Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Iraq Study Group Report – One Word: Surrender

Sorry for being tardy in posting. The good news is that I have Frank's new article up for consumption, after I worked out our FTP issues.

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

Update to Maricopa County GOP Vote

It was recently reported on other blogs that Randy Pullen was given a near-unanimous vote of support to become State Chairman from the Maricopa Republican Party Executive Committee with only four nay votes. One vote was mistakenly attributed to the District 8 chairman as a nay vote. My source reports that there were only three nay votes: Chairmen from Districts 7 and 18, and 2nd Vice Chairman Steve Johnson. 20 or so committee members voted in favor of supporting Randy Pullen.

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.

Local Firms React to Minimum Wage Hike

If you've dropped into a local fast food restaurant, you've probably noticed that prices at Wendy's, Blimpie and others have jumped about 30 cents. The word on the street is that 30 cents per sandwich is the cost of the minimum wage hike this coming year.

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

New Twists Complicate Dems "Comprehensive Solution"

An article in Workforce Management magazine reports a raid on meat processor, Swift & Co., resulted in 1300 arrests of illegals and 65 criminal arrests of illegals who stole Social Security numbers, birth certificates and other valid documents to obtain work. The article reports that political pressure on the Bush administration has boosted enforcement with criminal arrests up from 25 to 716 over the past four years, and illegal alien arrests increasing from 485 to 3,667.

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

CD8 and LD26 Musings

—Gabby Giffords was spotted at Raytheon showing her sympathy and support for striking workers. She didn't indicate a particular reason for siding with the strikers, just that whatever their position she was with them.

—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

General Computer Warning

When installing the latest Microsoft Security update, you may want to take special care. I have seen four unrelated Windows XP Pro computers unable to boot after installing the latest patch. Now this is not a plurality of the computers in my universe, but it is certainly enough to make me a bit suspicious.

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

Stability Within the Shifting Sands of D.C. Ethics

Shaking up congressional leadership appears to have done nothing to clean up the corruption. During the election, Dennis Hastert was accused of failing to address Foley's problems. Hastert claimed he took care of the problem at the level he was informed about it. That may hold as an excuse for leaders in congress. However, any leader of a sizable for-profit business would have been expected to squash a problem like that in short order and never allow it to escalate into anything. Instead, he missed his chance to show real leadership.

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

"Don't Stop with Rumsfeld"

The first article is up!

I will link this on the sidebar, as well as use this post to hod any comments that you wish to make.

From Frank:

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

Big Blog Announcement

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

Learning the Wrong Lessons

I was hoping that we were done with most of this, and I am reluctant to revisit the past election season to this degree, but it must be done.

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

Presidential Hopefuls Line Up: Who's ahead, who's not?

The National Journal has released its Insider's Poll results for our presidential hopefuls. Republican picks show McCain leading the pack and Romney gaining ground as George Allen disappears altogether.

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

McCain Reaction to the Iraq Study Group

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 Iraq. All of us desire peace in the region and peace between Arabs and Israelis. But it is impossible to see how such a peace can be achieved so long as Hamas, a terrorist group that rejects a two-state solution and the very existence of Israel, stands at the helm of the Palestinian Authority. We must not push our Israeli ally to make concessions to groups that refuse to recognize its right to exist.

In addition, the linkage the ISG report makes between this issue and the violence in Iraq seems tenuous at best. While I desire peace for Israel in its own right, it is difficult to see how an Arab-Israeli peace process will diminish Sunni-Shia violence in Baghdad or al Qaeda activity in Anbar Province.

Regional conference: The report recommends the establishment of a regional diplomatic conference on Iraq, to include Iran and Syria. We must be both cautious and realistic about what Iranian and Syrian participation is likely to achieve. Our interests in Iraq diverge significantly from those of Damascus and Tehran, and this is unlikely to change under the current regimes. I do not object to reasonable efforts that might modify these countries’ behavior in Iraq, but if the price of their cooperation is an easing of pressure on Tehran over its nuclear ambitions, or on Damascus over the Syrian role in Lebanon, then that price is too high.

Troops in Baghdad: I applaud the ISG’s endorsement of a surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad. Such a step is long overdue. But the coalition should not characterize such a redeployment as “short-term” or place a timetable on its presence. Our troops should be sent to Baghdad – or anywhere in Iraq – in order to complete a defined mission, not to serve until some predetermined date passes. By placing a limited timeframe on our military commitments, we would only induce Iraqis to side with militias that will stay indefinitely, rather than with the U.S. and Government of Iraq. Such a step would only complicate our considerable difficulties.

“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 Iraq will continue to suffer pervasive insecurity so long as there is an insufficient number of security forces on the ground. Iraq requires not only politicians willing to make difficult choices, but also clear signals that the government is the sole source of authority in the country. Only by cracking down on independent militias, reducing criminal and terrorist activity, and protecting the population and key infrastructure – none of which can be accomplished without more troops – can a political settlement begin to take hold.”

Not a lot to argue about with any of those points. I have never been a fan of these panels and the rush to "enact all recommendations" is just silly on its face as neither I or anybody else voted for these people. They should be taken as a possible source or recommendation rather than the almighty pronouncement of the Oracle. Obviously I have not been able to read and digest the entire thing, but my initial objections mirrored what McCain has listed here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Is McCain winning Arizona a done deal?

The views on John McCain having to compete for Arizona often drift to two extremes. The first is that he is a lock even if he didn't spend a dollar, the second is that he is in trouble.

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

Mike Hellon's New Gig

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.

Arizona GOP Troubles

Arizona GOP continues to fight for unity in the big tent extending from Phoenix to Southern Arizona. Here are some of the battles:

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

Team McCain is growing. . .

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

Would McCain Support Another Justice Breyer?

Check out this AP report AP REPORT on Justice Stephen G. Breyer:

---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

Results of the Pima County GOP Elections

Just a quick letter to make sure that we get this in before Sonoran Alliance.


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:

Pos Catsaros
Carol Summers
Heather Hagge
Dorothy Shanahan
Linda White

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. :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Rain in Spain. . .

I get it, the more we discuss McCain, pro or con, the more traffic we get. So I'm not above a little pandering. . .

