Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Whence the Dominoes Fall

It looks like a lot of my fellow Republican blogs are adding or trying to add bloggers. In that vein, I would like to announce the latest addition to our stable of guest bloggers, former Arizona Republican National Committeeman and John McCain's Presidential Campaign Director for Southern Arizona, Mike Hellon.

Generally, what we like to do is give our guests a topic or series of topics to concentrate on in areas where they have a special interest or knowledge. For Mike's first article, we asked him to document what would happen to Senator McCain's current Senatorial slot should he win the presidency. Here is his article:


Whence the Dominoes Fall

by Mike Hellon

Should Senator John McCain be elected President of the United States in November 2008, Arizona politics will get even more interesting very quickly.

His term as the senior United States Senator from Arizona does not expire until January 2011, with the person filling the following term to be elected in November 2010. As President-elect, McCain would presumably resign his Senate seat sometime between November 5, 2008 (the day after the 2008 general election) and January 20, 2009 (the day he would be sworn into office as President).

The provisions for selecting his successor are set forth in A.R.S. 16-222. The provisions themselves are fairly straightforward; the ramifications are more interesting.

Paragraph A of 16-222 provides that in the event of a vacancy in a Congressional seat, a special primary election must be held within one-hundred five days of the vacancy and a special general election within another forty-five days after that.

A vacancy in a U.S. Senate seat, however, is dealt with differently in Paragraph C. It provides that “For a vacancy in the office of United States Senator, the governor shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy. That appointee shall be of the same political party as the person vacating the office and shall serve until the person elected at the next general election is qualified and assumes office.

Thus, as governor, Janet Napolitano would decide who should replace Senator McCain, appointing the chosen one to fill the vacant term until the 2010 general election. The only restriction on her is that the appointee must be a Republican and, presumably, otherwise qualified to hold the office. In effect, her appointee would be completing the balance of McCain’s term, since it expires then anyway. Theoretically, of course, Janet could switch parties and appoint herself. Not a likely event since, among other considerations, it would make Jan Brewer governor. It does, however, illustrate the variables at work. Another possibility would be for Jim Pederson or some other favored Democrat to switch parties and receive the appointment. Again, possible but not likely.

Janet is reported to be interested in McCain’s Senate seat for herself. Her term as governor also ends in 2011, with her replacement (she is prevented by law from running for a third term) also elected in the 2010 election. That, if no other reason, almost guarantees that her appointee to the vacant Senate seat would not be a strong, viable, well-known Republican, who could be expected to be a formidable candidate in 2010. This is not to say that the appointee, after serving a few months in the Senate, wouldn’t like the job. He or she could very well decide to run for a full term of his or her own; notwithstanding all of the other powerful Republican personalities interested in the seat. All of this simply means that we would very likely have a spirited Republican primary for the Senate seat in 2010, possibly including the incumbent, with the nominee potentially facing Janet in the general election.

Who might run in November 2010? My guess is that you can count on at least one Congressman (maybe a couple of them, and maybe a former one), which, in turn, would leave at least one open Congressional seat. Whoever would succeed to the open Congressional seat, would occupy it for only one term, before redistricting could be expected to completely alter the political landscape for the 2012 elections.

However this ultimately unfolds, it is clear that any strong and viable Republican, hoping to succeed to President John McCain’s seat in the United States Senate, should not expect any help from the governor by way of appointment to a vacancy. It will have to be done the old fashioned way – by winning a contested primary in 2010, possibly against a Republican incumbent.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Blog

Just letting everyone know about a new blog, The AZ Republican Look. I don't know anything about the author, I got them off a Google blog alert.

This makes me wistful of when I first started. Only then, there wasn't much in the way of Republican blogs, and I had to get help from the Democrats. Thank you, Art. Ah the heady times of nine months ago. . .

I also noticed than he (or she) lists us pretty far down the list, after two Huckabee sites for goodness sake. Where's the love?

I'm not sure if they know that anybody even knows that they are out there yet, so it might be fun to fill their comment box by welcoming them to the local blogosphere.

AZ GOP Resolutions: War on Terror & Border Security

Nobody seems to be talking about the resolutions that passed at the state GOP convention last Saturday, so I'll mention it here. Carol Somers proposed a resolution condemning efforts to undermine President Bush's new plan for Iraq which passed overwhelmingly.

In fact, all the resolutions passed unanimously or with overwhelming support.

Randy Graf proposed a resolution ordering the convictions of border patrol agents Ramos and Compean to be vacated which passed unanimously. Another border security related resolution passed calling for legislation that enforces sanctions against employers that hire illegal aliens and requiring government agencies and employees to comply with the laws pertaining to illegal aliens.

A resolution supporting school vouchers was passed as well.

Honeymoon is Over

Again, congratulations to Randy Pullen for winning the Chair, now its time to revisit one of the pledges he made during the race.

Theoretically, the Voter Vault is a good idea. What could be better than collecting data on each potential registered Republican voter in order to maximize their interest and thus turnout. Sounds good, no?

The problem is that the current Voter Vault model is fatally flawed, and cannot really be "fixed."

I'll admit that there are many things on this blog that I play by ear, after all it would be impossible to be an expert about all things covered here. That is why we are trying to include others with extended and recognized expertise. Customer Relationship Management on a large enterprise level is actually an area where I have years of experience and have earned a salary. Moving the principles of CRM to voter databases are just about a one-on-one relationship.

The major problem with the current system is that the data is gathered and prepared at the top of the organization and pushed down to the bottom or "voter interfacing" portion of the party. This is entirely backwards. For the data to be useful, timely, and relevant it needs to be generated at the voter-interfacing level and pushed on up the chain. Are we to believe that someone sitting in Phoenix looking over past voting charts is going to be able to give much information about Steve Jones in St. David to his PC, that his PC would actually find useful? I would bet, however, that Steve Jones's PC would be able to pass information the other way that would help get Steve Jones out to vote. Do we know how Steve gets his information about the election, by what method he likes to be contacted, what his hot button issues are, who he talks to among his Republican neighbors, his propensity to volunteer or donate, or even if he lives at the current listed address? I'll bet his PC knows, or could easily find out.

Now obviously, not every PC is this active or helpful, but much of that is because they haven't been given this type of specificity to direct them, or this direct of a mission. Give them a list of voters to contact, tell them what is needed, and I bet most would perform admirably.

For all of us who made phone calls to disconnected numbers and called the same individual with the same message for the 13th time, you can understand that the Voter Vault system is very inflexible and does not correct itself easily. After all, the top of the organization generally overrides end user feedback. It's a good idea that is implemented poorly, and will never be "fixed" until rethought from the foundation.

Additionally there have been many complaints about "tight control" of the database, meaning that some candidates or counties can be frozen out from using the database. With the "bottom up" modeling, access is virtually guaranteed by the open source nature of data collection. If the state party does not cooperate with the local parties, they have the means to cut the state party out of the loop and use their own data. I doubt it would ever come to that, but it is a good check and balance. It also places responsibility and accountability to the district and precinct level. If your district generates useful and accurate data, it would be easier to justify state funds in your direction.

I would implore Randy Pullen and the State Party to rethink plugging a lot of resources into the already waylaid Voter Vault system until these concerns can be addressed. I suspect that the Democratic strategy is more along the lines of what I have laid out, and it would give them a significant advantage if we keep constructing more "buggy whips".

Monday, January 29, 2007

Timothy Lee Does Not Have a Big Head!

In the previous round up I wrote a quip about the candidates for Treasurer having big heads. Obviously, anyone that would run for treasurer at any level for any organization is the antithesis of this. It is a substantial job with little to no glory or thanks. Timothy will do a great job, and I should have done a better job of front loading the appreciation.

And to the people in Flagstaff, yes I get what NAU actually stood for.

I do have to say that Timothy Lee has came a long way from being the drummer for Motley Crue, not even to mention the whole Pam Anderson thing. I'm happy he turned things around and got involved in party politics.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New GOP Committeeman To Be Selected

It looks like I didn't quite call the GOP state chairman race close enough. The last couple of weeks Lisa seemed to pick up a fair number of votes to close the gap and it appeared that it was going to be closer than I previously predicted. But I would not have guessed it would have been this close. In any case, it's nice to have it over so we can move on to things like who's going to replace Randy Pullen as National Committeeman.

