Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Laurie Roberts at the AZ Republic is beside herself that the well-heeled proponents of the dumb Top Two Primary idea are, as she delightedly exclaims, baaaaaack. (Much more after the jump)
Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Laurie Roberts at the AZ Republic is beside herself that the well-heeled proponents of the dumb Top Two Primary idea are, as she delightedly exclaims, baaaaaack. (Much more after the jump)
Donna Gratehouse on February 12, 2014 in Abortion, Activism, Arizona Congressional Delegation, Arizona Congressional Races, Arizona State Legislature, Campaigns, Commentary, Donna Gratehouse, Editorial, Elections, Endorsements, GOP War On..., Gun Policies, Healthcare, IOKIYAR, Legislation, Media, Party Politics, Primaries, Redistricting, Tucson | Permalink | Comments (2)
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
With just ten days remaining in a vote-by-mail election for the Tucson City Council, the Arizona Daily Star finally got around to endorsing the incumbent Democratic council members. Star endorses encumbants Uhlich, Fimbres and Kozachik in City Council race:
Four years ago, the Arizona Daily Star endorsed Karin Uhlich and Richard Fimbres for seats on the Tucson City Council. Both are running for re-election and we renew our support in the November general election.
* * *
We underestimated Kozachik, a Democrat who represents Ward 6 in central Tucson. He has demonstrated tenacity, fairness, thoroughness and a dedication to the details that we find refreshing and much needed on the City Council. His willingness to not only ask questions but to bring important problems to light, as he did with serious deficiencies with the 911 communications system, for example, benefits the city. He steps out front on issues, such as organizing a gun buyback event, and shows what an engaged, common-sense public servant can do.
Kozachik is running unopposed but nevertheless has earned our endorsement.
Long story short:
Uhlich and Fimbres were in office during dark days for Tucson that included substantial budget cuts and, as Uhlich told us, “a culture in the city that believed that any problem could be fixed with a new rule or regulation.” She says the latter has changed and continues to change. We agree.
We believe Uhlich should lead the council to continue streamlining the permitting process and generally easing the challenges businesses face opening and growing their operations.
With Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, elected in 2011, at the helm and the feud with the board that runs the Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment taxing district in the rearview mirror, the council has made positive steps. It recognizes the wisdom of building business and trade relationships with businesses in Mexico, for example. It’s not perfect – no municipality can claim that – but it is better than it has been.
The momentum should be allowed to continue with Kozachik, Uhlich and Fimbres at the council table.
Yesterday's re-election campaign kickoff for Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik was a Democratic Party love fest for the feisty Republican turned Democrat.
There were nearly as many Pima County Democratic Party faithful in attendance at Borderlands Brewery as there were at the traditional St. Patrick's Day fundraiser a few days earlier.
Kozachik told the crowd of Dems, Greens, Occupiers, Progressives, and, I believe, a few closet Republicans that his campaign has hit the ground running with 800 signatures in just a few weeks. The Pima County Republican Party has not announced a challenger to the iconoclastic Kozachik, who proved to be too independent minded for them, after he bucked a loyality pledge to Governor Jan Brewer, spoke out against the Arizona Legislature's multiple attempts to hurt Tucson and Pima County, endorsed Democrats Richard Carmona for US Senate and Ron Barber for Congress, partied with Pima Dems on Election Night 2012, and-- the last straw-- spearheaded a campaign for universal background checks at gun shows.
More photos and video after the jump.
Today, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) is meeting on the University of Arizona campus. One of ABOR's most infamous members is former Senator Dennis DeConcini.
Why is DeConcini being villified through social media and the blogs? Because he's also a stockholder and member of the Board of Directors of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which builds, owns, and manages private prisons across the country.
Arizona has multiple CCA prisons-- thanks to close ties between CCA and Governor Jan Brewer, former State Senate President Russell Pearce, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) boosters in the Arizona Legislature, and DeConcini. More background and a video shot on the UA campus, after the jump.
by Pamela Powers Hannley
These days, there is a poll for every statistic you want to promote. Some polls have shown that undecided white men-- unlike women, blacks, gays, Latinos, and those elite smart people-- are leaning toward Mitt Romney for president.
Comedian Chris Rock has recorded a special message for those undecided white folks. See the video after the jump.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The conservative British financial rag The Economist has endorsed President Obama for a second term. It's not because they are grateful that the president righted an economy that was falling into the abyss of another Great Depression when he took office, or that the supposedly ‘Anti-Business’ Obama Is the Best President For Corporate Profits Since 1900. Oh, no. The Economist whines mightily that the Obama adiministration "bashes" big business rather than "butters them up" by telling them that they are the "masters of the universe," lord and master over all.
It is because The Economist says the Tea-Publican Party is batshit crazy insane and should not be in charge of the economy -- they are in "the cloud-cuckoo-land of thinking." Which one?:
FOUR years ago, The Economist endorsed Barack Obama for the White House with enthusiasm. So did millions of voters. Next week Americans will trudge to the polls far less hopefully. So (in spirit at least) will this London-based newspaper. Having endured a miserably negative campaign, the world’s most powerful country now has a much more difficult decision to make than it faced four years ago.
* * *
[E]lections are about choosing somebody to run a country. And this choice turns on two questions: how good a president has Mr. Obama been, especially on the main issues of the economy and foreign policy? And can America really trust the ever-changing Mitt Romney to do a better job? On that basis, the Democrat narrowly deserves to be re-elected.
Mr. Obama’s first term has been patchy. On the economy, the most powerful argument in his favour is simply that he stopped it all being a lot worse. America was in a downward economic spiral when he took over, with its banks and carmakers in deep trouble and unemployment rising at the rate of 800,000 a month. His responses—an aggressive stimulus, bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, putting the banks through a sensible stress test and forcing them to raise capital (so that they are now in much better shape than their European peers)—helped avert a Depression. That is a hard message to sell on the doorstep when growth is sluggish and jobs scarce; but it will win Mr. Obama some plaudits from history, and it does from us too.
Two other things count, on balance, in his favour. One is foreign policy, where he was also left with a daunting inheritance. Mr. Obama has refocused George Bush’s “war on terror” more squarely on terrorists, killing Osama bin Laden, stepping up drone strikes (perhaps too liberally, see article) and retreating from Iraq and Afghanistan (in both cases too quickly for our taste). After a shaky start with China, American diplomacy has made a necessary “pivot” towards Asia. . .
* * *
The other qualified achievement is health reform. Even to a newspaper with no love for big government, the fact that over 40m people had no health coverage in a country as rich as America was a scandal. . .
* * *
Mr. Obama’s shortcomings have left ample room for a pragmatic Republican, especially one who could balance the books and overhaul government. Such a candidate briefly flickered across television screens in the first presidential debate. This newspaper would vote for that Mitt Romney, just as it would for the Romney who ran Democratic Massachusetts in a bipartisan way (even pioneering the blueprint for Obamacare). The problem is that there are a lot of Romneys and they have committed themselves to a lot of dangerous things.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Four years ago, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not endorse a candidate for president. Probably because Bloomberg still harbored dreams of running for president himself, until the casino capitalism of Wall Street that made him a billionaire came crashing down in an economic catastrophe in September 2008.
Now that Bloomberg has since established himself as the "Nanny" of New York trying to regulate everything from what people can eat and drink to how much exercise they should get, his dreams of becoming president are over. Nobody likes that guy.
This year, following the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy on the New York region, Mayor Bloomberg has endorsed President Obama in a sometimes critical editorial opinion for the Bloomberg View. Mike still suffers from that "masters of the universe" grandiosity of Wall Street tycoons, after all. A Vote for a President to Lead on Climate Change:
The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast -- in lost lives, lost homes and lost business -- brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.
* * *
Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be -- given this week’s devastation -- should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.
Here in New York, our comprehensive sustainability plan -- PlaNYC -- has helped allow us to cut our carbon footprint by 16 percent in just five years, which is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon footprint of a city twice the size of Seattle. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group -- a partnership among many of the world’s largest cities -- local governments are taking action where national governments are not.
But we can’t do it alone. We need leadership from the White House -- and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.
* * *
If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.
* * *
Nevertheless, the president has achieved some important victories on issues that will help define our future. His Race to the Top education program -- much of which was opposed by the teachers’ unions, a traditional Democratic Party constituency -- has helped drive badly needed reform across the country, giving local districts leverage to strengthen accountability in the classroom and expand charter schools. His health-care law -- for all its flaws -- will provide insurance coverage to people who need it most and save lives.
When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The City of Tucson's lone Republican City Councilman, Steve Kozachik, has described his own party as "too extreme" and has endorsed several Democrats for office in this election cycle. Most recently, "The Koz" has endorsed Mohur Sarah Sidhwa for the House in Legislative District 9.
Press release from the Mohur Sarah Sidhwa campaign:
Tucon City Councilman Steve Kozachik endorses Mohur Sarah Sidhwa for LD 9 House Seat
TUCSON - Mohur Sarah Sidhwa, Democratic candidate for the House in Legislative District 9, is pleased to announce that she has been endorsed by Republican Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik.
"Creating good public policy requires the ability to look at each issue on its own merits, and study the facts surrounding them without locking into a predetermined rigid ideology. Mohur has shown through her professional career exactly that ability. I am proud to support her candidacy because it is my belief that what we need in Phoenix are more legislators who bring her skill set to the table; that is, an analytical mind and a level of intelligence able to sift through competing interests and land on policy that reflects the greater good of the community. She'll do a great job representing us."
Tucson City Council - Ward 6
Mohur Sarah Sidhwa said "I thank Steve Kozachik for his endorsement, and I am grateful for his support in my campaign for the House in Legislative District 9."
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The folks who know her best, the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, endorsed Ann Kirkpatrick for Congress in CD 1. Kirkpatrick, an endangered moderate, deserves 2nd chance:
You wouldn't know it by all those screaming fliers in your mailbox, but there's actually a moderate running for Congress this year in Arizona.
She is Ann Kirkpatrick and she is running in our very own First Congressional District, which stretches from Flagstaff and the Rez down through the White Mountains to Casa Grande and the northern suburbs of Tucson.
Kirkpatrick is a Flagstaff Democrat, attorney and former prosecutor and state lawmaker who grew up on tribal lands in the White Mountains. She served in Congress in 2009-10, but her votes were hardly in lockstep with her party.
-- She voted for Obamacare and the federal stimulus, but not for the auto bailout, Dodd-Frank financial reform or cap-and-trade energy credits to address global warming.
-- She supports guns in national parks but not in college classrooms.
-- She's for raising taxes on those earning more than $500,000 but also for reining in Medicare spending.
-- She opposes mining for uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed but backs mining for copper outside Superior.
In other words, she incorporates parts of both the conservative and liberal agendas that make up the sprawling First District, a difficult balancing act that gives party hard-liners on both sides of the aisle fits.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The editorial board of the New York Times endorses President Barack Obama for reelection. Barack Obama for Re-Election (excerpt):
President Obama has shown a firm commitment to using government to help foster growth. He has formed sensible budget policies that are not dedicated to protecting the powerful, and has worked to save the social safety net to protect the powerless. Mr. Obama has impressive achievements despite the implacable wall of refusal erected by Congressional Republicans so intent on stopping him that they risked pushing the nation into depression, held its credit rating hostage, and hobbled economic recovery.
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has gotten this far with a guile that allows him to say whatever he thinks an audience wants to hear. But he has tied himself to the ultraconservative forces that control the Republican Party and embraced their policies, including reckless budget cuts and 30-year-old, discredited trickle-down ideas. Voters may still be confused about Mr. Romney’s true identity, but they know the Republican Party, and a Romney administration would reflect its agenda. Mr. Romney’s choice of Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate says volumes about that.
We have criticized individual policy choices that Mr. Obama has made over the last four years, and have been impatient with his unwillingness to throw himself into the political fight. But he has shaken off the hesitancy that cost him the first debate, and he approaches the election clearly ready for the partisan battles that would follow his victory.
We are confident he would challenge the Republicans in the “fiscal cliff” battle even if it meant calling their bluff, letting the Bush tax cuts expire and forcing them to confront the budget sequester they created. Electing Mr. Romney would eliminate any hope of deficit reduction that included increased revenues.
