Friday, January 15, 2010

Is Jan Brewer politically tone-deaf?

The committee to re-elect Jan Brewer has filed an affidavit requesting that whatever remedy the courts apply in the McCornish v. Bennett First Amendment case challenging the state's so-called "Clean Elections" system of subsidy for candidates for office not apply to the 2010 election, as changing the rules now would effectively decide the election against those candidates who signed on to the "Clean Elections" system.

Fair enough, although I'm reasonably confident that an alternate arrangement could be found for these candidates. One must question, however, why Brewer was running as a "Clean Elections" candidate to begin with.

I'm thinking that the Libertarian Party should call Brewer and give her honorary membership. One of their many "principles" is to not choose one's battles wisely, to fight everything out, sometimes even to act as though all of one's positions are somehow morally necessary as a package. Brewer's support for tax increases alienated her from the Republican base this year; one would think that some symbolic consilience, or at least an effort to not further aggravate that base when it doesn't matter, would be in order. "Clean Elections" is unpopular with the Republican base. Candidates who, through code-word bigotry, cheap public shows of religious piety, or even respectable hard-line fiscal conservatism, demonstrate that they "belong" can run as "Clean Elections" candidates and still win their primaries. Someone already considered a "RINO" probably cannot.

The Brewer campaign's request is on its face reasonable. But when the decision to run as a "Clean Elections" candidate had to be made, it was already known that the system's legality was seriously in question (due to the Davis v. FEC decision). Given Brewer's difficulty securing the support of the Republican base, it should have been evident at the time that putting the campaign in a position where it might have to appear to support the hated subsidy system would be a mistake.

No comments: