The Corner

‘Far Right’ in Arizona

The New York Times ran a story the other day about the Speaker of the Arizona house of representatives, David Gowan. In the third sentence of the story, we learn that Gowan has been “putting his own stamp on a legislative body that has garnered its share of attention for its far-right leanings on issues like immigration and abortion.”

Far right? Arizona’s most controversial legislative action on immigration was SB 1070, a 2010 law that made international news and went to the Supreme Court. At the time, Gallup found a small majority of Americans who had heard of the law had a favorable view of it. Pew found that very large majorities of Americans favored the law’s key provisions.

There is no polling, at least available in public, about some of the abortion legislation that has passed the legislature in recent years, such as a ban on selling aborted fetuses and a restriction on the use of medications to induce abortion. The state enacted a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. In 2014, Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans favor this ban.

The fact that reporters and editors at the Times thought that the “far right” description belonged in this news story tells us more about the newspaper than it does about Arizona politics.

(My thanks to my American Enterprise Institute colleague Heather Sims for tracking down information about the legislation and the polls.)

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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