While the economy is getting better, a lot of us could probably use a little extra money. Well, I've got the perfect job for you—become a state legislator. The pay ($24,000 a year) is really good, considering the meager amount of "work" that must be done in exchange for all that skrilla.
Why, in the past couple weeks, not only did the members of the ruling party run out into the streets and crow about how they had dicked over all the school kids in Arizona (except their own, of course) and gotten away with it, they then patted themselves on the back for having done so in record time.
It's like, "Hey, I know I broke into your house, knocked you in the head, and stole all your money and jewelry, but I did it really fast, so you'll still be able to catch most of 'NCIS.' No wait! I'm stealing your television, too, so I can give it to a rich friend of mine."
There should be a lot of open seats in the 2016 election because I get the feeling that a lot of the members of the ruling party will be eyeballing other elected offices. See, the legislative session went so smoothly for them—which isn't all that hard when the ruling party and its financial backers simultaneously own the House, the Senate and the Governor's Office—they probably think that it's time for them to take their game to the next level. Head off to evil Washington D.C. and show those Commie-lovin', Uptown Funk-singin', gay abortion-havin', left-wing limp wrists how it's done in Uh-Murr-kuh.
However, they're not going to leave without knowing that their legacy is intact, at least for one more election cycle or so. They have to know that their successors will continue to give tax breaks to corporations, even when those corporations say that the money would be better spent on education. They'll want to be certain that the next person will follow blindly the inconsistent and self-serving rantings of the Goldwater Institute; will take seriously the hateful crapola that spews forth from the mouth of Center For Arizona Policy head Cathi Herrod; and has an understanding of just how important private, for-profit prisons are to the Arizona economy. Oh yeah, they'll also have to leave their weekends open for bus trips up to Nevada to listen to Uncle Cliven Bundy tell folksy tales about Negroes sitting on the front porch.
While recent history has shown that just about anybody can get elected to the Arizona Legislature, there are two or three abilities (I can't, in good conscience, call them skills) that potential lawmakers must have. They include:
•The ability to talk out of both sides of one's mouth, sometimes simultaneously. This is vital. From one side must come a steady backbeat of hatred, fear, and misrepresentation of the responsibilities of the federal government. You have to demonize Washington to get elected in Arizona. You use all kinds of scary catch-phrases—the one topping the charts these days is "federal overreach"—and then, once in office, you turn around and do the same thing to the Arizona cities and counties that you really don't give a crap about, but would like to grind under your heel, anyway.
You don't want the federal government telling Arizonans that their kids need to know certain basic things before they get out of high school, but it's perfectly okay for the state to do that. Down with Common Core, but up with Ducey's Civics.
(I have to state unequivocally and with no sarcasm whatsoever that I believe that all graduating seniors should have a full understanding of how their government[s] should work, how things came to be this screwed up, and that they have the ability to fix things in their lifetimes.)
(It is a common reaction to suggest that members of the Legislature should have to take the Civics test, as well. I go one step further. I think that each member should have to score 100 percent before they're allowed to cast a vote in the House or Senate. I'd bet that fewer than half of the current members know that there are 27 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.)
It just kills me that they scream bloody murder about federal intrusion into state affairs and have no qualms whatsoever about telling cities and counties what they can and can't do. (I know that those "powers" are written into the Arizona Constitution, but just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.) If Tucson wants to allow local churches to put up signs that read "No Guns Allowed; This is a House of God, You Freaking Idiot," that's not the state's business.
There are a few other abilities that would-be candidates must have, but I'll have to list them at a later date. We've got time. The only people who are running for something now are a handful of fringe Tea Party kooks who claim to be running for president, but are actually applying for the entry-level position of attack dog VP candidate on the GOP ticket.
For the next few months here in Arizona, all we can do is sit back and watch the unfolding of the damage done by the current crop of child haters, malcontents and ne'er-do-wells.