In the poisonous atmosphere of this campaign, it may be easy to overlook Mr. Obama’s many important achievements, including carrying out the economic stimulus, saving the auto industry, improving fuel efficiency standards, and making two very fine Supreme Court appointments.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Washington Post, with a stable of Neocon conservative syndicated columnists who pollute the editorial pages of Arizona newspapers, today in an editorial board opinion endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term in a scathing rebuke to Willard "Mittens" Romney. I hear that Jennifer Rubin and Charles Krauthammer are threatening to jump from the roof of the Washington Post building (just kidding). Endorsement: Four more years:
MUCH OF THE 2012 presidential campaign has dwelt on the past, but the key questions are who could better lead the country during the next four years — and, most urgently, who is likelier to put the government on a sounder financial footing.
That second question will come rushing at the winner as soon as the votes are tallied. Absent any action, a series of tax hikes and spending cuts will take effect Jan. 1 that might well knock the country back into recession. This will be a moment of peril but also of opportunity. How the president-elect navigates it will go a long way toward determining the success of his presidency and the health of the nation.
President Barack Obama is better positioned to be that navigator than is his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
After Willard "Mittens" Romney badly failed the commander-in-chief test during Monday night's foreign policy debate, this decision was really a no-brainer, as it should be for any thinking individual. Colin Powell Endorses Obama For President:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term Thursday.
"You know, I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012, and I'll be voting for he and Vice President Joe Biden next month," he said on CBS' "This Morning."
Asked whether it was an endorsement, he said, "Yes."
Powell praised the president's handling of the economy and ending of the Iraq War.
"I think we ought to keep on the track we are on," he said.
Powell said he had the "utmost respect" for Mitt Romney but criticized his tax plan.
He said Romney's foreign policy was a "moving target." "One day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan, but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal. Same thing in Iraq. On every issue that was discussed on Monday night, Gov. Romney agreed with the president with some nuances. But this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign."
I am sure our Arizona media villagers will ask Arizona's angry old man, Sen. John McCain, what he thinks about Secretary Powell stepping all over his Neocon dreams of "Four More Wars!" that he announced at the GOP Convention. "Get off my lawn!" Why does anyone care what John McCain thinks?
UPDATE: video clip below the fold.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Republican incumbents, Senator Gail Griffin and Representatives David Stevens and David Gowan, have failed to attend and to participate in numerous candidate forums and debates. Their contempt for their constituents is unprecedented. The Sierra Vista Herald recently editorialized Our View: LD14 deserves better in endorsing Democratic candidates Rob Leach and Mark Stonebraker for the LD 14 House.
Today the Sierra Vista Herald endorsed Democrat Pat Fleming for the LD 14 Senate for much the same reasons. Fleming our choice for LD14 senate seat:
As voters cast their ballots in the newly drawn Legislative District 14, the choice for state senator is clear.
Formerly a House representative in District 25, Democrat Pat Fleming has proven herself to be involved and interested in the people residing throughout new LD 14.
We find ourselves agreeing more with Fleming’s positions than with her opponent in the district, incumbent Republican Gail Griffin.
During this election season Fleming has been all over the district listening to the concerns of rural residents. And she addressed, made many good points and exhibited excellent listening skills while at our editorial board roundtable last month. That’s a roundtable, by the way, that her incumbent opponent chose not to participate in.
Since the capitol is teeming with representatives from the more populated areas of the state (Tucson and Phoenix) we need someone such as Fleming who will have the fortitude to put rural Arizonans’ needs first and foremost.
Fleming understands what the severe cuts to education programs from kindergarten to the university level have done to rural school districts .She understands that cutting corporate taxes while neglecting the educational needs of the state’s public school systems will in the long run kill any hopes of attracting business to rural Arizona, no matter the tax picture. And she understands that with national military restructuring coming, Cochise County needs to have a great educational system in place to protect the future of Fort Huachuca.
In our opinion, her open-mindedness means she will side with good ideas at the legislature even if that means crossing the aisle. That means she will not just blindly follow a partisan party line established by leaders from major metro areas who not only have no interest in rural Arizona, but who probably couldn’t tell you where LD 14 is on a map.
The choice is clear, we urge you to vote for Fleming, a person who will truly strive to represent our rural interests in the senate.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Democrat Ron Barber and Republican Martha McSally will debate tonight at the University of Arizona.
The two candidates for Congressional District 2 will be on stage from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Arizona Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom on the UA campus, 1303 E. University Blvd.
The doors open at 5 p.m., and seating is first-come, first-seated. People must be seated by 5:45 p.m. No signs are permitted in the ballroom.
The debate is sponsored by Arizona Public Media, the Associated Students of the UA, and the Arizona Students' Association.
On Tuesday, the Sierra Vista Herald joined Arizona's other newspapers in endorsing Ron Barber for Congress. Our View: Barber for Congress | The Sierra Vista Herald (excerpt):
[Martha] McSally never effectively delivered a clear message on her plan to serve the district, or why Barber is not the better candidate.
A big misstep was her signing of the Grover Norquist "no tax" pledge. That’s a move that puts the agenda of a special interest group ahead of those McSally would be expected to represent and serve in CD2 — her constituents.
At a forum hosted by the Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce last week, McSally called on Barber to apologzie for a broadcast advertisement she claimed was sexist. Barber’s reply was straightforward, and should have settled the issue: The ad was paid for by an organization not affiliated with his campaign, and the congressman had no control over its content. But McSally showed poor judgment by bringing the ad/apology issue up once more in the Q&A and then again in her closing statement. Her actions made a bad impression on most in the audience.
Barber, in the short time he has been in office, has already demonstrated he’s informed and involved in a number of Cochise County issues.
That knowledge comes from years working as an aide to Giffords. His grasp of what is going on in Cochise County and rural Arizona does more than scratch the surface. He recognizes the needs of active duty and veterans returning who have returned from many deployments. He knows the water issues concerning Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca.
In Washington, he serves on the House Armed Services committee, a key legislative body for Fort Huachuca and the military installation in Tucson. Barber also is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which provides influence to Washington legislators on border issues.
With all this in mind, Barber offers a better chance to represent the interests of CD 2 as an experienced legislator with a knowledge of how Washington works
Experience and a sincere interest in putting the constituents of CD 2 first make Ron Barber the better candidate on Nov. 6.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I told you months ago that it did not matter whom the Republicans selected as their nominee. The nominee could be caught with a dead hooker or a live boy and The Arizona Republic(an) would still endorse the GOP nominee, just as it has always has.
The Arizona Republic(an) is, after all, the media arm of the Arizona Republican Party. This greatly diminishes the value of its endorsements. Its endorsements are not based upon thoughtful, reasoned consideration of the policy positions of the candidates nor which candidate posesses the best temperament, character and judgment to lead.
True to form, The Arizona Republic(an) endorsed Willard "Mittens" Romney on Sunday. You're shocked, I'm sure (not!) Romney can lead economy forward. The editors' reasoning is pure Robert Robb Goldwater Institute and Chamber of Commerce Ayn Rand "invisible hand of the free market place" utopian nonsense:
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I want to expand upon a point I made the other day about the Arizona Daily Star's endorsement of Tea-Publican Rep. Ted "Tort Reform" Vogt. Bradley for Senate; Vogt, Wheeler for House. How delusional are the editors of the Star in their selection of Vogt?
"Vogt is conservative, without a doubt, but we believe he could be effective in moderating, to the degree possible, his more extreme colleagues' views on matters that speak to the necessity of government."
You and I know the editors have access to Project Vote Smart online, in addition to the Arizona legislature's data base, and their own reporting on the state legislature. Ted "Tort Reform" Vogt's voting record makes the editors' assertion about moderation laughable. Vogt is an extremist.
Vogt is running as a team with "Dont make me angry" Frank Antenori. Their campaign signs are even paired together, as I am sure the editors are aware. These guys are joined at the hip and have voted nearly identical on every major piece of legislation.
If the Star recommends against Antenori for his extremism, then logic and common sense dictate that they must also recommend against the guy who is joined at the hip with Antenori and votes nearly identical on every major piece of legislation.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Stephen Colbert does a recurring segment on the Colbert Report titled "Better know a district." Colbert interviews members of Congress about their district. It is pretty clear that Ann Kirkpatrick knows her district, "Arizona's Fightin' First" as Colbert would say, and her carpetbagger opponent, Jonathan "Payday" Paton does not.
This background piece on Ann Kirkpatrick appeared in Arizona Home and Garden:
While covering the Navajo Parade and Fair in Window Rock, Arizona for Arizona Home and Garden, we noticed a woman receiving a lot of handshakes and respects from Navajo Veterans. The woman was Ann Kirkpatrick — a woman who has made a difference for Arizona.
While serving District 1 of Arizona in Congress, Ann Kirkpatrick passed legislation to ensure that veterans’ income benefits can no longer disqualify Navajo People from housing assistance. While serving on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs she worked closely with the Navajo Housing Authority (NHA) to craft the legislation. She was able to push it through the House of Representatives and The President signed the bill into law in October, 2010.
Kirkpatrick also was instrumental in urging Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to put into place a new requirement that Veterans who seek PTSD treatment simply provide proof of active-duty service in a war zone and be diagnosed with the illness by a VA specialist. The change eliminates strict documentation requirements that have delayed and denied mental health benefits for thousands of our Nation’s heroes.
Kirkpatrick’s Veterans/Servicemembers Life Insurance Equity Act and her bill reauthorizing the Veterans’ Advisory Committee on Education (VACE) both passed in the Senate and were approved by the House as part of a larger package. These measures will help ensure that educational benefits for returning troops will remain of the highest quality and that life insurance options for current and former service members can keep up with those in private sector plans.
The Tribal Law and Order Act, which Rep. Kirkpatrick helped to push through Congress, was signed into law as part of a broad initiative to help strengthen security in Indian Country. The law will give tribes new resources to keep Indian Country safe and allows them to better collaborate with state and federal law enforcement communities.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Arizona Daily Star continues the “Chinese menu” system in its endorsements of state legislative races today: one Democrat and one Republican in House races, the Democrat in Senate races (with one deviation today in LD 14).
As I said yesterday, this is a disservice to the residents of Southern Arizona.
I want to point out the foolish inconsistency in the Star's "Chinese menu" methodolgy today, focusing on one issue of importance to the editors of the Star: women's access to reproductive health care.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
American Chinese restaurant menus have long had columns (Column A, Column B, etc.) for ordering food family style. One could choose one item from Column A, two items from Column B, and so forth. The method became so familiar that choices from “Column A” and “Column B” in anything (business, mathematics, et al.) have often been called a “Chinese menu” system. The Big Apple: “One from column A, one from column B” (Chinese menu ordering).
The Arizona Daily Star is using the “Chinese menu” system in its endorsements of state legislative races: one Democrat and one Republican in House races, the Democrat in Senate races. It is no more principled than this.
LD 2: Ackerley, Gabaldón for state House (Linda Lopez (D) elected at the primary election)
This is a disservice to the residents of Southern Arizona.
The problem with the current Arizona legislature is that it has a Tea-Publican super-majority, which has allowed for radical extremism to go unchecked. How do we moderate the legislature and make it more responsive to the electorate of Southern Arizona? Even a child has the common sense to tell you: "elect more Democrats -- duh!" The Arizona Daily Star doesn't do math.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The generally GOP-friendly, conservative leaning Sierra Vista Herald surprised me today with a scathing rebuke to Reps. David Stevens and David Gowan, two far-right radical extremist Tea-Publicans. The Herald endorsed the Democratic slate of Rob Leach and Mark Stonebraker, both from Sierra Vista, for the LD 14 House. Our View: LD14 deserves better | The Sierra Vista Herald:
We have disagreed on many issues with the incumbents, Republicans David Stevens and David Gowan, both from Sierra Vista. We don’t think the huge cuts in state education budgets over the past few years have served the public or the state’s overall well-being. We believe it to be disingenuous to claim the success of a balanced budget when it was the voters, not the legislature, who OK’d a budget-saving 1-cent sales tax increase. There are other philosophical differences such as how cuts to AHCCCS funding hurt rural healthcare providers as well as those who receive those services.
Besides these issues, these two “representatives” have gained a reputation for being disinterested in what their constituents have to say — especially if those constituents have something to say that runs counter to their respective ideologies.
Openness to ideas, a willingness to discuss, to compromise are foreign notions to these two. This utter disdain for the people they are supposed to represent is notable by how widespread they practice it.
