While the fools fool around, the government’s being stolen away from them.

That’s the only conclusion a reasonable person can make, watching the riotous spectacle of the state Republican party “censuring” Sen. John McCain.

His crimes?

Well, you know, he crosses the aisle occasionally and works with Democrats.

In Arizona’s tea/Republican Party, that’s treason.

Never mind that he is one of the most fiscally conservative members of the Senate, repeatedly given top ranking as a “Friend of the Taxpayer” by the very conservative national taxpayer union. A guy who brings no fat to Arizona through pork barrel spending. A guy who argues for smaller government.

Just the kind of guy tea partiers always claim they support. But as we know, those radicals — and that’s what they are, far from the conservatives they claim to be — have a purity test. And because McCain occasionally has moments of sanity where he works in a bipartisan manner, he’s a traitor.

Or, as the censure statement claims, McCain’s guilty of “continued disservice to our state and nation.”


Two points.

First, the state Republican Party convention voted to censure him via acclamation. Which means? No delegate had to go on record with his or her vote.

A portrait of cowardice.

Second point?

While these delegate engage in what former Sen. Jon Kyl called “wackiness,” their colleagues in the state Legislature — the guys and gals delegates would have us believe are true Republicans — are grabbing the power of government away from the people and attempting to put it in their own hands.

How so?

Let’s count the ways.

First, there’s a bill being run, HB 2344 — sponsored by the usual tea party suspects in the House — that would give our state Legislature the power to place its own candidate on the ballot for the U.S. Senate, bypassing the voters’ will, and putting the nominating power in the hands of the 90 legislators selecting their own candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Then there’s the law passed by them last year that would make getting on the ballot more difficult for third party and independent candidates, as well as making the initiative process harder. That one’s up for a referendum this November, but “good” Republicans like Gilbert’s Eddie Farnsworth are trying to scuttle the referendum by deep sixing the current law and repassing it as several separate laws, thus requiring a separate referendum on each. And thus making attempts to reverse the Legislature’s power grab almost impossible.

Finally, our Republican tea partiers have been spending millions of our taxpayer money on a lawsuit challenging the Independent Redistricting Commissions Congressional maps. They, of course, aren’t spending a dime of their own money to fight against a commission approved by a vote of the people 14 years ago.

Suddenly, though, these “good” Republicans don’t like the process. Which is interesting, given that 14 years ago, when the commission drew up a plan that gave Republicans an advantage, these same “good” Republicans had no problem with the process. Instead, these “good” Republicans want to return redistricting power to themselves, rather than to a commission created by the will of the voters.

So you tell me who’s the conservative, McCain or the “good” Republicans slowly but surely taking more power away from the people and concentrating it in their hands?

The answer’s obvious. Except, of course, for the fools that disguise themselves as delegates to the state Republican Party convention.

• Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

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