Archives for November 2007

Change is still waiting.

 

Our story about Gabrielle Giffords’ abuse of congressional franking privileges solicited a number of comments. One of them written by Rex was aimed directly at the credibility of this site:

If Sonoran Alliance writers acknowledge the use/abuse of franking by all these folks, I’ll take their criticism of Giffords as something more lofty than a back door way of coming to the defense of Tim Bee …

Challenge accepted. The best data we could find is from 2005. According to a National Taxpayers Union report the following was spent on mass mailings by Arizona’s House delegation in that year.

Renzi – $124,270
Franks – $42,188
Shadegg – $0
Pastor – $55,035
Hayworth – $55,847
Flake – $1,406
Grijalva – $0
Kolbe – $88,939

I personally have received several oversize, full color graphic postcards from Giffords that had little information and lots of propaganda about Gabrielle. The two big spenders from 2005, Renzi and Kolbe, sent an average of 2.21 pieces per address (in the mass mailings category.) Based on this Giffords is well on her way to equaling or exceeding the worst abuse of this congressional incumbent protection loophole.

The story here is not that Giffords sends franked mail. Clearly there is nothing new in that. The first issue is that she ran on a Change Can’t Wait slogan and is giving us the same old thing. Second she claims to be a fiscally conservative Blue Dog (the graphic above was mailed to my address at taxpayer expense.) Third, the press gives her a pass on this issue while over covering the Tim Bee story.

We are not covering this issue as a back-door way of defending Tim Bee (Rex, if you only knew …) We know that Garrick Taylor is a master of the press conference and we would never want to be perceived as doing his job for him.

While researching this story I found this article on the Democrats’ strategy for keeping their majority in the house:

Democratic leaders want the rank and file to do more to publicize those details, because they are concerned that the public is unaware of those accomplishments and that it will become more difficult to hype their message as the presidential race further dominates the news.

Those leaders expect their members to hold more press conferences and town hall meetings, send out more franked mail and develop better online strategies. Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is expected to keep tabs on which Democrats are doing their part to play up their record, leadership aides said.

Many thanks to the every valuable Espresso Pundit for earlier work on this topic.

Thanksgiving with Tom Horne.

I will freely admit that I spend more time on politics than I should. It sometimes even cuts into work and family time but this is really going all out for the cause. You can still be the first person to sign up for the Scottsdale Republican Party November Meetup being held on … Thanksgiving!

Giffords using taxpayer funds for campaign.

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     The cry-babies in Democratic Party and their patsies in the press are all upset about Tim Bee lawfully staying in office while he explores a run for congress but they ignore Giffords’ blatant misuse of congressional franking privileges to send obvious campaign pieces like the one above.

     Members of congress are allowed to send mailings to their constituents but Gabrielle Giffords, as in the piece above, has been misusing taxpayer funds to send what are essentially campaign pieces. In an earlier mailing Gabrielle claimed that she was a member of the Democrat Blue Dog Coalition that is concerned about government overspending. If she is really a member why does she keep misusing taxpayer funds to send out campaign pieces?

giffords wasting money.jpg Gabby the Blue Dog.jpg

The World should give Thanks to America

The US is the world’s oldest, most diverse and successful democracy.  The genius of the founders was a consititution that limited the power of government, allowing – liberals may say forcing — a free and independent people to take destiny into their own hands. 

This unleashed the process of creative destruction on the small things, but a strong respect for our institutions on the big things.  While we can now IM our pizza orders on an IPod, both liberals and conservatives argue the constitutionality of their arguments on more important matters.

Mark Steyn rocks:

Even in a supposedly 50/50 nation, you’re struck by the assumed stability underpinning even fundamental disputes. If you go into a bookstore, the display shelves offer a smorgasbord of leftist anti-Bush tracts claiming that he and Cheney have trashed, mangled, gutted, raped and tortured, sliced ‘n’ diced the Constitution, put it in a cement overcoat and lowered it into the East River. Yet even this argument presupposes a shared veneration for tradition unknown to most Western political cultures: When Tony Blair wanted to abolish, in effect, the upper house of the national legislature, he just got on and did it.

But on this Thanksgiving the rest of the world ought to give thanks to American national sovereignty, too. When something terrible and destructive happens – a tsunami hits Indonesia, an earthquake devastates Pakistan – the United States can project itself anywhere on the planet within hours and start saving lives, setting up hospitals and restoring the water supply.

That is the key.  While much the world’s elite whines about American “imperialism”, when a disaster strikes it is the US that is first in, first out with no bills or strings attached.

