My governor, Arizona’s Jan Brewer, stammered and stumbled during her one and only political debate with her opponents this week. She has now joined the ranks of other less than articulate political figures of the past 20 years – George Bush, George W. Bush and, in her own way, Sarah Palin. You’ve probably seen it by now, but if not, click on the video above.
Brewer became the head of Arizona when our previous governor, Democrat Janet Napolitano, was named as the leader of the Department of Homeland Security by President Obama. Brewer’s chances for being elected to the office on her own record looked doubtful until she signed the now infamous SB 1070, also known as the “papers, please” law. It’s the law that allows Arizona police officers to ask for documentation of citizenship or legal immigration status if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. I’m not supportive of the law, but I think opponents have exaggerated some of its provisions. Mainly, I think it grows out of an irrational fear about the immigration problem, and I think the fear has been created by vote-seeking politicians. The fact is, the number of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. has fallen by almost two thirds between 2005 and 2009. And those who are still with us in Arizona don’t seem to be going around beheading people, despite the governor’s assertions.
If you’ve guessed that I won’t be voting for Brewer, you’re correct. Despite her being a Republican, the party that’s “good for business,” I think her signing of SB 1070 set back Arizona’s economy by causing a boycott of the state. I also don’t like to see politicians playing fear cards and race cards to generate votes.
Right now, people are raking her over the coals for yet another reason. They’re making fun of the bad grammar she displayed during her debate. I have to admit, I do this with politicians I don’t like, and even those I do. It’s not too much to expect a reasonable mastery of the language from those who want to lead us. An ability to speak well correlates to an ability to think well, so I become uncomfortable when politicians can’t speak reasonably well.
I understand that even the best speakers sometimes flub their grammar when they’re under pressure. In Brewer’s case, her gaffes are numerous, but they will play a relatively minor role in my decision to vote against her. They do seem to me, however, to be one more reason not to support her.
What do you think? Do you feel uncomfortable about candidates who have trouble expressing themselves?