In this post Robert Robb describes Jan Brewer in a way that aligns with my general (and uninformed) impression of her:
"There is a sense in which Brewer has proven her capacity to manage the office. After a very rough start, she shook up her staff last fall. After the highly experienced and competent Eileen Klein took over as chief of staff, the Brewer administration has marched smartly forward.
Brewer's tenacity got the sales tax increase to the ballot. Real budget cuts were enacted. The management of policy and politics has been in synch and remarkably sound, as the sharp turnaround in Brewer's political standing attests. Obviously standing up for the state against slanderous national criticism over SB 1070 turbocharged Brewer's comeback. But the turnaround was well underway before that."
Honestly, before 1070, I didn't have much of an issue with how she was running the state. And Robb's correct that she did tenaciously defend 1070, its just that this is an issue I strongly disagree with her on, and I felt her tenacity border-lined on unprofessionalism, which the beheading controversy is indicative of.
The budget was a mess and she made the best of a bad situation, and take a look at her resume, she has a deep and accomplished political career highlighted by this:
"In 1996, Brewer ran for chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, defeating incumbent Ed King, and would serve for six years on the board. She inherited a debt of $165 million, and by the end of Brewer’s tenure in 2002, she left Maricopa County in one of the strongest financial positions of any county in the nation. Governing Magazine proclaimed the County as 'one of the two best managed large counties in the nation.'"
But this debate makes it clear, that she's horrible, horrible at public speaking, and a governor has to represent the state and sell ideas to the public.
"Nevertheless, public presentation is part of the governor's job and not a Brewer strong point, to put it mildly. Additionallly, Brewer's inability to master the details of policy raises the question of whether sound instincts are good enough given the difficulties facing the state. (Goddard, for example, was right and Brewer was wrong on the question of whether the state budget has been balanced.)"
Regarding Goddard, Robb has some smart suggestions for him:
"Based upon tonight's debate, Terry Goddard apparently believes the economy is his issue to ride. That's hard to believe. Jan Brewer isn't to blame for Arizona's economic problems. And neither Brewer nor Goddard is going to solve them. There are two arguments that might get Goddard back in the race: he will better protect education spending and he will check legislative excesses. These are believable claims and important to Arizona voters. At this point, anything else for Goddard is playing wiffle ball."
I agree. In the debate, Goddard's attacks on Brewer regarding the economy just didn't resonate with me. No way Brewer was to blame and I think most Arizona voters realize this. And Goddard's suggestions to fix the economy? Well he didn't have any in the debate probably because they just don't exist. Arizona's problems are deep and I don't care whose running this state, they just ain't going to be able to solve them.
But protecting education spending and putting a check on a state legislature that seems to be getting increasingly harsh and increasingly conservative is fundamentally why I'm voting for Terry Goddard.