We’ve heard from several southern Arizona county and city officials. We’ve visited with members of the business community. And we’ve listened to just plain folks in and around Sierra Vista who all say the same thing. These legislators have an astounding track record for unresponsiveness to their constituents accompanied by a superior-than-thou attitude.
These “public servants” have completely abandoned the definition of those two words.
So, what to do? We urge you to vote for the Democratic slate in LD 14.
That would be legislative candidates Rob Leach and Mark Stonebraker, both from Sierra Vista.
Leach and Stonebraker are relative political neophytes, but after meeting with them we will bet they will at least be open to what their constituents have to say; will return calls and emails; and that they will treat people with civility and be rational should they disagree on the issues.
With a district whose registered voters are divided up as 39 percent Republican, 31 percent independent and about 30 percent Democrat, this duo has an uphill battle.
But we say it’s time for the voters in LD 14 to realize the incumbents have failed in the most basic of their duties — to represent, to listen, to vote — and then to be available to everyone regardless of political persuasion.
For these reasons, Stevens and Gowan are not deserving of re-election.
I could not agree more.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Arizona Daily Star published its congressional endorsements today.
For U.S. Senate, the Star edorsed Dr. Richard Carmona. Carmona's bipartisan views will benefit all.
For Congressional District 3, the Star endorsed incumbent Congressman Raúl Grijalva. Grijalva shows best command of issues.
For Congressional District 2, the Star endorsed incumbent Congressman Ron Barber. Southern Arizona's concerns and people are paramount for Barber.
And then there is the Star's "Jim Click Pick" -- they had to throw a bone to one of the Star's top advertisers and GOP bundler, auto dealer Jim Click. For Congressional District 1, the Star endorsed Jonathan "Payday" Paton.
In order to do so, the Arizona Daily Star had to ignore much of its own reporting over the years highly critical of Paton.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
After reading the endorsements by the state's two largest daily circulation newspapers, The Arizona Republic(an) and the Arizona Daily Star, it is clear that the editors of these newspapers are fully invested in failed GOP economic policies and are out of touch with the Arizona electorate.
Conservatives like to refer to the Arizona Daily Star as the "Red Star" because it is generally progressive on social issues and frequently endorses Democrats. But on economic issues, there is little daylight between the views of The Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Republic(an). These newspapers enable failed GOP economic policies to survive by giving them the veneer of credibility, to the detriment of all Arizonans.
Ask any Arizona voter what the top issue is in the election this year and they will tell you "JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!" Or as James Carville once famously said, "It's the economy, stupid."
The editors of the state's two largest daily circulation newspapers, The Arizona Republic(an) and the Arizona Daily Star, however, tell us the top issue in the election this year is the federal debt and government spending. This is traditionally an issue upon which Republicans run against when a Democrat is in the White House, but immediately abandon once a Republican is in the White House. As Vice President Dick Cheney famously said after election, "deficits don't matter." (See below).
To endorse a Republican on the basis of the federal debt and government spending, as the Arizona Daily Star did for Jonathan Paton, and The Arizona Republic(an) did for Jeff Flake today is to turn a blind eye to history and to the facts. Ronald Reagan quadrupled the federal debt as president, and George W. Bush doubled it again before blowing up the financial system and our economy with the Bush Great Recession, the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.
In the case of Jeff Flake, he voted for the Bush tax cuts and putting two wars on the nation's credit card without asking any sacrifice from Americans -- except our service men and women -- to pay for those wars. (He subsequently voted against veterans benefits.)
When the private sector withdraws from the economy during economic collapse, the government sector must step in to stimulate economic activity and restore stability. This is Economics 101. It is also known as Keynesian economics, which the "geniuses" (sic) who sit on the editorial boards of this state's two major newspapers reject.
The Arizona Republic(an) has frequently editorialized against the federal stimulus packages, which arrested the economic freefall the U.S. economy was in and stabilized the economy, allowing for the return of economic growth.
The Arizona Daily Star writes today that it does not believe that "the government should directly create more jobs to help the economy. Private job creation, not more government spending, is the answer."
Such willful ignorance of basic economics and blind faith in failed GOP economic policies that resulted in the federal debt and the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression is a great disservice to the readers of these newspapers, and to Arizona voters.
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Tucson Weekly is out on newsstands today with its endorsements in races in Pima County. It is almost a clean sweep for Democrats, for two reasons: Democrats have superior quality candidates, and those poseurs using the Republican Party label are in reality radical right-wing extremists. This is not your father's GOP.
For the details, read The Tucson Weekly 2012 Endorsements:
President - Barack Obama (D)
U.S. Senate - Richard Carmona (D)
CD 1 - No endorsement
CD 2 - Ron Barber (D)
CD 3 - Raúl Grijalva (D)
Pima County Board of Supervisors:
District 1 - Nancy Young Wright (D)
District 2 - Ramón Valadez (D)
District 3 - Sharon Bronson (D)
District 5 - Richard Elías (D)
Note: District 4 was decided in the primary election.
Pima County Sheriff: Clarence Dupnik (D)
Pima County Treasurer: Beth Ford (R)
Pima County Recorder: F. Ann Rodriguez (D)
Legislative District 9:
Senate - Steve Farley (D)
House - Victoria Steele (D) and Mohur Sarah Sidhwa (D)
Legislative District 10:
Senate - David Bradley (D)
House - Bruce Wheeler (D) and Stefani Mach (D)
Legislative District 11:
Senate - Jo Holt (D)
House - Dave Joseph (D)
Note: Apparently the Tweekly forgot that Legislative District 2 is also in Pima County and has a contested House race. How about an endorsement?
Note: Legislative Districts 3 and 4 were decided in the primary election.
Arizona Corporation Commission:
The "Solar Team" of Paul Newman (D), Sandra Kennedy (D), and Marcia Busching (D)
TUSD School Board (Nonpartisan):
Prop. 114 - No
Prop. 115 - No
Prop. 116 - No
Prop. 117 - No
Prop. 118 - Yes
Prop. 119 - Yes
Prop. 120 - Hell No
Prop. 204 - Yes
Prop. 409 (City of Tucson) - Yes
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Arizona Republic has endorsed Congressman Ron Barber again. Barber deserves to retain job:
Democrat Rep. Ron Barber is not Gabby-lite. After winning a special election to finish Gabrielle Giffords' term in Congress, Barber showed himself to be independent and willing to serve his constituents' interests -- even if that means going against his party's wishes.
That's a good fit for Arizona's new 2nd Congressional District.
The district retains much of the independent character of the old 8th District, which elected Democrat Giffords three times despite a 6-point Republican voter-registration edge.
Barber, who was also hit in the shooting that wounded Giffords and killed six people, resumed Congress on Your Corner events this summer. It was a courageous statement about his commitment to hearing from constituents.
* * *
CD 2 includes the Fort Huachuca Army and Davis-Monthan Air Force bases. Barber is co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill to protect veterans from predatory financial advisers. He says bipartisan collaboration is a goal.
GOP candidate Martha McSally has an impressive resume and an engaging style.
A retired Air Force colonel, McSally was the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat. She successfully challenged the Pentagon's requirement for female soldiers in Saudi Arabia to wear abayas when off base.
She's smart and full of energy, but her grasp of the specifics on issues is shallow. If she builds a base of knowledge and seeks some political experience, McSally will have a lot to offer.
But in this race, Barber has the edge.
by Pamela Powers Hannley
The Democrats smell blood in the water.
Congressman Jeff Flake-- formerly thought to be the heir apparent to retiring Jon Kyl's US Senate seat-- is now in a dead heat for that seat with Independent-turned-Democrat, former Surgeon General, Green Baret, Pima County Sheriff's Deputy, ER doc Richard Carmona.
Carmona has been stumping tirelessly statewide for almost a year, steadily rising in the polls and raising millions of dollars to beat the lobbyist-turned-Tepublican. Carmona's increasing popularity and public pressure recently persuaded Flake to agree to multiple debates statewide. Flake had previously declined all debates, beyond a simple forum at a Phoenix PBS station with no audience. Another sign that Flake is in trouble; he is coming under fire on social media for twisting the facts about Carmona's past. (OK, politicians twist facts for a living, but Carmona has such a distinguished record of service that the super-PAC-funded trash talk is backfiring on Flake.)
A sure sign the Dems think they can win this, they recently announced that the big fundraising gun of the party-- former President Bill Clinton-- will stump for Carmona this week, October 10 in Tempe. Go here to register for this event. Woot!
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
On Sunday, to no surprise, the Arizona Republic endorsed Paul Penzone for Maricopa County Sheriff. Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio's gotta go!
Arpaio's Records Says: Elect Penzone
The early theme of the Joe Arpaio re-election effort is heartwarming.
In the campaign's television ads we see Joe as family man, as a young public servant in uniform. Joe as defender of the kids. And in a particularly whimsical shot, we see the Maricopa County sheriff plinking away at an ancient typewriter.
These images remind us of the public servant we supported in the 1990s and the 2000 election.
* * *
But that sheriff is as much an artifact as a manual typewriter. Arpaio, who in 1992 vowed to serve a single term, has evolved into a career politician devoted to burnishing his national brand. Arpaio's self-interest always trumps the public interest.
We and Arpaio once valued the same characteristics in a Maricopa County sheriff. Our values have not changed. His have.
by Pamela Powers Hannley
Dave Safier posted a short story this morning-- Presented Without Comment-- about the Three Sonorans' putdown of Safier's endorsement of Kristel Foster for the Tucson Unified School Board (TUSD). (Whatever, I said I didn't agree with Dave either. People are allowed to have their own opinions.)
What Safier failed to mention was that the Three Sonorans also used the occasion to crack on Blog for Arizona and progressives, in general, and me, in particular. So, what else is new? Morales likes to pick on women who are vocal and active in politics. Just ask Loretta Hunnicutt, Kyrsten Sinema, Dolores Huerta, Janet Marcotte, DeeDee Blase, Adelita Grijalva, Gabby Giffords, Regina Romero, and Kristel Foster--to name a handful of his past targets.
Sexism aside, I take issue with Morales' assertion that progressives take action and protest on the street corners when unions need our help but not when Latinos need our help. This false dichotomy implies that only white people belong to unions and that's why only white people care about them. Wrong.
After the jump, watch the anti-SB1070 protest video, the protest video against anti-union legislation proposed by the Arizona Legislature, and testimony regarding anti-union activities at the IBEW Hall. You'll see progressives standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Latinos in all three videos. (BTW, in the photo above, that's me in the turquoise dress, between the two cops, covering the UnDocuBus protest in Charlotte.)
by Pamela Powers Hannley
I guess stingy Republicans come in all colors.
Tucson's Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has voted to oppose the Quality Education and Jobs initiative (Prop 204) on the November ballot. In their opposition, they proudly join the Goldwater Institute, Governor Jan "Mother-of-SB1070" Brewer, former State Senate President Russell "Father-of-SB1070" Pearce, State Representative Debbie "Let-your-employer-control-your-birth-control" Lesko, and others who regularly stand up for Latinos. (Sarcasm alert.)
It's another example of a group voting its class interest over other considerations. Who needs those guvmint schools anyway?
[P.S. Yes, I know that the BfAZ bloggers are split on Prop 204.]
Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
ICYMI, on Friday, The Arizona Republic endorsed Rep. Ron Barber in the CD 2 Demcoratic primary. Barber strong on compromise:
The Democratic primary in Arizona's new 2nd Congressional District presents a choice between two good men. U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and state Rep. Matt Heinz are strong, intelligent candidates with records of service to Arizona.
Barber won his seat in Congress as former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' handpicked choice to complete her term. But sentiment should not influence voters this time.
Barber ran a tough race and established himself as a politician with a mind of his own and a keen sense of what his constituents want. His centrist approach to issues is a good fit for the corner of southeastern Arizona now called District 2. It includes the pragmatic heart of the district that elected blue dog Giffords three times and moderate Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe 11 times before he retired.
Barber deserves the chance to run for a full term.
But let's be clear. This assessment is based on an analysis of the candidates and the district, not a soft spot that we -- and many others -- have for Gabby Giffords. A seat in Congress is not a legacy to be passed from one person to the next. That usually doesn't need to be said. But this is an unusual situation.
