Tuesday, December 26, 2006
For those who want to follow along, here is a copy of the Iraq Study Group Report that Frank is commenting on. It is in PDF, so you will need Acrobat Reader.
We will track comments eith this post which should be linked to the bottom of the article.
Thank you Frank for your continued contributions.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Apparently, neither Lisa James nor Randy Pullen were present at the event which was being held during a state GOP Christmas party. The results of the vote were announced just after Lisa James entered the room, and she appeared stunned by the news. Randy Pullen learned of the vote by phone soon after the results were announced.
Although the vote was not orchestrated by Randy Pullen, he was aware of it ahead of time and the outcome came as no surprise considering Pullen's tenure and broad appeal in the party. Lisa James, a relative newcomer to state politics, will find it difficult to overcome these attributes and her ties to McCain camp volunteers many of whom campaigned for Napolitano this past election.
Perhaps Pullen supporters were trying to send a message to encourage James to resign from the race.
Randy Pullen is thought to be holding a strong lead in most of Maricopa County and a slightly smaller lead in Pima and Pinal counties. A few Hellon loyalists who still smart from Pullen's victory over Hellon for the National Committeeman slot, will support James as an anti-Pullen vote. But Pullen appears to have strong Pima county-wide support.
If Pullen does not win by a landslide in January, it will be a surprise.
Disabled individuals were reported in the Citizen to be losing their jobs over the mandatory increase in pay which is not a one-time event. Each year, the minimum wage, which is chained to the cost of living, will increase as scheduled in the law.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
An interesting slant to this situation is that employers like Swift are now second-guessing their decision to volunteer for the federal government's Basic Pilot program that is supposed to check their new-hires for employment eligibility. Even though it's widely known that the program has serious flaws, employers thought that by cooperating they would get assistance, not raids, from the feds. When Democrats who campaigned on a "comprehensive solution" raise the issue of making the program mandatory, expect widespread opposition by employer groups which will kill the deal. Some groups are already gearing up for the fight.
Another twist in the illegal immigration knot affects Democrats who played the race card against pro-border security candidates during the recent election. Dems aren't quite sure how to handle minorities calling for deportation of illegal aliens. An example of the issue's complexity is reported in last Wednesday's Wall Street Journal in an interesting article entitled Trading Places. The article spotlights a black couple that first embraced the idea of cheap labor associated with hiring illegal aliens en route to building a thriving business that came to rely on workers who would work for less money than citizens. After watching the illegal aliens they hired and trained leave to start their own buisnesses as direct competitors, they have been undercut to the point of almost losing their business altogether. Struggling financially, they have become part of a growing number of minority activists lobbying against illegal immigration. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out in congressional debates about amnesty and border security.
Friday, December 15, 2006
—Al Melvin announced at the last Pima County Republican Club meeting that he intends to run for the LD26 State Senate seat again in 2008.
—Pete Hershberger is rumored to be eyeing the LD26 Senate seat as well since he will hit his term limit in the House after this coming term. However, county and district Republican leaders are said to be upset with his alleged campaign partnership with Pasquiera, and frustrated with Pete's frequent defections to the Democrats during the legislative session.
—In another venue, Charlene Pasquiera was heard saying she plans to serve only one term. Her newlywed status was cited as one possible reason.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I have seen several computers, including my own (before I became aware of the issue) that made it through OK. Just be sure to be cautious and back up your computer before applying the update. I don't want anybody to miss their blog time.
That is all. . .
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Is the new party in power ready to show how it's done?
So far, things are not particularly promising. Starting with incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, we are now told by the same Senate Ethics Committee he once led that he did nothing wrong when he accepted free ringside seats from the Nevada Athletic Commission. And although William 'Cold Cash' Jefferson has lost his committee chairmanship, thanks to Pelosi, one has to wonder what felonies fall under the category of actionable offenses?
Calling for an independent ethics committee may be well intentioned, But it will not likely overcome the D.C. attitude of leadership being more about protecting and preserving the brotherhood than about inspiring ethical behavior and competence in government.
Monday, December 11, 2006
I will link this on the sidebar, as well as use this post to hod any comments that you wish to make.
With the spate of recent events related to the Iraq War, I thought I’d offer my opinion and analysis. This is the first of a four part series on my analysis of recent events. The first will deal with the removal of Donald Rumsfeld, followed by my take on the Iraq Study Group Report, next will be on the failure of the State Department and finally, where I see the real changes need to be made to put us on the right course for success.
