Very interesting perspective on the election of Jerry Lewis in the recent recall election. The article, appearing in Human Events, was written by Political Editor, John Gizzi, who explains that liberals are all wrong about the conclusion of Lewis’ win.
There are plenty of new revelations in the article that I certainly missed during the campaign leading up to the election. In fact, Mr. Lewis’ comments in this article completely validate my earlier points that the recall was overwhelmingly about style over substance. Given Lewis’ comments in this article, I have to wonder if Randy Parraz and fellow recallers now regret their decision to help Jerry Lewis get elected?
Here is that article:
Since the nationally watched recall election last month that resulted in the ouster of the architect of Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, the liberal media has been claiming a major victory. Because former State Senate President Russell Pearce was a conservative Republican, goes the crowing from the Left, his defeat was a blow to the Right and to SB 1070, the Pearce-crafted measure signed into law by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last year that permits police to ask for immigration papers if they have “reasonable suspicion” someone is in the U.S. illegally.
But that analysis and conclusion over what happened in Pearce’s Mesa district Nov. 8 is pure moonshine.
Veteran state legislator Pearce was ousted by a fellow conservative stalwart named Jerry Lewis. When we got done repeating all the quips about his being mistaken for the world-famous comedian, and how he met up with the former Arizona state treasurer named Dean Martin (“Arizona’s own Martin and Lewis team”), the 55-year-old Lewis told HUMAN EVENTS last week about his own conservative philosophy, and what led him to finally run in the race after initially saying, “No way.”
“When [Pearce] was exploring a bid for Congress for the seat of Jeff Flake [who is running for the U.S. Senate], a number of people urged me to run for his state senate district,” said Lewis, a nine-year stake president in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and superintendent of the Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning charter school. “I said, ‘No, thank you,’ that I wasn’t a politician and wasn’t interested in running.”
Earlier this year, Pearce opted against a congressional race. But a movement known as Citizens for a Better Arizona secured thousands of signatures from voters, surpassing 25% of those who voted in the last election, as Arizona law requires for a recall, and thus placed question of his continued tenure in the senate on the November ballot.
Regarding the recall movement, Lewis told us: “I never supported it and would not sign the petition. I felt that whatever people thought of the incumbent, he had not violated any laws, and you knew where he stood.”
Lewis decided to run, he told us, “Because I saw too much time and money spent by politicians attacking one another, and too little attacking issues voters cared about.” He added that his much-voiced distaste for career politicians finally convinced him “to step up to the plate and do something about them.” Pearce, a former deputy sheriff, has served in the state house and senate, and was once state motor vehicles commissioner.
In campaigning for Pearce’s seat, Lewis emphasized the themes of the economy and employment, calling for lower taxes—the legislature’s vote to reduce taxes on corporations was “a step in the right direction,” he said—and eliminating regulations that keep businesses from creating jobs in the state. In addition, the longtime charter school leader called for greater choice for parents in education.
Did he oppose the immigration law that is Pearce’s signature cause? Lewis replied without hesitation: “No, not at all. [SB 1070] certainly raised the specter of awareness on this issue among voters, and it was a proper response to the problem, considering that no one else—no one at the federal or state level—is doing anything about the problem.”
But, he added, “I still believe it wasn’t a balanced approach. Before taking a step like this, I would have said, ‘Secure the borders first.’ And then our congressional delegation has to force the issue and engage the federal government in stopping illegal immigration.”
Lewis said that as much as voters agreed with 1070, many also felt that Pearce was focusing too much on illegal immigration and not enough on jobs and the economy. Last month, Lewis unseated Pearce with 54% of the vote. When he was sworn in days ago, Lewis formally declined to participate in the pension program for state legislators, saying that voters should not be burdened with paying for his retirement.
The inevitable final question from us was whether, with such a recognizable and well-liked name, would Jerry Lewis consider a bid for higher office?
“No way,” he shot back. “I’m not a career politician, remember?”