Saturday, July 12, 2008

Something worth reading on Janet Napolitano

If you're not familiar with the rather successful Democratic governor of Arizona, The American Prospect was a well-written overview of her. While I wouldn't say that she has made Arizona a Democratic state, she has found a way to preserve much of the Democratic agenda in a deeply red state. Although she hasn't talked Republican officials over to the Democratic Party, her style of governing is a bit reminiscent of Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas -- though she isn't helped by a fractured opposition the way Sebelius is.

Napolitano is a favorite of mine for many reasons, and in a just world, she'd be a powerful contender for the vice presidency. She's personally effective, has along record of executive results, and connects well with some important demographics. However, there is a persistent rumor that Governor Napolitano is a lesbian (something she says is not true), and the knuckledraggers in our country could never permit even a hint of suchness in the White House. I should note Arizona's admirable acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Not only do many Arizonans believe that Napolitano is gay while continuing to vote for her, the Grand Canyon State was the home of Rep. Jim Kolbe, a Republican Congressman who served 1985-2007, and was re-elected 4 times after "coming out". Furthermore, Arizona was the first state to reject an anti-gay popular initiative at the ballot box.

All that said, I can't imagine Napolitano gaining much traction nationally because of these rumors about her orientation (I should note that many, many voters do not believe her denials). In polls that I've seen, the only factor against a candidate more indemnifying than homosexuality is atheism. So another great talent is wasted by the prejudices of too many Americans.

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