Again, a big thank you to Frank for taking the time to foray into Blogging. Hopefully he won't be the only one to take up the challenge to expand what is available in the local blogosphere.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
As this blog transforms from a blog dedicated to the Arizona Eighth Congressional elections, to a blog that will have a much wider focus, we realized it was necessary to bring others on board. As much as I like to fancy myself knowledgeable, there are many, many subjects we would like to cover that need actual expertise and experience.
To that end, we are pleased to announce the acquisition of our first regular columnist, who will help give us unique and informed opinion and experience in areas generally not available on our local blogs.
Please help me welcome Frank Antenori on board.
Portions of Frank's Bio from his campaign website:
Frank Antenori was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania; He joined the U.S. Army shortly after graduating from high school in 1984. After four years as a Nuclear Weapons Specialist, he joined the Special Forces in 1988. Since then, he has participated in numerous peacetime and wartime operations in support of American interests, in over thirty-four countries, throughout the world.
While in the Special Forces, Frank was involved in several operations of historical significance. In the late 1980's/early 90's he trained Afghan "Mujahadeen Fighters" to help thwart the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. He served in Desert Storm, where his Special Forces A-Team led the first Kuwaiti units into Kuwait City, liberating them from Iraqi oppression.
Frank once again served in Afghanistan during the early part of 2002, and took part in Operation Anaconda. He received the Bronze Star for saving the lives of 13 allied soldiers that were wounded during a Taliban grenade attack on their convoy. In addition, he helped track down terrorists and put them in a place where they would no longer be a threat to anyone.During the opening stages of the Iraq war, Frank was the Team Sergeant for a Special Forces A-Team that was attacked by a superior enemy armored task force. His small group of Americans held their ground and routed the enemy. He was recommended for the Silver Star but received a Bronze Star for Valor for personally destroying two armored vehicles and their crews with anti-tank missiles, another light skinned vehicle with a machine gun and disabled another with shot from a sniper rifle.
Frank has extensive experience in guerrilla warfare, counter insurgency operations and ground combat. He has also been involved with numerous counter drug operations both in the US and abroad, eliminating tons of opium, marijuana and methamphetamine destined for streets of American cities.
Frank has been on numerous deployments throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa conducting everything from mine clearing to humanitarian assistance missions. During one particular humanitarian mission to Swaziland in 2000, He worked in an Aids and Tuberculosis clinic, where he treated hundreds of seriously ill Swazi and South African civilians. He was even certified as a Swaziland Paramedic by their Ministry of Health.On the home front, Frank was a volunteer First Responder for an Ambulance and Rescue Squad for 24 years. He was also a Nationally Registered Paramedic From 1992 until 2002. He trained and worked along side New York City Fire Department Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians in the Bronx, Queens and North Brooklyn. He also worked many hours in the emergency rooms of New York City's toughest neighborhoods with emergency room physicians and staff. Frank moved to Tucson when he retired from the military in June of 2004, where he currently works as a program manager at Raytheon Missile Systems. He's been happily married for 13 years to his wife Lesley. They have two sons, Frank III, age 11 and Brodie, age 10.
You can bet if my biography was near that impressive, it would have been posted as well.
Welcome aboard Frank! We are extremely excited to add you to the team.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Today I had the opportunity to attend the District 26 monthly meeting which hosted the Kenskis as the featured speakers. They shared many of the “lessons learned” from the past election season from their perspective, and were overall very informative. I did notice however, that there were many points of revisionism that more than likely did not originate with them, but are nonetheless being passed along. Here are a few of the canards that need to be corrected in general:
1. The District 8 primary was a nasty affair on all sides. It really wasn’t. All of the nastiness began and continued with Steve Huffman, period. Steve attacked Graf, he attacked Hellon, and ran an overall despicable campaign that did major damage to the party in Southern Arizona. Now there can be disagreements as to how this is to be handled going forward, and the prices that those involved will need to pay, but if the state and local party believes that Huffman’s behavior can ultimately not be addressed or at least recognized, the damage will continue. Especially dangerous is the idea that Huffman could be simply inserted back into area politics without the issue being discussed and a solution going forward agreed to.
