• It was sad to see money wasted on Proposition 105, the so-called majority rules initiative that voters soundly rejected.
The goal was to do something about spending mandates, a laudable objective. But it would have shut down citizen initiatives entirely. It was a transparent overreach.
If fiscal conservatives want to spend money on initiatives to rein in state spending, two reforms merit the investment.
If voter-mandated spending is the target, then a sensible candidate would be to amend the Voter Protection Act permitting proportionate reductions when state revenues fall below population growth and inflation.
And if controlling spending growth in general is the objective, then a reduction in the state spending limit is the cleanest, most direct approach.
• The thumping voters delivered to Proposition 200, the payday loan initiative, illustrates a mystery that continues to perplex me: Why do political consultants so often choose a deceptive argument when an honest one would do just as well?
Prop. 200 proponents tried to sell it as a crackdown on the industry. That defied credibility once voters found out the industry was paying for the campaign.
The honest argument would have been about continuing the existence of the payday loan option past its scheduled 2010 sunset. A campaign straightforward about that, and noting that the market is open to anyone who can make small, short-term loans less expensively, might have had a better chance.
It certainly couldn’t have done much worse than the 60 percent to 40 percent drubbing the deceptive argument got.
• John Shadegg’s father, Stephen, was a pioneer in modern-day electioneering. He stressed the importance of what today’s consultants sometimes call influencers.
These are people who closely follow politics, might be active in some ways. They are embedded in virtually all social organizations and often influence the votes of others, sometimes directly and sometimes subtly.
The influencers are to be credited with the defeat of Proposition 202, the misnamed “stop illegal hiring” initiative. It was really employer amnesty, giving employers an absolute defense for using the existing federal wink-and-a-nod verification system.
The businessmen wanting to preserve the ability to hire illegal workers spent all the money. But the influencers got the real story out anyway.
• Speaking of Shadegg, his opponent, Bob Lord, turned out to be quite a bust. The Democrats invested millions in him, and he got 42 percent of the vote. Shadegg’s 2006 opponent – Herb Paine, for whom the Democratic Party wouldn’t spring for cab fare – got 38 percent of the vote.
• On the positive side for Democrats, Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords seem well on their way to entrenching themselves in districts with a Republican registration advantage.
Mitchell won with nearly a 10 percent margin, despite facing about the same size of a registration disadvantage. That means he swept the independent vote and probably got a good chuck of crossover Republicans as well.
Giffords has a much smaller registration disadvantage, just 3 percent, and had the advantage of a big Democratic year. But she faced the tougher opponent in former Senate President Tim Bee, and walked away with a 12 percent margin of victory.
She also raises money with a vacuum cleaner.
• Democratic newcomer Ann Kirkpatrick also scored an impressive victory for Rick Renzi’s vacated congressional seat, even discounting for it being a big Democratic year. Kirkpatrick split the vote in heavily Republican and vote-rich Yavapai County, suggesting strong crossover appeal.
Robert Robb, an Arizona Republic columnist, writes about public policy and politics in Arizona. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org