Well, after the convention, Randy held a meeting with the newly formed executive committee to discuss the issue. As promised, Randy submitted his resignation as a national committeeman that was accepted by the executive committee. The executive committee decided to form a sort of nominating committee composed of 1 representative from each congressional district totaling 8 members. The executive committee will work with county party chairman to select the representatives. This group of 8 representatives across the state will recommend and accept names of candidates for the position.

The ultimate process for selecting the national committeeman has yet to be worked out completely, but the plan is to have recommendations by February 15. Sometime in March a selection should be made.

We'll keep you posted when we learn more.

The next RNC meeting is in August, so whoever gets the nod should have some time to get ready.

Arizona Eighth At Large Committee Positions


Stephanie Johnson
Vic Williams
Randy Graf
Al Melvin
Cindy Collins
Erv Fox


Randy Graf
Stephanie Johnson
Cindy Collins

My Convention Adventure

I had pictured a balcony.

For some reason I thought that there would be some type of overlook where I could glance down at the action apart from participating in it. Nope, I stood in the middle of the fire lane with two state representatives, a gaggle of other people, and, I believe, Dean Martin. I heard that the event was originally scheduled for another location, but had to be moved due to some arcane bylaw that states the event must be held in Phoenix. I don't know why this was put in place, but I am guessing that it had something to do with some unpleasant convention experience in Flagstaff. It must have been pretty bad as there were a number of people that seemed to have been shaken up enough about it to still be wearing "No to NAU" buttons and t- shirts. I thought it was overkill.

We got there early, just on the off chance that we may see a Representative. Kind of like hanging out at Toon Town at Disneyland in hopes of seeing Goofy, or Donald Duck. The Teenage Republicans were there, practicing their capitalism skills by selling donuts. John Shadegg was nice enough to provide free coffee, although he wasn't personally serving it. There were also packets of hot chocolate for any Mormons present.

Obviously this was the Randy and Lisa show. Both were in high gear meeting and greeting the arrivals, and being genuinely cheerful and pleasant as they have always been to me and others. Each had supporters both nearby and in far corners, affixing stickers to promised committeemen. I declined any stickers, not to show any sense of neutrality, but because I enjoyed the attention of being treated like a newcomer by several groups of sticker bearers.

Once settled down in my fire lane, I was startled to hear that the whole Mohave County Delegation had been displaced by a swelling Maricopa contingent and they were forced to congregate in my fire lane. I retreated outside and informed Lisa James that there were votes to be picked up if she was able to quell the refugee problem. If only she would have listened. . .

I was able to meet Lisa's family at this point. Her children were perhaps the most beautiful I have seen in ages, outside of my own, of course. She was beaming with pride, as she introduced them to all of those still around. My high estimation of her stepped up a notch.

I went back to my fire lane and discovered that the Mohaveans had been replaced by stragglers of indeterminate origin.

It was time to begin, and time for the Speeches! John Kyl, Rick Renzi, John Shadegg, Trent Franks. No John McCain. Not to be snide, but do you think that there may be a chicken and the egg thing going on with McCain not showing up to these events, and perhaps not feeling comfortable if he were to show up to one of these events?

Then Jim Wiers, Tom Horne, Dean Martin, and for some inexplicable reason, Len Munsil as the keynote.

Off to the candidate speeches. Each candidate was given five minutes for both seconds and a speech. Randy Pullen went first. A bevy of supporters went to the microphone one after another and told of their admiration for Randy. Each was heartfelt and effective to varying degrees. Randy, however, showing his time management skill to be the equal of Matt Salmon, left no time for himself to "speechify". Hats off to Colbert, and creating your own descriptive words. All he could do was shrug as he was escorted from the stage.

Next up was Lisa. She sent up an introduction, then showing her adaptability decided to learn from Randy and do her speech next, to avoid the time crunch. It was good as always with Lisa. Next came Trent Franks. Honestly, if there were others, I do not remember them. Trent was devastatingly influential and was probably a good portion of the reason Lisa came as close as she did, outside of her own stellar efforts.

After the speeches came the Treasurers whom I will not mention. There is something very bad about Treasurers with big heads.

Oh, Linda White as Secretary unopposed. . .

Everybody adjourned to the mobile classrooms to vote. Interminable delay, people milling in. Now would be a good time for that Munsil speech. . .

Business, and then time for the Results. . .

James 404, Pullen 408. Gasp!

I had a rush of emotion. I immediately felt bad for Lisa, then I was extremely happy for those beautiful children I had seen earlier. Lisa worked harder than many candidates for general elective office, and it was too bad to see her stopped just short. I hope she takes a good break before she comes back and tirelessly works for our party. I have visions of Lisa as an actual candidate whooping Democratic back end, but understand that it will probably have to wait.

I was happy for Pullen. He had worked hard as well, and had once again just scraped by. I would hope that he is through with these type of wins and will now lead our State Candidates to the right side of severe blowouts. Just because one is clutch, doesn't mean he should consistently try to prove it. He has nothing to to be disappointed about with the race being so close. Lisa James was a worthy opponent, and now they are on the same team again.

Amazingly, cars weren't overturned in the parking lot, the chairs weren't set on fire, and nobody screamed in despair. It was, believe it or not, an ordinary, if razor close, chair election. The party looks like it will live on. Do not believe any hysterics to the contrary.

I know because I had a great view from my non-needed fire lane.

I did find out that at the executive meeting, they will decide if Randy Pullen will be allowed to resign his previous position as Republican National Committeeman. If this happens, the replacement will be appointed by the committee. It does appear that there will not be another election for this position until next year, when Pullen's elected term was set to expire.

For all I know, the decision on this has already been made. I will report when I hear more.

If they are looking for hints, I hear Mike Hellon is available. . .

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Deja vu for Southern Arizona Republicans

Southern Arizona Republicans can't seem to escape the proverbial knife-twisting in their backs. In the election for the CD8 congressional seat, some Republican leaders were so passionate about their candidate they were willing to do anything to prevent Southern Arizonans from choosing their congressman with Mike Hellon and Randy Graf experiencing the brunt of the undignified attacks. Remember the peeping toms, character assassinations and outside interference?

Now when everyone seems to agree it's time to unify the party and end such destructive behavior, the same people are lining up and dishing out the same nasty attacks against Randy Pullen. The most recent darts came from none other than Nathan Sproul and Jim Click. The way this is headed, we should expect a letter from Steve Huffman, tomorrow!

Randy Graf opened up his mail box today and discovered Jim Click's letter inside. It must have been deja vu. Someone could at least have had the decency to exclude Graf from the mailing, or all Southern Arizona delegates for that matter, considering many of them are still writhing from the last well-placed knife in the back.

Unity in the Arizona GOP? Apparently, some in the party feel it can wait.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gabby As A Politician

The Daily Star recently interviewed Gabby Giffords as one of the young incoming freshmen who charged into Congress with an agenda for change. Disappointing was the lack of clarity and conviction one would expect from someone so enthused about making a difference.

The interview revealed nothing surprising about her position on No Child Left Behind. She is still repeating her campaign mantra that the program is underfunded, but she offers no solutions or even a clue as to how she will vote on it. She feels something needs to be done about the border. Other than an occasional drone flying across the desert, she doesn't know what it should be. But it can't be a fence like the one that worked in Southern California. The only thing clear about her "comprehensive plan" is amnesty for illegal workers (guest worker program) which is hard to understand as a means of halting the flow of known felons, drug smugglers and terrorists.

Here's a tricky one: What about Iraq? It seems that whatever the President says is wrong. She says the Democrats are going to support the troops, but adding more is wrong. They may or may not support funding, but the President is going to send the troops anyway, which they oppose, but they will support them if the troops are there. Here's the actual dialogue. See if you can understand it.

Star: You said the president's viewpoint on certain issues isn't necessarily that of the American people, and polls show the escalation in the number of troops in Iraq is an example of that. What can and what will Congress do?
Giffords: Well, the president commissioned a bipartisan group to come together to set proposals for Iraq, the Baker-Hamilton study group. I was there when it was being presented. And the president has completely discounted the recommendations. They set forth recommendations that talked about a phased redeployment, working with other Arab nations, working with other countries, focusing on other areas, such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, refocusing back to Afghanistan. And the president essentially ignored that. His new plan can be sort of boiled down to stay the course plus 20,000.
But when we had (Defense) Secretary (Robert) Gates and Gen. (Peter) Pace come to testify before us, the majority of the questions that were asked by Democrats and Republicans were, "What is Iraqi leadership doing to state that they merit us sending more troops in, more men and women, more persons who are risking their lives?"
Secretary Gates responded that if Prime Minister (Nouri) al-Maliki was not able to deliver, they would have to go back and revisit the strategy.
Well, that's not good enough. It's absolutely not good enough for the American people. We as a Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, are going to support the troops that are currently there. There is strong bipartisan support for the men and women that are currently serving in uniform. But to add 20,000 additional troops when we're not requiring more benchmarks for the Iraqi government or for the Iraqi security forces is just too little, too late.