I am inclined to be forgiving to a point. However, the most disturbing issue is that we all knew who Huffman was when he began the campaign and where he would ultimately go. There was no controlling authority in place to dampen this and to make the competitors stick to a certain code of conduct or face a withdrawal of support. Or, if there was, those involved failed miserably and should be called on to offer a plan of how things will be handled differently in the future. This is the action item that must be addressed by 2008. I fear that covering up this issue will preclude that from happening.
2. The Kyl campaign was masterful and the lone highlight in Arizona politics. I am as glad as the next Republican that Kyl won, and recognize that a lot of hard work and money was poured into his reelection bid, however, the major saving grace for Kyl was that Pedersen was just plain unlikeable. Let’s face it, had Janet retired from being governor and run against Kyl, there is a better than even chance she would have won.
As Republicans we have been doing a lot of coasting, all the while depending upon Democrats to run terrible candidates. Most of the time they have been happy to oblige us. This election cycle, this attitude finally caught up with us. Instead of running on new, innovative ideas, we have clung to the “same old, same old,” volunteered with our checkbook rather than time and shoe leather, and sneered at longtime loyal subgroups with “What are you going to do, vote Democrat?” Low and behold, the Democrats found some candidates that made some of us say “perhaps.”
To not recognize this and adjust is just foolishness. Kyl benefitted from as much sheer luck as a masterful campaign. To anoint those involved as some type of political geniuses will only create more Karl Rove-type mythical heros. The decisions Karl Rove has made over the past two years helped directly contribute to Republican failure this cycle. He began to believe his own hype, and it cost us. If we are not careful, the same thing could happen to the Kyl campaign organizers. We got lucky this time, next time may not turn out as well for us.
3. Area Republicans are ready to put the last election behind them. There are rifts to be healed, not glossed over. Problems need to be recognized and steps put in place to make sure that the same problems do not arise again. Some of the ones that I have heard about, if not personally experienced:
1. Personal attacks in primary campaigns.
2. Republican leaders (not voters) crossing over to support Democrats
3. The suppression of feedback in party meetings
4. Single-shot voting in the state representative races
5. The perceived usurpation of the Graf and other local volunteers to work for Kyl, with no reciprocation from Kyl, either in endorsement or fundraising.
6. The throwing around of the “RINO” label.
7. Any process that circumvents the spirit of democracy in party governance.
8. The perception that National, State, and Local elements of the party are working at cross purposes.
Even if all of these slights are in some portion imagined, they must be addressed and a contingency must be put into place to deal with them BEFORE they become a problem again. There is plenty of time to get this done, and it will all need to be in stone especially with the added dimension of a McCain presidential run.
Update. . . . In rereading this, it does appear that I was a little hard on John Kyl and I didn't mean it to look that way. I did volunteer work for Kyl as well and recognize that he is a very good and respected senator that deserved to win. He also ran a very good campaign and is good on most if not all of the issues that I feel are important. All that said, Republicans lost this cycle that were just as talented and strong as Kyl, and it happened because the Democrats ran strong candidates against them. Respected incumbent senators should win by 10 points, we simply did what was necessary in this race to do the expected. We were also gifted with numerous flubs and missteps by Pedersen. Absent those, this is an entirely different race, and little to none of it had to do with Jon Kyl personally.
For the record I would have given the same analysis about Bush's victory over John Kerry if I would have had a blog back then. We deserved to pat ourselves on the back in 1980 and in 1994. With the victories we have been eeking out lately, there is still plenty of room for humility.
Friday, December 08, 2006
1. John McCain
2. Mitt Romney
3. Rudy Giuliani
4. Newt Gingrich
5. Mike Huckabee
6. George Pataki
7. Chuck Hagel
8. Condoleezza Rice
9. Sam Brownback
10. Bill Frist
Democrats see Clinton as the front-runner, although most have concerns about her ability to win the general election, and Mark Warner drops out of the race.
1. Hillary Rodham Clinton
2. Barack Obama
3. John Edwards
4. Al Gore
5. Evan Bayh
6. Tom Vilsack
7. Bill Richardson
8. Joseph Biden
9. Wesley Clark
10. Christopher Dodd
It's too early to get real excited about the rankings—we have already seen major shifting from the last report. But it is significant to note McCain's strong lead, Romney's recent jump to second place, and a perception among Democrats that Hillary is sure to win the nomination despite no clear front-runner at this point.
