It was reported last night that a recall drive has been launched against one of our U.S. Senators from Arizona.

Sen. Jon Kyl

No, not John McCain, who has been much in the news lately. (I know you were guessing him.) This barb is directed at our other Jo(h)n—Jon Kyl.

As the story says, some are angry at a number of his positions:

“Kyl’s recent opposition of providing health care to the 9/11 first responders and emergency workers was the final straw, said Leonard Clark, chairman of ‘Kyl Refuses Health Care to 911 Emergency Responders!’”

Props to the protestor for an overly detailed organization name (and for the use of an exclamation mark, which always rankles).

Here in Arizona, citizen–agitators are pretty run-of-the-mill. In fact, the tradition of spirited advocacy reaches all the way back to Territorial days. We heard that discussed at the commemoration of the Arizona Constitution’s Centennial on December 2, which we wrote about here. (And a longer article will be in the February issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.)

As the Republic news story suggests, the recall has a tough row to hoe and is likely Quixotic. But Kyl-protestors may take heart in the fact that the senator suffered a more stinging and pertinent defeat this week.

You may recall he drew a bright line in the sand on the START Treaty, which President Barack Obama wanted ratified before the end of the year. Give recent history, the Republicans likely bet that a diffident Obama would not cross the line. And they put Kyl out there front and center to wage the battle.

But Obama didn’t blink, showing that he can roast some chestnuts when he thinks it’s necessary. That left the GOP’s chosen warrior standing alone on the battlefield.

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, at right (PHOTO: Drew Angerer/The New York Times)

But the real winner in all this may not be Obama, and it almost certainly will not be those seeking Kyl’s recall (and we already know it won’t be Kyl himself).

But it may just be the junior senator from New York. Often derided and marginalized, she came into her own with strategic—and successful—moves on health coverage for 9/11 responders and on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Read more about Kirsten E. Gillibrand here. She has shown quite a bit of savvy and spirited advocacy herself, and we’re likely to see even more in the coming year.

Today is “Change of Venue” day at AZ Attorney. In honor of our casual Friday, consider the media understatement of the month.

This morning’s Washington Post began with a story that opens, “J.D. Hayworth is a voluble man.”

Well, they had me at “J.D.,” but adding that “voluble” hook drew me in immediately. And it only got better from there.

Here is the takeaway from the article by reporter Peter Slevin:

In a closely watched campaign increasingly defined by who can take the hardest line, Hayworth is a border hawk who called his book about immigration policy, “Whatever It Takes.”

That nut graf comes early in the article. The remaining 17 grafs are a close analysis of what’s going on in the Senate race between J.D. Hayworth and incumbent John McCain.

But here in the state, we know that this particular race—and almost all politics at every level in an election year—can be described as “Whatever It Takes.”

J.D. Hayworth

I’m not adding anything earth-shattering when I say that we as a nation appear to get little real information on important issues in an election season (which, let’s face it, extends beyond one year at a stretch). Or if we get it, it’s had to come by.

So here’s the rub: This serious race, in a high-profile state (if we do say so ourselves), is likely going to come down to which candidate “out-toughs” the other.

Now, there were many things to enjoy about junior-high school. Free period. Work days that ended at 3:00. Fart jokes. But governance based on shouting is something most of us have been happy to leave behind.

That said, it ain’t just the politicos who contribute to this. It also, gulp, can be that demon media.

Sen. John McCain

This week, the Arizona Republic indulged in a three-part Immigration series. It sought to examine deeply an issue that has been divisive in the state and the country. It did pretty well.

But Wednesday’s article made me scratch my head. It was titled “Key Critics of Arizona Immigration Law Admit Not Reading It.” It’s written by Dan Nowicki.

“Get OUT!” as my 14-year-old daughter would say. You’re kidding?! You mean every person speaking on laws, pending and passed, has not read every word of the legislative jewels that emerge from the sausage factory?

Well, gosh, I thought we knew that. But in the Arizona Republic, it was front-page, above-the-fold news. How, exactly, is that contributing to a deeper understanding of the law and its effects?

A book and an election-year mantra

But, fair being fair, I have a recommendation. Let’s make that the new test: “Have you read it?”

Of course, that could make many top officials uncomfortable. They are busy with their many obligations. I thought that’s why they employ staff to do things like read and vet legislation, rather than read every word themselves.

But there’s a new standard in town. And that may be bad news for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

Howie Fischer reported this week that Arizona has joined the growing lawsuit against the federal health care insurance reform initiative. That occurred when Governor Brewer obtained the thumbs-up from a compliant Legislature after her Attorney General, Terry Goddard, refused. (We covered the health care lawsuit here. We think we were pretty witty that day.)

The Governor has been pretty vociferous in going after the new federal law. So I’m expecting the Republic to contact the Governor’s Office to ask her: “Have you read it?”

Inquiring minds—shallow, junior-high minds—want to know.

Here is the complete Washington Post story.