Star: So what can you do?
Giffords: The president is commander in chief, we know that. We can pass a resolution that at least indicates where the members of Congress — who are obviously closer to the American people because we are elected or re-elected every two years — are. And then when we look at funding, you know, those are certainly areas we can look at to see whether or not we are going to appropriate more dollars to send the troops in.

Star: Do you think Congress would say, "We're not going to fund this?"
Giffords: There is a very strong sentiment, both in the House and in the Senate, both on the Democratic side and the Republican side, that adding additional troops is not the solution to the problem.

Star: How do you then support the troops who are there but then cut the funding off on some things? It's got to be a difficult decision. And how much detail do you really drill down into on that money?
Giffords: That's what I'm starting to learn. We had our first Air/Land subcommittee meeting, it was just an organizational meeting. And it was important for the committee to come in and hear face-to-face from Gen. Pace and Secretary Gates about what the plan is and to ask really hard questions.
I've only been there a week and a half. It's not clear yet to me about the appropriation process through the House Armed Services (Committee) and how that would be divided. I've heard that the president's starting to send troops immediately. And once they're there, obviously we're going to support them.
But, again, it's a failed policy.

Okay, so what's her position beyond everything is wrong? Does she support more troops or fewer? Stay, or bail out? More funding or less? How about an alternative strategy? What is it? Regardless of one's position on the war, simply repeating over and over that the President is wrong offers little satisfaction to voters who will eventually wear out on Bush-bashing rhetoric with no solutions.

At some point, Gabby will need to decide what she is for, not just what she is against, and pursue it with some passion. If she continues to play it safe, she is likely to find herself facing re-election in just two short years with no record on which to run—safe for now, but a losing strategy in the long run.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pelosi's 'No Compromise' Position

Congressmen are already frustrated over Pelosi's divisiveness. In the "Six for 2006" bills presented by the Democrats, the Dems refused to allow any ammendments in a zero compromise position. Committee members were not allowed to review the bills or propose ammendments to them. Essentially, the bills were ramrodded through.

Nancy Pelosi campaigned with strong rhetoric about problems with partisan politics and the need to work together. It doesn't look like things have improved if the first 100 days are any indication.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Affirmative Action Moderator

So I am pouring through the local blogs, and looking over the election results for the State Democratic Leadership over at Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion and I come across the term Affirmative Action Moderator. I was Gobsmacked. This can't be real, can it? How did I make it this long without realizing that this was an actual position in the State Democratic party?

Sure enough, I checked the bylaws:

g)The Affirmative Action Moderator shall assist with and direct the implementation of the Party Affirmative Action Program as outlined in Article VIII of these bylaws and have such other duties as assigned by the State Chair.

So I skipped down to Article VII to see what Michael Williams's duties would entail. Low and behold, there isn't anything about affirmative action there. So I skipped down to Article IX which is what I am sure they actually meant :)



SECTION 1. Committee. The State Committee shall establish a permanent Affirmative Action Committee under the direction of the Affirmative Action Moderator and the State Chair. This Committee will be charged with, but not limited to, the following responsibilities:
a)Prepare a program and budget aimed at insuring that there is no discrimination in representation in the State Committee based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, physical handicap, religion, philosophical persuasion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Specifically, this program should stress methods to bring underrepresented groups into the Party organization as Precinct Committeepersons and State Committeepersons.
b)Set goals and timetables for achieving participatory representation of the groups.
c)Make a quarterly progress report to the State Committee.

SECTION 2. Membership. The Affirmative Action Committee shall consist of at least ten (10) members representative of the makeup of the Democrats of the State of Arizona. The Committee members shall be appointed by the State Chair. The Affirmative Action Committee shall elect from its members an Assistant Moderator, a Secretary and such other officers as they deem necessary.

SECTION 3. Meetings. The Moderator shall call at least one (1) meeting, but not limited to one (1), each quarter.

SECTION 4. Targeting Under-Represented Groups. To determine whether various groups are under-represented, the latest U.S. Census or an equivalent recognized demographic study (that indicates a profile of Democratic voters) shall be used wherever possible. Any group, according to race, color, sex, national origin, or age that has a percentage of the State Committee less than their percentage of the State of Arizona by more than five (5) percent, shall be considered as a group that is under-represented and shall receive the focus of attention of the Affirmative Action Committee first.

SECTION 5. County Committees. Each County shall have an Affirmative Action Committee and a program with time schedules.

Can someone please remind me why it is that we should ever lose to these people? I'm sure that the next rendition of the bylaws will include "Moderator to Ensure the Defamation of Walmart," and "Counselor in Chief of Reviewing That All Policy Statements Include the Phrase 'For the Children,'" or a state party "Global Warming Tzar." Finding PC's is hard enough without having to fill quotas isn't it? Who in the world would take, let alone want this job?

What Liberal Media?

On my way home from work this evening, I heard a report on the radio from CBS (I believe) about the March for Life in Washington D.C. The interesting thing is that they said it was happening, made no mention of the numbers involved, then went right to the interview. . . with the regional director of Planned Parenthood. They did no interview with anybody present at, or representing those at the march.

I got home later and looked up the reporting on their site, more of the same.

Of course when they do reporting about marches for causes they agree with, they go right to the opposing side for comment and the last word, right?

Of course they do.

Is Arizona Irrelevant to McCain?

Supposedly, McCain is pulling out all of the stops in order to control the local party machinery to guarantee that Arizona falls smartly into the McCain column during the presidential primary. I have no evidence that this is or is not the case, but I do know this: if McCain is depending upon carrying Arizona to keep him in the primary, then he is unlikely to win.

McCain is the prohibitive favorite , that carries with it certain advantages and disadvantages. If you show well during the first few primaries, you will win, and handily. If, however, you do not show well initially, you will be yesterday's news. A prolonged primary battle is definitely not in McCain's interest. If you take away McCain's inevitability, he is just another senator running for president. Senators do not do well in presidential contests for a reason.

So how is McCain doing in the early primary stops?

One initial stop in New Hampshire is not so promising.

Manchester, N.H.-based American Research Group finds that McCain’s popularity among New Hampshire’s independent voters has collapsed.

“John McCain is tanking,” says ARG president Dick Bennett. “That’s the big thing [we’re finding]. In New Hampshire a year ago he got 49 percent among independent voters. That number’s way down, to 29 percent now.”

American Research Group, which is New Hampshire’s leading polling company and has been operating in the state since 1976, polled 1,200 likely Granite State voters in the survey.
I believe that a lot of this is due to the surge of Obama, who is sucking up a lot of the "independent" oxygen. They can only vote in one primary, and right now they are liking the notion of supporting Obama over Clinton. Those wacky New Hampshirites.

In Iowa, McCain has ethanol issues Remember that this may have been part of the reason that McCain opted to skip the Iowa caucus almost entirely in 2000. It appears that McCain is going to contest Iowa this time around, but he has a lot of work to do.

Finally, in South Carolina, things are looking pretty positive for McCain..

Speaking of the team that McCain has assembled in the Palmetto state:

State GOP chairman Katon Dawson was impressed by McCain’s lineup.

“That is what I would call the ‘A Team,’” Dawson said. “That is a good list. Those are people who have substantially helped build the Republican Party in South Carolina.

“I certainly congratulate Senator McCain on surrounding himself with such excellent South Carolina citizens who have been the backbone of our political success.”

The latest out of South Carolina was a sizable blow against McCain's inevitability, however.

Some skeptics may believe that these are just a handful of the available electoral votes, and that one could overcome a slow start and win the nomination. While this may be true generally, different rules apply to the front runner. If McCain cannot win two of the first three primaries, he will be in big trouble, especially if the contests he loses fall to a single competitor such as Guiliani or Romney.

On the flip side, if McCain can put away at least two of these primaries, the race should be over before it begins.

