Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who is the Bigot?

I haven't seen a lot published about this article by Jeff Smith in the Citizen. I guess I will go ahead and discuss it.

The one thing I will have to give Mr. Smith is that he had enough guts to publish his phone number with the article. So I called him.

I have never met Mr. Smith before, so I wasn't certain what to expect. I basically started the conversation by pointing out that this was the most vile, vapid, un- researched, lazy article or opinion piece that I had ever seen published in a "real" newspaper. He went on to tell me that this was an opinion piece and was separate from the news reporting that the Citizen does. He then asked if I was a Graf supporter.

I told him that I was a blogger, and very interested in fair and accurate reporting which there was none of in this article. He actually sneered at me (as much as you can on the phone) and told me that he has never read, nor will he ever read a blog. He explained that if me or anyone else had a disagreement with his piece we could submit a letter to the editor (Once upon a time, someone could actually buy ad space to respond and go around the editor, but that would now violate federal law. Thank you John McCain.)

I asked him if he knew Randy Graf, and he told me that he had met him once. I then asked him if Randy Graf was a racist. He said "yes" without any hesitation or hedging. I then asked him what Randy had ever said or did that would make one think that he was a racist. He told me that Randy was more careful than that, but he could just tell by the way he carried himself that he was a racist. So, no, he had no proof other than his ability to see a man's character by his own all-seeing psychic ability.

He then confided that he has made it his current life's mission to make sure that Graf is never elected.

So there you have it. An article totally devoid of facts, specifics, or fairness as an attempt to paint Graf as a racist, which the author admits that there is no real proof other than the author's belief that he "feels it in his soul."

I asked him if he felt that it was just as bad to call someone a racist on no evidence than to actually be a racist, and he told me that there was no comparison at all. I guess there is a different standard for those of us who require evidence and proof than those who are magically blessed with the ability to see into men's souls.

Or something like that. Somebody better inform Graf's Panamanian-born wife that he hates South Americans.

All-in-all this was an embarrassment for the paper. I would have been equally as upset if something like this were done to Gabby Giffords or any other candidate. I do have to wonder with all of the outrage manufactured for the Ad Watch about Giffords, if there are any Democrats out there who would stand up to call this for what it is, a vindictive poisonous attack devoid of proof or evidence and bad for discourse as a whole.

I suspect that there are, and that gives me some amount of comfort and hope for politics.

Newspapers on the other hand. . .

30 comments:

Randall Holdridge said...

WWW.davidduke.com

Framer, I concede it's a link to U.S. News. Still, don't you think it significant that the Klan would make the Graf primary win front-page news?

Doesn't this worry you just the teeniest little bit? Didn't my mother used to say something about the company you keep?

And right-wing Jeff Smith's characterization of Graf's supporters as limited to "the reilgious right, the Minutemen and the racist vote."

Even if you don't qualify in any of these categories, framer, you got to be concerned?

Randall Holdridge said...

Framer,

Surely can't claim not to know who Jeff Smith is? Where have you been the last 20 years?

This right-wing curmudgeon has been given the shit-can by every liberal newspaper south of the Gila.

He's famous for traveling armed, and for shooting off more than his mouth. His little ranchette in the Patagonia drainage is undocumented pass-through central and he writes about it all the time.

Smith is a very long-time Baja Arizonan, a lover of dogs and horses and motorcycles, one of which got the better of him.

In general, he is much more irritating to the liberals than he is to you, even in this case. But he's native enough to appreciate living near the border with Mexico and in the shadow of a great frontier history.

I'm not sure he was ever a golfer, but you might ask.

Framer said...

Not really. We only have a two party system. Kooks from both sides have to go somewhere. If we had a different type of democracy, the kooks would get their own party.

I know Randy Graf. Randy is not a bigot, racist, or white supremicist. Again, his wife is Panamanian. Duke may think he supports Graf, but Graf in no way supports Duke, and that is a key differentiator.

I would bet that most of the drug smugglers and "coyotes" would support Giffords over Graf. There are perhaps no more detestable people you will ever meet than them. However to say that Giffords is associated with and represents them would be likewise unfair.

This is the problem that we have with politics now, and captures the Smith article in a nutshell. There was not one word of actual policy or truth for that metter in the article only vindictive attacks. This is where we are, and would be silly if not so pathetic.

If you don't like Graf's or Gifford's policies, state why and back that up. Sometimes I fear people may forget what Nazis actually were due to the severe hyperbole now common in politcal discussion.

If you want a scare, go to YAHOO, pick any article and hit the "discuss" link at the bottom. What you see there is where we are headed.

My hope is that perhaps blogs may yet elevate the discussion rather than contribute to that type of clatter.

Framer said...

Nope, Never met Jeff before, nor had the pleasure of reading his articles.

I don't really care about his political leanings or his past. The article was pure tripe, and I believe relects worse on his editors than himself.

Again, I would have decried the same article if written about Gabby as well.

Vandy said...

Randall,

So what shall we assume about the organizations like Al-Jazeera, CAIR, ANSWER, Move-on.org, etc. if/when they celebrate a victory for a liberal candidate? Truth is, even idiots vote and have the right to their own opinions, no matter how misguided they might be. For every racist idiot voting conservative, there is a socialist idiot (or Hollywood idiot or pro-eugenics idiot, etc. etc.) voting liberal.

Randall Holdridge said...

Okay, well fine, shrug it off.

But if I were Randy Graf, it would be a matter of great personal unhappiness of I thought that the best known Klansman in the world were enthused by my candidacy, and posted it front and center on his website with the most vile kinds of anti-Semitic and racist attacks, part and parcel of the same.

Framer may know Randy Graf, but David Duke knows what Randy Graf is saying. And in his argument above, Framer only confirms the point which Jeff Smith was making in his column in today's Citizen:

"There's something about Randy Graf that makes even his own party queasy. Not Joe Sweeney-queasy. Not quite, but somewhere between seasick and wet-your-pants alarmed.

"He has this Howdy Doody happy face that doesn't seem to fade entirely, even when he talks about Mexicans."

Randy Graf may be perfectly affable, and his wife may be "Panamanian" whatever that portends, etc. etc. I don't doubt it.

Still, David Duke is thrilled by his primary win; Chris Simcox is cutting his radio ads; his mentor Tom Tancredo is campaigning before Confederate commemoration groups in front of Rebel flags; Graf's most rabid on-line supporters crow every time an illegal dies a terrible death in the desert.

And this doesn't worry you just a little? This doesn't give you the slightest pause?

Framer said...

Randall,

Again, Vandy uses a better example:

How do you think Al Quaida would feel about a Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house?

Does that give you pause?

Of course not. It is silly and should make no difference either to her, or to your vote. Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is not your friend.

I would caution you however, that he who goes looking for the evil in the hearts of men should look inwardly first. You have already accepted as has Smith that Randy, Tancredo, and Simcox are Racists. I would submit to you that you made your decision first, then went looking for evidence.

I don't know Tancredo or Simcox, but again, I know Randy and he is no racist. Nothing he has said or done would imply that he was. And yet if you accept the premise that he is a racist just because you don't agree with him, you have in turn become the bigot. And this won't stop with Randy Graf.

Randall, I don't think that this is you, at least not at this point. I did get this from talking to Smith. Rather than debate, he dismisses and demeans. Not only does it make him a bafoon, it will end up making his life miserable, if it hasn't already.

Some things are more important than politics.

truthhurts said...

Hey, Randall.

You make yourself sound more stupid with every post you put on here. When you started, you seemed at least half-way analytical and reasonable. But the more you post the more your comments have moved further and further towards the bitter, bigoted side of debate. You don't make reasonable arguments anymore, nor do you make reasonable citations to back up your unreasonable arguments. Try thinking before you speak up. Maybe then you won't sound as bad as Jeff Smith, whichever side you want to say he's on. Jeff's a dolt and represents all that is wrong with the media today. Don't stoop to that level. So here's a warning: you're VERY close already. Try backing away from the edge before you fall in.

Rex Scott said...

Whenever you dismiss or demean a political opponent, you actually cede some valuable ground to them. I don't support the views or values espoused by our president, but the man has an MBA, great political skills and demonstrably high levels of emotional intelligence. The "Bush is a moron" argument never sucked me in...and I think it caused us to underestimate him as an adversary.

Randy Graf is not a racist. He is a very conservative politician. I knew him when I was active in the GOP in the late '90's and he is also very affable, genuine and funny. He strikes me as a good dad and loving grandparent. His allegiance to the Packers aligns with my lifetime fealty to the Dolphins.

Giffords has had my support in this race because she is smart, experienced, caring and (most important to any voter) her views are closer to my own. She is a common-sense, results-oriented leader who worries less about scoring ideological brownie points and more about getting things done on behalf of the people most in need of government's help. Giffords is also a savvy and focused campaigner.

Due to this last attribute, Giffords knows she faces a tough foe in Graf. He has been articulating views held by thousands of CD8 voters since he got into politics and his positions on the issues sound a lot like John Shadegg's or Trent Franks' or JD Hayworth's. He is very repesentative, therefore, of the views of the Arizona Republican Party and we minimize or denigrate his views and the level of support he will get at our OWN peril.

I never underestimate an opponent because they benefit more from that view than the smug satifaction I may derive from it. Anyone who thinks Randy Graf is some kind of fringe extremist who doesn't represent the views of a lot of people doesn't know him or this district very well. Just ask Steve Huffman and Jim Kolbe! Gabby Giffords is smart enough to take on Randy in a way that does not denigrate him or his supporters. Instead, she will carefully show that Randy's ideas are impractical and/or ignore the presing needs we face in this state.

h@x0r said...

I called Jeff Smith and talked to him about his awful article.

I gave him four terms and asked if he knew their meanings:

Fallacy
Spurious Relationship
False Statement
Ad Hominem

I explained that those four terms define the entire content of his latest article attacking Randy Graf. I noted that at least he got the names spelled right, but beyond that the article contained not a shred of evidence to support his ridiculous claims and attacks.

He openly admitted that I was right. He said that his editors give him wide latitude because of his 26 years in the newspaper business. He challenged me to call his editor to do something about it. And then he characterized complaints about the fallacious nature of his article to be personal attacks on him.

What a piece of garbage. Any other newspaper would fire a columnist AND the editor who green lighted the piece for less than what Smith did yesterday.

Todd E. said...

The AZ Daily Star just HAD to run an article about the idiotic attack from the Dems trying to say that Graf had ties to KKK leader David Duke.

This is what I posted on their site:

"For the Race, Everything. Outside the Race, Nothing."

Question: Which candidate from which party was a member of a racist organization that uses that slogan?

[Insert "Jeopardy" music here.]

That would be Raul Grijalva and the party would be the Democratic Party.

Yes, my friends, Raul Grijalva was a member of and still supports MEChA and their slogan is, in fact, "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada" which translates to the racist phrase at the beginning of this post. Their "spiritual plan" includes this slogan as well as other racist stuff like complaining about the "gringo" invading "their" territory here in the southwestern United States.

What? You don't believe me? Well, go to the MEChA website right on UofA's servers at http://clubs.asua.arizona.edu/~mecha/pages/ElPlanDeAtzlan.html Read it for yourself. Notice also MEChA's militant logo at http://clubs.asua.arizona.edu/~mecha/images/Images/Links/Mecha-Logo.jpg which depicts an eagle with a stick of dynamite in one talon, the lit fuse in its beak, while holding a "maquahuitl" - a gnarly Aztec weapon - in its other talon. Really. Follow the link.

Now, how come I don't hear the Democratic Party calling for Raul Grijalva to denounce HIS ties to such militantly racist organizations?

One more question. Which southern Arizona candidate has partnered with Grijalva - racist ties and all - in her campaign for Congress?

And that would be... [Wait for it]

Gabrielle Giffords.

What?! The Democratic Party isn't complaining about her ties to a member of a clearly racist organization? Now, that's odd. And no newspaper is reporting anything about those ties? Well, that really is surprising. Isn't it?

Okay, leftists. On your mark...get set...hit the thumbs down...GO!

[Insert mouse clicking sounds of a dozen bitter leftists trying to bury the truth.]

sirocco said...

In writing an opinion piece the author gets a lot of leeway -- it is, after all, his opinion being expressed, and while it's helpful if opinions can be based on some factual basis, it's not required.