This is seemingly old news, but I have not yet seen it discussed. As we have mentioned before, the two strongest opponents that McCain is likely to face are Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both excellent orators. To even the playing field, McCain has hired a speech and debate coach.

Brett O"Donnell is the national champion debate coach at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

O'Donnell, 42, has been Liberty's debate coach for 17 years. He said he accepted McCain's offer because he viewed it as a good career opportunity and because he wants to see the senator elected president.

"I would never work for a candidate I couldn't support," he said. "I've always been impressed by him. He's not a man who bends his political views for the purpose of getting elected."

O'Donnell said Mark McKinnon, a consultant to the Bush re-election campaign, recommended him to McCain. The senator asked Falwell's permission to recruit O'Donnell when McCain was Liberty's commencement speaker in May. Falwell gave his blessing.

I'm not sure if the connection between McCain and Liberty University was intentional, but O'Donnell's qualifications seem top notch.

We will try to outline other Team McCain members as occasion permits.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

District 11 Voting Results—Did Fife Upset Rob?

Tonight, the battle for District 11 leadership has concluded. Some pundits anticipated an overthrow while others remained confident that power would remain in the hands of the incumbent.

Let the speculating end. Here are the results:

Rob Haney 215 votes
Fife Symington 166 votes

It looks like no leverage for McCain in District 11. Now it's on to the state convention.

UPDATE: Details of the election, including the conservative sweep of district officer positions, are available at Sonoran Alliance

Monday, November 27, 2006

Big Dogs and District 11

Again, this is not my area of expertise, but since the district 11 Chair race has become fashionable, I will add my 2 cents.

The stakes in this are obvious. Fife Symington has been placed in a position to take the District 11 chair from Rob Haney to avoid any further embarrassment to John McCain in this district in particular and in the state in general. All of his rhetoric about holding Haney responsible for the previous legislative defeat is complete misdirection. He is there only to dismiss Haney. He is McCain’s man, pure and simple. And this is not necessarily a bad thing.

At this point I am disinclined to support a McCain run in the Primary, not because he doesn’t pass a series of litmus tests for me, but because I feel that he has one term written all over him. That being said, he is the current favorite to win the Republican nomination for President, and after that, an odds-on favorite to demolish Hillary Clinton in the General Election. This is not something to be taken lightly nor would anybody else in McCain’s position leave anything to chance if presented with the same opportunity.

Rob has taken his shots at McCain and made a veritable political living off of stirring up his base against McCain. It is one thing to take a vote of censure in a sparsely attended committee meeting and another entirely to defeat a direct challenge, albeit by proxy. This is where that old saying about big dogs and porches comes into play. If Rob feels like his words and position are solid, the challenge by Symington should be welcomed as an opportunity to serve a direct blow to McCain. Should Symington be defeated, things would get very ugly for McCain very fast. As I have mentioned before, Mitt Romney for one would swoop down and capitalize on Arizona GOP dissatisfaction almost instantly. Obviously, McCain will do everything in his power to hold the state party, as would anyone else in his position.

So now it is time for Haney to demonstrate leadership and knock back this challenge. If he cannot, then Symington deserves the position. He has certainly put a lot on the line as far as his political future, and called in a number of favors with his list of endorsements. He could have effectively challenged for the state chair, but placed his eggs in this basket which is also admirable. Should Haney prevail, he will become the standard bearer that he has always wished to become, should he lose, he will probably (and hopefully) be relegated back to the porch. Sniping does not build lasting victory.

The real question that I have is what is McCain’s plan for the state chair which should have been a much bigger “must-have” than District 11. If Munsil is indeed his candidate, it seems that he used his rook to neutralize a pawn, as I believe that Symington would have a better shot at the state chair than Munsil. None of the current whispered candidates look to be a clear lock over Randy Pullen who is most decidedly NOT McCain’s man.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Whither Len Munsil

Sorry, I have been out of commission for a while with work obligations. I noticed the Sonoran Alliance post about the state chairman race, and wanted to interject a little commentary.

I had figured that it was unlikely that Symington would make a go of it. I think he still has a couple of years until his political radioactivity diminishes sufficiently, but he will eventually be back at some capacity.

I don't really have a dog in the fight, I like Randy Pullen just fine, but I also wish that another credible challenger will step up because there needs to be a debate. That being said, I hope that Len Munsil is not that alternative.

Don't get me wrong, while it appears that the poster at Sonoran Alliance doesn't think that much of Munsil, I don't have any gripes against him as a person. My only contention is that the Chairmanship should not be a consolation prize for losing, at any level. That goes double when the loss is recent and overwhelming.

Matt Salmon was an interesting experiment, especially as his loss was by a razor thin margin. In retrospect, his service was a failure. Republicans have less influence in the state than when he was appointed, lack a coherent message, and seem disjointed and isolated from each other in support and ideas. That falls at his feet, regardless of outside influences.

Now look at Munsil, he is no Matt Salmon. His campaign for governor was nothing short of a disaster. Quite frankly, there was no reason that the should have had the struggle that he had in dispatching Goldwater, especially with the press coverage that Goldwater was getting (most of it extremely unfair.) He was set up nicely and did not capitalize.

Then, when his chance with Napolitano came, it seemed that he was entirely in reactive mode. Did he really not have a strategy in place outside of winning the primary and stating "But I am a Republican!" If he did, it was lost on me. I would challenge anybody out there (Nathan, I know you are out there somewhere) to succinctly lay out the strategy to me in a succinct manner. Janet was vulnerable in many ways, but in none of the methods used by the Munsil campaign. When the 911 Memorial story started to resonate, it became his entire message. Honestly, did he have something else ready in case this story didn't drop from the air? If he did, shouldn't it have been stronger and something he spent more time on? He had four years to gather material, and didn't look to be prepared at all.

I went and heard Munsil speak several times, he certainly does not lack charisma, nor is he a poor public speaker. I even believe he was a better debater than Janet. I would even go as far to say that if you met both on a street corner with no idea of background or past, Munsil would be the better politician. Politics does not work that way, however. Napolitano was better organized, more on-message, and built a better team. She outworked Munsil at every opportunity, and this is my biggest worry.

The major job of the party chair is to organize a winning team, and there is nothing about Munsil currently that leads me to believe that he can accomplish this at this point.