In either case, Arizona's votes, like in most presidential primaries should primarily be an afterthought. If McCain is spending considerable energy locking up the machinery here, he is likely falling behind in one of the three states he needs.

Iraq: Some Want the Plan to Fail

A recent nationwide poll asked the question, "Do you personally want the Iraq plan President Bush announced last week to succeed?"

The IBD reported the poll as showing 63% answering "yes" — they do want the plan to succeed whether or not they agree with it. This seems to hold true for both Republicans (79%) and Independents (63%). What is scary is that nearly half of the Democrats report that they do not want, or aren't sure they want, the plan to succeed.

The meaning, whatever it is, can't be a good thing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

RNC Chairmen Selected

It's official. The RNC has "elected" Mel Martinez as General Chairman and Mike Duncan as Chairman. Mike made it clear that he is the chief operating officer and that Mel will be calling the shots regarding policy and direction for the party.

Grassroots Victory with Bennett Amendment

Hats off to our Democrat friends!!! Lest you be suspicious let me assure you there is no sarcasm whatsoever. I commend 7 Democrat lawmakers and the Republicans who stood firm in support of grassroots participation in politics. Allowing our elected officials to assume a position of isolation using Section 220 as a bulwark against citizen influence would be a travesty and an abuse of the power citizens have granted their elected officials.

Under the legislation (Section 220), if you and I tried to “influence the general public by asking our friends to contact members of Congress by emaill, phone, etc., or if some blogger simply blogged a call to action, they would have to register as lobbyists and file financial reports with the feds. Failure to do so would result in a $200,000 fine. So much for transparency and ethics in D.C.

In response to the public outcry, Utah senator Bob Bennett proposed the Bennett amendment that would remove Section 220 from the ethics bill to which it was attached.

Since bloggers seem to be dominated by Democrats (is it my imagination?) I'm sure there were many Democrats calling in support for the Bennett amendment. In any case, it was a good issue to unite on.

Power Games for RNC Chairman

Friday is voting day for RNC Chairman...or is it General-Chairman? Apparently, the General-Chairman is a made-up position used by some past presidents to influence the RNC. The rules are said to only call for a chairman which is to be held by a member of the RNC and elected by members of the RNC. Mel Martinez, said to be handpicked by Karl Rove and Pres. Bush, is not an RNC member. Of course, as convoluted as it sounds, some say that as General-Chairman, the rules can be ignored because, technically, he's not running for Chairman. Apparently, in the past, those who challenged the practice were ruled out-of-order in order to ramrod the chosen candidate through the system.

This year may be different, however. The Texas delegation has been outspoken about their opposition to the process, and to Martinez, and insist on following the rules. Border states, in particular, from the south to the north, seem to be upset over the Martinez nomination. Aside from the issue of re-writing rules to accommodate the administration, Martinez' support for amnesty is a major factor behind the rebellion. Although Mike Duncan of Kentucky is favored to gain the chairman position, he would be superseded by Martinez, as General-Chairman, who is expected to take orders from Rove who will push the president's agenda. Those frustrated with the lack of progress toward border security are showing their impatience with more amnesty-supporting leaders.

Just when some GOP leaders say they "learned their lesson" from the last election, it appears that more divisive practices are in the works. GOP leaders who still think they can win elections through power shenanigans and games like these that have already split the party are looking to cause major losses in the next election just as they did in the previous one. Transparency, authenticity and fairness could go a long way in uniting the party. But I guess some find personal power and egotism too gratifying to give up. It's truly a shame.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Belated Report on the Lisa James Brown Bag

I really apologize for the delay in getting this out. My usual blogging time was consumed by sick children.

I knew that the event was going to be interesting when I arrived slightly late and had to park a block away from headquarters. Sure enough, it was standing room only inside the office. Honestly, there were more people at this event at 11:30 on a weekday than some of the campaign events I attended last fall. The Chair race is probably getting a bit out of control at this point.

Lisa had brought handouts detailing her positions on her goals and aims if elected Chair, for those people who did not read the profiles printed on this blog. (They will come around eventually.) There was also pizza purchased by Lisa (I presume) from Blackjack Pizza, an indirect, unwitting sponsor of this site.

Lisa played to her strong points right away by stressing the need to raise money for the cycle right away in '07 due to the impending drain on donations that a contested Presidential Primary was going to cause, which is a very good point.

Next she was faced with the inevitable questions on party unity, especially in the face of the CD 8 primary, and the NRCC involvement. She was quick to point out that it was not the RNC involved, or the state party, and that the NRCC is a PAC made up of the GOP House Representatives, and ultimately they held the blame for what took place. She also pointed out that Tom Reynolds had been replaced by Tom Cole, which showed that she had kept up to date on those happenings. The fact that Matt Salmon made a call on behalf of unfair attacks on Steve Huffman was also mentioned. Lisa countered that this was done only in response to Democratic attacks that were only happening to Steve, and was not connected to the primary contest in general, and was not an endorsement. She then moved on, thinking the issue covered. More on this later.

She then went on to outline three of her major non-fund raising initiatives: Build the current P.C. Base, Educate the workers and voters, and to reconstruct the voter vault to be used more successfully and with greater results across the state. She did a good job of outlining the voter vault and how it is supposed to work. When face with criticism that the GOTV effort seemed uncoordinated and replete with duplication of effort, she was very effective in outlining how the system worked, and who got contacted with which mail piece. She also recounted that Pima County Republicans were 8% more effective in turning out the vote by mail ballots than their Democratic counterparts.

Moving back to her recruitment and training focus, she said that retaining a positive message was essential in brining the party back to its winning ways, and that this would be a focus.

Next the specter of Moderate vs. Conservative came up, which I believe Lisa handled rather well, in pointing out that her basic platform is similar to Randy Pullen, as is their stands on most issues. She pointed out that her supporters come from all corners of the tent. In looking at her site, she is more than correct in claiming this. (It is this author's belief that the whole conservative vs. liberal comparison of these two candidates is a canard and is quite overblown.)

In passing, Lisa pointed out that she is not a huge fan of Clean Elections as presently implemented.

Getting back to her strong suit of fund raising, Lisa committed to helping finance elections on the city council level where needed. She also shared her vision to spreading out some of the heavy-duty fund raising speakers to some of the outlying counties to help replenish county party coffers.

When asked about how she would treat the upcoming presidential primary if elected, especially in terms of John McCain. She commented that it was her duty to offer a level playing field, and that she would not endorse one particular candidate over another.

When asked about who we could expect to join her team by the same devastatingly handsome correspondent, she claimed that she had not promised any positions at this point and would put together a search committee to make sure that she put together a highly qualified staff. She also said that she would more than likely open up the search to outside of the state, if that provided better options.

Unfortunately, at this point the conversation went downhill as it had threatened to for a large portion of the meeting (I left some of those bits out.) If I had to pick out a criticism for James, this is where it lies. There is bad blood not only between "Conservatives" and "Moderates," factions of the Huffman and Graf campaigns, but also a general sense of Pima county only getting the table scraps fed to us by Maricopa county. Some of the arguments are more justified than the others, and obviously Lisa was not going to solve them in this meeting, but it seemed to me that there was a disconnect as to how she was prepared for what she was going to face.

Just as a Rock and Roller might tape a note on the back of his guitar to remind him what city he is in, and perhaps might assemble a few small local odds and ends to discuss to endear themselves to concert-goers, Lisa should have had someone prepare her for the local issues and what was likely to come up. I believe this was done in a general sense, but not specifically. Obviously, people at the event were not satisfied with her original answer that assigned blame for the RNC solely, nor were they satisfied with her explanation of Matt Salmon's call on behalf of Huffman. In reality, Lisa was probably more correct than not, but these are still smoldering issues, especially for the party activists in attendance, and really needed more care and messaging from her. Of course she didn't wish to throw Salmon under the bus, but an admission that perhaps the current Chair acted a little too soon, without checking with the base in the area might have helped. Pullen, when presented with the same opportunity, showed that he was very familiar with the issue, which was important, and also promised to call and meet with Tom Cole to discuss what happened and to get assurances that it would not take place again. Not a lot, but enough for him to get to the next issue successfully.

Additionally, for a group of people that feel that their statewide influence is almost ignored, Lisa could have helped her cause by promising to put Southern Arizona representation on her team. Wanting to open positions to someone from out of state before doing this may not have been the best choice of words here.