Having said that, the article is, indeed, a piece of crap hit piece, and nothing else. As noted by other, the author cites nothing at all to tell readers how he derived his opinion. If we continue to talk about his tirade, the terrorists win (or something along those lines).

I bow to those such as Framer and Rex who have far more knowledge of Graf, and who don't consider him racist. While I disagree with his positions, it's certainly possible to arrive at them without being racist.

GabbyIsMean said...

It looks like Gabby has her own extreme web sites supporting her.

Arizona Native said...

Framer -

Do you understand what "opinion" piece means? It means that Jeff Smith can say whatever he wants about the issue whether or not it's fair or you don't like it. Kind of like the comments you put on this blog.

And if you didn't know who Jeff Smith was prior to this article, it causes me to wonder how long you have lived in the area or paid attention to the issues.

My guess is that you are a recent transplant to Southern Arizona who's decided that you're going to come in and try and impose your views on those of us who have been here forever.

If so, perhaps you should go back to California, the midwest or wherever you came from and support your candidates back home.

Anonymous said...

Hey Todd E. -

The straw man argument of trying to compare the KKK to MEChA wears thin rather quickly.

Perhaps, as part of your argument, you can tell us how many people have been lynched, murdered or intimidated by MEChA as compared to the Klan?

Next I suppose you'll say the Klan is equivalent to the NAACP.

Framer said...

Jeff,

I thought you didn't read blogs.

If I were from Mexico, I would be welcome then?

I almost never read the Citizen, nor do I hang out on the opinion pages. Niether are required for getting to "know the issues." I would argue that they may, in fact, be a detriment to that end. I may have read one of his articles before, but they must not have done anything for me to make him memorable.

And I wasn't aware that starting a private blog on my time and my dime was imposing my views on anyone. I have done well enough that you were able to find me. And where is your blog again?

And with McCain's law, it really is an issue in that nobody has a chance to respond to Smith's filth without going through the newspaper gatekeeper. There will probably be several hundred responses to this piece, how many do you think will be published? On this blog, however, we let anybody in.

I've lived in Arizona, Montana, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Russia. All of which has helped make me a well rounded person.

Maybe you should get out more.

arizona native said...

Nice try -

But I'm not Jeff Smith.

He's not the only Arizona Native that lives in the area.

Framer said...

AN,

My bad, I thought you were making the case that reading and knowing Jeff Smith was essential to being active in Arizona Politics and being familiar with the issues

Nobody would think that except Jeff or his mother.

I again apologize for mistaking your meaning.

Randall Holdridge said...

The internets are alive with the news that the NRCC has canceled all its reserved advertising time in CD-8 effective October 3.

If it's true, this decision is quite remarkable in light of Graf's positive characterization on Monday of his meetings with GOP House leaders in D.C.

Did Graf misread the meetings, or misunderstand the $100K pledge he thought he had secured? Did the House GOP panjandrums compare notes after their separate meetings to vet Graf, and decide collectively to turn thumbs down? Do Bush administration immigration policies or John McCain's presidential ambitions enter in?

Do Republicans have so many House seats at risk across the county that they can't defend them all effectively, and the odds against success in CD-8 seem just too long?

Don't flame me, folks, I'm asking real questions.

Vandy said...

Randall,

Best known Klansman in the world?!?!? Robert Byrd must be really angry that he has lost his title.

Randall Holdridge said...

vandy,

I can honestly swear I have never voted for Robert Byrd, nor to my knowledge any other Klansman, former Klansman, or Klan fellow traveller.

And that's the straight macaca! ;-)

What about the NRCC, though; I do find it puzzling.

NRCC Sucks said...

The NRCC will never help Graf. They are tools for big corporations that support the illegal alien invasion. They wanted Huffman because he would be a lackey for the Chamber of Commerce and other pro-Illegal alien groups. Graf won't do what he is told. The GOP would rather lose the House than have a Minuteman who opposes illegal immigration. These scumbags deserve what they get.

The Committee said...