Len has some work to do, and I believe that he has quite a few natural tools to become the leader that he needs to be. Placing him in such a position right now would not be good for him, or the party at this point.

Let's see what happens come January.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Not a lot going on out there. . .

A lot of what we are working on is still in the development stage, and the actual political news is pretty sparse right now, so I will pass along a general tip you may not be aware of.

If you are blogging, or reading blogs, and need a little mood music, you should really become acquainted with Pandora.com

It resembles the "If you like x, we recommend. . . " technology that you see on Amazon.com applied to individual songs. You enter your favorite group, singer, or song and it will build an entire radio station based around your choice. It also has the ability to "learn." If it plays a song that you do not like, you can let it know that it doesn't fit, and it will carry that information forward.

Pandora is an extremely great way to "discover" new bands and songs that you may not otherwise have come into contact with, that likely to fit your style of music.

If this is new to you, check it out.

For all of my Republican friends that this helps, I hope you enjoy the review free of charge. To our Democratic friends that find this useful, you owe me a quarter. :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shadegg is denied

Well, this is disappointing. . .

The results of the GOP House election are in.

John Boehner has defeated Mike Pence on a vote of 168-27.

Roy Blunt then defeated Shadegg 137 to 57.

As far as Pence goes, I am not on his bandwagon like a lot of other Conservatives. The last time we went through this after the resignation of Tom Delay, Pence dithered while Boener and Blunt gathered support. Although he eventually seemed to amble to the aid of Shadegg in that race, by the time he came around, it was much too late. In my estimation "dithering" is a quality I don't much care for in my House leadership. Pence strikes me as long on rhetoric, short on action, even if his rhetoric is attractive.

The Shadegg defeat is more troublesome. There is a clear distinction between Blunt and Shadegg, especially as it comes to past records and statements. Blunt is quite simply a friend of earmarks and pork, and I doubt his ability to be reformed. We are familiar with Shadegg's position and record on the issue. I also believe that people needed to be held accountable for the sad state of the House which led to last week's result. Replacing Blunt with Shadegg would have sent that message nicely, without entirely disrupting the continuity of the leadership. Evidently House republicans believed they needed to double-down. I certainly hope that they come up with better cards on the next draw, because they just discarded an ace.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ouch, that will sting for a while. . .

Nancy Pelosi has suffered her first political setback since the election. Democrats Have voted Hoyer over Murtha by a 149-86 margin.

In other news, the rest of the Democratic Caucus seems to have retained a bit of their sanity.

The only real surprise is the margin was so lopsided, I expected Pelosi to fare better than that, especially on an anonymous vote.

It will be interesting to see if this result changes the Jane Harman/Alcee Hastings debate. I suspect that Pelosi will want her "pound of flesh" and will take it out against Harman. I also expect a lot more speaking out against this based on the vote tally.

Should be fun. . .

McCain's Backyard

Evidently other possible candidates for the 2008 GOP Presidential bid are sensing that McCain's hold over Arizona may not be as firm as expected.

According to the The Business Journal:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with Valley(Phoenix Area) business and Republican leaders Monday, part of an effort to build a "network of people" in states with primary elections early in 2008.

That is tantamount to disrespect. Look for McCain to attempt to tighten his grip on the local party apparatus. It is far easier to fight for his home turf now before anyone else has a chance to gain momentum.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What is a Blue Dog Democrat?

It’s a term you should become familiar with. The Blue Dog Caucus was formed in 1996 and represents a group of Democrats who are moderate to conservative on social and economic issues. Currently their membership is at 36 and is guaranteed to rise after the current election.

According to Wikipedia:

The Blue Dogs' moderate agenda in Congress has angered many in the Democratic party, as it often leads to them voting with the more conservative Republicans. In 2005, the members of the Blue Dog Coalition voted 32 to 3 in favor of the bill to limit access to bankruptcy protection (S 256). Congressman Collin Peterson was subjected to a heated round of questioning from colleagues in the Democratic Party over several votes where he strayed from the party line before being nominated as the Ranking Member on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, in what would otherwise have been a routine nomination.

One of its members, Jane Harman, is currently the recipient of a Nancy Pelosi hissy fit and will apparently not be allowed to chair the Intelligence Committee because of her stances that generally align with the rest of the Blue Dogs.

Another of member of the coalition, Dennis Cardoza, features prominently in a Los Angeles Times article about the battle between Jack Murtha and Steny Hoyer:

"Everywhere you go on Capitol Hill today, this is the topic of conversation," said Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Atwater), who supports Hoyer. "It would have been easier for some of us not to have to exercise our independence quite so early."
Pelosi may have another problem. As the crop of freshly elected Democrats — including many younger ones who campaigned to the right of the party line — came to Capitol Hill for orientation Monday, they encountered a leadership dominated by mostly liberal, old-school Democrats.

Cardoza, a leader of the conservative coalition in the House known as the Blue Dogs, warned that Democratic cohesion would suffer if the liberals in line to head many of the chamber's key committees don't take party moderates into account. "We have to try to build a consensus, and it's not going to be an automatic, top-down way, or we'll have conflict on the floor," Cardoza said.
This sounds like a shot across the bow over Harman, and there is guaranteed to be some amount of conflict if she is passed over for Alcee Hastings.

It will be very interesting to see which freshmen and women join this group. It will also be interesting as this group, along with the Republicans hold a large enough majority that they could defy Pelosi very easily if they thought they needed to. Especially since Pelosi seems to be alienating them.

We’ll see what happens. The majority whip will need to be very effective to keep all Democrats in step with Pelosi’s agenda.

Kyl wins conference Chair . .

Senator Jon Kyl has been elected as the Republican Conference Chair, the #3 job in the Senate.

Duties include:

1. Presiding over the weekly meeting of Republican Senators.
2. Implementing the tranquilizer dart gun option should Trent Lott wander too close to a camera or microphone
3. Calling Joe Lieberman every Thursday to ask if he has changed his mind yet.
4. Trying to convince anyone that the #3 job in the senate minority party is of any importance whatsoever. . .

More Murtha. . .

From Roll Call :

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Further Changes. . .

We will be adding a new blogger soon. I'm not positive, but I think he will go by the name of "AZace" or something like that. He comes highly recommended from TC and I happen to know him from my personal life as well.