Again, these are perhaps nit picks, but in the end, it affected the way that she was trying to portray her message. Obviously she has been playing catchup to Randy who has a better knowledge of the Party outside Phoenix due to his current responsibilities. She should be able to depend on her team to fill her in on the local arenas, and in this case they may have left her wanting to a certain degree.

Overall, however, I enjoyed Lisa's presentation and I am glad that we (meaning the party, and not me in particular as I am not a PC) have two qualified candidates to select from at the end of the month.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Arizona State Chairman Prediction:The McCain Factor

Although this race is probably getting more press than it deserves, the lure of speculation continues to drive bloggers to comment. So here we go again.

I believe four issues are driving supporters in this race: ideology, recognition, perceived influence, and McCain. Ideology is a factor for those who are looking for leadership from like-minded individuals. For these delegates, Randy Pullen represents the conservative viewpoint, and Lisa James the moderate, even though both have professed very similar views on social issues. I'm going to call it basically even on this point as far as state delegate support for one candidate or the other.

Name recognition plays a greater role among those new to party activism. Randy will have the edge in recognition because he has been around much longer, very involved in the party at all levels, including the grassroots, and for several years traveled the state meeting fellow party activists. Of course, it helps that he has served the past few years as a national committeeman. All of this has led Randy to build a base of support over a period of years. Lisa, on the other hand, is at a distinct disadvantage here. Her experience in high level positions on campaigns that afforded her little opportunity to mingle with front-line party workers has made her an unknown in most areas of the state. Although she is working hard to overcome her lack of recognition by traveling and meeting with delegates, she is definitely in a position of playing catch-up.

Perceived influence relates to how delegates perceive the candidate to be chosen or supported by those in highly influential roles in the state party. Some delegates are concerned that the winner be well-connected and able to attract greater funding in the next election. The most obvious group impacted by this includes those considering future positions within the party as well as those contemplating a run at elected government office. Among these, Lisa probably has the edge due to support from the entire GOP congressional delegation as well as a number of large party donors.

The McCain factor is probably the most controversial of the four. Considering that Randy Pullen has been open in his opposition to the McCain-Feingold and amnesty-for-illegal-aliens bills sponsored by McCain, McCain undoubtedly expects few favors from Pullen. On the flipside, Lisa, as an unabashed supporter of McCain, would relieve some anxiety in the campaign if she were to hold the top post. While both have been accused of conspiring to work for their biases, each has publicly stated his or her commitment to be fair with all candidates and support whoever wins the GOP nomination. Now here's how the McCain factor plays out. McCain holds a level of unpopularity among party activists in the state, and he knows it, which is why he went to such great lengths to enlist Fife Symington and Lisa James to seek key positions in the party. The fact that many Republicans perceive McCain to be too cozy with the Democrats will not change in the next few weeks. Although there are many who are indifferent to McCain, there are those who either strongly support him or reject him. I believe McCain is rightfully concerned that among party activists with an attitude his supporters may be in the minority. Consequently, most of those influenced by the McCain factor will see James as too connected with McCain. And that will hurt her.

And the outcome? It won't be a squeaker, nor will it be a landslide. But my money's on Pullen by a moderate margin with recognition and the McCain factor making the difference.

Introducing. . .

We would like to welcome our newest guest blogger, Randy Graf.

Randy has accepted our invitation to blog when he is able. And has already submitted his first article.

Unfortunately, I was not able to post it yet as an article, due to ongoing FTP difficulties. We will hopefully get this taken care of soon and posted with Frank's work. Here is Randy's submission:

Report on the American Freedom Riders Rally for BP Agents Ramos & Compean

by Randy Graf

Saturday, January 13th saw a rally in downtown Phoenix supporting and calling for a Presidential Pardon for Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The two are scheduled to report Wednesday to begin serving their sentences of eleven and twelve years respectfully after being prosecuted and convicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for shooting and supposedly wounding a drug dealer from Mexico who was escorting some 800 pounds of marijuana into the United States. The bizarre sequence of events that led to these convictions ended with full immunity for the drug dealer in his testimony against the agents.

Details of the incident and trial can be found on World Net Daily

A CNN Lou Dobbs report can be seen online at YouTube

Danny Smith of the American Freedom Riders organized the event which was coordinated with similar events in 22 cities across America. The event was held at the Federal Building and had a number of speakers including Minuteman Civil Defense Corp founder Chris Simcox. At 11:45 AM the American Freedom Riders, some sixty motorcycles strong, appeared escorting Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos and his wife Monica. The honor of Agent Ramos and his wife’s appearance was due to Congressman Tom Tancredo who was able to get a travel permit allowing Mr. Ramos to leave the state of Texas

With over 200 people listening on, Agent Ramos thanked those attending and the thousands of Americans who have contacted him with support and prayers. Agent Ramos said that Tuesday is their final chance to hear from the White House. He said he will report to prison on Wednesday, as ordered, unless the pardon comes forward.

Personally I find this a travesty and a dangerous precedent. These men were hired, trained and put on the line by our federal government to guard our borders and protect our nation. They were also accused, prosecuted and convicted by this same federal government for doing that job. Within the last few weeks our National Guard has retreated from armed men who came across our border and we have had another Border Patrol Agent involved shooting, this time in Arizona and with a fatality. Hopefully these events along with’s nearly 250,000 signatures to the White House and 55 Congressman signing a letter calling for pardons will get the job done.

P.S. The illegal alien drug dealer (who has since been caught smuggling drugs again) is suing the United States for $5 million because his civil rights were violated by Agents Ramos and Compean.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Petraeus is in Charge

Interesting to note that Lt. Gen. Petraeus is calling the shots on the new troop surge, and his advice is being followed over that of Gen. Casey.

From the NY Times:

The new strategy required more American forces, and the generals initially had different views as to how large the American troop reinforcement should be.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, and Gen. John P. Abazaid, the leader of the United States Central Command, who have long argued that sending too many troops would put off the day when the Iraqis would take responsibility for their own security, initially had a more modest approach. According to a senior administration official, they thought two additional American combat brigades would be sufficient for Baghdad. A third would be held in reserve in Kuwait and two more would be on call in the United States.

But Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, whom Mr. Bush has selected to replace General Casey, wanted to ensure that he had enough troops to carry out what by all accounts will be an extremely challenging mission. He sought a commitment that all five combat brigades would be sent.

Mr. Bush opted for the larger commitment. Five brigades are to be sent to improve security in the greater Baghdad area — an increase of about 17,500 troops that will double the American force involved in security operations there.

Nice to see that the new approach appears to be more than window dressing.

Update 1: A pretty good explanation of the strategy and it's ramifications from Hugh Hewitt's site.

Update 2: and for local coverage from the other side. Keep in mind that this was posted before Bush's speech.

And yes, I realize that I am way behind, I still have some other dated articles coming in addition to my hopeful roundup of the Lisa James Luncheon tomorrow.

Randy Pullen's Profile


1. Win Elections. Take back 7 seats (or more) in the legislature, 2 congressional seats, and help elect a Republican President in 2008.
2. Build a stronger Republican state party from bottom to top. This includes improving our campaign tools and resources at the county and state levels as well as what we provide to candidates. Expanding and training our PC base. Developing new and expanding our existing fund raising programs at the state and county levels.
3. Reestablish the Republican brand. Republicans have long stood for lower taxes, less government spending, smaller governement, national security, law and order, and honesty. This image has been tarnished and voters began abandoning the party in 2006. We need to reverse this trend by reasserting Republican values at all levels.


1. Leadership: I have a long history of successfully starting, running and "fixing" non-profit organizations and businesses. This is what the party needs.
2. Understanding: I have been directly involved with the Republican party as a volunteer at the district, county, state and national levels over the past 8 years. During this time, I have had the opportunity to meet many good Republicans and have learned a great deal about the good, the bad and the ugly of Republican politics. I will apply this knowledge and my experience to strengthen and improve the state party.
3. Commitment. Being Chairman is a full time job, and I intend to treat it as such. I am committed to uniting the party. This will require a lot of work mending fences between the grassroots and state leadership. There is a lack of trust, which needs to be restored. I am committed to communicating to PCs and district and county leadership.