It would be easy to conceive of a McCain-Hillary Clinton race that would show Hillary overwhelmingly gaining the female vote, but with McCain easily picking up reluctant conservatives as well as party-disaffected independents and some Democrats. I believe such a matchup would result in a solid win for McCain.
Romney's rise certainly has to worry McCain. Despite some polls suggesting some conservatives would reject Romney for religious reasons, most show voters mixed on the question. Again, if the race were between Romney and Hillary, conservatives would struggle to support Hillary. And his success in Massachussetts certainly suggests an ability to draw votes from both conservatives and independents.
Despite Guiliani's ranking, it's hard to imagine him as a front-runner. Somewhat surprisingly, Gingrich, despite his baggage, shows up a strong 4th place. It will be interesting to see if he moves up in the next Insider's Poll.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
John McCain has released his statement concerning the findings of the Iraq Study group. It looks like he has a few disagreements with the fine blue ribbon panel. From his release:
Arab-Israeli Peace: The report embraces the idea that peace between Arabs and Israelis – which, the report states, can only be achieved through land for peace – is a necessary element of success in
In addition, the linkage the ISG report makes between this issue and the violence in
Regional conference: The report recommends the establishment of a regional diplomatic conference on
“In addition, I agree with the report’s emphasis on an internal Iraqi political settlement that can bring the various sects and groups together. But security is the necessary precondition for a political settlement, and
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Obviously the truth is that he is somewhere in the middle, leaning toward having the race already wrapped up. Here are some numbers from the 2000 primary that are interesting.
John McCain won New Hampshire 60% to 40%.
He won Arizona with 59.8 percent of the vote.
There was the same or more support for John McCain in New Hampshire than in his home state of Arizona.
Keep in mind, however, that this was after South Carolina when McCain's momentum had been halted, there were perhaps others who would have voted for McCain had Arizona been crucial to his nomination. The question is, will he hold the 59.8% he had six years ago, or has he slipped?
Obviously, McCain isn't taking the state race lightly and is putting machinery into place early to secure the needed number. I would argue that his appointment of Mike Hellon more than makes up for his disappointment with the Symington fiasco. Here's why:
1. There just isn't a counterweight to Hellon that somebody like Guiliani or Romney could employ south of Maricopa. Hellon has the contacts, trust, and access to what needs to be done for McCain in Southern Arizona. I suppose someone like Jim Click could get involved, but I don't see him or any of the even marginal talent defecting away from McCain in southern Arizona. Perhaps Linda Barber, but I don't even see that.
2. All Hellon needs to do is drive turnout. In 2000, Pima County went for McCain by 68.1% Offsetting a 57% performance in Maricopa County. I would suspect that if any county has held it's support of McCain, it is Pima. The more Primary voters Hellon turns out, the better McCain does statewide. For the most part Mike does not even need to campaign and change minds, just motivate people to show up.
If he can lock up Southern Arizona, McCain can then worry about his opponents poaching Arizona money, which I believe was his main concern all along.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
A little birdie has whispered to me that Mike Hellon will be named John McCain's presidential campaign director for Southern Arizona.
Nice get for McCain. Congratulations to Mike, hopefully this will be a paid position.
And since I know Mike is out there, if you want to make announcements, confirm or deny this rumor, or just post about life in general, let me know. My Blog is your Blog.
1) AZGOP Chairman Matt Salmon and McCain have picked Lisa James to replace Salmon as state party chairman. It is believed that McCain hopes that by installing James he will have greater control over party resources to help his campaign. McCain, who is consistently booed at state GOP conventions, and has been censured by various Republican groups including LD 11, is looking to avoid an embarrassment in his home state. Randy Pullen, a conservative, will not oppose McCain, but he won't be the fall-in-line leader McCain needs to control the state party, either. The latest in the conspiracy is detailed at Sonoran Alliance.
2) Although everyone expected an ugly fight at the Pima County GOP Statutory Meeting, it wasn't to be. Chairman Judi White ran the meeting with an iron fist restricting executive committee candidate speeches to 1 minute and no speeches from those who seconded nominations. There were no voting results reported beyond announcing the winners, no motions made, no debate, and no mention of the outrage expressed against party leaders for their part in the election losses. Expect the thermometer to burst in an upcoming central committee meeting where grievances will be aired and leaders will be asked to explain why they failed to keep the primary civil and support the party nominee.