* * *
The district, which includes parts of Tucson, as well as Sierra Vista and towns along the border, has a slight Republican voter-registration edge and a large number of independent voters.
The Cook Political Report rates it as "likely Democratic" in November, but it is certainly not typically Democratic. It's not the type of district where a traditional liberal is likely to win a general election.
Barber learned that during his 5 1/2 years as Giffords' district manager. He gained a working knowledge of the people and the issues facing this border region.
He says his goal is to vote for ideas based on their merit, not based on whether they are Republican or Democratic. That kind of pragmatism, rather than Heinz's adherence to party ideology, fits with District 2. It will make Barber a formidable candidate in November.
A polling memo from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research shows Ron Barber leading likely GOP nominee Martha McSally by 13 percentage points and Democratic primary challenger Matt Heinz by more than 60 percentage points. Poll: Barber Holds Big Lead Over McSally in General Election, Bigger Lead Over Heinz in Primary | The Tucson Weekly.
By Michael Bryan
Here at BlogForArizona we generally don't do endorsements. We believe in presenting readers with good information and letting them make up their own minds. In addition, doing so can be problematic because of the diversity of views of our bloggers. Finally, there is something ineffably subjective and human about choosing another person to represent you that mere analysis of positions or policies or biographies cannot really capture.
But when it comes to ballot questions, we're on firmer ground. The language of the ballot question is what it is. Sometimes a good deal of legal or institutional knowledge is required to understand the likely effect of the new law, which not every voter has. So, to help voters fully participate in this aspect of Arizona's Progressive heritage, BlogForArizona presents a recommended list of positions on the ballot questions this year.
There is a diversity of opinion on a few of the citizen inititiative Props here on the blog. Some members feel that the permanent sales tax must be passed, and our BlueMeanie feels the top two primary would be a disaster. Both Democrats and Republicans feel that Open Primaries will be problematic, which is a point in favor of the reform, in my view. In fairness, I should note that my recomendations for these two citizen initiatives go against the majority opinion in the Democratic establishment. So be it. There will be links to alternative views on these Props as they become available.
Update 10/21/12: I've been convinced by colleagues, friends, and analysts that the unintended consequences of Prop 121 would outweight any benefits. I have changed by recommendation to NO.
Though not a perfect guide, if the State Legislature has referred the question to the ballot, you should vote NO, unless very strong evidence convinces you otherwise. If it is a citizen petition, give it due consideration before voting NO. You can see the approved ballot language for all the measures here.
|Prop 114: Crime Victim Protection From Liability||NO|
|Prop 115: Judicial Selection||NO|
|Prop 116: Personal Business Property Tax Exemption Amount||NO|
|Prop 117: Property Tax Assesed Value Limit||NO|
|Prop 118: Pemanent State Land Endowment Fund, Distribution||NO|
|Prop 119: State Land Trust Exchanges||YES|
|Prop 120: State Sovereignty||NO|
|Prop 204: Sales Tax Extension||NO|
|Prop 121: Top Two Primaries||NO|
|Prop [Not Yet Numbered]: Right to Reject Federal Laws||NO|
Read on for full explanations of recommended votes...
by Pamela Powers Hannley
Left-wing Facebook pages, blogs, and online-only radio news shows are on fire with charges and counter charges about the Arizona Democratic Party's backroom politics, party darlings, and the quest for party solidarity during the 2012 elections. For those of you safely ensconced down here in sunny Baja Arizona, here's a news flash you won't see in the Arizona Daily Star: for weeks, a tiny band of Democrats have been picketing in front of the Arizona Democratic Party headquarters and protesting the party's practices.
The crux of the matter is the appearance of favoritism by the Arizona Democratic Party, the Maricopa Democratic Party, and the Pima County Democratic Party. So, everyone has favorite candidates; what's the big deal you ask? It's OK for individuals to have favorites-- candidates they work for and raise funds for; it's decidely not OK for the party to choose "party darlings" and grease the skids for them during the primary season. Favoritism during a primary season squashes dissent, suppresses the candidacy of challengers, creates bad blood in the party, and hurts democracy. Here are a few examples.
In the CD8 special election to fill Gabrielle Giffords' seat, former Giffords' aide Ron Barber stepped into the race after several Baja Dems announced their candidacy or were thinking about it (publically)-- State Senators Paula Aboud and Matt Heinz, State Representative Steve Farley, and Southern Arizonan Nan Walden. Everyone expected Barber to be the sentimental shoe-in favorite and a placeholder Congressman for the CD8 seat but not to run in the general election for the new CD2 seat (a bluer district thanks to redistricting). After Barber announced he would run in the November general election, all of his would-be primary challengers-- except Heinz-- mysteriously dropped out. (Consipracy theorists like myself assumed people were strongly encouraged to step aside and make way for Barber.) In the Arizona Daily Star recently, Pima County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rogers was qouted as saying there are people in the party who are encouraging Heinz to drop out. Personally, I think Blue Dog Barber has been a huge disappointment in the 2 or so weeks he has been in Congress-- most recently voting with Republicans and pandering to the National Rifle Association by voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. I lament that the other Dems dropped out of the primary so quickly; Heinz should definitely stay in the race.
In the 2012 CD7 election, the Democratic Party decided to not allow Congressman Raul Grijalva's primary challengers access to party data, which would have facilitated targeted precinct walking and phone banking. (Don't get me wrong here; I am in no way criticizing the Congressman. I like Grijalva, one of the true progressives in Congress, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I have donated a whopping $90 to his campaign, and my husband has canvassed for him many times.) It keeps incumbents on their toes when they have challengers.
Speaking of incumbents, in the 2011 local elections, the Pima County Democratic Party Executive Committee endorsed the three City Council incumbents almost 6 months before the primary. Only Councilwoman Regina Romero had a primary challenger, but who knows how many would-be challengers were stopped in their tracks by this pre-emptive move. In addition, the party spent thousands of dollars to bankroll a website and smear campaign against Romero's Democratic challenger Joe Flores. This was unnecessary nastiness against a fellow Dem, in my opinion. There was no way Flores would have overtaken Romero, so why stir up bad blood in the party? Endorsing all of the incumbents is a bad practice. Councilwoman Shirley Scott (a died-in-the-wool Blue Dog who was tainted by the long-running Rio Nuevo scandal) should have been primary'ed. Councilman Paul Cunningham (a neophyte Blue Dog) had been appointed to his seat; the Democrats never got a chance to size him up against other Dems.
Facebook is on fire with charges that Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Ann Wallack, Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Luis Heredia, and newly elected Arizona Democratic Party Chair Bill Roe are determining which Dem primary candidates are "viable" and, consequently, are steering money and "boots on the ground" toward those candidates with the bucks-- thus ensuring that the lesser known and poorly funded candidates will fall by the wayside (according to the people making the charges). There is even a Facebook page created to oust Wallack from her position as county chair. (Here's a hint for the activists: find an elected precinct committee person to run against her for party chair when the party reorganizes after the November election.)
Two "party darlings" often used as examples are Ann Kirkpatrick for Congressional District 1 and Paul Penzone for Maricopa County Sheriff. There are charges that Wallack has strongly endorsed Penzone over reform candidate John Rowan and has manipulated meeting agendas to deny Rowan and his supporters time at the podium. This is clearly meddling with the primary process. As county chairs, both Wallack and Pima County's Rogers should give all primary challengers equal access to party resources, databases, and legislative district meetings (where said "boots-on-the-ground" meet to hear candidates and issues).
There are further charges that the statewide party is acting in a racist manner-- particularly toward Kirkpatrick's challenger Wenona Benally Baldenegro. Benally Baldenegro, who has vowed not to take corporate donations, has raised less than one tenth the funds Kirkpartick has. I think the charges of widespread racism in the party maybe a bit thin (particularly since the Pima Dems' "party darlings" are Latinos), but there is evidence of favoritism before the primary. For example, there are charges that Heredia (a Latino) started an e-mail campaign encouraging people to drop their support for Benally Baldenegro (a Navajo who is married to a Latino). If this happened (and I say "if" since I have not seen said e-mail), it is definitely manipulative and inappropriate.
My point is...
The party should not be choosing which candidates are viable. All Dems should be treated equally by the party and given an equal chance to succeed or fail on the merrits of their ideas and the strength of their campaign organizations. All declared candidates, who have filed papers, should be given equal access to party resources, voter data, and party foot soldiers and should be allowed to speak at statewide and local party functions.
The people should choose candidates in the primary election; it is NOT the party's role to take sides.
The bottomline is...
The bottomline is that we need to get money out of our election system. It appears as if a primary deciding factor in the party's determination of candidate "viability" is money. According to the Federal Elections Commission website, Progressive candidate Benally Baldenegro had raised around $75,000 by March 31, 2012. Blue Dog corporate candidate Kirkpartick-- who had more than that in her coffers last year before Benally Baldenegro even entered the race-- had raised over $990,000 by March 31, 2012.
Psychologically, people want to back a winner. Rightly or wrongly, the vast money difference between these two makes it appear as if Kirkpatrick is the better candidate because she has the big bucks.
Dream with me for a while about a publicly financed elections-- not unlike the Arizona Clean Elections system or Tucson's clean elections system. What if after qualifying with a certain number of signatures and $5 donations, all candidates received the same amount of money to run their campaigns? What a concept-- a truly level playing field. Although there would undoubtedly be far less advertising, maybe we would have improved communication and real messaging-- instead of spin, lies, and smear campaigns.
With publicly financed elections, maybe the voice of "the little guy"-- as my Mom would put it-- would be heard.
Posted by Michael Bryan
Richard Carmona, former Surgeon General in the Bush II Admin, announced two major endorsements from Pima County officials today: Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and County Attorney Barbara LaWall.
These endorsements are a forceful moves to establish Carmona's credibility against former Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Don Bivens, at least in Pima County.
Sheriff Dupnik says:
"I've been friends with Rich Carmona for years and have always admired his commitment to solving problems. Rich is a local and national hero, and I fully endorse his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Rich is exactly the kind of independent-minded Senator Arizonans want to see in Washington."
Barbara LaWall says:
"As our former Surgeon General and as a Deputy Sheriff, Dr. Richard Carmona has always been a strong supporter of and an exceptional friend to Pima County law enforcement. I'm very pleased to see that he wants to take his talents and dedication to Washington and I happily endorse his candidacy. Rich is an independent thinker, and his proven abilities as a problem solver are skills we urgently need to break up the existing partisan gridlock."
Recently, Carmona also pulled down the endorsements of all members of the Tucson City Council, including that of Republican Steve Kozachik. Carmona also has former Senator and current Reagent Dennis DeConcini's endorsement.
Defeated Arizona Representatives Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick, and former Chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party and Senate candidate Jim Pederson, are top-tier endorsements for Bivens.
I have yet to see much in the way of such influential support for Bivens here in Baja Arizona. One exception I'm aware of is Nancy Young Wright, former Arizona State Representative and Democratic candidate for Pima County Supervisor in District 1.
Bivens is not a Tucsonan, and Carmona is, so clearly Carmona could be expected to have an edge in Pima County. Given that Dupnik used to be Carmona's boss, and LaWall worked with him for years, these endorsements would be surprising if not forthcoming. It will be interesting to see if Bivens can counter with equally influential Pima County endorsements.
Posted by Michael Bryan
Gabby Giffords finds herself in a fairly unique position: she is no longer a Member of Congress, but unquestionably has a vast reservoir of goodwill, respect, and love from her former constituents, regardless of party. To a far greater degree than any other resigning Member I can recall, Gabby has the power to influence the future political direction of her district. Arguably, should she choose to endorse a candidate for her former seat, that endorsement could have considerable, possibly dispositive, influence over who will take her place.
If her choice is well-considered, it could very well be determinative of the result of the upcoming elections in CD8, and it's successor CD2.
So, who will Gabby choose? I don't know.
Who could she choose? I have a few ideas.
Click through to keep reading...
By Michael Bryan
This is almost painful to watch as Felicia practically de-bones and fillets Tom. It brings a little joy to my heart thinking that Felicia Rotellini will be Arizona's next top cop. She's a tough, straight-shooter.
By Michael Bryan and Jenn F
Here's your cheat sheet for the ballot propositions. You can also read up with the Arizona Advocacy Network.
