Nel's New Day

November 15, 2011

Arizona’s Brewer Touts Her Political Book

Every politician on the rise seems to come out with a book—except for George W. Bush who did it on the way down. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is the latest to travel the country with her immortal words printed in Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border, a short 283 pages when one considers the length of the title. The book is published by the Murdoch arm of HarperCollins.

Although the governor of a smaller state, she started a wildfire against undocumented immigrants across the country, causing the states that followed her to suffer sagging economies—Alabama for example. Brewer’s ghost-written book comes with high points for revisionist history and politics.

The cover of the book starts Brewer’s history: she photoshops herself as Rosie the Riveter, an image developed during World War II as a symbol of putting people in this country to work and an image long associated with organized labor. Labor suffered, however, when Brewer became governor after President Obama appointed her predecessor, Janet Napolitano, as Secretary of Homeland Security.

The promo text, about the death of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz on the Arizona-Mexico border, is the next clinker. Brewer declares throughout the book that Krentz was killed by an illegal trespasser (Brewer-speak for undocumented immigrant). No one has ever been indicted for this murder, but Brewer’s lie proved useful in fomenting hatred for anyone who tried to cross the border fromMexico.

A former governor, Sarah Palin, provided the book’s foreword which praises Brewer for rising through the political ranks by “bringing people together–by building up, instead of tearing down.” When one considers the state of affairs in Arizona, that statement also goes into the list of revisionist history.

Brewer does briefly admit that the numbers of undocumented immigrants coming into the state has gone far down recently, due to recession, but that information wouldn’t have helped her pass SB1070, the incendiary law discriminating against Latinos. She skipped the facts about crime rates being the lowest since she moved from California to Arizona in 1970. “This is a media-created event,” one sheriff told the Arizona Republic a week after Brewer signed SB 1070. “I hear politicians on TV saying the border has gotten worse. Well, the fact of the matter is that the border has never been more secure.”

Nor did she write in her book about last spring’s extensive study from the Center for American Progress showing that “undocumented immigrants don’t simply ‘fill’ jobs; they create jobs. Through the work they perform, the money they spend, and the taxes they pay, undocumented immigrants sustain the jobs of many other workers in the U.S. economy, immigrants and native-born alike.” Were undocumented immigrants to “suddenly vanish” from SB 1070’s “attrition through enforcement,” the study estimated that Arizona’s economy would shrink by $48.8 billion–like that in Alabama.

It’s the quotations from the book, however, that show how conservatives think of their world and those around them. Sarah Mimms, writing in the National Journal, has pulled together some choice bits to save the rest of us the time and money to read the book. She describes her method as the “excerpt lottery,” in which page numbers are chosen based upon recent winning lottery numbers from various states.

“The best comparison I could think of was: This must be what it’s like to be waterboarded….  Advice, objections, encouragement, discouragement, fan letters and death threats were coming at me so fast I could barely breathe…. Manning the buckets were the national media, the unions, civil rights groups, business groups and political operatives all the way up to the president himself. Was it torture? I never did ask Dick Cheney, but I’ll tell you this: It was not an experience I want to repeat” — p.3 (NY’s “Midday New York Numbers,” 10/17).

“A strange cast of characters–everyone from the Reverend Al Sharpton to Hollywood actress Eva Longoria to former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka–was invited, but not one sitting governor and not one current member of Congress. I told the press that I considered it a ‘snub’ that I wasn’t invited. Not that I was so eager to return to the Obama White House and be lectured again–been there, done that” – p. 213 (MN’s “Daily 3,” 11/1).

“[The Secret Service confiscated] our cell phones and cameras. Too bad we weren’t illegal aliens, or we could have sued them” – p. 162 (MO”s “Midday Pick 3,” 11/2).

“This guy had clearly seen too many movies in which menacing Gestapo agents demanded to see a terrified refugee’s papers” – p. 147 (MO’s “Pick 3 Midday,” 10/23).

“Last July, illegal alien deaths were so high that the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office had to use a refrigerated truck to store some of the bodies” – p. 47 (VA’s “Pick 3,” 11/1)

“Chapter Four: Nazis in the Desert” – p. 129 (NY’s “Midday Numbers,” 9/5).

“That same week, I noticed, the president’s schedule included a fund-raising event in Pittsburgh, a reception for Major League Soccer, and a concert at the White House to honor Paul McCartney. I know he’s cute and all, I thought, but we’re in serious trouble here!” –  (N.J.’s “Pick 3 Midday,” 10/11).

“Amid all the chaos, a group of people I don’t even know started a Web site to defend me against all the obnoxious, hurtful accusations being recklessly thrown around. It was a tongue-in-cheek site in which people could post colorful descriptions of me. The actor and activist Chuck Norris alerted me to one of his favorites: Jan Brewer eats scorpions for breakfast.

“I guess it was meant to be flattering. I guess it was meant to portray me as tough. But even if you’re tough enough to start your day with a meal of deadly poisonous insects, it’s not something you particularly want to do. You don’t seek it out. You do it because there’s no other honorable option” – p. 11 (NY.’s “Evening Numbers,” 10/24).

Also her statement about multi-cultural studies in school: “Multiculturalism sounds like a nice, friendly word that means respect for others. In practice, however, it’s worked out very differently. Multiculturalism encourages its followers to put racial and ethnic identity above all … multiculturalism and open borders philosophy go hand in hand.”

Brewer also claims, “The majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming into the state of Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels and they are bringing drugs in.” She also refers to the “bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded,” something which medical examiners from six of Arizona’s counties, four of them bordering Mexico, say that they’ve never encountered an immigration-related crime.

So that’s what Jan Brewer is all about—believing that getting negative mail is as bad as waterboarding, sulking because she wasn’t chosen to attend the White House, and willing to lie for her personal benefit. I’ve skipped all the pieces about her saying that the $10 million given to Arizona for education will go to border security, her cavalier attitude toward dying people by removing them from the state health care, etc., etc. At least she has Sarah Palin for a friend; too bad she doesn’t use her as a model.

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