1. Elect Republicans.
2. Elect Republicans.
3. Build a great party.


1. Precinct Committeeman, 1999 to Present
2. Co-Chairman, 2000 AZGOP Finance Committee
3. Precinct Captain 2004 to present
4. State Committeeman, 2004 and 2006
5. Alternate Delegate to the 2004 convention
6. Member at Large, Maricopa County Executive Guidance Committee 2004 to 2005
7. Republican National Committeeman 2004 to present


1. Chairman of Yes on Prop 200, Protect Arizona Now, raised $750,000 to place it on the ballot, won decisive victory at the polls in 2004, and have led and continue to lead in the defense of Prop 200 in state and federal courts.
2. Brought the issue of illegal immigration to the national level by passing a resolution unanimously at the RNC last summer calling for securing the border with all means available and implementing workplace enforcement.
3. Lost twice as Phoenix majorial candidate, 1999 and 2003. Lessons learned have been invaluable.
4. Have put 10,000 miles a year on my car over the past 3 years attending Republican events around the state meeting, listening to and working with the grassroots.
5. Helped in the campaigns of Republican candidates as a volunteer or fund raising in each of the last four election cycles.


1. Grew up and went to school in Phoenix, Arizona.
2. Married to Katherine (definitely got lucky here).
3. Raised five kids who think they know more than me and their mother (the older ones are beginning to admit we may know at least as much as they do).
4. Succesfull career as a CPA and Partner with the largest acounting firm in the world, Deloitte & Touche.
5. Started and fund several successful businesses over the past 15 years.


1. Like to play golf, but don't have time.
2. Like to fish and find time.
3. Believe old dogs can learn new tricks.

Lisa James Profile


1. Happy Marriage between the Grassroots and the Donors
2. Recruit and train PC’s and volunteers to register and turn out Republicans
3. Recruit and train candidates


1. Proven track record of bringing grassroots and money together as Bush/Cheney ED in ’04---record rally at Bank One Ballpark, record number of volunteer phone calls, increased margin of victory from 6% in ’00 to more than 11% in ’04.
2. Strong relationships with Republicans throughout the country—this will aid us in bringing quality trainers, employees and speakers.
3. I won’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t/haven’t/will not do myself


1. I love the Republican Party and feel strongly that being Chairman is the best place for me to give to our party.
2. Politics is my passion and we need passion to excite our voters, volunteers and to achieve victory
3. Arizona will either be neglected in ’08 if our own Senator is the Republican nominee for President making it all the more important we have a strong Republican Party to support our state and local candidates or, if he is not, Democrats will be salivating over the thought of making our Red State Blue.


1. Precinct Committeeman, Salem 6, Marion County, Illinois 1986-1990
2. Co-Chair, Winning Women 2002 Luncheon featuring Mary Matalin and RNC Co-Chair, Ann Wagner (Fundraiser for the AZGOP)
3. Precinct Committeeman, Cocopah Precinct, Maricopa County, Arizona 2006 (elected 9/12)
4. Advisory Committee: Dodie Londen Series on Excellence in Public Service
5. Volunteer: Ben Doss for Marion County Sheriff, Steve Schumaker for Clinton Co. Clerk, Frank Watson for State Senate, Ron Stephens for State Representative, Jim Thompson for Governor, John Shimkus for Madison County Treasurer, Bush-Quayle ’92, Volunteer Advance for President George Herbert Walker Bush, Volunteer Coordinator/Candidate for Delegate Jack Kemp for President, Illinois CD 22, 1988, Volunteer Advance for Governor and President George W. Bush, Matt Salmon for Governor, JD Hayworth for Congress, John Shadegg for Congress, Jeff Flake for Congress, Jon Kyl for US Senate, Chairman of No Taxpayer Money for Politicians (2003) and numerous others. (note for the past 13 years I have been paid for less than 24 months of political work—the rest is all volunteer)


1. 6 point victory for President Bush in 2000
2. 11 point victory for President Bush in 2004
3. 60.5 percent turnout of Republican voters in 2006
4. 6% voter registration margin in 2006
5. 45,000 person rally at Bank One Ballpark in ‘04
6. Chairman, No Taxpayer Money for Politicians, 2003


1. District Director, Illinois State Senator Frank Watson, 1986
2. Desk Coordinator, State and Local Governments, RNC, 1992
3. Secretary/Treasurer of Gordon C. James Public Relations, 1991-Present
4. Arizona Primary Scheduler, George Bush for President 2000 and Arizona Victory Director 2000
5. Bush/Cheney ’04 Executive Director
6. Arizona Victory Director 2006


1. Married with 4 children: Emily, Charlie, Maddie and Olivia
2. Community Activist
3. Lifelong Republican

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Lisa James Brown Bag

Lisa James, Candidate for State Party Chairman, is holding a "Brown Bag" Lunch:

When: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Where: Republican HQ, 5447 E. 5th Street

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Everyone is invited.

Currently I am hoping to attend and report.

I also believe that we are having each candidate fill out a question sheet which we will post soon as well.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Harry Reid Stalls Earmark Transparency

The Washington Times reports that Harry 'under investigation' Reid, in order to strong-arm enough Dems to change their votes, is stalling legislation that would reveal earmark-sponsoring congressmen. Since there are enough votes to pass the bill, Harry's tactics not only put him in the spotlight, but beg the question "why?" What is it about transparency that makes him nervous?

In light of the calls for transparency coming from the left during the election, Harry Reid's actions appear more than a little inconsistent—so much so that he has already generated some serious grumblings in the ranks. Not only are some of his senatorial colleagues unhappy, but his attempt to distract his detractors by slighting Pelosi and the House version of the bill didn't win him any points over there either. Apparently, not all Dems share Harry's enthusiasm for a more opaque kind of transparency.

One of Life's Great Tragedies

It really is quite a shame that Blogging is so new and didn't exist years and years ago. Just think of all the wonderful posts and comments that were filtered by an editorial board. I found this piece about the Udalls in Wikipedia, and found it a shame that this guy never had a blog.

In his autobiography Too Funny To Be President, Mo Udall describes the efforts of himself and his brother Stewart to get a dam built on the Colorado River below the Grand Canyon (a position they later opposed). A citizen, who lived in Saint Johns, Arizona as a boy, dictated the following letter and mailed it to a number of politicians:

Dear Sirs: I am an old man and I know a lot about...this Udall outfit. My father had a ranch on the Little Colorado River when I was a boy. We had cattle, sheep and goats and horses. In the bottom land we raised our corn and beans and chile and we were contented and happy. Then David K. Udall moved down to Saint Johns...and he and some other men like him put in a dam across the Little Colorado. We objected because it was a dangerous place to put in a dirt dam but they went right ahead and put it in anyway.

When it broke, it ruined our land and drowned our cattle and goats and...I have been poor ever since. They never paid us a cent for the damages. I confess I do not like the Udalls and this is one reason.

Another reason is that you cannot trust any of them. The whole tribe were Republicans and David K. Udall and his brother Joe Udall tried for years to get the Mexicans, who were then all Republicans to give them a public office. But Don Lorenzo Hubbell, who was a great leader, saw through this scheme and never would let them get on the Republican ticket. And the Mormons, who were nearly all Democrats, would have none of them. But when Franklin Roosevelt came in, some of the Mexicans switched to him and the Udalls went along, or most of them did.

However David K. Udall, the big shot, had a second wife hid out down the river at a place called Hunt and this wife had some boys who stayed Republican and one of them got to be mayor of Phoenix. In this way the Udall family can now work both sides of the street. I want you to check up on this because I am an old man and want to be sure of my facts. But my granddaughter tells me this Stewart Udall is trying to steal the water from the Colorado and I can believe it. Because this is the way it happened fifty and sixty years ago. The Udalls have been at this business a long time.

Respectfully yours,

Jose (Joe) Chavez

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Romney, Guilliani Tied for Second Place

The National Journal now shows Mitt and Rudy tied for second place, Romney boosted, no doubt, by his phenomenal one-day wonder in fundraising. In the article, Marc Ambinder hints that Brownback's campaign is drafting Romney's and enjoying a bit of a lift while managing to avoid attracting the attention of McCain which leaves Romney to take the frontline hits.

James, Pullen Tout Their Supporters

As one would expect, both Arizona state GOP chairman candidates, Lisa James and Randy Pullen, have posted on their webistes a list of supporters. Both show an impressive mix that includes state delegates and non-state delegates. Of course, those that can vote are, ultimately, the only ones that matter. Notable is the mix of supporters from a variety of philosophical camps showing up in both lists suggesting the race may be transcending philosophy in favor of more pragmatic concerns.