Aside from Britain and France, the Europeans cannot project power in any meaningful way anywhere. When they sign on to an enterprise they claim to believe in – shoring up Afghanistan’s fledgling post-Taliban democracy – most of them send token forces under constrained rules of engagement that prevent them doing anything more than manning the photocopier back at the base.

For a world hegemon, we’re pretty benign. When the US knocks off some troublemaking tin-pot dictator, or Hitler or Hussein, we don’t replace it with some Soviet style puppet regime.  We work to establish a democratic country, turn it over to the people and get out if we can. 

Back in my college days, my euro-wannabee professors would sneer America has really never produced anything greater than the Big Mac.  My first response was “that’s great! They should make food the way I want it, not the way the cook or the government wants it.” 

Of course, pointing out that individual liberty thing brought out “France was better.” 

Dear professor, our Declaration of Inpendence was signed 13 years before the French revolution, and since then France beheaded hundreds of thousands of people, saw Napolean start a Euro world war, restored the monarchy, then descended into imperialism, fascism, communism and the european union. 

Needless to say, I ended up with a “B” in the class.

Raining on the Club for Growth Parade

Perhaps you are now aware that the Club for Growth has endorsed David Schweikert in his bid to unseat Harry Mitchell.  Please forgive the interruption, but I’d like to add some political analysis to the laudatory press releases and gushing reviews from the candidates friends.

Here is what the Club for Growth endorsement means, and what it doesn’t mean.

First of all, the Club for Growth is a 501(c)(4) political organization with a political action committee.  They support candidates with pro-growth beliefs, without regard to their opponents’ status as incumbents, by “bundling” contributions from their members, and by making independent expenditures on behalf of their candidates.  I have been a member of the Club for Growth for over two years, and seldom find myself at odds with their choice of candidates.  I also share their willingness to take on incumbents that vote for bigger government.  I strongly supported current Club president Pat Toomey’s bid to unseat Arlen Specter in a Republican primary, and was dismayed by President Bush and Rick Santorum’s efforts to stop him.
Here are some more facts:

Every candidate in this race wanted this endorsement.  Obviously!  Candidates for congress want free money and independent expenditures on their behalf.

This endorsement does very little to alter the Republican primary to take on Harry Mitchell.  Far from ending said primary with nearly a year to go, it really won’t have that big of an effect on the race.

Jeff Flake’s successful 2000 bid for Congress is being held up as proof that the Club’s endorsement concludes the primary.  Can we look a little deeper into that race, and apply an analysis more sophisticated than “The Club endorsed Flake; he won.  They endorsed Schweikert; he will win?”

Look at this poll from the week before the 2000 election.  Although the Club for Growth had endorsed Flake well before, he placed second in this poll, in a statistical three way tie for first place with Susan Bitter-Smith and Tom Liddy.  Fully 27% of voters were still undecided.  When leaners were included, Flake dropped to third place, five points behind Bitter-Smith.

Where should credit go for Flake’s victory a week later?

For starters, the most important variable in an open congressional primary was solidly in his favor; the outgoing Congressman endorsed him, which brings credibility, media attention, money, volunteers, lists, staff, and a generally well oiled machine to bear on their campaign.

Jeff Flake also borrowed a page from the outgoing Congressman’s playbook.

1.  Be a member of the largest politically cohesive demographic in the electoral district (in this case, the Church of Latter Day Saints in a district anchored on Mesa).

2.  Run against as many people as possible who are not members of the largest politically cohesive demographic in the district.

3.  Rinse and repeat.

Although this district has changed and now includes very little of Mesa, Laura Knaperek will certainly benefit by being the only Mormon candidate in the CD 5 primary.  The district still includes heavily LDS enclaves in Tempe, with other Church members scattered throughout.  She will also benefit if she remains the only woman in the race, though Bitter-Smith seems poised to give it another try.  If she had won the Club’s endorsement, she might have had just enough to make it a three way race.

During the last week of the campaign, Liddy and Bitter-Smith engaged in a very nasty and very public war of words and finger pointing over an attempt to discredit Flake.  By staying above the fray, Flake allowed his opponents to self-destruct.

Historical footnote: This incident has inspired “The Liddy Principle.” In the face of charges by Bitter-Smith, Liddy decided to take a lie detector test the week before the election.  The Liddy Principle states that if you are, for any reason, strapped to a polygraph the week before the election, you WILL lose.

Flake was also a handsome, dynamic candidate, with access to big donors as a result of his tenure as head of the Goldwater Institute (it should be noted that Flake spent appreciably less than Liddy at the end of the day).

In conclusion, while every candidate would like money for nothing (and their kicks for free), the Club’s endorsement wasn’t the fifth best reason that Flake won, and far from ending the primary, that race remained very fluid until the very end.  Getting excited about a candidate is what makes politics worth it.  It should not be an excuse for sacrificing real political analysis on the altar of our enthusiasm.

