I have to say, I expected this to happen. The only question was when.

The Republican party has been a rock-solid monolith ever since Obama was elected president in 2008 and the GOP gave him a middle finger salute. It looked like that united front was indestructible. But the party’s solidarity is beginning to crack, leaving it fractured and at war with itself.

You can see it happening on the national stage. Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie tore into each other, one of the many inside-the-party smack-downs Christie has participated in over the past year. John McCain has been yelling at just about everybody lately - everybody except Democrats, that is. Some Republicans are actually committing the cardinal sin of suggesting it might make sense to compromise with Obama now and then. Like, maybe they should consider immigration reform, or not shut down the entire government because they don’t like Obamacare. To the wingnuts, that’s sacrilege.

But surely Arizona, a hotbed of right wing solidarity, a place where Republicans who display anything approaching moderation are blackballed, isn’t going through an ideological breakup, is it? In fact, yes, it is. Let me count the ways.

Exhibit 1: Jan Brewer. The governor, known to be a staunch, reliable conservative, shocked everyone in the state, Republican and Democrat alike, by declaring her support for Medicaid expansion. She even poked a finger in the eye of the anti-Obamacare stalwarts by calling the expansion of health care a “pro-life” issue. “I refuse to stand by and allow this many people to needlessly suffer,” she said.

The right wing reaction was swift and furious. Brewer was branded with the dreaded RINO label - Republican In Name Only - for her support of what they dubbed “OBrewercare.” Brewer didn’t flinch. She passed the law with the support of all the Democratic legislators and a few key Republicans who were willing to join her in a brave revolt against their rigid right wing compatriots.

Exhibit 2: John Huppenthal. As a state senator, Huppenthal was a hard line conservative and classic budget cutter. When he was elected Superintendent of Education, he kept mum as the legislature continued to slash the state’s education budget - down 21 percent over the past five years, the biggest cut in the nation. But then, a few weeks ago, Huppenthal spoke up. He said our schools need more money, not just to cover inflation but also for “a little bit of catch-up ground from the cuts over the last couple of years.”

It must have been a cathartic moment for Huppenthal, opening the flood gates of frustration with his fellow Republicans. He went on to criticize them for their “corporate giveaways.” He even called the deals made by his GOP colleagues “corrupt.” Ouch!

Exhibit 3: Rich Crandall. Crandall was one of the state senators who supported Brewer’s call for Medicaid expansion, an act of defiance against the right wingers in itself. Since then, he resigned from his senate seat to become Wyoming’s education director, but before he left, he took a few parting shots, condemning his party’s lurch to the right. Crandall sided with Huppenthal, saying Arizona needs to make “significant strategic investments of resources” in education if the state hopes to give students the education they deserve.

And like Huppenthal, once Crandall got started, he couldn’t stop. He said he was one of the legislators who liked to “solve problems” unlike others who “simply sit on the sidelines throwing stones.” If Republicans continue to “marginalize themselves,” he predicted, they may lose their political control of the state over the next few years.

It would take a whole column to explain why some Republicans are finally speaking up and airing their grievances in the open. The simple explanation is this: the crazies have taken over the party, and saner, more responsible Republicans are saying, enough is enough.

(Editor’s Note: Dave Safier is a regular contributor to Blog for Arizona.)

(2) comments

John Flanagan

We realize, of course, that many Americans do agree with the Democrats and Obama, either out of ideological and political agreement, or out of ignorance and indifference. The "low information" citizens, as Rush Limbaugh has pointed out, just fall back on the simplistic, ignorant narrative that Democrats are for the little guy, while the bad Republicans and conservatives are racists, primarily white, and are in the corner of the rich.
The reality not addressed except from astute and bipartisan voices is that, despite claims to the contrary, many of Obama's and the Democratic Party's policies do, in fact and in substance, hurt the little guy. Democrats love pork, and they hand it out to their constituents generously and with abandon. The problem is that it is not exclusively their pork being dispensed; as the pork belongs to the citizens who pay for it with their taxes.
Writer's like Safier, forever the fierce ideological follower of Obama and his party, would prefer just one totalitarian party, with its' twisted and often blind sighted economic and social agenda in continuous play. Therefore, the loyal media soldiers who man the barricades for the anointed Democrat in charge, must do their part in feeding the people with the idea that the country would probably be better off with only the dominant Democratic Party machine. Like others on the Democrat/media train, they want to marginalize the Republicans, the conservatives, the Tea Party, and render only tidbits of power and influence to those liberal Republicans who see things the accepted way.
The reason so many Republicans are still in powerful positions is because many Americans still share their values on government and despise the waste and fraud they see in Washington. Many millions of Americans are smart enough to see that Democratic Party policies divide America, are no viable or cost effective, and are sure to bring the country into a train wreck. At the same time, we can also assert that we are tired of Muslim wars and helping those who are not our friends and will turn on us here and abroad. Both Republicans and Democrats need to curb the desire to intervene where we have no business. In twisted foreign policy motives, we are more likely to help restore the Brotherhood to power while Christians, a fraction of the people in these lands, are murdered.
When we are treated to a piece by Safier, we can be sure it will be a one sided treatment of politics, focusing on some of the divisions within the Republicans. There are no such differences among Democrats. They are mostly socialists and federalists. There is room for the Tea Part voices, as well as conservatives and others. After all, the Democrats allow their own voices some air time. Take Saul Alinsky, for example......


It should not come as a surprise that Safier only sees the world from a narrow vantage point and is not open to opinions that differ from his own. Slinging mud on those who disagree is also a ploy used by those who have a one size fits all mentality.
I do not particularly agree with Brewer and many other Republicans, and the same goes for Democrats. That is exactly the reason I have been a registered Independent for over a decade and vote for those who seem to offer the most promising possibility for doing things using a smidgeon of common sense and open mindedness.
I find it hilarious that he can refer to anyone as "the crazies" when Pelosi infamously said, "We need to pass it to see what's in it..." We're sure beginning to find out, and it is not all good news, especially for seniors and those with serious chronic medical issues.
Maybe Safier should run for political office. It would give him a chance to see how well his narrow-scoped ideas might resonate with the good people of Arizona.

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