Lisa's list is more difficult to read since supporters, delegates and non-delegates, are jumbled together. Randy's list distinguishes the two. Someone fascinated with personality typing characteristic of the handwriting analysis genre, might suggest this reveals something about their personalities—Lisa's more open, freer style consistent with a career in advertising versus Randy, the more structured, calculating business type. But don't look for anything serious about that on this site.

For interest sake, at the time of this posting Lisa James website shows a total of 158 supporters. Randy Pullen's site lists 63 non-delegates and 272 delegates. It would be silly to draw too many conclusions from this, but the lists are impressive, nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Reaches Seven

Jim Gilmore, former Governor of Virginia is now the seventh GOP hopeful to form an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2008 joining former Governor of Wisconsin Tommy Thompson, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, and California Congressman Duncan Hunter.

Now it's starting to get exciting. Mitt Romney has set the benchmark for fundraising in a single day at an impressive $6.54 mil, and Gilmore is touting himself as the only true conservative in the race. Giuliani appears to be the only potential candidate showing little or no interest in reaching conservatives in contrast to McCain, who having been censured by a number of conservative groups, is working harder than ever to court conservatives every chance he gets. Although, we aren't hearing much from Congressman Duncan Hunter, fellow conservative Congressman Trent Franks from Arizona gave his endorsement some time ago.

Any more late arrivals?

Wow! Give Me A Pelosi Vacation!

News is leaking out about Congress' new out-of-this-world vacation plan. After rightfully criticizing the GOP half workweek program, Pelosi stated that she would set things right. So, now instead of working only a couple of days a week, Congress will meet a full five days and take 2-3 weeks off every month.

Just recently, Pelosi said, "The American people have uncertainty about their economic situation... They have to work five days a week. I don't know why we shouldn't.''

No matter how I slice it, I still get no better than 50%. Shell game, anyone?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stem Cell Debate

Democrats better hurry and pass their bill to use government money to destroy human embryos before science obviates the need.

Oops, too late

We have heard for years how EMBRYONIC (can't use adult or cord blood cells, have to sacrifice embryos) stem cells were going to cure every malady known to man (except global warming which can only be cured by Socialism, evidently). Funny thing that the cure is always right around the corner. This is close to the same con pulled by faith healers and charlatans for ages. "If you just had enough faith, Christopher Reeve would get out of that chair and walk. Except for in the case of the Faith Healers, they just want YOUR money, not a blank check to the Government Treasury. And you know it would be a blank check, "Don't short our funding and force us to drag out Michael J. Fox again!"

Again, call me a skeptic and uninformed if you wish, but I at least want to see some, or at least any tangible results, before we start handing out government checks and destroying embryos, something that a great portion of the American taxpayer considers a terrible wrong. Most liberals snit over the fact that a child might receive a quality education from a Catholic nun somehow using government funding, so the concept is not that hard to understand.

Now it appears that we don't have to destroy embryos to get the special magical brand of stem cells after all. Do you think this will be reflected upon, before a full embryo destroying bill is put before congress? Nope, because the purpose never was completely about obtaining cures through stem cell research. At least part of the measure was to desensitize the public about destroying embryos in general, and to soften us up for the eventual announcement of cloned fetuses (which are, at least at this point, looking unnecessary as well.)

To demonstrate this, look at the end of the article.

Dr. George Daley, a Harvard University stem cell researcher, said that finding raises the possibility that someday expectant parents can freeze amnio stem cells for future tissue replacement in a sick child without fear of immune rejection.

Nonetheless, Daley said the discovery shouldn't be used as a replacement for human embryonic stem cell research.

"While they are fascinating subjects of study in their own right, they are not a substitute for human embryonic stem cells, which allow scientists to address a host of other interesting questions in early human development," said Daley.

He began work last year to clone human embryos to produce stem cells.

So here we have the discovery that breaks the Gordian knot and makes the miracle of Embryonic Stem Cell research available almost controversy free, and he is thinking "Hold on a minute, this may throw a crimp in my plans to clone an embryo." Is this the guy you want to give the keys to the Treasury to? Scientists are not Gods. They are just as self-interested and in many cases selectively honest as any oil executive. The discovery of Dr. Anthony Atala and his fellows has the potential to upset the whole apple cart of investment, funding, and grants. Do you really believe that the science community as a whole will give up a gravy train in the name of ethical science? Do you think that the cloning industry which is so close to convincing huge swaths of voters that "cloning is the answer" will sit back as an ethical and most definitely cheaper method of harvesting stem cells is introduced?

We should at least get a good look at which politicians Big Cloning has bought and paid for. Look for Dr. Atala and his colleagues to get savaged by their fellow scientists and then we will also know it was never just about embryonic stem cells.

In Defense of Fallon

Ralph Peters of the New York Post offers his take on why George Bush has tapped William Fallon for Central Command. He surmises that is is in preparation for a larger strategy that includes Iran, where the Navy would play a large role.

Peters is an ex-Army officer for what it is worth, so he is not just a journalist trying to play soldier.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Rock & Roll Congressman

On the New York Times online front page I saw a headline that read "First Rock and Roller elected to Congress." They were referring to Orleans front man John Hall. Obviously, like for many liberals, history for the headline writer began when he woke up this morning. Is there no other Rock and Roller that he or she could think of that may have perhaps served in Congress?

Now you may think that Sonny may not have been the best example of rock n' roll, but he was certainly a lot further up the totem pole than John Hall. I actually saw the Colbert Report where John was on, and the best part was not recounted in the article where Colbert wanted the straight skinny on working with John Oats. (Loosely Paraphrased) "I'm not Hall and Oats, I sang with Orleans." John protested.

"Oh," replied Colbert, seemingly losing his enthusiasm.

To be fair, a distinction is made in the article to conveniently remove Sonny Bono from consideration:

Mr. Hall was one of many political activists from that era. But when he was sworn in as a congressman on Thursday, he became the first bona fide rock ’n’ roll musician in the House of Representatives. (Sonny Bono did not play an instrument.)

Orleans does have quite a bit of Internet cache however, thanks to their inclusion in the now famous Worst Album Covers of All Time. Hopefully the thought that went into this album cover is not at all indicative of what to expect from Representative Hall as a congressman.

Wapo article on Petraeus

Continuing our ongoing coverage of the leadership situation in Iraq, we found this article on Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus who will be taking control as the Chief General in Iraq.

Pretty interesting stuff, it appears that we could have done a lot worse than Petraeus.

Breaking News in New York

Based on multiple televised reports and the word of breathless commentators, it appears that New York is beginning to smell exactly like New Jersey.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Quiet Border Incursion

My blog was kind of cluttered, so I was waiting on somebody else to report on this, but I haven't seen anything in any of the other local blogs.

It appears that some of our National Guardsmen were attacked on the Mexico-Arizona border on Wednesday night.

According to the Border Patrol, an unknown number of gunmen attacked the site in the state's West Desert Region around 11 p.m. The site is manned by National Guardsmen. Those guardsmen were forced to retreat

The Border Patrol will not say whether shots were fired. However, no Guardsmen were injured in the incident.

Obviously, getting those men and women out of harm's way was the correct thing to do, especially if they were under fire. There ought to be, however, severe penalties for firing on American soldiers, perhaps something along the lines of air support and live ordinance.

These types of reports are getting more and more common, and I do not believe they are addressed in any of the current comprehensive immigration plans that I have seen on the table. . .

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pullen Won't Appoint Successor; Who's In Line?

Randy Pullen made a noble pronouncement at a recent Pima County GOP event stating that should he become the next state chairman he would likely not retain his national committeeman position, AND he would opt not to appoint his replacement, an act to which he would be entitled as chairman. Pullen expressed his desire that the national committeeman position be open to state delegates to elect their committeeman allowing broader representation in the party.

So, who wants it? Republicans in Southern Arizona are always interested in a national committeeman from their neck of the woods and the buzz has already begun. Mike Hellon's name has been floated as one possibility. He held the post for several years before losing to Randy Pullen in a squeaker. And, being well-respected for his service in the party could be expected to make a good run of it. Of course, he is also committed to Sen. McCain's presidential campaign, so he may decide that is enough for the time being.

Some have suggested Randy Graf who has developed relationships with a number of state party folks and national party leaders. So far, Graf has remained fairly mum about his plans and he may feel his recent election to the county executive committee to be sufficient.

Frank Antenori, who has hinted at running for office again in the near future, may have an interest since it would keep him in the political loop at the state and national levels.

