Today’s Shorts: Republican Disarray, ‘Go Big or Go Home’ & Calling on the Ancestors

It’s been a dizzying month is Congress since I first published this article on Substack. It’s worth knowing how our country got here politically. Libertarian bullies have been wreaking havoc in the Arizona Legislature for years. Now they’re going it on the Congress.

Republican Chaos: Arizonans Have Seen this Movie Before

In an historic move on October 2, 2023, “Freedom” Caucus member Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called for a vote to remove Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the Speaker’s chair. On October 3, 2023, by a vote of 216-210 the US House of Representatives made history and removed McCarthy as Speaker. All of the House Democrats and eight Republicans voted to oust McCarthy.

On September 30, McCarthy revealed a deal with the Democrats to stop the US government from shutting down that night and set up a 45-day deadline for a budget. They did the right thing.

That bipartisan effort to stop a federal government shutdown, preserve people’s paychecks and protect our country’s financial standing prompted Gaetz and other Republican hardliners to move against McCarthy. (Mind you, all of them — including McCarthy — are election deniers and acolytes of former President Donald Trump. It’s not as if McCarthy is a flaming liberal. They are eating their own.)

As of today, October 20, the US House of Representatives has been without a Speaker for more two weeks. In the background, the 45-day deadline for stopgap funding to keep the US government open is creeping up.

The House should be hard at work on the budget instead of playing political games. The hardliners don’t have the votes. None of the ultra conservative Republicans, who have tried to win the Speaker’s chair, have been able to get a majority of Republicans to vote for them.

Democrats are hanging tough against all of the hardcore conservative Republicans who have stepped up to run for Speaker and who are to the right of McCarthy — Reps. Austin Scott (R-GA)Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH). Today, literally moments ago, Jordon lost his third bid for Speaker of the House.

How did we get here?

In order to win the Speaker’s chair back in January 2023, McCarthy suffered through 15 humiliating rounds of votes and made many concessions to the far right wing of his party. He let them chair committees, let them propose and bring their extreme bills to the floor and agreed to a rule change that allowed any member to call for a vote to remove the Speaker. That last concession did him in. It was a rough nine months for McCarthy as Speaker. Rather than deal with Democrats, McCarthy catered to the right and like rabid dogs, they viciously bit the hand that reached out to them.

Apparently, the ‘Gang the Couldn’t Shoot Straight’ didn’t have a game plan beyond dumping McCarthy.

Mainstream Congressional Republicans need the Democrats to govern, but they have not completely accepted that fact.

The problem is that for years, mainstream Republicans — like Senator Mitch McConnell and former Arizona Speaker Rusty Bowers — have been bowing to right wing extremists in order to hold their thin majorities together and to pass their worst ideas on party line votes. At the federal and state levels, the Republican Party chose to cling to power, rather than to govern. McConnell and other old timers like Senator Lindsey Graham initially balked at Trump’s brash authoritarian ways, but eventually supported the extremists in their party in order to hold power. The old school Republicans wanted to continue the status quo, which has allowed them to game the system and pass loads of legislation on a party line vote with little or no debate.

Ironically, one of the newly elected Republicans from Arizona, Rep. Eli Crane, said he voted for the right-wing rule changes, against McCarthy, and for Jordan for Speaker because he wanted to end the status quo in Congress.

Dude, you and your cronies helped the Democrats break your own party’s status quo. (Woo hoo! Continued on Substack here.

To continue reading this article, as well as Dems: Go Big or Go Home. Run in Every Race in 2024! and Ohio Abolitionists Should Haunt Rep. Jim Jordan at Powers for the People on Substack here.

Labor Unions Protest Amazon on May Day (video)

Amazon in Tucson

Protesting outside of an Amazon warehouse on May 1, International Workers Day, has become an tradition for Tucson labor unions. Organized by the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF), the 2023 event drew about 50 protesters on a blustery day. AFL-CIO Organizing Specialist Ryan Kelly highlighted many union organizing accomplishments in the past year.