The NRCC only pulled back after the recent Democrat smear using Duke. It's not a huge deal if the Graf campaign raises enough money, which appears to be doable. It's more of a minor psychological blow to supporters who didn't expect anything from them anyway, but were pretty happy to receive it. The NRCC can't buy back the support they lost when they helped Huffman. Pulling back now only solidifies the position of conservatives that the NRCC only represents big money interests, not local party loyalists. This will hurt the NRCC, ultimately.

206isCancer.com said...

Randy Graf was just on Nightline. He was awesome! They really painted the illegal immigration issue very well for him. Of course, they showed Gabby too, and that jerk-off Jim Kolbe. But even he looked less anti-Randy than normal. Here's a link to the article that went over the interview.

http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2475262&page=1

Anonymous said...

It’s every campaign for themselves now. I hope Kyl wasn’t expecting much help from the conservative base in Southern Arizona.

Kolbe Sucks said...

I got an invitation today from Matt Salmon for a $100 lunch with Karl Rove on September 29th in Tucson. After what the party has done to screw up the CD 8 they couldn’t pay me to eat lunch with them.

Bob said...

NRCC Sucks-

Just to put the record straight and clarify a portion of the statement you made about the big corporations supporting illegal immigration--

Depending on the part of the country, the majority of illegals aren't employed by big corporations. By and large, big corporations are watched too closely by unions, government reporting, regulators, etc. Except for a few in certain industries, most corporations wouldn't take the risk of fines and bad reputation (especially reputation).

The majority of illegal immigrants actually work for smaller companies and contractors. Construction is a great example. Illegals are employed mainly by single-person or small-team independent contractors who pick them up for specific jobs, pay them under the table, and then let them go. A lot of smaller outfits without the government oversight will be the primary ones to hire illegal immigrants. Which brings us to the Chamber of Commerce.

You are right that the Chamber probably supports allowing employers to hire illegal immigrants b/c the Chamber is made up primarily of the smaller local companies that would tend to participate in that practice. The big corporations like Raytheon, IBM, or Intuit don't hire illegal immigrants and aren't that involved in the Chamber, though they may throw their weight around every once in while when an issue they actually care about comes up. Since illegal immigration probably doesn't effect them too much, they'll probably just let the local companies have their way with deciding the Chamber's position.

pinkiris said...

The truth is that the NRCC did not pull out on Randy. Don't believe everything; these news media liars exaggerate. They (NRCC) simply contracted for a specific time. After that, or around that time, they will poll to get a pulse for their next move. Nothing has changed including the misinformation by the Dems. Interestingly, this has probably warmed up the troops.
As for the Duke fiasco, HE quite simply copied and printed an article written in the Az Star. If that means he is endorsing Randy, surely the original printing in the Star must mean THEY endorse Randy.

azdem said...

I cannot believe I am agreeing with conservatives on this one. Jeff Smith should have been fired a long time ago. Between Billie Stanton and him, I am still waiting for Giffords to report this to the FEC as in-kind donations. Liberals trying to justify that article shows how completely pathetic the Democratic Party has become. And Todd's comment about Raul is legitimate. How can you even imply Graf has anything to do with Duke? I could put up the most racist website in the nation today and link to Gabby. Would that make her a racist?

That lack of intelligent dialogue and the support of lies and corruption as long as it is "our side" who is winning is what has destroyed any chances of Democracy in this country.

I may vote liberal, but the Democratic Party in the state and nation is as disgusting as the Republican one. And why the local journalists have such a hard-on for Giffords is beyond me, especially when we have had such better candidates over the years who haven't gotten a tenth of the press support she has.

Man, who does a legitimate candidate have to sleep with to get good press around here?

Bob, the large corporations are bigger violators than small business. Look at the argicultural business as an example. Of course we created the problem by destroying small ma and pa farms in the US and Mexico.

By the way, IBM and Intuit have hired illegals in the past. I don't know about Raytheon (you would hope being a weapons contractor they would screen better). IBM and Intuit have pathetic screening processes. Drug use is rampant too.

Vandy said...

Randall,

I can say the same thing. I've not voted for a Klansman. Additionally, I can say I've never voted for a Socialist, whether that candidate was outright about it, or still "in the closet." Something tells me you can't say the same about your past... or your future. Nationalized health care system anyone?