Of course, before any of this happens, Pullen has to win the state party chair. But don't expect those aspiring to the national committeeman job to wait until after the state meeting to get in line. Southern Arizonans are hot for representation in Maricopa and you can bet they'll be looking to feed the pipeline.

Friday, January 05, 2007

All Pullen, all the time. . .

Despite what Sonoran Alliance may think this local political blog is also reporting on the GOP State Chair race. And while we are reporting, we noticed that Randy Pullen has finally finished putting up his website:

He does link our site, but I don't believe we are quoted.

Also, to give equal time, you can still reach the Lisa James site at:

Pullen Brown Bag Overview

I am always very impressed when a candidate enters into an unmoderated forum where the questions, people attending, and format are not controlled. Such was the case with the Randy Pullen Brown Bag on Thursday.

Randy showed up with John Rutledge (who didn't really participate much in the discussion,) sat down at the table with his sandwich from Baggins, and due to the length and volume of the discussion, it appeared to go to waste, which is a shame really.

In his opening statement, he laid out that the real problem facing the party at this point is a dysfunction caused by the leadership of the party not communicating effectively with the grassroots, and a grassroots that is not getting needed access to the leadership. This was agreed on by all in attendance (which included a large sampling of precinct committepersons, county GOP Officials, and a blogger.)

He also stated the obvious that this was a mediocre cycle for Republicans at best, and that we were simply outworked by Democrats, and most especially by the governor. He listed off the close races that could have been turned with just a little more State funding and organization that was either too slow in coming or non-existent. He pointed out that while the Kyl race was a positive, perhaps too much State time and money was given to this race. He used the comparison of a flyer. Everything related to the "KYL" race was printed in 34 font while anything concerning the state legislature races were relegated to subscript on the bottom margin. The State Legislative races should be just as, if not more, important to the State party leadership as our national seat races.

As an example of current dysfunction, he brought up the "Voter Vault", which is a database of voters organized and kept up to date which also cross sections by interest and issue. This is a great tool for the East Valley GOP, but unfortunately, it is in terrible disrepair and isn't all that useful for the rest of Arizona. Additionally, what little useful information is kept in these vaults is hardly used anyway because the gateway to the use of the information is so narrow. Only a few people actually have access. The worst part of all is that Democrats are on pace to equal or exceed this current technology, even properly implemented, perhaps by the next election cycle.

If elected, Pullen would focus on Volunteer training, team building, and communications between the various elements of the party. When asked how he intended to facilitate communication, he mentioned that he would be starting a blog as part of the strategy.

One of the questions faced by Pullen was the obvious "What can we do about what happened in the CD-8 primary?" To his credit, Randy was the first person in leadership that I have seen that actually entered into this discussion rather than brushing past or ignoring it. (note to local leadership- this HAS to be discussed, no matter how unpleasant or ugly it could turn out.) In this case, the discussion didn't appear to be too contentious. Here is how Pullen laid out some of the events:

1. The state party had no idea that the NRCC was going to get involved until the day before it happened.
2. The National party, became involved solely at the prodding of Jim Kolbe and his staffers who showed them polling data that showed that Steve Huffman would fare slightly better (about 2%) than Graf in a matchup with Gabby.
3. Nobody else in the state or local parties was consulted about this.

When asked what should have been done differently, Pullen said that he had already scheduled a tentative meeting with new NRCC Chair Tom Cole to discuss what happened, what damage it caused, and to make him fully aware of the ramifications of the NRCC's decision in this area. Of course this is dependant upon his election as State Chair.

The other hold-your-breath question came as someone asked about Pullen's support of John McCain's presidential run. Pullen announced that should McCain win the nomination (and he is the favorite at this point,) he and the state party would do everything in their capacity to get him elected. However, he believed that during the nomination process, it was the duty of the State Chair to maintain strict neutrality. He has told this to the Guiliani and Romney representatives that have already contacted him as well (which to me was the most eye-opening part of the entire discussion.) Obviously McCain has an already built in advantage in Arizona, but maintaining this advantage should not be part of the Job of the State GOP Chair.

Overall, it was a very good sit down, and I was very impressed with Pullen. There will be another of these Brown Bag discussions with Lisa James in the next couple of weeks. I should be able to attend that one as well. I'll get the details and post them for those who would like to attend and not rely on my sloppy note taking :).

Frank's Response

I guess I should check my Inbox before I post. Frank has sent his response and, as you can probably guess, he isn't too happy with these changes.

Shipwreck in Iraq

I have to state once more that it certainly is a treat to have someone with such a deep specialized knowledge as a contributor to this site. We are in negotiations to add more, but following Frank will certainly be difficult.

Bush only accepts half of Frank's recommendations

From an AP article, it appears that the President is going to replace both Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, and Gen. George Casey, the chief general in Iraq as recommended by our guest columnist Frank Antenori.

From the Article:

The defense official, who insisted on anonymity because formal announcements are still pending, said that Bush wants to replace Abizaid with Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific and that Casey's replacement would be Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who headed the effort to train Iraqi security forces.

Not sure where this sits with Frank, but these individuals were not on his list of recommended replacements. I would guess that if a tank commander isn't a good fit for insurgent fighting, an Admiral isn't going to be much better. At least Petraeus has direct experience with the Iraqi forces and their culture.

I'm sure that we will hear from Frank on this.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Randy Pullen Brown Bag Luncheon

Just received a note about this:

Randy Pullen, National Committeeman and Candidate for State Party Chairman, is holding a "Brown Bag" Lunch:

When: Thursday, January 4, 2007

Where: Republican HQ, 5447 E. 5th Street

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Everyone is invited.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Game on. . .

I try not to do Politics over the Holidays. Every once in a while it is nice to step back, renew old interests, and balance yourself. I have done this a few times on this blog which I believe has gone a long way into helping me moderate my tone which is largely responsible for the moderate success that we have had on this blog. That being said, I am going to weigh in on the latest Pullen/James debate, and try to remain even-keeled.

1. The Campaign Finance Angle- Obviously, this is not a public election per se, so Lisa James should not be required to disclose spending. Starting the web page was indeed a very good idea, and should make her more accessible to those who may not know her very well. I was a little frightened by the "donate" link, but I see that that goes to the party in general, so it is not a problem. My technical critique would be to eliminate it, all the same, to avoid confusion and to remove the impression that she is running for public office.

2. The James election/appointment Angle- Again, although slightly convoluted, it appears that everything is indeed above board and legal. People need to stop trying to find technicalities to disqualify candidates, welcome debate, and allow each idea to be fielded by those best able to present them. I am fairly certain that a Lisa James-Randy Pullen square-off will be good for the party in general and really needs to happen, whatever is needed to bring that about.

That being said, I must admit that things do not look good for Lisa, and I wonder if those on her side of the argument could have provided a better challenger, at this point of the game, to carry their banner. That is not to say anything negative about Lisa. She looks to have been drafted to run for this position and was done so at the last moment. This always puts a candidate behind the eight ball, and even more so with a smaller universe of precinct committee elections. In addition to the web site, Lisa has been keeping a furious schedule in visiting the corners of the state, making sure that people have met her and feel more familiar with her. Hard work, however, rarely trumps meticulous preparation. Randy Pullen seems to have been putting places in place for quite a while before his number was called, possibly looking to challenge Salmon had he not stepped down.

Lisa needs to do a better job projecting her support. At the District 26 meeting, Pullen had Al Melvin speak on his behalf. Some might have thought this a bad choice, but it did show that Pullen had the ability to have others, and remember that Melvin did win the district Republican primary quite handily, speak their support for him. He probably could have attended in person, much as James did, but this could be argued far more effective if done from district to district. Pullen can also do this because he knows most if not all of the committemen and women already and does not need to introduce himself.

If you go to Lisa's site, you can see that her support consists of Kirk Adams and The ThinkRight Blog. Obviously she has more support than this, but you will want to get that lined up before displaying your support to the world. Additionally, blogs endorsements do not normally count as a reputable source of support to post on your site, all apologies to Thomas.

Again, the James-Pullen debate needs to happen, and each can articulate their positions well. I just fear that the people in the James corner failed to prepare properly, and it has and will weaken them. It also, fair or not, shows an overall weakness in organization which is the precise duty of the State Chair.

I welcome any input from anybody from either the Pullen or James camp and will dutifully publish any articles they wish to submit in support of their candidacies, as long as I do not end up as a testimonial on either site :)