3) Many Republicans are seething over GOP candidate Pete Hershberger's alleged alliance with Democrat Lena Seradnek during the election. This could be a battle that plays out when Pete makes his anticipated run for state Senate in two years.
4) Some Pima County GOP leaders expressed outrage when a fellow Republican threw his or her hat in the ring as a contender at the Pima County meeting. Such behavior suggests an attitude by many central committee members that once elected they are everafter entitled to move up the ladder. Instead of three or four candidates for each officer position, most candidates ran unopposed because others feared to upset the incumbent. Instead of healthy debate, there is an apparent culture of entitlement and status quo further dividing the party.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Add a new member to Team McCain, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.
According to an article by Jonathan Martin in National Review, Pawlenty used the Republican Governor's Association meetings to announce his support for McCain:
Sources tell National Review Online that Pawlenty, who just narrowly won reelection, will support McCain’s bid and is actively engaged in what is now the senator’s exploratory committee. Additionally, Lincoln Diaz-Balart said that both he and his brother will support McCain, and that they’ll be joined by the third Cuban-American member of Congress from this area (Florida), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. In separate interviews, Daniels, Douglas, and Crist all had warm words for McCain, but stopped short of declaring their allegiance.On the Romney front, it appears that Mitt will pick up the endorsement of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt.
The first-term governor said in an interview today that he would make a public endorsement “probably in the next few days.” Asked for which candidate, Blunt replied that he had “a great deal of admiration for Gov. Romney.” Blunt, the son of House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, said he wants “to elect a conservative candidate” and Romney is “the most conservative of those” in the field who are “credible.” Asked if McCain was also a conservative candidate, Blunt chose to talk about Romney.Overall, these are big pickups for both candidates. Pawlenty, before the last election, was considered a rising star. Even after his lackluster re-election results, he still lends much credibility to the McCain campaign, and could almost be penciled in as a potential running mate. Getting a firm foothold on the Cuban community in Florida will be very helpful to him as well for the eventual primary there.
For Romney, any establishment support in a Southern state will certainly help with his perceived problem with Evangelicals. The connection by association to Roy Blunt doesn't hurt either
---Justice Stephen G. Breyer says the Supreme Court must promote the political rights of minorities and look beyond the Constitution's text when necessary to ensure that "no one gets too powerful." Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, has brokered many of the high court's 5-to-4 rulings. He said judges must consider the practical impact of a decision to ensure democratic participation.
"We're the boundary patrol," Breyer said... It's a Constitution that protects a democratic system, basic liberties, a rule of law, a degree of equality, a division of powers, state, federal, so that no one gets too powerful," said Breyer, who often votes with a four-member liberal bloc of justices. Breyer said that in some cases it would not make sense to strictly follow the Constitution, because phrases such as "freedom of speech" are vague. He said judges must look at the real-world context -- not focus solely on framers' intent,'" ---
(Not Framer, the blogger's intent, I'm sure)
Considering that a post-Bush president will likely have the opportunity to appoint at least one supreme court justice, it might be interesting to consider how the various candidates look at the role. Breyer clearly plays an activist role using the constitution where it suits him such as in the case of McCain-Feingold. Unfortunately, Breyer's intent to ensure that "no one get's too powerful" seems to have backfired as the campaign finance reform law has become known as the incumbent security law. Perhaps the Constitution wasn't such a bad thing to follow after all.
Now that McCain has claimed the problems of his campaign finance reform law were the result of misguided congressmen who messed up his bill, does he think Breyer was right in upholding the law? Or would he look for a replacement that would strike it down?
Don't expect to hear anything about this in one of McCain's speeches anytime soon, but it might make for an interesting town hall question...provided he doesn't get too upset over it.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Judi White ran unopposed
1st Vice Chair
Meg Econ defeated Ginny Jensen
2nd Vice Chair
James Kaucher ran unopposed
3rd Vice Chair
Parralee Schneider ran unopposed
4th Vice Chair
Randy Graf ran unopposed
Paula Maxwell ran unopposed
Victor Williams ran unopposed
19 people ran the following 5 were elected:
Overall, a good mix of liberal, moderate and conservative representation for the county. Hopefully they can put a winning strategy in place.
Expect more coverage of the Lisa James appearance over at Sonoran Alliance. I've got non-denominational winter holiday lights to put up. :)