Jan Brewer's Eloquent Nihilism

By Nicole Allan

The Daily Beast takes a hilarious -- and terrifying -- look at Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's successful re-branding of her state. After Janet Napolitano resigned as governor to become the secretary of homeland security, Brewer, then the Arizona secretary of state, was next in line for the governorship. Since then, Bryan Curtis writes, she has painted her state as "no longer the sun-drenched home of the Grand Canyon, golf courses, and retirees exulting in 100-degree lethargy. Arizona, in Brewer's telling, is a cross between a Cormac McCarthy novel and The Road Warrior":

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."

This kind of rhetoric, Curtis asserts, could signal a radicalization of Arizona politics: 

Politicians, perhaps wary of attracting more negative PR, have mostly ignored Brewer's ritual denunciations. But Brewer's rhetoric is important because it illustrates a hidden tension in Arizona politics. Senate Bill 1070 is often seen as an outgrowth of Mexican migration. But Arizona has a parallel migration narrative: one of Anglo migrants who came for the hot weather and golf courses, and, in many cases, brought along their conservative politics.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/jan-brewers-eloquent-nihilism/60074/