Arizona conservatives shift further right

By Laura Keslar
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 30, 2004

It might have been the thought of so much upcoming turkey and mashed potatoes. Or maybe it was the "mandate" that so many people have been talking about since the election.

But whatever it is, the conservatives in the state of Arizona have been emboldened to test their limits and see how conservative they can make Arizona.

For one, some of the proponents of voter-approved Proposition 200 have decided that they did not like how Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard interpreted the context of the proposition. In fact, they disliked it so much that they thought they would take the matter into their own hands.

With the blessing of the proposition's initial drafter, Kathy McKee, and despite the scare tactics hinting at something worse, Goddard had interpreted the proposition as only affecting welfare benefits under Title 46 and nothing else. There was no taking away of the education of immigrant children, no preventing someone from getting mouth-to-mouth just because they looked Hispanic and didn't have their papers, and definitely no boogieman under the bed.

In fact, Proposition 200 was interpreted in anything but the end-of-the-world manner that so many local pundits and government officials predicted it would turn out to be.

But some people are not pleased with this interpretation. In their hope for more stringent controls and belief that they can get the interpretation changed, they wanted to call down the Four Horses of the Apocalypse on illegal immigrants and their public benefits.

Instead of taking it to the voters next election, they decided to do what West Coast Liberals do best: litigate their personal will and desires into law regardless of what the voters wanted when they filled in the "Yes" bubble.

The two groups responsible for this lawsuit are the Yes on Proposition 200 Committee and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

While they might think they are enforcing the full wishes and desires of what Arizonans had intended for the proposition to encompass, I doubt that those who initially voted for the proposition wanted this bait-and-switch. Most of them thought that the state was exaggerating when it said it would cost Arizona millions of dollars to implement the proposition due to the vagueness of its wording.

So what we have here is a group of like-minded individuals hoping to take the extent of Proposition 200 a step further than the average Arizonan wanted. In fact, FAIR and the Yes on Proposition 200 Committee are taking it a step further than even most conservatives - and extreme conservatives, at that - want.

I mean, look at Kathy McKee, the drafter of the proposition and chairwoman of Protect Arizona Now. She is known as a white separatist and yet she still gave Goddard's narrow interpretation the thumbs up, stating that it was exactly how the proposition was meant to be interpreted.

And FAIR and Yes on Proposition 200 Committee are not the only groups trying to shift Arizona politics farther right.

Although an anti-gay marriage amendment was rejected by Arizona's conservative state Legislature in the House this October, lawmakers and activists are trying to get it back on the ballot in 2006 as a referendum.

Even though Arizona legislators rejected the amendment, Arizona already has laws on the books limiting marriage to one man and one woman. What more could state conservatives want?

But as it is, Arizona is not ready for a ban on same-sex marriage. Its conservative legislature already voted down a similar amendment. And many of Arizona's Republican legislators are anything but conservative. Most of them are moderate, with Sen. John McCain being a case in point.

The majority of the state doesn't even support the possibility of such an amendment, with 43 percent outright opposing it. And has anyone else seen the latest Internet circulation of the Purple America, where a map is color coded in blue, red, and purple to indicate the support for the Democrat and Republican candidates? Arizona is colored purple, the color of moderation and highly mixed beliefs.

To support such an amendment means taking a conservative stance than many Arizonans are not willing to support.

But I suppose what with the media blaming conservative Christians for the political direction the nation is taking, Arizona activists have looked at this past election as one big indication that conservative Christians are back in action and that America and Arizona are ready for a conservative shift in directions.

Both moves by Arizona conservatives have a likely chance of disenchanting local moderates and moderate-conservatives. In Arizona's shifting political spectrum, this disenchantment has the potential to hinder future conservative goals in the state.

Laura Keslar is a pre-pharmacy junior. She can be reached at