Will get him online soon. Please no Hazing!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Good Reading in the Republic

Generally we were sour on the election coverage this year in the major newspapers. However, we must give credit to Robert Robb's post election dissection in the Republic.

Astute analysis remarkably free on the anecdoctal "Many believe. . ." that has become so popular among journalists. Should be required reading for those looking for the lessons and trends of the past election.

Of course I would credit Robb's secondary job as a blogger for being responsible for his superior journalism.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

And Speaking of interParty battling...

It appears that Nancy Pelosi has thrown her support behind John Murtha for the position of Majority leader.

Steny Hoyer respectfully disagrees with her choice.

Included in the Hoyer press release sent out after the Pelosi endorsement:

Nancy told me some time ago that she would personally support Jack. I respect her decision as the two are very close.

I am grateful for the support I have from my colleagues, and have the majority of the caucus supporting me. I look forward to working with Speaker Pelosi as Majority Leader.

This will be an interesting test for those who think the new congress has a liberal mandate. I wonder which way Gabby will vote?

News media scoops everyone

The AFP has a story that caught me completely off guard.

It appears that John McCain is considering a run for the Presidency.

Who knew?

It also appears that Russ Feingold has no intention of running, which I'm not sure anybody really thought was going to happen anyway.

To sum it up, those who have declared, or coyly non-declared, but winked, for the race so far are:


Hillary Clinton
Tom Visack
John Edwards


John McCain
Duncan Hunter
Mitt Romney

People are fully expecting Rudy Giuliani to run, although he doesn't appear to be putting any infrastructure in place quite yet. He is perhaps the only candidate that could get away with this. It should be interesting either way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

State Republican Leadership

I have been hearing a lot of static noise about who may be considering a run for the State Party Chairman. This may not be breaking news, but it appears that Matt Salmon will not be seeking a new term at the convention in January, so ostensibly, the post will be wide open.

To my knowledge, however, the only sure candidate at this time is Randy Pullen. Nobody else is stepping forward publicly right now.

If you were the gambling sort, I would look for another candidate to come forward under John McCain's banner, as I do not believe Pullen is McCain's man. McCain will need that extra support of the State Chair, especially if Mitt Romney continues to build momentum. With his LDS background it is possible that Romney could manufacture a sizable ground game in short order to compete for Arizona's electoral votes in the Primary.

This is not to say that there is any connection between Pullen and Romney, or any of the other possible Republican presidential candidates, for I do not believe there is. However, McCain will want to lock down the state party as soon and as comfortably as he can, and this may not be possible with Pullen in charge.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The New Culture of Corruption

Imagine if you will that John Bolton had been investigated on bribery and corruption charges and had to resign from a previous job in disgrace because of it.

Ok, now imaging that he hadn't resigned, but had been forcefully removed from his position.

How would his hearings have went before the senate when he was nominated to be ambassador to the United Nations? Imagine the press smorgasboard and the parade of witnesses brought forth to show what a bad person he was.

Well, you don't have to imagine much, because absent of these or any other legitimate infractions the treatment of him by Democrats as well as the press was almost as bad as if he had committed worse crimes.

Now, let me introduce you to Alcee Hastings.

In 1989, by a razor-thin margin of 413 to 3, the House of representatives voted to recommend the impeachment of Mr. Hastings for perjury and bribery. Mr. Hastings at that time was a federal judge and was caught on tape agreeing to a scheme wherein he would work a deal so that a pair of brothers convicted for racketeering would receive back $845,000 of their seized assets in return for Mr. Hastings receiving payment of $150,000. The lawyer for the brothers was involved in the plot, but refused to testify against Mr. Hastings, so no charges could be brought against the federal judge. Bill Clinton later pardoned this lawyer, but that is another matter entirely.

A Democratically controlled Congress, however, found differently. After the vote to recommend him for impeachment, the Senate lowered the boom and convicted him of eight articles of impeachment.

Alcee Hastings later ran for congress and won in 1996. He currently is a strong member of the Congressional Black Congress and is currently slated to take over as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, over a much more respected, qualified, and corruption-free Jane Harman.

That outrage you hear from the press and corruption ferreting Democrats is deafening, or would be if it actually existed. It appears that appointing Mr. Hastings to this sensitive position is a payback for the Congressional Black Caucus not pitching a fit when William Jefferson needed to be removed from the House Ways and Means Committee. So appointing a man known for corruption to be in charge of our nation's most valuable secrets has become a trading chit, for our new Speaker. It is also rumored that this is due to the fact that Mrs. Pelosi is no fan of Jane Harman who should take the position due to seniority and aptitude. (I would have linked the original Times articles, but they are now behind the pay-us-please firewall).

So my question of the press, Democrats, and my fellow liberal bloggers is, are we likely to see a fraction of the outrage that was and will be evidenced toward the attempted appointment of John Bolton also be applied to the clearly more egregious appointment of Alcee Hastings? Is this the return of values and above-board sincerity we were led to believe would take place? Please do enlighten me on the vast difference between the two that would cause the bluster over Bolton and the silence over Hastings.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

First Change

Since we are no longer only covering the District 8 race exclusively, I am going to add a few more links to other blogs. There are a few that certainly deserved linking but didn't make it due to not spending a sufficient amount of time on this particular race, or from general laziness on my part. So, here we go . . .

Espresso Pundit
Hot AZ it Gets
The Arizona Conservative

Come on down!!!!

You are the next link contestant on Arizona Eighth.

Please try to contain your excitement.

Oh, and Arizona Conservative, you are on double secret probation until you make your site more Firefox friendly.

Arizona Eighth Blog Announcement

Blogging takes a tremendous amount of time if done right, in many ways can be as demanding as a job. Because of this, we have taken some time to evaluate whether or not we would continue this blog after the election. There have been points where my business has suffered due to blogging constraints and I have not been able to spend as much time with my family as I otherwise would have. I know that TC has also felt pressure on his career and family.

That being said, I spoke to TC and my family about these constraints and whether continuing the blog is something we should do.

So the final decision was that "yes" this is something that we should do, and is important. That being said, we will be changing the format quite a bit as well as our scope. Hopefully, it will be a better site and allow even more discussion of the issues important to our area.

