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Calvin Freiburger

Is Jan Brewer “The Governor Who Hates Her State”?

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Posted on July 20 2010 8:00 pm
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.
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The Left wants to destroy Governor Jan Brewer for her support of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. In a column provocatively titled “The Governor Who Hates Her State,” Daily Beast senior editor Bryan Curtis has hit upon a novel line of attack: she’s being mean to Arizona!

Taken together, Brewer’s speeches, campaign commercials, and Fox News appearances offer a stern rebuke to anyone who thinks Arizona is a tranquil place. Arizona, Brewer told Fox, is a “battlefield.” It is the “drug corridor of the world,” she said later. Phoenix—home to four pro sports teams and a well-regarded Trolley Museum—is “our nation’s kidnapping capital,” according to a Brewer campaign ad.

Brewer has been a relentless chronicler of Arizona’s “porous” border with Mexico, which she said allows a daily “invasion” by undocumented immigrants. Who are the undocumented? The “majority” are “drug mules,” she said, others are “human traffickers,” and still others may carry “big, strong, dangerous guns, AK-47s.”

[…] Native Arizonans contacted by The Daily Beast were surprised the governor wasn’t extolling tourist meccas like Tombstone Ranch and Sedona’s yuppie playground. No, Brewer prefers to tout Arizona’s “drop houses, kidnapping, auto accidents, extortion, drugs, the spillover with the drug cartels.” Want to hike among the Bighorn sheep in the Sonoran Desert? Careful, lil’ partner—Brewer has said there are “bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded.”

Yeah, I just can’t figure out why Brewer wouldn’t bring up tourist spots in a discussion about illegal immigration…weird, huh? (Then again, Curtis does have Linda Ronstadt on his side, so what do I know?)

Notably, Curtis doesn’t argue that Brewer’s description of the problem is wrong (maybe that’s because such an argument wouldn’t pass the smell test), just that governors shouldn’t be talking about their states’ problems in such blunt terms. Or something. But if Brewer’s rhetoric is a tacit attack on her state, Arizonans seem to be gluttons for punishment—they strongly support the law, and Brewer polls 18 points ahead of her gubernatorial opponent. Indeed, legal Hispanic immigrants to Arizona aren’t quite so dismissive of illegal immigration’s negative effects.

There is no support for the claim that Brewer “hates her state” or is “hated by her state.” To the contrary, being a leader means that one can’t simply sugarcoat problems, and sometimes has to confront them with tough talk. If Bryan Curtis can’t see that distinction, maybe he needs to take some time off. I hear the Trolley Museum is nice this time of year.

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Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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