The Arizona Capitol Times pulls out the kneepads for Russell Pearce.
A pic you'll never see in the Capitol Times: Russell Pearce (right) and Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready (left), at an anti-immigrant clambake in June of '07.
Does it ever strike you as odd that AZ politicians can pull the most outrageous, reactionary bullcrap? Stuff that in any civilized state in this nation would have them run out of office on a red hot rail, but in AZ is accepted as par for the course?
Part of that has to do with the fact that there are a lot of freakin' bigots in this state who would love to rekindle the Ku Klux Klan's heyday. The other part of the equation is how reporters handle racists like state Rep. Russell Pearce, attempting to make such bullet-headed creeps admirable in some fashion.
A classic example is in the current issue of the Arizona Capitol Times , a local tabloid that devotes itself to covering state government, the legislature, the governor, et al. The Capitol Times does some good work, occasionally. But they have a tendency to pull out the kneepads for anyone with a smidgen of power. At Governor Janet Napolitano's weekly media briefings, their reporters are noted for sitting as close to the Guv's desk as possible -- perhaps so they can wrap their lips around her panty-hosed hoofs as they lob her softballs.
This teacher's pet syndrome spills over into other things they do, like reporter Christian Palmer's recent front-page profile of Rep. Pearce, entitled, "The Straight-Shooter: Rep. Russell Pearce Is Loved and Hated, but He Doesn't Compromise." The title pretty much tells you all you need to know about the slant of the story.
Palmer trots out all the tired old Pearce tales. Pearce lost his finger trying to arrest gang members (Mexicans, natch). Pearce saved an Asian kid from getting beat up when he was in school. Blah, blah, blah. The piece never mentions Pearce working a crowd with Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready at an anti-immigrant event in June of '07. Or that Pearce forwarded an e-mail from the neo-Nazi National Alliance to his supporters back in '06. As far as I'm concerned, these incidents should be a part of any biographical piece on Pearce. Not only are they factual, they are part of a pattern that lays bare Pearce's nativist views.
Palmer does address Pearce's use of the derogatory term "wetback" for Mexicans in a 2006 radio interview, but Palmer plays it as if its almost a positive thing, paraphrasing Pearce-critic Rep. Steve Gallardo to the effect that, "Gallardo acknowledged that Pearce has another useful trait: the ability to overcome statements that would amount to political suicide for others." Palmer then ends with some b.s. about how Pearce is nice to his wife.
There is some discussion of last year's employer sanctions law, and how loads of businesspeople and Republicans don't like it. But Palmer depicts this, along with Pearce's support of anti-No Child Left Behind legislation as a kind of twisted profile in courage.
What about the outrageous, xenophobic legislation sponsored by Pearce in this session of the legislature? The proposal to prevent Americans from marrying non-Americans, even if they are here in the country legally? The Peace-sponsored bill that would allow state government to bankrupt landlords if they rent to those without proper documentation? Or the nefarious attempt to rob children born in this country of citizenship as promised under the 14th Amendment to the constitution? There's nary a mention.
Pearce is a powerful, despicable individual. He's also a political poltroon, despite Palmer's testament to the contrary. Pearce despises Republican golden boy, Congressman Jeff Flake. He desperately wanted to challenge Flake in CD-6. Pearce even formed an exploratory committee to raise funds to do just that. Then in early January, Pearce chickened out, either because he didn't raise enough moolah or because the state Republican party refused to back his move to challenge Flake. Apparently, the state GOP cut him a deal, and he took it. State Sen. Karen Johnson announced she would move aside, so Pearce, who's term-limited out, will be able to remain in the legislature by running for her seat.
Pearce is admired by some numbskulls for his legislative prowess, but I don't believe he crafts any of it himself, mainly because I've met him before, and he's obviously not that smart. Rather, I and many others believe that FAIR, the right-wing Federation for American Immigration Reform, assists him with the drafting of legislation.
Pearce is, literally, the worst that this state has to offer. He appeals to the basest instincts of voters, who've awarded him by returning him to office over and over. There's nothing admirable about this extremist pol who always talks like he just finished a plate of day-old meatloaf. He isn't brave or intelligent. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists flock to this agenda-driven, anti-Mexican demagogue. He needs to be ostracized, and when written about, derided. OK, maybe it's not the Capitol Times' place to ridicule this Nimrod. But the paper's reporters shouldn't be strapping on the knee-pads for Pearce as Palmer does in the March 14 issue, much less any pol.