The only downside is that TC will not be able to contribute as he has in the past. He has made some recommendations of others who can fill in for him, however, and I hope to get those people as well as some others on board. Some of the people on the shortlist will be surprising and exciting for the future of the blog.

Most of all, I would like to thank the people who have been reading and commenting. I have no frame of reference for such things, but I hear that we have been rather successful for our limited audience universe. Hopefully we can expand that along with the depth and quality of our content. And that is not code for opening a "subscribers only" portal :).

Please look in frequently for changes to the blog, as well as further announcements as to the new directions we will be going.

Again, thank you for all of your support.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at arizonaeighth@yahoo.com

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Framer's Concession

So this is what it feels like to have been a Democrat for the last 6 years.

It appears that much of the polling was more accurate than it has been in the past. Just because something was true two years ago, does not make it true today. That is a lesson that needs to be learned.

Congratulations to Representative Giffords for running a strong, disciplined campaign. Just for the record, I believe that she would have crushed Huffman by a larger percentage had he been the nominee as she coopted much of his perceived strengths, and would have embarrassed him during the debates.

And congratulations to Randy Graf for running a good campaign despite the obstacles placed in front of him, both from without and within. It is a shame that he couldn't have hooked up with RT a little earlier.

Republicans have a lot of lessons to learn from this, and I want to focus on the local party for just a minute.

There are a lot of Republicans ready to draw their long knives and go after a few scalps at this point. That would be exactly the wrong thing to do. Granted, there are a few scalps that need to be taken, but that can be done without leaving too many scars.

If we need a scapegoat, I offer Nathan Sproul. As an unelected party member, there wouldn't be too many people invested in his success. His nastiness and ill-advised marriage amendment (it was way too restrictive) had no small contribution to what took place tonight. This is also reflected in his effort to end clean elections Quite frankly, he is just not what we need as the face and right hand of our party. He may not be the person most responsible for what happened, but somebody needs to be sacrificed, and he is more than expendable and was not elected.

After burning him in effigy, we should issue a mass pardon to everyone else, including Jim Click and Steve Huffman. This will be hard, but it is necessary. Arizona is slipping away so we must play smarter, harder, and do a better job with our home work. We need ALL of our players on the field.

The next thing we need to do is throw away the Rove playbook. As area Republicans, we need to focus on around 10 items that ALL of us agree on. In many cases, these will not be the most important items to us, but we should be able to compromise within the party in such a way as these ten items will look good to everybody. The upside is that these ten items will resonate. If they look good to ALL Republicans, they will also look good to a majority of voters. We cannot focus on the wedge issues that have been overused for the past three elections. We have either mostly won those battles, or they are unwinnable at this point.

Once we have those ten issues, sell out entirely to them. Pick candidates who can sell them, put them on ballot initiatives where applicable, give people a choice and a reason to vote FOR us rather than against our opponent. If someone can win on these issues, we should not apply a litmus test outside of these issues.

We can win on down the ticket if we do this. It may not be everything we want right away, but after each issue is solved, we can add another, and if the idea is presented convincingly within the party, it will win out. We need to be about ideas again, and not labels. The drubbing we took was an embarrassment and we are all responsible, RINOs and Ultra-Conservatives alike.

We do not have time to waste on further squabbling. Candidates need to be approached in the next eight months, so the game plan has to be put in place before then. This is not a time for bitterness and castigation. It is a time for learning, for planning, and for taking back more than we lost.

Democrats are now going to bear the burden of expectations. We can choose to carp at them and enjoy their every misfortune, or we can out work them and crush them with a positive, resounding message. If we do this there is no reason we should lose. With all graciousness to my Democratic friends, there is not a Mo Udall among them.

Will post more later as we wrap this blog up and return to my family.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Infamous Exit Polls

Remember how brutal and slanted the exit polls were toward Democrats last year?

According to the Huffington Post Kyl is up by 4 in those same polls this time around.

If this polling is as Democrat-biased as last time, Kyl and the down ticket should be rolling.

Monday, November 06, 2006

GOTV effort and Predictions

Sorry about the lack of posts. I believe that most of the people reading have already decided, so I have been out working among our future readers :)

Just to bring us up to date, tomorrow is obviously the election. At this point I am ready to concede the polls to the Democrats. Congratulations to Democrats on their fourth such victory in a row. It is perfectly evident that Republicans are just not built to compete in this arena and changes will have to be made in order to show well in future polls.

The actual election is, as always, a different matter, and the Republicans seem to play this game a little better.

Here is my take on the national scene:

1. Any race where the polling is within one or two points in the polling will go to the Republicans at a near 80% clip. This, however, will not apply to races in New Jersey or Maryland.

2. Corker beats Ford, however, this will not be called right away.

3. Allen beats Webb. This will not be as close as many are expecting.

4. Republicans do not pick up either New Jersey or Maryland. We are dreaming that we have a chance there.

5. In an upset special, Burns retains his seat. This has been marked as a Democrat win for some time now. I know Montana pretty well, and know that Tester is not an easy sell for the overall populace. Someday the influx of Californians may turn Montana completely blue, but I do not believe that time is here quite yet.

6. Chafee defeats Whitehouse. Behold the awesome power of the GOP GOTV. Republicans are excited right up to the point where Chafee actually starts voting again.

7. Santorum loses by 6%

8. Talent wins, although there will be more shenanigans in St. Louis.

9. Brown wins, Ohio suffers buyers remorse soon after.

10. Republicans retain both the Foley and the Delay seats, due mainly to their amazing ability to research and follow directions.

11. Republicans lose 16 seats, costing them the House by the slimmest of margins. 40% chance that one or more Democrats are lured across the aisle with promises of chairmanships.

12. The Graf race is closer than many expect. Even if he does not win, the result will be close enough that Matt Salmon will be in hot water for actively supporting Huffman and his negative campaigning.

13. Hayworth and Kyl win going away.

14. None of the positive Republican developments will be a result of the intervention of Karl Rove.

15. Liberal Democrats will find that not all Democrats running for the house are only pretending to be moderates. Many of them actually will be moderates and vote in ways sure to infuriate liberals.

16. Either John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, or Mitt Romney will defeat Hillary Clinton in 2008 with Coattails.

Fire away, and do not forget to vote.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Breaking my own Rules

I do try to stick to news regarding this particular race, but I just need to leave character for one moment.