With only two exceptions (110, 112 - which were referred by bi-partisan majorities), we recommend you reject all the propositions referred by the state legislature.
Yes: Props 110, 112, 203.
No: All the others (106, 107, 109, 111, 113, 301, 302).
If you want more details and reasons, read on.
First, the suggested Yes votes:
Prop 110: State Land Trust Reforms
This proposed constitutional amendment was referred to the ballot nearly unanimously by the state legislature and is supported by all the key stakeholders. It creates an accountable and reasonably transparent process to make swaps of public lands for conservation and protecting military facilities in Arizona.
As a state, we've been trying to get this done for many years. Prior attempts failed because they were too complex, too opaque, and too compromised by special-interest self-dealing. We finally have a simple and universally supported solution that we can feel confident voting for. Good job, folks.
Prop 112: New Initiative Deadline
This proposed constitutional amendment was also referred to the ballot nearly unanimously by the state legislature and is widely supported. It moves up the filing deadline for initiative petitions by two months to provide more time for checking signatures and legal challenges. It is a common-sense and non-partisan reform.
Critics will complain that shaving two months off the petitioning period will disproportionately affect grassroots campaigns. While I can see that there may be marginal effects on badly financed or badly run petition campaigns, but the benefits outweigh the potential cost.
Prop 203: Medical Marijuana (Again...)
The only real citizen's initiative on the ballot, Prop 203 would decriminalize the use of marijuana for palliative care of certain medical conditions. Arizona voters voted for this in 1996 and 1998 and the GOP conspired to block implementation.
This is not a marijuana orgy initiative. Dispensaries are closely regulated and limited to 120 state-wide, use requires a prescription for a listed condition (no "anxiety" disorders), and it is self-financing. You still won't be allowed to drive or do other dangerous stuff while effected by marijuana, but employers can't fire you for failing a drug test for marijuana metabolites if you have a prescription.
Simple fact is that a Yes vote is not approval of recreational use of the plant, but an act of compassion for those suffering from debilitating and painful diseases.
Now, for all the suggested No votes:
Prop 106: Anti-"Obamacare"
This proposed constitutional amendment, referred to the ballot by the legislature on a party-line vote, seeks to prevent any law from compelling any person, employer or health care provider from participating in any health care system.
There are so many reasons to vote No, but here are three.
First, it is merely a symbolic political stunt to express outrage over "Obamacare" and try to foil it's implementation. It is part and parcel with the litigation against the Federal government that Arizona GOP leaders are pursuing. A substantially equivalent proposition was rejected by voters in 2008.
That leads to the second reason: it won't work. A state constitution does not trump federal law. It won't have any effect on healthcare reform. Even if you oppose Obama's reforms, this Proposition won't help.
That leads to the third reason: it's overly broad. The amendment would restrict the state government from creating any healthcare reforms specific to Arizona. It essentially removes the authority of the state government to regulate the healthcare industry. Crippling the state government's authority to regulate a major industry that makes up 1/6th of the economy seems like a very bad idea, even if you think Obama is a socialist muslim. We'd be dealing with the legal fallout of this misguided political gesture in the courts for years.
Prop 107: Anti-Affirmative Action Out-of-State Troublemaking
Proposition 107 is the latest endeavour by the American Civil Rights Initiative, a California-based foundation that is attempting to eliminate affirmative action using a state-by-state strategy. Deceptively worded, Proposition 107 would prevent state money from being used for any program that considers race or gender. In California and Michigan, passage of similar measures have had devastating effects on the states' economies and higher education, foreshadowing what passage of Proposition 107 could mean for our state.
Arizona's economy depends upon attracting large and small businesses to the state, and to the jobs brought in around our state's three universities. In terms of economy, Proposition 107 would broadly eliminate many programs that benefit women and minorities, including daycare programs for working women, training and professional improvement programs aimed at underrepresented groups, and outreach efforts for federal assistance and grants to help female- and minority-owned small businesses. Large corporations looking to move into Arizona may find their private diversity hiring practices at odds with state laws prohibiting affirmative action, and may thereby be discouraged from setting up shop in the state. In terms of education, Proposition 107 will reduce federal money coming to the state to help female and minority students, and will discourage in-state and out-of-state minority students from enrolling in our state schools. Indeed, in California, passage of a similar measure resulted a progressive, and immediate, drop in Black and Latino students for nearly a decade.
In short, Proposition 107 is bad news for the state's economy and education. Arizona can't afford to pass ballot measures that serve as disincentives for education and small business -- the very sectors that our economy depends on to survive and grow.
Prop 109: Hands Off Hunting, Mr. Voter
Prop 109 would create a constitutional right to hunt, and consigns hunting regulation to the state legislature. Why is this needed? Because radical anti-hunting groups want to take away your guns and right hunt? Well, not so much, really.
The GOP tried to restrict the ability of citizens to regulate hunting through the initiative process by referring 2000's Prop 102 to the ballot. That effort to get citizens to tie their own hands politically failed narrowly. This is the latest effort to try to get citizens' hands off hunting.
It is certainly a more clever strategy this time around: tell voters they are getting a new constitutional right and maybe they won't notice that it makes it much more difficult to regulate hunting practices through the initiative process because any changes would require constitutional amendments instead of just new laws (it requires many more signatures to petition for a constitional amendment than a standard initiative).
Hands Off Hunting is also a fundraising boon to the Goldwater institute and their conservative ilk; they will have standing to sue everybody who might in any way infringe on the new "right to hunt" and fundraise like mad off their efforts. Hands Off Hunting would also very likely overturn the recent ban on leg-hold trapping. Oh, and Hands Off Hunting would also subject scientific game population management to political grandstanding by the conservative bulls of the state lege.
This Prop is a solution in search of a problem, a power grab by the legislature against the citizens of Arizona, and a means of injecting politics deeply into wildlife conservation and game species management in Arizona.
Prop 111: Secretary of State / Lt. Governor (and No More Run-Offs)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with changing the name of the Secretary of State to educate voters about the succession order for the Arizona Governorship. Arguably voters would have not voted for a dingbat like Brewer if they knew that she'd be Governor when Janet decided to find greener pastures. And if that's all this constitutional amendment did, I would be in favor of it. But this is a flawed proposition for two reasons.
First, Prop 111 needlessly eliminates run-off elections for statewide offices. It strikes out the constitutional provision for run-offs in statewide races in which no candidate receives an outright majority. Nobody can explain to my satisfaction why that is in there. The effect it would have is clear: it would produce plurality elected statewide officers in some cases. That might induce the running of spoiler candidates to siphon off votes to allow a non-majoritarian candidate to be elected who would not otherwise be able to win in a head-to-head match. Given the GOP's recent experiments in using the Green party as a catspaw in state races to siphon liberal votes, it is not unreasonable to be concerned about this seemingly unnecessary provision. If anyone knows of a good reason for this, please leave a comment.
Second, the proposition requires the Governor and newly created Lt. Governor to run as a ticket. While almost all states have Lt. Governors instead of succeeding Secretaries of State, only Utah requires they run as a ticket. It's just not necessary and it's potentially a very bad idea. It might cause candidates for the two top slots to mute any criticisms of each other during the primaries in expectation that their electoral fate may be affected by need to run as a ticket later. It's bad for open political exchange and tends to enforce a intra-party discipline that doesn't serve voters.
The legislature should just change the damn name and leave it at that. These unnecessary and potentially harmful provisions make it better to just wait until Arizona voters get a better version presented to them.
Prop 113: Anti-Employee Free Choice Act
This proposition suffers from some of the same defects as 106, the anti-"Obamacare" prop: it is intended to try to thwart federal legislation (and will fail to do so), it was referred on an almost-purely party-line vote (Senator Aguirre (D-24) and Rep Pancrazi (D-24) have some 'splaining to do), and it's only purpose is suppress the formation of unions in Arizona.
Backers prattle about the sanctity of secret ballots and intimidation by union thugs. It's total bullshit. They merely want to serve their corporate masters and perpetuate the anti-union, "right to work" state status quo against card check elections which make it logistically easier to form unions. It is not a coincidence that the decline of the American middle class closely tracks the decline in the unionization of the American labor force. Unions are positive for workers rights and wages and making it easier to organize is good for workers and good for America.
Prop 301: "Fuck You Mr. Voter" Land Conservation Fund Sweep
This is the legislatures desperate bid to steal $123 million from the Land Conservation Fund to balance the 2011 budget (the money is already included in the GOP's budget, making the unwarranted assumption that this dog would hunt). The voters protected that money in 1998's Growing Smarter Act because they understood that the GOP legislature did not share the priority they placed on conservation of our natural environment.
It comes down to this: the GOP legislature hates it when voters appropriate money without their approval. They referred Prop 101 to the ballot in 2004 and succeeded in forcing any initiative that requires appropriations to identify a new funding source because they hate being told how to spend money. They've decided that they want that $123 million to balance their budget, but those pesky voters' are in the way, wanting to spend all that money on stupid wildlife when their are tax loopholes for their donors to protect. It's comes down to a big "fuck you" to the voters by the state lege. My advice is to tell them "fuck you" right back by voting No.
Prop 302: "Fuck You, Mr. Voter" First Things First Sweep
You just read about 301? Same thing; just replace $123 million with $345 million, and land conservation with childhood development and health.
There is a major difference, however. Because First Things First (302) was passed in 2006, after 2004's Prop 101 requirement than any new initiative spending specify a new revenue source, First Things First also raised tobacco taxes to pay for the new programs. So none of that money would even be in the First Things First account if voters hadn't raised taxes on themselves to pay for them. And they certainly wouldn't have raised taxes on themselves for any programs that were less important to them than early childhood development and health. Now the GOP legislature wants to steal that money from the kids, to whom the voters gave it, to preserve the tax loopholes of their donors and cronies.
This one was also referred on a nearly perfect party-line vote. Props to Rep. Quelland (R-10) and Williams (R-26) and Sen. Tibshraeny (R-21) who had enough integrity and respect for the voters to vote No on referring this big, wet raspberry to the voters.
By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
Liberals like to claim that the Arizona Republic is a "conservative" paper, but it's not. (Though to be fair, many of them remember the not-so-distant days when the Rep was officially named the "Arizona Republican" or less officially served as the press release outlet for the Arizona Republican Party.)
Conservatives like to claim that the Rep is a "liberal" paper, but it isn't. (It just isn't a mouthpiece for the "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" wing of the AZGOP.)
Instead, the Arizona Republic is a "corporate" paper, dedicated to defending corporate profit margins. Since most corporations operate in such a way as to derive the maximum profit from the political status quo, the Republic has become a staunch defender of that status quo.
Their latest list of election endorsements clearly illustrate this tendency.
- They passed over Terry Goddard in giving their endorsement in the race for governor to Jan Brewer. They called Goddard an "articulate, dedicated servant of the people of this state" yet gave the nod to Brewer, citing her ability to "handle the legislature" (apparently, the Rep's editorial board slept through all of 2009) and her disbanding of the state's Department of Commerce in favor of a meaningless (and authority-less) "Commerce Authority." What they also liked was her support for "enhancing prospects for job creation" - better known as blanket tax cuts directed to corporations.
- They ignored Rodney Glassman (literally! He wasn't even mentioned in the article!) in giving their endorsement for U.S. Senate to John McCain. In the opinion piece, they cited "McCain's role in all those great national and world debates," such as the debates over the war in Iraq and campaign finance reform. What they didn't cite were McCain's accomplishments for Arizona. They couldn't cite those accomplishments, because there aren't any. This particular endorsement also isn't a surprise, even aside from its "status quo" characteristics - the Rep's editorial board has been in the McCain family pocket for decades (is Dan Nowicki the Republic's reporter who is embedded with McCain's staff, or is he the McCain staffer embedded with the Republic? Either way, the effect, and the final product, is the same...)
- The Rep's endorsement of Ann Kirkpatrick in the CD1 race also serves to illustrate the Rep's "status quo" bias - she's an incumbent, and while a Democrat, she's a conservative one who thoroughly supports Big Business. Note: While I too support and recommend voting for her, it's because she is the better candidate, not a great candidate.
- The logic the Rep's editorial board used when passing over Penny Kotterman when endorsing John Huppenthal for State Superintendent of Public Instruction astounds me, even when allowing for their "status quo" bias. They cite his 18 years of legislative experience focusing on education issues and then follow it up with this quote -
We believe the sort of reform advocated by John Huppenthal is best for improving Arizona's often dismal comparative standing on the crucial questions of how best to improve schools.
