The Napolitano administration appears to be winding down and Arizona Democrats have moved from denial to anger. I've been getting feedback from rank and file Democrats and they are unbelievably ticked off that Gov. Napolitano may resign and leave Republicans in charge of state government.
Some Democrats have not been shy about expressing that anger publicly. Here's an extraordinary report by KJZZ's Rene Gutel that aired on NPR.
Gov. Napolitano's Move Leaves Some Arizonans Angry
With Democratic Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano moving to Washington to become Homeland Security Chief, she's leaving behind a state entirely under Republican control. Some local Democrats feel abandoned in the midst of a severe budget crisis.
If you want another example, check out this article by New Times owner Mike Lacey. The headline sets the tone.
Janet Napolitano’s Sorry Service in Arizona Makes Her a Terrible Choice for Homeland Security Secretary.
Democrats are starting to realize that the Napolitano administration's legacy will be like placing a hand in a bucket of water. Sure, there's displacement and motion while the hand is actually in the bucket, but once it's removed, a few ripples are the only indication that it was ever there and those ripples soon die out.
Her spending programs--all-day kindergarten, Biotech, shinny university buildings--were an illusion built on bubble revenue. Her refusal to trim spending when the market went south means that the eventual cuts will be drastic. Moderate Republicans who enabled her 2004 budget shenanigans were wiped out in the 2004 election and the moderate Republicans who enabled her 2008 budget shenanigans were wiped out in the 2008 election.
Democrats have awakened to the fact that the state is bankrupt and the Republican majorities in the legislature are larger and much more conservative than when she took office.
Perhaps more important than the trail of failed programs and busted budgets that she's leaving behind, is the fact that she's wiping out the Democratic farm team. Hundreds of high-level state Democrats owed their high-profile jobs to Napolitano's occupation of the ninth floor. The heavy handedness that she exerted as governor tainted her appointees and staff as well, and now many of them are unemployable. Sure, they have plenty of opportunities on K Street in DC, but they will have a tough time finding clients locally.
Perhaps the biggest loser is Attorney General Terry Goddard. He was well positioned to run for Governor against a crowded Republican field in 2010. Now he would be facing Brewer as incumbent Governor. No chance. Incumbent Governors are just too strong. Eddie Basha was crushed by Symington and Paul Johnson was crushed by Jane Hull. Goddard won't even run in 2010 and if he does, he'll lose by double digits.
So local Democrats have moved from Denial to Anger. Eventually, they will move to Barganing then to Depression and ultimately to Acceptance.
The most poignant quote that a local Democrat used to sum up the situation came from State Senator Ken Cheuvront. A few minutes into the NPR piece, Cheuvront said:
I would hope that she would put the needs of Arizonans before her own political career.
Yeah right, good luck with that.