizona, there are no second-class citizens, and this law makes certain that government cannot force people to violate their faith unless it has a compelling governmental interest.”
Two days after Brewer announced her veto, Ryan Anderson, who writes about religious freedom and marriage at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation think tank, said, “For about two weeks you got a nonstop barrage of lies in the media” against the bill. “. . .It’s really important that all citizens refuse to believe the lie that the media is selling here.”
Shortly after Brewer’s February 26 veto, a happy Republic posted its own reaction, smearing more spittle on 1062: “It was a monster wrapped in religious vestments, and it sent Arizona careening down a spiral of bad publicity that cost us at least one convention and led to speculation the NFL would move next season’s Super Bowl out of Arizona. Good riddance to a very bad piece of legislation. . . .
“Republican lawmakers’ foray into extremist legislation hasn’t worked out well. The latest excursion to the edge of the flat earth is over, thanks to a governor who is willing to make some of her base angry for the sake of the greater good,” the Republic seethed.
The sort of angers that the Republic stirs up was evident when the conservative “Sonoran Alliance” blog on February 27 posted a sample of the venom directed by lovable leftists against State Sen. Melvin for supporting 1062. The “hypocritical left,” the blog said, has “a real habit of telling you to be tolerant while telling you to die.”
Melvin’s Facebook page “was deluged with vile comments” full of profanity, threats, and death wishes, the blog said, posting them for all to see, with little black marks over some of the frenzied words.
One of the notable lessons for social conservatives from coast to coast is that supposedly neutral news media lied themselves blue in the face nationwide to support the “gay agenda” and misrepresent traditionalists. The conservatives still didn’t seem to have planned ahead to counter this surge of sewage stewed up in newsrooms.
Arizona conservative strategist Constantin Querard, a consultant to Melvin’s gubernatorial campaign, told The Wanderer on March 1:
“Christians need to do a much better job organizing and uniting around a common set of values, beliefs, and minimum standards for behavior. If Christians were truly united behind the idea of marriage being one man and one woman, they have the numbers to place it into the United States Constitution.
“Similarly, Christian businesses could have written letters to the governor urging her to sign the bill and making clear that hostility toward Christians also carries with it an economic price,” Querard said.
“And Christians could have been better informed about the bill and what was at stake, and 5,000 of them could have gathered at the capitol to stand in defense of their liberties.”
“But none of that happened because we are still unorganized,” he said. “At some point in time, discrimination against Christians will go too far and we will get organized. It is just too bad that even when some of us see this coming, there is still not enough urgency to get it done today.”
From The McCain Wing
Rob Haney is immediate past chairman of Phoenix’s Maricopa County Republican Party and a longtime foe of McCain. Haney gave The Wanderer a statement on March 3 saying:
“Much has been propagandized about how our instantaneous communication networks were going to allow a breakthrough of truth into China and Russia and bring significant positive change to the world. Instead, the opposite has occurred, even in our own country. A Godless leftist ideology has used this communication capability to corrupt our people and nation.
“The governor’s veto of our religious freedom bill and the misdirected publicity campaign…is just the latest episode of this attack on truth. Her support for Obama Medicaid expansion and Common Core federal education control into Arizona are two other recent examples,” Haney continued.
“She clothes herself in a chameleon cloak of deceit, as do our political leaders, our justice system, and the media.
“Truth is not a part of the left’s political rhetoric, and they dominate the communication exchanges. The political power of the homosexual billionaires as recently chronicled in the Catholic web site ‘Church Militant’ has [cowed] those who would normally speak truth to that power,” Haney said.
Haney’s reference to Brewer’s support for Medicaid expansion and Common Core illustrated that there’s more to the governor’s reputation than people outside Arizona may realize.
As The Wanderer previously has reported repeatedly, Brewer isn’t a strong movement conservative but a moderate conservative who comes from the McCain wing of the state GOP. Her liberal advisers include Republican Grant Woods, an ex-McCain staffer and former state attorney general.
Before Brewer suddenly became nationally famous in 2010 for signing SB 1070 into law against massive illegal immigration, she hadn’t been known as a strong border defender, but she realized her signature would strengthen her faltering gubernatorial campaign that year.
Last summer Brewer willingly ripped conservative Republicans apart at the state capitol as she rammed Obama Medicaid expansion through a surprise overnight session, with a few Republican legislators joining the Democratic minority for a victory coalition. This included providing more tax funding for abortionist Planned Parenthood.
Conservative Republican State Rep. Steve Montenegro sorrowfully remarked on the House floor that Brewer’s tactics didn’t represent the ideals of America that his family had come here for from El Salvador.
Big-business interests wanting to line their pockets, including hospital interests, were the driving force behind Brewer’s Medicaid expansion, so it shouldn’t have been surprising that big business had the governor on its chain to veto SB 1062, too.
It’s true that Brewer was backed into a corner on February 26 by establishment and media hysteria against the conscience bill. She couldn’t have afforded to leave the impression that she signed a bigoted bill into law and then ran off to hide in the night.
But she could have made herself into an overnight sensation and national conservative hero by facing down the lies and resolutely explaining the facts. That would have taken more courage than Brewer was willing to show against a howling mob.
There was a remarkable precedent, however, that could have encouraged Brewer.
Back in 1991, conservative Clarence Thomas had been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lying liberals and their media pals were desperate to keep a conservative black role model off the High Court, so they developed a scenario alleging that Thomas was a sex harasser, a contemptible, unworthy fellow.
(Pause a moment while your sides split with laughter over the idea that “sex harasser” Thomas couldn’t deserve to be a justice, but Democrat Bill Clinton shortly was deemed worthy by liberals and their media pals to serve two full terms in the White House, while they thought his sexual escapades unworthy of serious attention.)
Thomas, seeing his support begin to crack, fought back and turned the tide. He bravely told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was being subjected to “a high-tech lynching.”
It was, the conservative Thomas said, a “lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”
He was more than weary of hearing supercilious white liberals tell a black about civil rights.
Clarence Thomas could have stuttered an apology for offending liberals then slunk away to sure defeat of his nomination. However, he stood up for himself, rocked the liars back on their heels, and was confirmed to the court on a narrow vote of 52 to 48.
He made history. Jan Brewer apparently has no such aspirations. Her capitulation probably increases national media bloodlust against conservative causes.
Finally, a plumbing suggestion.
Inky pressmen became legendary at newspapers for having to scrub off the job stains. Perhaps The Arizona Republic could install a special tub for its writers to jump in and remove their daily slime. Be sure to have loads of caustic soap. Maybe John McCain could join in the bath when he stops by their office to be stooped to.