Ummm...do they understand that Huppenthal and the "reforms" pimped by him are some of the major reasons for Arizona's "dismal comparative standing" on most education-related metrics? And that his experience in the lege has included years of trying to slowly destroy public education in Arizona?
Their endorsement is as sensible as a doctor sitting down with a patient who has been diagnosed with lung cancer after decades of smoking and suggesting that the patient could cure the cancer by smoking more cigarettes.
- In a bit of a surprise, the Rep's editorial board endorsed Felecia Rotellini over Tom Horne for Attorney General. They complimented her as "smart and unflappable," which is very true, but Tom Horne is a current office holder and an establishment Republican. This would seem to disprove my "status quo bias" position, until one remembers that, like Rotellini, Terry Goddard, the current Attorney General, is smart, unflappable, and a Democrat.
- However, the Rep did spring one big surprise on voters, and not in a good way. They twisted themselves like a pretzel to find a way to ignore Jon Hulburd and give their CD3 endorsement to Ben Quayle.
First, they opened up their piece with -
Ben Quayle, a Republican, may be the best-known congressional candidate in the country who isn't a member of the "tea party." That shouldn't matter to voters in District 3, which stretches from north-central Phoenix to New River. They don't need a celebrity. They need the best representative they can elect.
In the next paragraph, they follow that up with -
If this were a job interview, Democrat Jon Hulburd would have the large advantage. He rose to become a partner at Fennemore Craig, one of Phoenix's top law firms. He left to start an import business. He has career and community accomplishments that Quayle can't match.
So naturally, after pointing out Quayle's celebrity status and saying that CD3 doesn't need a celebrity in Congress, and Hulburd's vastly superior resume and qualifications, they gave their endorsement to Quayle -
But elections aren't just about resumes. They're about ideas. And on that score, Quayle is the better candidate to succeed John Shadegg. Quayle is well-versed in the issues. He speaks with passion and conviction.
So, the Rep soft-pedals Quayle's lack of qualifications for any elected office, much less a seat in Congress, and completely ignores his pre-candidacy career as a writer for the website Dirty Scottsdale, under the porn-riffic nom de plume "Brock Landers."
Could the Quayle family's previous ownership of the Republic have influenced the endorsement? Nahhhh, couldn't be...
The headline for the Rep's endorsement was "Ben Quayle offers candor, conviction."
Given that Quayle's previous "candor" indicated a deep disrespect for women and could lead to convictions of the criminal variety if he becomes part of the free-for-all social environment in D.C.'s political subculture, instead of being a surprise, perhaps the Rep's endorsement of his [possible] ascension to Congress would be in perfect keeping with their desire to maintain the status quo.
Less than a week ago, the Republic actually brought themselves some credit with their list of endorsements for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District - the candidates they endorsed were intelligent, educated, experienced, and highly-qualified for the job.
Apparently, however, those qualities are desirable only in candidates for lower-profile (though extremely important) offices.
I may agree with some of the Rep's coming endorsements, but where I will support the candidates who are better for Arizona, they'll be supporting the candidates who they see as most protective of their preferred status quo.
Posted by Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
by David Safier
No normal human being can possibly figure out the ballot propositions without help. I include myself as one of the befuddled homo sapiens. So it's helpful that the Pima County Democratic Party's Executive Committee has put together a list of recommendations on the propositions, with reasons for its choices.
The Committee didn't give a recommendation on Prop 202 relating to employment of undocumented workers. I'm voting NO, with the feeling that it's better to vote against a Prop if you can't be sure what it will do. Unintended (or hidden) consequences are difficult to correct for the reason stated above the Pima Dem recommendations:
Note that all statewide propositions passed by the voters can only be changed significantly by another statewide vote, or under certain conditions by a supermajority of the legislature, making it difficult to modify them. If you do not understand all the wording in a proposition or disagree with parts of it, consider voting NO and working for change within the Legislature.
Some of you might have noticed that my posting has been rather slow of late. I hope that some of my fellow bloggers have been able to keep you informed and entertained, but I realize that Arizona political news and opinion has been rather too thin on the ground around here.
When I think about all the great stories in Arizona politics that deserve coverage and/or comment, I shrivel at the thought of all the posts that need to be written in so little time. And I end up not writing them.
So I'm going to take some of the pressure off by not demanding of myself that I write about everything in a separate post, but instead, throw everything that's been buzzing in my bonnet into a single weekly bout of blogorrhea. Sounds delightful, no? Well, then, here we go.
Bee Flees the Hive:
Perhaps the most fun of late is the on-going saga of how Bee is throwing his affiliation with the GOP under the bus: he tried not be photographed with Bush (though everyone knows he's using Bush to fund-raise, so, really, why bother? I guess the same reason we're not allowed to see pictures of dead American troops... some realities are just too harsh for mere citizens).
Furthering the story line is Bee's ads. Two of them so far and neither contains the words "GOP" or "Republican," instead using the line "Independence for a Change." Timmy, that seems rather derivative of and responsive to Giffords' tag "Because Change Can't Wait." Wow, with even conservatives wanting to run as change agents, and eshewing their party's label, it can't be more clear how utterly the GOP has fucked up.
Bee Stings Busy-Bodies:
Bee nixed the idea of an independent bi-partisan look into rule violations by Sen. Jack Harper to stop debate in the Arizona Senate so that the Gay Marriage Referendum could be considered. Standing in the breach to protect members of his caucus from accountability for dir1ty tricks isn't exactly the sort of co-operative, bi-partisan consensus building image that Bee is trying to sell to voters. Looks a lot more like "my party right or wrong" to me.
It really grates on me to see elected officials taking sides in party primaries. The most irritating are Congressional primaries where Representatives from other districts endorse in a contested primary. Ann Kirkpatrick announced an endorsement from Harry Mitchell, adding to those she's already gotten from Governor Napolitano and Gabby Giffords.
It would annoy my immensely to have these folks stepping in to tell me who should represent my district if I lived in CD 1. It would annoy me were I supporter of another primary candidate. And it strikes me as an overbearing use of political influence on the part of the endorsers to try to determine the outcome of party primaries. Party officials can't be partial in this manner, why should far more visible and influential party members, our officer-holders, be allowed to play this divisive game? It's merely vanity and ambition, and I condemn it.
DiSimone Hits the Road:
Following an arrest on domestic violence, State Representative Mark DiSimone resigned from his office. I keep asking myself, "If Mark were a Republican, would I expect him to resign because of an allegation of domestic violence?" Just an allegation and arrest aren't really enough, in my opinion. A conviction would certainly do the trick. However, if you are a Republican, even a conviction for something as sordid as a DUI apparently isn't enough for Republicans to demand your resignation.
Mark maintains he didn't hit anyone, so why did he resign? Probably he's thinking of the good the Party and that his constituents should have the most effective advocate possible. Just another contrast between the way Democrats and Republicans approach politics and personal responsibility; and another chance for GOPers to demonstrate their double standards - one for us, and one for them.
Buddy, Can You Spare a TIME?:
Jim Nintzel has helped clarify this issue immensely for me by making sure to ask all and sundry for their positions on the TIME initiaitive, which adds a 1 cent sales tax to the state rate to pay for infrastructure. Having heard some of the most informed Democrats in the state express opinions on this, I feel I finally have a position on the matter.
I read the initiative (PDF) a few months ago (which is more than most will do) and my immediate reaction was "Great! But why a sales tax?" In Arizona we already have a high sales tax rate and are overly dependent on this cyclical revenue sources, which is why we have state revenue booms and busts that we try to even out with an inadequately-sized rainy-day fund (thank the GOP for cutting the fund's size). So, making our infrastructural development even more dependent on such a cyclical source strikes me as bad planning, and the regressive nature of sales taxes makes it bad policy, in my opinion.
Of course, I recognize the political constraints that shaped the TIME, but I don't think supporting something because their isn't currently a better option is politically useful: better to work to create better options than moot the issue by putting into place something that while useful, if unfair and far less than optimal. That's why I'm an idealist and critic, and not a politician. I don't get paid to compromise.
Those Democrats who support TIME (and only RINOs support it, because, you know, it's a tax!) make the bold claim that if you oppose it for the reasons I've given, you have to propose where we're going to get billions for infrastructure. No I don't. That's bullshit.
How about this: Democrats take over the State Legislature and pass some indexed gas taxes, some reasonable property taxes and impact fee allowances, and get rid of a whole bunch of corporate welfare, and we use that money to fund our infrastructure? Why isn't that a good plan? It's certainly a better plan that continuing to put the cost of government and investments for our future on the backs of the poorest and middle-class Arizonans.
The TIME would probably accomplish some good by addressing Arizona's worst infrastructural deficits (which Republicans have allowed to accumulate with their mania against taxes) but only at the cost of making Arizona's financial situation far more inequitable, and locking that inequity into the system for another generation. Better to fight to take back the government and fund infrastructure equitably, than just give up and allow the GOP to screw another generation with their misguided and plutocratic ideology. Politics isn't just the art of the possible, at it's best, it's also the art of the improbable. TIME is well intentioned, but it accepts the merely probable by playing by a set of political rules and constraints that are anti-theatrical to progressive governance. I can't support that.
Could Arizona become a battleground state in the Presidential election? With some polling putting Obama within single digits to McBush in the state, with a rich vein of independents and undecideds remaining to court, it is not outside the realm of possibility. With so much money being available to Obama, a few million to go on the air in Arizona and potentially embarrass McBush seems like a bargain. We will almost certainly get a few field organizers on the ground in AZ; maybe we'll even get a few events on a candidate swing through the state. With lots of new registrations and the Obama camapign energizing low-efficacy voters throughout the primary season, it seems that the traditional presidential campaign map may be changing. The very strong popularity of Obama in the Hispanic community (66% Obama, 23% McBush, 11% Undecided) could be a factor in pushing several Southwestern states, including AZ, into the blue this season.
Pity poor Maricopa County SheriffJoe Arpiao. Beaten in pinata-effigy by protesters at a book signing, his head came off and with carried about a bit by Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia (full disclosure: Isabel used to be my boss). The rightwing rant radio and usual bug-eating-crazy suspects, got a hold of that and had a field day: calling for Isabel's firing by the Pima County Board, bar discipline, actual beheading... whatev.
Isabel and her pals have a perfect right to peacefully protest any way they like. What stikes me is 1) the Right's hypocritcal attack on free speech, and 2) the Right's quick retreat into victimhood.
The Right loves free speech: they hide their worst hate-speech behind it constantly. But let a liberal step out of line and express a controversial view and suddenly they boycott, and contact your boss to try to get you fired. No consequence they can possibly try to inflict, including a good beating, is out of bounds when a liberal says something the right doesn't like. Remember the Dixie Chicks? The digital brownshirts are on patrol. Don't ever forget which side of the political spectrum is constantly attacking that bulwark of the First Amendment, the ACLU.
The one area where I think Isabel and her friends made a mistake was providing an opportunity for Joe and his ractist buddies and supporters to play the victim. Reading the right wing coverage, if you didn't know the story intimately, you might think that Isabel's young friends had taken a stick to Sheriff Joe's very own carcass. Isabel and her krewe didn't attack Joe, they hit a pinata. But in making this symbolic gesture, they allowed Joe and the racists who stand with him to play the victim. There is nothing the Right adores more than the opportunity to play the victim.
It's inherent in the conservative psyche that they are constantly under attack and withstanding seige by the forces of chaos and corruption, i.e. everyone else. They thrive on their embattlement. They are always the victim, relatiating against the aggressors in their own minds: never attacking or acting as the oppressor, but merely the downtrodden defending themselves against outrageous and unjustified attacks. Even the shock-jock who promoted this story heavily, Jon Justice, is now taking the posture of victim in defense of his jack-ass antics.
This is why it is always a mistake to play into the Right's favorite narrative. Give them the slightest pretext to cast themselves and victims and martyrs, and they will riff on that theme for all they are worth. In the end, Isabel's protest probably generated a lot more sympathy and solidarity among Joe's supporters than awareness of Joe's abuses of the community he's supposed to protect. As such, it may have stregthened Joe's political support rather than undermined it, contrary to the protest's intent.