This video includes the speeches from several Tucson union leaders. It was heartening to see so many young people rising in the ranks of a revived union movement in the US. (My apologies for the wind and the street noise.)

Continue reading Labor Unions Protest Amazon on May Day (video)

‘Tamale Bill’ Isn’t about Tamales (video)

Pamela Powers, A View from the Left Side

The Arizona House made the New York Times on April 25, 2023, not because they crafted a bipartisan budget that fully funds education. No. Not because they voted to protect our ground water. No. Not because they repealed the horrific Flat Tax. No. The Arizona House made the news because there was a heated debate to over turn Governor Katie Hobbs’ veto of The Tamale Bill (HB 2509). Hobbs vetoed the bill over public health concerns. Unfortunately, the grandstanding on the Floor of the House focuses on politics not public health. I applaud the governor for her veto. Regulating food vendors to protect the food supply is an issue. E. coli and salmonella are dangers.

When Libertarian Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham proposed HB2509, he wasn’t trying to help street vendors who are illegally selling uninspected meat, poultry and dairy products. HB2509 is a broad expansion of the cottage foods bill passed in 2018. HB2509 is deregulation of food service to the point of being dangerous.

I applaud the governor for her veto. Regulating food vendors to protect the food supply is an issue.

Street food is fun and adventurous. Let’s make it safer. This video explains the current law and the changes that HB2509 would have put into place. HB2509 was a bad bill. It was NOT the solution. It is model legislation from Americans for Prosperity and the Institute for Justice.

Continue reading ‘Tamale Bill’ Isn’t about Tamales (video)

I’m Back (video)

Pamela Powers

I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 after serving for six years. In many ways, I was an embedded journalist in the Arizona House, not just a Legislature. During those six years, I created hundreds of update videos and two seasons of my podcast A View from the Left Side.

After a few months of shifting gears, transitioning out of the Legislature, and making changes in my personal life, I’m back in action.

Look for more video updates and podcast episodes about the Legislature and many other topics. I’m free to say what I want now that I am no longer a politician. Also, I’m working on a Powers for the People Substack and will let you know when that is operational.

Stay tuned for more news and commentary.

Continue reading I’m Back (video)

10 Props in 14 Minutes: What You Need to Know About Arizona’s Ballot Propositions (video)

Election Day, Nov. 8, is fast approaching.

Early ballots are arriving in mailboxes all over Arizona.

Signs are popping up on street corners, in front yards and on vehicles around town.

Social media is abuzz with clever memes and video pop-ups to snag your attention and sway your vote on candidates and issues.

Traditional television advertising is carpet-bombing living rooms across the nation with negative messages fueled by special interest groups, billionaires, and dark money.

This tsunami of mixed messages from random sources with questionable credentials leaves many voters overwhelmed and wondering which messages are true and which messengers are trustworthy.

This is where constituent education comes in …

Continue reading 10 Props in 14 Minutes: What You Need to Know About Arizona’s Ballot Propositions (video)

Arizona’s 10 Ballot Propositions: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (video)

Arizona Ballot Propositions

Arizonans will face a long ballot when they cast their votes in the November 8, 2022 election. Besides voting on statewide, legislative, judicial and school board candidates, there are 10 propositions on the ballot. Of the 10 propositions, eight were referred to the voters by the Legislature. For the Legislature to make a ballot referral, the body must pass enabling legislation. Six of the legislative referrals are bad ideas that limit the rights of Arizonans or attempt to game the system. Five of them are Constitutional Amendments.

My views on the propositions are in the graphic. Below, you can read more about the propositions and watch the two part video from The Arizona Ground Game (TAGG) Speed Dating the Ballot Propositions event held on Sept. 17, 2022 and inserted at the end.

Continue reading Arizona’s 10 Ballot Propositions: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (video)