Former Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (pictured) is now also former vice chair to the Arizona Republican Party, after making the mistake of exposing just how awful a person he is. While on a talk radio program – a.k.a. the easiest place to hear evil in its purest form – Pearce claimed that if he were in charge of Arizona’s public assistance programs, there would be a whole lot of changes on his watch. Most of those changes were fueled by stereotypes about poor women and a noted displeasure with women who – gasp – dare to be both impoverished and sexually active.
Pearce said, “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations…. Then we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job.”
No matter how many statistics you pull out to expose the overblown myth of rampant welfare fraud, many Republicans would rather continue their death-grip on Ronald Reagan’s lil’ bedroom story about the welfare queen who spends her typically paltry public assistance checks on luxurious goods and crack. Never mind that public assistance doesn’t cause addiction, being poor does. As for the idea that if a woman dares to decide to use her vagina before checking her bank account (or cash under the mattress, as it were), what a vile and simplistic thing to say.
After Pearce was criticized for his comments, Pearce released a cowering statement saying that there “was a discussion about the abuses to our welfare system” and he “shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author.”
So, you didn’t say what you said? That’s your excuse, Pearce? How lazy.
Pearce went on to say, “This was a mistake. This mistake has been taken by the media and the left and used to hurt our Republican candidates.”
Well, you run a state party, sir, so if you’re going around talking about sterilizing women on welfare, can you blame people for associating candidates with you? Candidates, mind you, that you’re in charge of helping elect in an office that could influence policy.
How hilarious to see a man trying to force women to be held accountable for their actions (in the harshest of ways), and yet when met with his own time to illustrate accountability, he ducks behind cliché-riddled remarks about media exploitation? For the record, Pearce was the sponsor of a severely harsh immigration law in Arizona that was ultimately recalled in 2011.
Pearce is the same man who once drafted a proposal “to compel medical personnel to question patients about their immigration status and school officials to do the same with students.” Pearce also called for the “stripping children [of their citizenship who are] born in Arizona to illegal immigrants.”
It gets better once you factor in previous allegations of corruption that year (via the Washington Post):
Pearce was caught up in a scandal earlier this year surrounding the Fiesta Bowl. He accepted and did not report nearly $40,000 in all-expense-paid junkets and college football tickets from Fiesta Bowl officials while helping steer state subsidies towards the game. Worse, he appears to have lied about receiving the illegal free tickets. The ethics scandal hurt his credibility with tea-party activists in the state.
And now he’s a political hack who once again finds himself in trouble for his hard lined stances fueled by a particular hatred. I’m glad other Republicans in the state were quick to denounce his woman-bashing remarks. Yet, this is a party full of Russell Pearce’s. Instead of focusing on forcing chastity belts and sterilization on sexually active women (no matter their earning scale), how about handing all this misogynistic men a damn muzzle already?