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.