Ron Paul supporters out in force.

ron paul tucson.jpg

     Tucson Ron Paul supporters had another great Sign Wave event, this time along Broadway Blvd on the east side. So many volunteers showed up that they had to spread out to cover two intersections, Broadway/Wilmot and Broadway/Kolb.

     Another note on the campaign: Former U.S. Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr. endorsed Ron Paul for president. (We do not usually take note of Congressman Goldwater’s views but this is an interesting development and has somewhat of an Arizona connection.) Below is a You Tube video of Mr. Goldwater speaking in support of Ron Paul at an Arizona event held earlier this year.

When the Club Speaks…

EspressoPundit has an excellent post and analysis on today’s endorsement by The Club for Growth of David Schweikert.

In case you missed the Club’s press release here it is in brief:

Washington – Today, the Club for Growth PAC endorsed former Maricopa County Treasurer and State Representative David Schweikert in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District race.

In the State Legislature, Schweikert was a taxpayer hero. As the majority whip, he was instrumental in passing across-the-board income tax cuts and corporate income tax cuts. On spending, Schweikert has been a strong supporter of a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights amendment and voted against his own leadership on various budget measures when he objected to excessive spending. Schweikert is also devoted to free trade, tort reform, and free-market reform of entitlement programs. David Schweikert is clearly the most pro-growth candidate in the field.

In contrast, the Democratic incumbent Harry Mitchell has voted with Nancy Pelosi 89% of the time, including such anti-growth measures as the tax-hiking, government-expanding SCHIP program and a $6.5 billion tax hike on oil and gas companies. A pork supporter, he voted for only 1 of 50 anti-pork amendments represented in the Club for Growth’s 2007 RePORK Card. He also voted for the card check bill, which would allow labor unions to bypass secret ballot elections, and to maintain onerous Davis-Bacon wage requirements.

“It is clear that David Schweikert is a tireless defender of taxpayers who will continue to fight for taxpayers in the U.S. Congress,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Arizona taxpayers deserve a congressman who fights for their hard-earned money, not someone who supports tax hikes, government expansion, and spending taxpayer dollars on aquariums, concert halls, fish laboratories, grape genetics research, and a mule and packers museum.”

Abortion party tonight!

Tonight people will be getting together for dinner at a fancy Scottsdale resort.  They will be dressed in their finest suits and best dresses.  They will greet each other with familiarity, catch up, tell stories and jokes, laugh, smile, and make new friends.  After a fancy meal and some fun drinking, there will be dancing.

The event is to celebrate Arizona Planned Parenthood, the state affiliate of America’s largest abortion provider.

Have you ever seen someone get more indignant than a “pro-choice” person being referred to as “pro-abortion?” Bill Clinton, at his 1992 speech in New York City, accepting his party’s nomination for the Presidency said that:

“Here me now. I am not pro-abortion; I am pro-choice, strongly.  I believe this difficult and painful decision should be left to the women of America.”

I’ve never understood why, if it’s just like an appendectomy, such a procedure should be “safe, legal, and rare?”  How about those people who are “personally opposed to abortion,” but strongly feel that abortion should be legal?  Why are people “personally opposed” to appendectomies?
Why is this different than opposing segregation, but leaving it up to the individual store owner?

If this is a “painful” decision which should be “rare,” and you are not personally in favor of it, why are you having/attending a fun filled gala to celebrate abortion?  This does not seem sufficiently somber, if the issue is as serious and private as you suggest.

I also want to know why liberals decry a “war on science,” when every embryologist in the world agrees that, at conception, a new and unique human life is created.  Within 8 weeks, a baby has a heartbeat, brainwaves, and fingerprints.  They hiccup, do summersaults, and suck their thumbs.

I hear there will also be awards, presumably after the glad handling, drinking, and eating of a fancy meal.  If you’re a winner, and you’re reading this, I hope you won’t forget the little people who made it possible.

Schweikert is in the Club

david08.jpg

David Schweikert, candidate for Congressional District 5, has just earned the highly coveted endorsement of the Club for Growth.

Congratulations David!

Hyp·o·crite

     Ted over at RRR doesn’t want to talk about racially insensate comments from those in his party. He has spelled out the criterion for addressing comments.

What they fail to notice is that when George Allen made his utterance, he was a United States Senator up for re-election and a possible candidate for President, this woman is an obscure politician whose highest office will be the Louisiana State Senate.

     Two words Ted – Joe Biden! Next you are going to say he doesn’t fit into your criterion above because he may not run for the senate again in 2008.