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Arizona Senate Debate Roundup: Mark Kelly Goes The Distance — To SPAAAAACE
And Blake Masters was another space case altogether.
If you missed last night's big Arizona US Senate debate, we're here to let you know how that went. And if you watched it, we're also here to let you know how it went, because knowing you, you were baked by the time it started. And also to let you know what other debates are on the Wonkette horizon.
Control of the US Senate could be determined by the outcome of the race between Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), the former astronaut and gun safety advocate who was elected in 2020 to fill out the term of the late John McCain, and his Republican opponent, first-time candidate Blake Masters, a flesh puppet operated by by the stinky robotic hand of tech billionaire fuckwad Peter Thiel, who decided it would be a great idea to stock Congress with some compliant underlings like Masters, the president of Thiel's foundation, and JD Vance, the shambolic Ivy Ieague investment banker hillbilly who's mucking up his own campaign in Ohio. (If you're nasty, we'll make you diagram that sentence.)
The debate also included independent candidate Marc Victor, a full-on Ayn Rand libertarian who was there to keep shouting that American money isn't real, because Federal Reserve flibbitty bibbitty. He also said that the government should keep out of people's personal lives, so he's OK with legal abortion, and then for other things he thinks states should let their people decide, like for instance every state should vote on what the age of consent is, and that tells you everything about libertarians. (I will not say the word again, lest one be summoned to the comments to tell us we don't really understand liber — that political philosophy.)
Here's the video in case you wanna watch:
Kelly's strategy for the debate was pretty sound for a Democratic candidate in a red-turning-purple state where Joe Biden won in 2020: Sound reasonable and go after the extreme shit Masters has put out there, much of which he's removed from his website since winning the Batshit GOP Primary. Masters, for his part, tried to downplay his extreme views and to insist that the dangerous extremist was Kelly, a center-left Dem who tends to agree a lot with fellow center-left Dem (and therefore dangerous extremist) Joe Biden. Then Victor would make sure the moderator, Arizona Public TV host Ted Simons, let him answer the questions too, and explain that Kelly and Masters were both the real problem because Americans want freedom not tyranny.
As in many states whose Republican legislatures are well to the right of the population, Arizonans are really worried about abortion, particularly given the recent ruling by a state judge allowing an 1864 abortion ban to go into effect — a law from Arizona's days as a territory, a good 40 years before it became a state. (Trivia: On a 1952 I Love Lucy episode, Lucy was on a radio quiz show and blew the answer to the question, "What was the last state admitted to the union?" She guessed Alaska, and also Hawaii, which weren't yet states, but at the time it was Arizona. Also, the point here is that when that show aired, Arizona's abortion law was nearly a century old.)
Kelly hammered Masters on his extreme views — now removed from his website — such as his call for a "fetal personhood" amendment to the Constitution. That, said Kelly, would amount to a nationwide ban on all abortions, although Masters claimed that in fact he only wants a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, which maybe is when a fetus becomes a person and is then eligible to vote, but only for Republicans.
By contrast, Kelly touted his support for federal legislation that would put the provisions of the Roe v. Wade decision into law, saying that would restore rights to where they'd been before the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision this summer. Masters repeatedly lied about what that meant, saying that Kelly favored abortion "up to the moment of childbirth," which of course is bullshit because nobody goes to the trouble and expense of a second- or third-trimester abortion on a whim.
Kelly pushed back forcefully on that, noting how extreme even that claim was, since abortions late in pregnancy are virtually always the result of either a risk to the pregnant patient's life or health, of because the fetus is simply unviable. Those abortions, he pointed out, almost always involve pregnancies that were very much wanted, and it's not the state's business to interfere in such an agonizing situation. Masters kept lying about it anyway.
Masters bizarrely tried to tie high inflation rates to Kelly personally, saying he voted in lockstep with Joe Biden, who personally caused worldwide inflation following the pandemic somehow. Masters noted that Kelly had supported the Inflation Reduction Act, which will just ruin America (it will not), and then Victor hopped in to say inflation can't be controlled by government because our Federal reserve money isn't even real, and only a perfect free market (operating on spherical consumers in a frictionless vacuum) can fix anything.
Masters, who was a very open election denier in the primary, saying in an ad that Donald Trump won in 2020, got the chance to address the Big Lie, and by golly, he now says that Joe Biden was legally elected — but also that the election HAD kind of been rigged because social media companies, which he falsely claimed had been pressured by the FBI, had "censored" stories about Hunter Biden's laptop, and if that hadn't happened, Trump surely would have won. But as for actual vote rigging, Masters said, "Yeah, I haven’t seen evidence of that," so man, what a sellout.
As of yet, we haven't seen any death threats directed at Masters for such treasonous comments.
Kelly repeatedly brought up Masters's flirtation with the idea of privatizing Social Security and Medicare, a position that Masters, perhaps realizing how many retirees live in Arizona, has since backed away from.
Masters attempted to paint Kelly as some kind of — god forbid — Californian , what with his radical socialism, and even accused Kelly of being "the third senator from California" because, again, he supports the radical policies of Joe Biden. Where Kelly supports careful management of water from the Colorado river, for instance, Masters insisted that California needs to be cut off from using the river's water, longstanding laws and compacts notwithstanding. Let California take care of itself, he insisted: "Why is California even putting its straw into the Colorado River?" Instead, Masters said, California should desalinate seawater and let Arizona keep "our" water — which sort of ignores the detail that the river literally forms the boundary between the two states.
Victor then jumped in to explain that droughts can be solved by selling off the Colorado river to whoever will pay the highest rate, because again, you need to just let the market handle everything, and the water will flow to Galt's Gulch.
Was there a winner? Depends on whether you're a MAGA loony, of course. Masters made clear his devotion to rightwing trolling, while Kelly was sober and maybe a bit less than exciting — which honestly may be welcome to Arizona voters who have been dealing with an endless shitshow ever since Fox News called the state for Biden on Election Night in 2020.
Yr Wonkette will be bringing you another Big Damn Debate tonight; we'll have the YouTube livestream of the first Wisconsin debate between incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Dumbest Senator) and Mandela Barnes (D- Sexxy), set for tonight at 8: 00 Eastern.We'll put a post up around 7: 45 EDT for you!
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