Bee was recently endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. No real surprise considering how often that organization (short-sightedly, IMO) endorses Republicans in an anachronic gesture to a long-defunct pedigree of economic common sense.
But Bee's endorsement predicts far less how the Arizona business community will actually vote and donate this cycle than Bee would have you believe:
"It is an honor to receive the support of the business community. In Washington, I will work to promote economic growth and job creation. A prosperous America begins with a strong economy. ”
It's highly debatable whether the Chamber's endorsement actually equates to "support of the business community." Bee is indulging in a figure of speech (i.e. a logical fallacy).
In reality, despite what the U.S. Chamber might think, the Arizona business community is far from bullish about Arizona's and America's economy: only 11% think the economy is good, and none rated it excellent. Yet Bee is relying on Bush and his allies for fund-raising firepower, and promising to continue the very Bush economic policies that have dumped our economy in the toilet... and flushed.
Business opinion leaders think the U.S. and Arizona economies are in serious trouble, and conditions for each are deteriorating at a rapid pace. The poll showed that 63 percent of Arizona small business owners think the U.S. economy is getting worse, while 57 percent thought local conditions are deteriorating. These folks are hardly likely to vote for more of the same from GOP pols like Bee. His willingness to throw his own caucus under the bus on the Arizona budget not withstanding...
Given such deep pessimism about what Bushies like Bee have wrought, to presume that business owners and business-minded voters will overlook these political facts on the ground on the strength of a knee-jerk Chamber endorsement is... overly optimistic.
Add together the devastating political environment for the GOP in general this year, the specific concerns of business leaders revealed by this polling, and the defection of a local eminence grise and moderate bell-weather Jim Kolbe (due though it may be to Bee's flirting with the agents of intolerance of the Right), and the sum is that Bee has serious trouble in the pro-business moderate wing of his own party and pragmatic Independents.
I still don't forsee a blow-out re-election for Giffords, by any means. She hews too close to the "Go Along to Get Along" DNC/Blue Dog playbook to inspire any real enthusiasm. She refuses to provide the sort of contrasts with Bee that could blow the race wide open. When she wins, it will be due to the GOP making stale dog food out of their own brand, and an enthusiastic Obama-inspired turnout in her district; and it will still only be an anemic margin (much less than that she achieved over conservative bete noir Graf in 2006).
Bee's continual stumbles and failure to distinguish himself from the failure of the Bush years and movement conservatism have ensured that he doesn't stand a chance of unseating her, though Gabby's own failings as a leader will ensure that he'll come closer than he has any right to.
Recently, I had the opportunity to have a nice conversation with newly-elected Oro Valley Councilpersons Bill Garner and Salette Latas.
We discussed their astounding primary victories in which both of them managed to net over 60% of the primary vote, placing both of them directly on the Council from the primary: a first for an Oro Valley town election. In doing so, they beat three incumbents, knocking one of them out of the race and leaving the final two playing musical chairs for the final seat in the June general election.
We were joined in our discussion by Art Segal, the Bloggitor (my neologism of blogger/editor, like it?) of the Let Oro Valley Excel, or LOVE, blog. Art is something of a blog hero in my book: he stood up to legal threats and some fairly slimy political intimidation tactics by the Oro Valley Board through their Town Attorney before and during the town's election.
We discussed the many land-use, development, budget, tax, and water issues facing many of the swift-growing cities and towns of the desert Southwest. The conversation runs about an hour. Here is a chronology in case you are only interested in particular parts of our discussion:
1:00 What’s Happening in Oro Valley?
5:00 Motivation for Change
7:00 Transparent Government Popular Uprising
9:00 The Strategic Campaign Plan
13:00 The Vestar Tax Scam
17:00 Citizens Organize to Fight Back
18:00 The Online Campaign
20:00 The Coming General Election
25:00 The Issues the Next Council Will Face
28:00 Arroyo Grande
43:00 Zoning Hi-Jinks
45:00 Naranja Mega-Park
54:00 Growth Politics in Arizona (sorry, some brief audio difficulties)
Sheila Tobias, a well-known educator and activist here in southern Arizona recently has been circulating her endorsement of Donna Branch-Gilby over incumbent Sharon Bronson in the Democratic primary for District 3 Pima County Supervisor. I thought it really well done, and worth a read for anyone trying to understand why Donna is challenging an incumbent Democrat:
A Board of Supervisors election rarely generates the passion and excitement of a presidential primary; or a congressional race; or even the contest for Mayor and City Council.
But, once you think about the power exerted by the Pima County Board of Supervisors over everything that matters, from plugging potholes to budgeting and managing the libraries, from juvenile detention to solid waste land fills, from ensuring the integrity of elections to waste water treatment, county property assessments and taxing, and approving (or rejecting) rezoning requests for homes and business development, you will realize, as I have come to realize: that the upcoming election to the Board of Supervisors matters very much to all of us who live here in the County.
The five supervisors sometimes appear to be a permanent body. With two of the Supervisors in their (well-paid by the way) positions for 12 and 10 years, a third for 8 and a fourth ensconced for six, I am supporting a challenger, Donna Branch Gilby, former Pima County Chair of the Democratic Party, most recently Vice-Chair of the State Party, because Donna is committed to voter integrity (see below) and balanced growth. She’s already been endorsed by the Election Integrity Committee of the Pima County Democratic Party.
Donna has explained to me the arcane workings of the Board of Supervisors – which we voters cannot alter; all we can do is to change the “cast of characters.”
Donna is running against a Democrat in a district that includes north Tucson and extends from the West side of Tucson to the Yuma County line and south to the Mexico border and includes the Tohono O’odham Nation. If you’re wondering why a Democrat would oppose another Democrat (and two of the other Democratic Supervisors are likely to be challenged by members of their own party this year as well), the reason resides in yet another responsibility that the Supervisors have, namely, determining voting modalities, and certifying elections.
State law charges political parties with performing oversight of the election process; this includes monitoring the vote counting process. When Donna chaired the Pima County Democratic Party, she spoke numerous times on this before the Board of Supervisors. Her opponent in this election was the leading obstructionist. Even after a 3½ day trial in December 2007, when Judge Michael Miller ruled that political party officials could examine the databases of the 2006 elections, Supervisor Bronson was calling for an appeal of the judge’s ruling.
With friends like these (on voter integrity), you don’t need enemies.
Donna is a 40-year resident of Tucson with a Master’s in Public Administration from the U of A. She taught supervisory and management skills to Dept of Economic Security staff for 20 years. Was a member of AFSCME.
Served as Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party in 2006 and then as 1st Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party in 2007
Founder of the Arizona Women’s Political Caucus; served as a Director on the Boards of Tucson Peace Center, Planned Parenthood, Open Inn and as a Commissioner on the Tucson Human Relations Commission for 8 years.
She lives with her husband Bob Gilby at Milagro Cohousing - a Community in Balance with Nature, which they co-founded in 2001. She is the mother of Michelle Williams, MD, Tucson, and Toby Branch, AIA, Denver.
Donna’s priorities – including voter integrity – are ours:
Balanced growth – to ensure that the population of Pima County doesn’t exceed our water supplies – employing the Board’s power over
determining where sewer lines will go
Transportation –through the budgeting process,
Election process – through funding and supervision over the County Elections Division
Open Decisions – Openly Arrived At
Taking more leadership so that the professional County Administrator (who has also been on the job a long time, directing policy from behind the scenes) implements Board policy rather than his own.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors is required by law to hold open “Study Sessions” at which upcoming decisions (not laws – they do not legislate) are supposed to be publicly aired. But for the past several years, these “Study Sessions” have been routinely canceled. Donna wants to bring in the kind of experienced people who invite input, criticism, and other (better) ideas when appropriate to a discussion or a decision.
Donna is likely to be opposed in her bid to unseat Supervisor Bronson (in office since 1996) by the Arizona Home Builders, Realtors, and others who have come to benefit from her long incumbency.
Once you meet Donna Branch-Gilby, you will know that she would make the Board of Supervisors more responsive to the views and the needs of people like us.
What you can do?:
Offer your support publicly, by adding your name to a list of supporters.
Volunteer, especially to do research on the impact of the Board’s actions/inaction on the utility service delivery boundary.
Make a financial contribution. County elections are not part of “Clean Elections,” so candidates must raise funds traditionally – by asking. The maximum allowed contribution is $390 per person each election cycle. Checks to “Branch-Gilby 2008” may be sent to P.O. Box 85781, Tucson, AZ 85754
Join me at a Meet the Candidate party at the home of
Bob and Joan Kaye Cauthorn
Wednesday, April 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
30 N Camino Espanol
One block North and East of Broadway and Country Club.
My State Representatives, Steve Farley and David Bradley, are two of the good guys. They do a heck of good job and are just damned good liberal Democrats with solid progressive values. I don't mind that David is obsessed with the welfare of everyone's kids and Steve with his trains; I think it's charming, in fact.
And Steve is kind of freakishly into his job. His email Farleygrams are wonderfully informative, and he has a 100% perfect attendance and voting record—David's is good, too, of course, but Steve's a legislatin' machine. We are getting every dime's worth, and then some for the pittance we pay these guys.
If you want to subscribe to Steve's Farleygrams, fill in your email:
Mining industry lobbyist and candidate for Congress in CD 1, Sydney Hay put together a very nice introductory video for her campaign. It illustrates very clearly why the GOP won't manage to hang on to CD 1: they are absolutely bereft of ideas.
Hay's campaign looks like it was cobbled together out of most extreme rantings and wacky policies of the Right over the past 20 years, the dissicated corpses of Reagan and Goldwater, and the most disingenuous and empty rhetoric the Right has fallen back on in defense of the massive failures of the Bush years, all held together by a 'values' appeal that already passé among evangelicals and fundamentalists, let alone the general public.
You can always tell when a social movement is effectively dead by how nostalgic its members become about a claimed Golden Age. In the case of the Conservative Movement, their necromantic rites centering around Reagan and Goldwater are increasingly elaborate, central to their religion, and frankly pitiful.
Sure, we Democrats have our culture heroes—FDR, JRK, RFK, MLK—but we aren't nearly so strident about hearkening back to their particular strain of liberalism as a lost Golden Age that we must return to, and to which our politicians must pay obsequious obescience.
That's because Liberalism is alive and kicking and growing. Conservatism is a dead and discredited credo, destroyed by Bush and the Republican Congress of 1994-2006, now seeking a leader who can revivify it with a fresh perspective and newly invigorated values. That leader doesn't seem to be Sydney Hay—she's too ideologically rigid to acknowledge any new ideas.
I was really amused by the enthusiastic and detailed endorsement by Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks. Since the incumbent is in the dock, Renzi can't exactly pass the establishment torch, so Trent from next door is pinch-hitting. It should prove amusing to watch the Republican candidates in CD 1 madly scramble to avoid any association with Renzi.
Trent credits Sydney with a number of key accomplishments. He indicates she lead the campaign to require a super-majority for any tax increase in Arizona. The result has been to ratchet down tax rates permanently, destroying the Arizona state government's ability to fund essential services. Trent tells us that Sydney, a former teacher, also was largely responsible for the failed experiment of charter schools, and for diverting taxes to private and parochial schools.
Polices Sydney claims credit for have over the last two decades been largely responsible for Arizona's free-fall to nearly the bottom among U.S. states in almost every educational metric. With accomplishments like these in her past, electing her to office is sure to result in policies that will make us even more backward, poor, and uncompetitive.
Let's take a quick look at some of the 'ideas' Sydney wants to take to Congress...
With Gabby Giffords holding an uncommitted vote for our next Democratic Presidential nominee, it would be wise of her to consider what that nominee can bring to her own race for re-election.
Rookie scientist-citizen candidate Bill Foster's 53-47 upset victory in former Speaker Dennis Hastert's old district demonstrates that Obama, who endorsed and campaigned for Foster, has the ability to provide strong cross-partisan coattails and heavy favorable turn-out in a Republican district, even before his nomination. The 14th District historically has been very Republican, re-electing Hastert with 60 percent of the vote in 2006 and giving President Bush 55 percent of the vote in 2004.
Gabby faces a similar challenge as a freshman Member in a formerly Repubulican-held, and still Republican-plurality district. Whose endorsement would serve her re-election chances better? Who does she want cutting ads for her as the Presidential nominee? Who does she want stumping for her in her district?