John Kerry is a buffoon.

That is all.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sorry for my Absence

I apologize for not being around for a while. I had two posts last week that blogger.com ate during their maintenence period, including my debate review that I spent quite a bit of time authoring. GRRR. After that I was quite sick (flu bug), but I am finally back.

Let me begin with the short version of my observations on the previous candidate debate:

The big thing that I noticed is that Gabby Giffords is a lightweight and would accomplish little other than cast a vote for Pelosi as Speaker if elected to Congress. Here is my reasoning to back that up:

At the beginning of the debate, in her opening statement (or close to it) she placed her cards on the table. She brought up her shining example of non-partisan compromise. It was a bill that she said benefited Holocaust survivors and their families. This is classic Giffords. The Holocaust was a terrible event, probably one of the most evil acts to occur in all of history. However, this event has absolutely nothing to do with Arizona some sixty years later, or at least to the extent that involves legislation. Is there anybody in Arizona responsible for this action, or did not have a proper understanding of the depths of horrors that occurred? At what point did Giffords need to step in and take ownership of the State's contrition? How did this bill benefit her constituents and the problems they face now? Where does she rate this in accordance with the skyrocketing property crime, health insurance issues, or the struggles that we are having in education? The truth is that this was meant to be a "easy" bill, free of controversy and therefore tough leadership. Most, if not all of the bills that originate with Giffords fall into this category.

She then explained how she was instrumental in forming a "Coalition for Children" shortly after forming the "Coalition for snuggly puppies" but before the "Coalition for puffy Unicorn stickers." Her grand accomplishment for the coalition was pushing for all-day Daycare, I mean Kindergarten, effectively diluting by half the teacher to student ratio during the time when students are first adjusting to the school system. The victory for children was debatable, but it certainly was a victory for daycare bills. Gabby was a little fuzzy about her actual sponsorship of this bill, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt.

My impression of Giffords is currently short on substance, long on anecdotes, generalizations, and "feel-goodiness". I have yet to see a truly courageous stance on any issue of any substance where she actually led. I am open for examples, but so far I haven't seen any or been given any reason to believe that she would stand up for any issues not pre-approved by her party, or Ms. Pelosi. If any commentors wish to educate me, I am open to persuasion.

I am not even going to say much about her belief that raising the minimum age on Social Security does not qualify as a benefit cut or that Global Warming (and by association Republican policy) is directly responsible for the eight year drought we have been experiencing in the Sonoran Desert. I will choose to believe she would take those back if given a chance.

That being said, I am not too pleased that the new smear site has linked us and I ask them to take it down. My part of the party is better than that. We will run on ideas and leave sensationalist "Gotchas" to the other side. I was hard on Giffords, but this was based on her record and policy which is always open for examination and should be open to debate. Gifford's weaknesses lie in her lack of leadership, her avoidance of anything controversial, and her ties to interests that could compromise her ability to independently represent this district. I decry the personal attacks that have been made such a part of this campaign no matter where they come from.

We have a choice, and it should not be determined by whisperings of indiscretion, feigned outrage, breathless and baseless accusations, and mean-spiritedness. A lot of us need to grow up. If each one of us does not learn to be civil, even with Americans that diametrically oppose us, then what is the point of politics other than to prosecute and slime one another. If your ideas can't compete, clear the field and let someone else play. If you want to cheerlead rather than debate ideas, pick a football team.

I do have to say that for the most part however, the comments section of this site has been a classier corner of the blogosphere, and would like to thank all those involved.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Forum Post part 1

There will be more to come, but I will need to be brief this evening due to time constraints.

It was a very good debate, and definitely not a snoozer. However, to start the first installment from a different angle I want to focus on the candidate who is almost considered an afterthought, Davis Nolan.

David Nolan is a Libertarian, and there is a reason that people don't ultimately vote for Libertarians. The Libertarian platform is such that anyone can find something they like about it, in some cases a LOT they like about it, but there is always that part just waiting to poke you in the eye with a fork. Davis Nolan is a great representative for the party that he founded.

Go to his website linked on the side of the page. It is an attractive, informational website that lays out his platform. Stay a little to long however, and David's voice will start up and scare the living daylights out of you, (well, maybe not now that I warned you). It can take an other wise normal, pleasant experience and leave a different impression as you try to find the toolbar to make it stop.

Such is David's performance at the debates. There are moments that he threatens to steal the show, but then will jar the audience back to reality with his delivery and choice of examples. Tonight he was like that, telling Democrats that global warming was comparable to the Easter Bunny, and Republicans that Marijuana has never been responsible for one death in this country, even while delighting all at times with his frank, unique perspective.

So, since it apparent that their platform will keep them from ever being elected, I offer a humble proposition. We round up all of the Libertarian candidates and bar them from running for office. Instead, we nab them several months before each election and impress them into service as political reporters. Let them ask the questions and write the mainstream articles concerning the candidates of both parties. I guarantee that puff pieces would disappear, and we would actually be looking at issues rather than suspect polling which Libertarians have learned to ignore on reflex. That would provide a far greater service than what we have now, because political reporting is absolutely insipid at this point, and free up the mikes for the candidates who have a chance to win, because we cannot get enough "candidate x hates children and old people."

However, since I suspect that the country is too backbone impaired to implement this glorious plan, we will have to settle for letting them participate in the debates even as they alternately induce applause and eye-rolls.

More soon.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A little News. . .

It's been pretty quiet on the CD-8 front. Both camps look like they have gone into working mode, which is quite refreshing in comparison with the candidate blathering which is occurring in other races.

There are the two debates scheduled for today. One was held earlier at the El-Con Mall. Unfortunately, it occurred during business hours so I was not able to attend. The other is to be held this evening in Sierra Vista starting right now. For Cox subscribers, it will be televised on channel seven, channel 74 on Comcast.

Tomorrow the debate will be televised live on KVOI starting at 7:30.

On Friday, Randy Graf is having a fundraiser with congressmen Trent Franks and Duncan Hunter. On Halloween, Dennis Hastert will be in town for a fundraiser and luncheon.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Random Polling Stuff

OK here is the latest on polling for the CD-8 race:

Apparently the KUAT poll that Blog for Arizona referenced was actually taken and did show Graf within 6%. The results of this poll were leaked but never released. It is rumored that the producer who leaked the results has been fired. Supposedly KUAT has taken another poll and is sitting on the results once more. That is all beyond bizarre. But I suppose you will need to make your own conclusions.

