Arizona’s Accidental Governor: Jan Brewer’s Reinvention

People in Arizona remember a different Jan Brewer from the tough-talking Republican governor at the center of the bitter immigration debate swirling out of her state. If politicians have multiple lives, her previous ones showed a much more personable presence — one pundit called her “delightful.” Not eloquent but engaging, not book-smart but pragmatic, Brewer would often crack jokes in boring committee meetings when she was a state legislator, trading punch lines with another lawmaker who acted as the comedic foil. The exchanges reminded some of scenes with Lucy and Ethel in I Love Lucy more than legislative debate.

“That’s the Jan Brewer I had experienced that I think is more at her core,” says Bob Grossfeld, of Tempe, Ariz., a longtime Democratic strategist who is now the publisher of ArizonaGuardian.com, which covers the state capitol. “What we’re seeing now is a highly manicured and choreographed Jan Brewer — probably not unlike a Sarah Palin, who was thrust into the national spotlight and had never been there before.” Grossfeld is referring to what local political wonks are calling Brewer 2.0. Once more a fiscal conservative than a social one, she has decoded Arizona’s political landscape and is riding the immigration issue, even though it came to her almost by accident. Now, “the potential for her to make a long-term impact on Arizona is unprecedented,” says Phoenix-based GOP strategist Kevin DeMenna, who worked with Brewer at the state senate.

It is an astonishing transformation for a woman who holds the office of governor by virtue of succession, not election, and is virtually assured of winning the Republican nomination once again in Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary. In early 2009, Brewer was secretary of state and her job was largely administrative (“Did you fill out your voter registration?” “Have you filed your lobbyist-registration paperwork lately?”). But she found herself entering the governor’s office in place of Democrat Janet Napolitano, who left Arizona to become President Barack Obama’s Homeland Security chief. It was the fifth time in Arizona’s history that such a constitutional succession had taken place. It was also an ironic outcome given Brewer’s previous legislative attempts to create a lieutenant-governor position because she did not feel that being secretary of state qualified someone to be governor.

Full story: Arizona’s Accidental Governor: Jan Brewer’s Reinvention – TIME

  • Tess_Comments

    Jan Brewer is doing for US Immigration Laws what Obama should be doing. It is time to STOP the flow of Illegal Immigrants into the US.

    Obama shows a pattern of refusing to enforce laws (or refusing to permit states like Arizona to enforce them). When he dislikes our laws, Obama forces change by dictate rather than seeking legal change through the political process. Congress gets bypassed.

    “…authorities identified some 17,000 cases last year that could be eliminated if ICE dropped removal proceedings against illegal immigrants who had applied for legal status and were very likely to get it.”

    No Backdoor Amnesty. Illegal immigrants should NOT be allowed to apply for legal status while still in the US. Stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. Deport the illegal immigrants that are in the US.

  • libertyatstake

    Well, she’s a fighter anyway. That’s useful in 2010.

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • independentvoter

    Wish I lived in AZ I would have voted for her.. almost took ALL the votes must be doing SOMETHING right.. How many did the DEM get??

    • snowsoul

      Well, let’s see – the Dem got nothing. But see, this is the problem, people who are voting for her are completely ignorant of everything dealing with her, especially how she came to power or how primaries work.

      • theprofessor

        Well, why don’t you enlighten as to what ALL those people who voted for her didn’t know…..

  • teapartypatriot

    FYI: Arizona Gov Brewer is a TAX-AND-SPEND RINO who has done essentially NOTHING to help the state’s and country’s ILLEGALS problem, except sign Russell Pearce’s outstanding bill. Pearce is the legislative genius behind ALL of Arizona’s outstanding immigration reform laws. Pass that on to the uninformed mentally challenged that actually think Brewer, who just imposed $3 BILLION in additional taxes on Arizona citizens to give to unions and big government, is “presidential material” (for the d-crat socialists, maybe!).

    It’s no wonder that a socialist fake-news outlets like “time” play her up. They love that tax-and-spend attitude.

  • snowsoul

    I don’t understand why conservatives are flocking to her like flies on crap. She’s more a fiscal conservative than a social one? She must be pretty weak on both then. There’s a video on youtube of her berating a mother for being against a 1% sales tax across the state, $5 billion across 3 years, I think. As well, she basically said people were going to die if we didn’t pass this. Also, at the dinner where it was announced she was taking over as Governor, she stood up, gave a speech, said she did not have time to answer questions, sat down, ate, then left.

    She, like John McCain, won yesterday without my vote and, just like the primaries, they will win the general without my vote.

  • flips

    Queen of the “get off my lawn” tea bagger crowd.

    • Skepticus

      Flippy, the correct phrase is Tea Party. Teabagging is what uncle obama did in your mouth. Learn the difference or brush your teeth.

    • theprofessor

      Being against somebody who takes her pledge to protect and serve her state seriously really shows how ridiculously small and simple you are.

      Funny how you left-wing nuts are constantly accusing the Republican party of being the “party of no”, yet it is YOU that is against somebody or something simply because you perceive the right-wing to be for it. In Brewer’s case, she is just as popular with the dems as she is with the republicans, so you once again look like a fool because you just included the dems in your “tea bagger crowd”.