Many viewed the Foster-Oberweis contest as a proxy fight of sorts between Obama (backing Foster) and McCain (backing Oberweis). Clearly Obama had the home-state advantage, but McCain had the numbers in the district.
Come November, with McCain certain to be the nominee, he'll have a home-state advantage in Arizona's CD 8 that Tim Bee is hoping to parlay into a victory in this plurality-Republican district.
Gabby would be best served by the backing of a nominee who has a proven ability to provide coat-tails in even in a much more Republican district—IL's 14th—than AZ's 8th. At this point, the only alternative to Sen. Obama for Gabby is a nominee who has long-entrenched negatives among Republicans, and who—at least in comparison to Sen. Obama—leaves Independents cold. And Independents will decide the Congressional race in CD 8.
Gabby would do well to ponder deeply the miracle that Bill Foster pulled off with Obama's help when she decides who should get her vote for Democratic nominee at the convention.
Service Employee International Union won the right to represent County employees when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved their representation last April. Nearly a year on and the County Administrator has continually dragged his feet on a 'Meet and Confer' process, throwing up numerous procedural roadblocks and legal hurdles in an effort to avoid direct talks with SEIU that would lead to a Memoradum of Understanding on working conditions and wages.
On the 28th of February, SEIU held a forum for Pima County Supervisor candidates to give them a chance to get behind the union's goals, and specifically the 'Meet and Confer' process with an eye toward determining which candidates, if any, the union would endorse. All of them expressed strong support for the union, even the two Republicans on the Board were very supportive of SEIU's goals.
So why, more than a year after SEIU was authorized by the Board, hasn't the county Administration yet begun a 'Meet and Confer' process with SEIU? How can it be that all 5 board members are fully in support of SEIU, but they have been unable to produce meaningful consultation and good-faith negotiation with the Administration? Who's in charge here, after all?
One board member who is up for re-election this year, Sharon Bronson, has drawn a primary challenge from former Pima County Democratic Party Chairwoman Donna Branch-Gilby. Faced by a challenge from a well-known, well-connected, and well-liked Democratic woman, Bronson has surely got to be very nervous about her prospects for re-election.
Bronson spontaneously promised SEIU that if CHuckelberry didn't move forward with 'Meet and Confer' within 10 days, she would place the matter on the agenda and force him to do so.
That was the 28th. By my generous reckoning, CHuckelberry has until next Monday, March 10th, to sit down with SEIU before Bronson lays down the law for him. That is, if she actually meant what she told SEIU. We'll see if Bronson has the brass to push CHuckelberry into doing something he obviously has no desire to do.
I certainly don't see any reference to the matter in the agenda as yet...
UPDATE: It's been brought to my attention by an old DNC hand, whose expertise I will gladly defer to, that my terminology in this article tends to be misleading. A Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) delegate also refers to a species of state-wide pledged delegate that only certain officials are qualified to become - but they are still pledged delegates, not "super-delegates". Actual "super-delegates" are unpledged delegates, who are drawn from a subset of party leaders and elected officials (the particular species of those critters that are unpledged, or "super," delegates are accurately listed below). Thus, there are unpledged PLEOs ("super-delegates") and pledged PLEOs (pledged delegates that must be a qualified office-holder, which is a way to reserve the political plum of attending and voting at the convention for the real players). Though I made the distinction that I meant unpledged PLEOs when I used the unqualified term 'PLEO', the fact that there are two species of PLEO could be misleading. I know that all this is slightly confusing, but merely add the word 'unpledged' to the acronym 'PLEO' wherever it occurs, and the article should be entirely accurate. I regret the confusion, and I put the blame squarely were it belongs - on every else but me and my helpful expert :)
It seems apparent that the Democratic nominee for President will be determined not by primary voters and caucus-goers, but by those mysterious super-delegates. What are they, how much influence do they have, and how should they decide for whom they should cast their votes?
Officially, the 795 super-delegates (about 20% of the total number of delegates) are 'unpledged party leader and elected official delegates', often referred to as PLEO delegates.
The Democratic PLEO delegates consist of:
The PLEOs were created in 1982 in order to give the party more internal control of the nomination process following the reforms of the McGovern-Fraser Commission in 1968, under which rules McGovern was able to run his 1972 insurgent, anti-war, populist campaign that captured the nomination, but lost miserably to Nixon.
One of the concerns of the DNC in creating superdelegates was to prevent the nomination process from being captured from a narrow faction of party activists. There was concern about low turn-out in the primaries and especially the caucuses in the years between 1968 and 1980, often trending as low as 10-20% of eligible party members. That, combined with with the bad losses suffered in 1972 and 1980, and the under-representation at the Conventions of elected officials, led the party to pull back from a purely democratic approach to nominating.
There is a fundamental tension in the existence of PLEOs; they were created to perform a fundamentally undemocratic function - to moderate populist sentiment. Yet to have legitimacy, they have had to function merely as an extension of the primary system. Were they to change the outcome of the primary process by handing the nomination to the candidate who was behind in the pledged delegate count, most would view that as undemocratic and illegitimate. Yet they were created free of any constraint in how they voted at the convention precisely to bring to bear their superior experience and knowledge to the nomination process. They are supposed to do what they think is best for the party, but if the majority of them see the world differently than primary voters, there would be a great deal of dissatisfaction with their actions.
Many would have PLEOs constrained by their relevant constituency. For instance a Congressmember would be constrained to vote for the winner of the primary or caucus in their district, a DNC member by the outcome in their state, and so on. But not only does that remove all independence from the PLEO, it also doesn't allow for the option of choosing the candidate who won the most pledged delegates nationally. Is it more legitimate to choose one criteria over another? If the PLEO can chose their own standards, they can effectively choose almost any candidate they like. So why not just accept their discretion to chose, as the party rules allow?
Ultimately, the freedom of the PLEO is not compatible with any reasonable theory of democratic legitimacy that could justify giving PLEOs a vote. Each pledged delegate represents thousands of voters, each PLEO ultimately only represents one, yet their votes are treated equally. That is deeply illegitimate. Of course, this elides the issue that there is no actual enforcement mechanism behind the pledge of any delegate, effectively putting each delegate on the honor system and making each a PLEO in his or her own right - but at least a pledged delegate is duty bound, and will suffer reputational harm for exploiting the independence a PLEO takes for granted.
How should PLEOs behave? And is there still a role for PLEOs in the nomination process now that the conditions that gave rise to the creation (most notably in this cycle, the absence of low turnouts) are no longer as relevant? If PLEOs merely echo and amplify the choice of the primary voters and caucus participants, why have them at all?
I don't believe that PLEOs are constrained by ethics, and certainly not by party rules, to vote for the candidate who has the most pledged delegates going into the convention. They are intended to be independent and they are. But does that imply that it would be legitimate for them to overturn the popular will?
In probably the most relevant prior nomination process under the current rules, Gary Hart and Walter Mondale arrived at the 1984 convention neck and neck, but with neither having enough pledged delegates to capture the prize. Mondale was ahead in pledged delegates, just 40 shy of the nomination, and PLEOs put him over the top. The result was the amplification of result of the primary process. The PLEOs clenched the deal for Mondale, but he was already ahead.
But would it have been acceptable for the PLEOs to decide that Hart was a stronger candidate and better for he party and throw their support to him, thwarting the will of the electorate? Arguably, it wouldn't have changed anything except a few trivia questions, but it certainly would have been defensible under the current rules and completely legal - there would be no redress or recourse available to Mondale, and the Democratic Party would have just had to accept Hart as the nominee. The only question in my mind is whether the PLEO system would have survived such an outcome.
Could the PLEOs decide the nomination this year? Absolutely.
Could they give it to the candidate who comes to the convention with less pledged delegates? Absolutely.
Would that be an acceptable outcome under the current nomination rules? Absolutely.
The obvious question raised is whether we need to change those rules. Should we continue to allow PLEOs the power that they have to overturn the popular will as expressed through proportionally allocated pledged delegates? I would argue that we should not.
The PLEOs don't have a place in the nomination process if the Democratic Party aspires to be the democratically legitimate voice of the electorate. The roughly 800 PLEOs, through their position as elected leaders of the party do have a certain degree of democratic legitimacy in their own right, but not enough to overturn the expressed will of millions of Democrats participating in the nomination process. The PLEO system is a tool of rank paternalism and elitist mistrust of the electorate that wasn't legitimate when adopted, and isn't legitimate now.
If the PLEO system is used to overturn the will of the electorate at this convention, it would certainly be within the current rules and within the power currently granted to PLEOs, but it would almost certainly be a death-blow to the PLEO system itself. The only way that PLEOs will continue to exist is if they follow the example of the 1984 convention and merely bless the leader who is just short of the goal. And if all the PLEOs can do with any democratic legitimacy is to ratify and amplify the outcome of the primary process, what is its purpose?
One of the major reasons why the candidates can hit the convention without any of them having the needed majority is the PLEO system itself. Why have a system that contributes to the problem it is meant to solve? Why have a system containing the seeds of its own delegitimation - not to mention the ability to deeply discredit a Democratic Presidential ticket? We should hope that the PLEOs act wisely at this Convention, and then get rid of the system before it blows up in our faces.
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Rs and Ds at all levels, but especially among those competing to be the next Commander in Chief, constantly fight over which party is the champion of our armed forces.
The Rs claim that title by dint of massive and reckless appropriations and a belligerant, wooden-headed foreign policy that gives the armed forces plenty of opportunity to ply their craft.
The Ds claim the honor by lavishing as much attention and money as possible on veterans benefits, trying to improve the conditions and equipment the soldiers must endure during active duty, and, of late, madly shoveling money in the maw of the Iraq occupation in the vain hope that no Republican will be mean to them.
It is deeply ironic, therefore, that the odd man out in the Presidential race, the Republican who advocates for a much more limited and humble foreign policy than any Democrat dares, and who demands an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and who levels an even harsher criticism of the policies that led us there than most Democrats can (because he actually voted against the invasion), leads by a very wide margin in fund-raising among armed forces personnel.
In fact, one can clearly see that the more of a "surrender-monkey" the candidate is on Iraq and foreign policy in general, the better our men and women in arms likes him (or her).
Paul: $286,764 (1349 donors)
Obama: $81,037 (466 donors)
McCain: $79,597 (413 donors)
Clinton: $49,523 (181 donors)
Romney: $29,250 (140 donors)
Huckabee: $24,562 (94 donors)
Nor is this a one-time anomaly, it is an established pattern. Ron Paul is the bottom-line choice of the active duty military.
The one exception to the trend is McCain, who obviously gets points and well-deserved respect from the troops for his biography. Were it his position on the Iraq occupation that soldiers were rewarding, he would be bracketed by Romney and Huckabee, who also support the continuation of the failed Iraq occupation, rather than Obama and Clinton.
If McCain would have reversed himself on Iraq earlier, he wouldn't have wandered in the political wilderness until GOP primary voters got panicked enough to turn to him, and he would be a much stronger Presidential candidate for it -- and likely the top pick of the military instead of Paul.
As Democrats running for Congress carefully triangulate to ensure that they "don't abandon the troops" by cutting off funding for Iraq to bring Bush to the bargaining table, they might keep Ron Paul's overwhelming military support firmly in mind.
That means you, Gabby Giffords and Harry Mitchell -- as well as you hopefuls, Bob Lord and Ann Kirkpatrick. The troops want brave leadership willing to bring a misbegotten war to close every bit as much as most other Americans.
Our troops have tremendous esprit de corps and a steely determination to accomplish the mission - even if it is an impossible one. It's their job to lock their jaws and squeeze the life out of our enemies.
The job of the political leadership is to have the wisdom to know when and where it is prudent to unleash the dogs of war -- and when to put them back in the kennel. Our troops clearly recognize and value the kind of political leadership needed to end this mission-less war, even as they say they are determined to stay the course when the pols come wandering through like baby ducklings on yet another fact finding tour through the international zone.
Tim Bee stunned the Arizona political scene with a completely unexpected announcement that he is challenging Gabby Giffords for the CD 8 Congressional seat.
Seriously, though, Tim made it official -- he's in. I know, I was there. And, no, I didn't get tazed, Bro.
It was the kind of non-news news event one expects in the kabuki dance of American politics. But there were a few interesting bits.
Much more after the flip...