Steve Montenegro is a Salvadorian Republican who currently represents Arizona State Senate’s 13th district. Arizona State Senator Montenegro was on Jake Tapper’s State Of The Union show yesterday where he engaged in a heated debate with Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos. For today’s post I wanted to take some time and write about State Senator Montenegro. But first: check out the debate between the two:
Senator Montenegro Not Everyone In The Left Was Pleased By Obama’s Pardons:
Arizona State Senator Montenegro was ready to push a narrative that is false. He latched onto the clemency given to Oscar Lopez Rivera, a highly controversial Puerto-Rican that former President Obama helped get free as one of the final acts of his tenure as President. Montenegro makes lots of statements that lack in nuance throughout this debate but one of the ones I was most angry about was that the Left wasn’t angered by Obama’s decision because I was furious about Oscar Lopez Rivera getting released and I was not alone in my outrage. Just because others who were displeased with this decision stayed quiet or couldn’t get their opinions loudly heard doesn’t mean that the “left” is somehow a monolith. He needs to learn that there is nuance in our opinions and our perspectives that he refuses to acknowledge. That being said: even if Oscar Lopez had gotten no support or no calls for his release the reality is that Oscar has spent decades in jail, and releasing him from there makes sense if someone wants to have the appearance of ruling with mercy even if people like me disagree with the decision to do so. Arpaio hadn’t been sentenced yet and the maximum penalty for criminal contempt of court is 6 months in prison, not decades behind bars.
Arizona State Senator Montenegro Lost The Moment He Called Navarro A Liberal:
Ignore the click-bait title for the video. Earlier today Montenegro was brought back to talk with Republican strategist and one of the few voices of reason left within the Republican Party Ana Navarro on Chris Cuomo’s CNN program New Day. He was already doing badly but at 5:50 he basically forfeits the debate by trying to “No True Republican” Navarro which was a mistake. He calls Navarro a liberal. To say it goes badly is an understatement.
Let me make it clear for anyone who is uncertain: Navarro is not a liberal. She might not be the same type of conservative as Steve Bannon or as Paul Robertson or Steve Montenegro but she is in fact a conservative. Just like there is diversity within the Left there is diversity within the Right. Not everyone in the Left blindly supported Obama or Clinton and there are DEFINITELY members of the Right who have integrity and are capable of looking at Trump skeptically and refusing to support him. Navarro is a member of the Right who does not pander to Trump’s supporters but the idea that because she is a supporter of Trump she must be a liberal is absolutely nonsensical.
Navarro represents part of a wider tent of Republicans than many on the Left realize exist (and this is coming from someone pretty far left). She represents a conservative with integrity and she’s not alone but she is definitely on T.V. more than many of her fellow Republicans who are like her. If she were more respected by her fellow Republicans and her words more seriously heeded by them the Republicans would be doing better than they currently are.
Montenegro Is Not Good At These Debates:
Montenegro lost both of those debates. He lost the debate with Navarro far worse than he lost the debate with Ramos, because Cuomo was far more active and far more determined to keep the debate focused than Tapper was but Montenegro lost both debates handily.
Montenegro represents something a bit rare: he’s a Latino who is willing to go on T.V. and fight for Trump, especially in the context of the Arpaio pardon. He’s going to get destroyed in these debates. And it’s partially because many on the Right were visibly displeased with the Arpaio pardon, with a spokesman of even Paul Ryan condemning it. You can pretend Navarro is a liberal but you can’t pretend Paul Ryan is.
It’s sad to see someone so desperately defending something so indefensible but at the same time I’m so tired of so many people pretending that Arpaio was punished for doing his job. He was punished because he refused to do his job. You can pretend that this is political, you can pretend that he was punished thanks to a witch-hunt but at the end of the day you cannot go on about rule of law while defending someone who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court. If you do that you are only giving lip-service to the rule of law, not actually respecting it or fighting for it. It makes you a hypocrite.
Arizona State Senator Montenegro ought to give up and stop trying to defend Arpaio. He doesn’t benefit from it, even if he sincerely believes what he is saying. All he’ll do is go on and be a tool Trump and Arpaio use to pretend that they aren’t racist or at least haven’t been acting in racist ways. He constantly clung to charges that his allies were racist and used those charges to protect himself from having to defend the actions of Arpaio, which he almost religiously refused to do.
It’s worth noting that it sounds like he wanted to talk about Judge Mary Murguia when he was talking to Jorge Ramos, a judge whose twin sister was the president of the National Council of La Raza, and who did recuse herself in 2009. I might be wrong, but that’s a quick search reveals.
I sure hope he is better at representing his district than he is at debating. And if you’re curious he ran unopposed in his election in 2016. Come on people of Arizona’s 13th Senate district: do better. Run someone against this guy.