The Republican party has been polling and has their own numbers, which they haven't called me with :) . Additionally the TAR has their own poll and results as well.

Since both of these groups are partisan, it would make sense that they haven't released their figures. If Graf is significantly behind, that would be a problem. If he is closing, I'm not sure that revealing that would be a good idea either as it would bring the DCCC back into the race, and they are sure to be of more help to Gabby than the NRCC would be to Randy.

Suffice it to say, that the Graf camp knows the numbers and ultimately saw no reason to be aggressive during the first debate. Take that for what it is worth.

Additionally a new Zogby poll should be out just in time for Halloween. It will be interesting who gets tricked and who gets the treat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A little more financials:

According to a new Citizen Article the Graf campaign claims to have raised another $200,000 since the reporting period.

Additionally the Minuteman PAC has announced that they will spend up to an additional $250,000 in advertising.

No public word form the Giffords campaign on what they have raised since the reporting period.

Monday, October 16, 2006

FEC funding

Sorry about the lag in posting. I've been out doing my part for GOTV.

As Sonoran alliance has already posted, and I hate it when those guys scoop us, the FEC reports show that the expected largesse of Giffords fundraising isn't what many thought.

Gabby has about a $100,000 lead in cash on hand. That is not near the advantage she was hoping to have at this point. However, the bigger question is "where has she blown almost a million dollars?"

Obviously, Gabby has had a strong television presence, and that has been a large benefit to her. However, she has been decidedly beat by the content and quality of the Graf mailers. It is evident that Graf learned from the Huffman contest as this is where Huffman made the biggest impact with his money. It is far more cost effective than television advertising and much more detailed.

The news that I hear also confirms that the early balloting is not trending too much in Gabby's favor, so I do not believe a large portion of her money has went there.

A look at her expenditures seems to show that most of it went to these guys. Who better to tell Gabby what those in CD-8 are looking for in leadership than a firm from Philadelphia.

Had that money been used to "flood the zone" with mailers and further advertising, I believe that Graf would be looking at a larger hill to climb. It would also have been nice to keep that money in the local economy. Do you think GMMB is a union shop?

Expect Michael from Blog for Arizona to break it down with further financial followup. He's the best there is locally for this, even if he is a bit confused with his politics. :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The McCain Endorsement

Yep, that is the news I was hearing about.

This is likely to be minimized by my friends and brethren on the left, but this is the best possible development that could have happened to Graf this week short of Gabby getting caught sacrificing puppies to the Harvest Moon (and if I were the state Democratic Party I would point out that we have no evidence to suggest that she hasn't been doing this for years.)

There is no more respected and popular politician in power in Arizona than John McCain. Love him or hate him, you better respect him. He brings tons of independent and dare I say "squishy Democrat" appeal. The beauty of his endorsement is the single group of voters who are the most likely to discount McCain are already solidly behind Graf, and aren't going anywhere.

It also blunts and almost erases any sting from Kolbe's refusal to endorse Graf. After all, McCain and Graf are supposedly polar opposites on what many would consider their signature issues at this point, yet McCain is saying that everything else matters more. Kolbe could never single out what it was about Graf that made him unsupportable. Again, this endorsement highlights Kolbe's pettiness and makes him irrelevant.

This gives Graf supporters a response to those Republicans and Independents who have been led to believe that Graf is too extreme, but are leary of voting for a Democrat. There are more than enough of these voters to win the election for Graf, and nearly all of them are McCain supporters.

Finally, it is a good move for McCain. The people lining up behind Graf are the same people who would be most likely to fight a McCain presidential run. It would be very good for McCain to be able to point out who was there to help Randy Graf and who was not when the chips were down. If Graf were to win, this example would be valid nationally, especially if it were to save the House from being turned over to Democrats.

Now it would be icing on the cake to get some type of recant from Jim Click and Steve Huffman to go along with this endorsement. Especially if it were to take place before the debates.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Update

That had to be the most depressing two hours of television I have seen in a while (at least since the AU-LSU game). I guess we will have to wait until next week for some good news.

From, the rumors that I am hearing, however, Randy Graf will not need to wait near that long.

Stay tuned. . .

Thursday, October 05, 2006

We try to stick to what we know. . .


If the last point of this post is true, we are likely to see those wacky but lovable characters from the NRCC back in Tucson.

That tip panning out would be the second best thing to happen tomorrow after the Season Premiere of Battlestar Galactica.

Update- Sources confirm that this poll is legit. It is evidently a Kenski poll with a margin of error of 4-5%. I will still want to see the internals. I hear that they oversampled women. :)

Seriously, congratulations to Mr. Drake. I hope that this will cause people to sit up and take notice. He deserves more support from the party and he better get it after this.

We now return to our previously scheduled congressional district. . .

Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce backs Graf

Not sure if this was the news TC was referring to earlier, but if not, it is turning out to be a very good couple of days for Randy Graf.

The Phoenix Business Journal has all of the details.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On the subject of Ducking. . .

Much has been made today of Graf's not appearing for the Arizona Republic editorial Tribunal. Giffords has been skipping other opportunities:

The Phoenix Diocese developed a voter guide for the upcoming election. Giffords did not answer the survey, but Graf did. Here are his responses and responses from the Giffords campaign headquarters:

1. Allow tuition tax credits, vouchers, etc. Randy supports, Gabby does not.

2. Prohibit human cloning. Randy supports, Gabby office not sure, but said she supports use of embryonic stem cells.

3. Legalize physician-assisted suicide. Gabby supports, Randy does not.

4. Prevent welfare recipients from receiving extra funds for conceiving a baby as a welfare recipient. Randy supports, Gabby office says she most likely does not.

5. Prohibit government agencies from accepting matricular consular cards (loose Mexico-issued ID cards for use in the U.S.). Randy supports, Gabby office not sure-maybe opposes.

6. Constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. Randy supports, Gabby does not.

7. Require informed consent and information prior to abortion. Randy supports, Gabby does not.

8. Maintain statewide public defender office for criminals facing death penalty. Randy supports, Gabby office not sure.

9. Make illegal presence in the U.S. a felony. Gabby does not support, Randy does not support.

10. Mandate health care providers provide morning after pills. Gabby office believes she supports, Randy does not.

11. Exempt non-profit religious organizations from contraceptive mandates. Randy supports, Gabby office not sure.

12. Simplify tax credits so non-itemizing tax filers can deduct charitable contributions. Randy supports, Gabby office believes she supports.

I bet that there is more to learn here than will ever come out in an Arizona Republic editorial, but that is just a hunch.

Finally, a stated methodology.

That poll was indeed a Zogby poll, and here is the methodology:

These are telephone surveys of [likely voters] conducted by Zogby International. There were approximately [15] questions asked. Samples are randomly drawn from purchased telephone voter lists. Zogby International surveys employ sampling strategies in which selection probabilities are proportional to population size within area codes and exchanges within those area codes. Up to six calls are made to reach a sampled phone number. Cooperation rates are calculated using one of AAPORÂ’s approved methodologies[1] and are comparable to other professional public-opinion surveys conducted using similar sampling strategies.[2] Weighting by [party, age, race, gender] is used to adjust for non-response. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

The poll was also made up of 500 respondents as shown elsewhere in the article.

Either Kenski or Zogby are way out of whack at this point as there is an 8 point difference between the two. One has released their internals, and the other. . .

Of course I do not believe that the local polls were fixed, I believed that the random sampling to be a problem with the local organizations limited funding. Do you think that either of the local polls were able to make six calls to a sampled number? Also notice that weighting was done by party, age , race, and gender. Look at the Governor race poll numbers for the discrepancy between local and national polls as well.

All that being said, this is a tremendous deal to the race. Gifford's biggest strength was her inevitability. That is now gone. If local Republicans start believing that their vote for Graf is the only thing that can stave off a Pelosi Chairmanship, they will start coming home, especially now that Graf appears to be closing. A bigger problem for Giffords is what do you attack Graf with that he hasn't already seen and overcome? Giffords on the other hand, is still riding pretty high on an unsullied image. What happens when people start asking for specifics on what she has done to secure the border and lower taxes? I have looked at her record, there just isn't much there to support this, and definitely less that she sponsored or was the driving force behind.

The final good news is that we actually have a race, so as bloggers both to the right and left, this is a good thing.

Effective use of money

If there was any question over the strategery of both the Republican and Democratic congressional committees, my wife was watching the news yesterday around noon and saw that DCCC ad.

You know the one where they attack Steve Huffman's record.

Not a big fan of Steve at this point, but that is just mean.

It also demonstrates the careful thought and planning of the national parties, unless they think that it is important to stop Huffman from his Presidential bid in 2008.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Poll Lows

Now, apparently, people can just make up poll numbers from thin air and pass them off.

A New York Times story claims an Emily's list representative that says that Giffords has more than a twenty point lead on Graf.

I searched their site and Giffords site for any mention of this "poll" but couldn't find anything. Tedski seems to have got a release of the poll. But I would assume that he is on the mailing list.

If you cannot even place the actual results of the poll in the public domain, I am sure that the internals aren't going to be forthcoming. I can only assume that everyone involved is aware that this is a cartoon version of a poll. However, if you knew the poll was a lie, why would you release it?

Maybe so you can blame the actual election results on Diebold at a later date :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Poll Magic

As I have stated in the past, the art of polling has fallen into the same disrepute as statistics. And I have some bones to pick with the two polls that have been released recently.

#1. If you do not release your methodology, it is hard to take your poll seriously. There is absolutely no reason to do this other than trying to hide something. If you are trying to hide something, there has to be bias in your poll. It is as simple as that. If your job as a pollster is to ferret out what is happening in the electorate from an objective sample, you will want to release your methodology to stamp your reliability. Neither of these polls have done that.

Both third party polls taken during the primaries DID do this.

#2. Obviously the Greenburgh-Quinlin-Rosner poll was sloppy and can almost be tossed aside in terms of value. I would bet a dozen Krispy Cremes (and those are hard to get now) that this poll by far oversampled Democrats. We do not know why this poll was commissioned, or what feedback was being targeted by the Giffords campaign that led to these results. It could have been Pima County residents for all we know. Again without the methodology, the results are almost as useful as an online poll.

Also, look at the favorablility ratings for Graf. 82% of respondents know who he is, only 32% think favorably of him, and yet 35% will vote for him? Who are these people that have no idea who Graf is, or actually have an unfavorable opinion of Graf, but will vote for him anyway? Also notice that there are 11% of respondents who know Randy Graf but have no opinion on him. This seems very unlikely. It appears to me that people were being pushed to answer certain questions, perhaps not in a specific way, but nevertheless it diminishes the sampling credibility of the poll. An "I don't know" is perfectly valid as a choice.

And finally, anyone looking at this poll with an analytical bone in their body would immediately know that Gabby is not 19 points up. That was just silly.

#3- I believe the Star poll to be more sound fundamentally, but definitely not beyond question. Again, no breakdown is listed. What I can tell you right off the bat is that women were oversampled in comparison with men. It is also telling that in the Star poll released during the primaries, they DID give the breakdown and defined "likely voter."

Here is the thing that also makes me question the poll. If you buy that 45.8% of the voters view that Border control is the number 1 issue for this race, and that Gabby beats Graf on this issue, that means that Graf has to be beating Gabby on other issues such as the war and health care in order to make the numbers stand up. This is very counter to the conventional wisdom going both directions which could happen, but is unlikely. I also do not buy that Gabby is outdistancing Randy in the outlying counties, unless the sample size of these counties is statistically insignificant (which would explain a lot.)

The over sampling of women and the probable bad sampling of the outlying counties would suggest to me a rushed, inexact poll that the Star knew was flawed, but released anyway minus the internals. "600 likely voters" is probably the truth, but you also need to account for party registration, location, et al. I doubt that this was done.

So while this poll is certainly better than the Giffords poll, it does not, nor cannot tell the entire story.

I would argue that the last valid, verifiable, accurate poll that was taken was the Star poll just before the primary. And that poll is getting moldy.

I am sure that there are others who disagree. But take notice that whenever the poll methodology tightens up, so does Gifford's lead.