The Governor takes on 0bamaCare

ObamaCare is Wrong for Arizona and Wrong for America – Federal Hearing Tuesday

PHOENIX – “Arizona has a long and proud history of fighting the Washington, D.C. elite’s insatiable appetite for bigger government at the cost of States’ rights.  The battle over the Affordable Care Act better known as “ObamaCare” is the latest round.  Once again, the feds have gone too far. 

“The cost of ObamaCare places unsustainable burdens on our federal government, our state government, and on American families.   Further, the scheme is based on the unconstitutional mandate that every American buy health insurance.  For these reasons, the State of Arizona, at my direction, has joined nineteen other states in challenging ObamaCare in federal court in the Northern District of Florida. 

“Shortly after the states filed their suit, President Obama directed his counsel at the Department of Justice to file a motion to dismiss the case.  The federal district court in Florida will hear arguments this Tuesday, September 14, on whether the states’ challenge to ObamaCare may move forward.  I have no doubt that Arizona and the other states will ultimately prevail in striking down the most oppressive provisions of ObamaCare.  The Act is simply unreasonable, unsustainable and unconstitutional.

“The costs of ObamaCare are indefensibly high and unsustainable.  The current federal budget deficit will exceed $1.3 trillion.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the ten year deficit is another $6.2 trillion.  This is not the time for America to be expanding entitlement programs, and thereby shackling our country to ever expanding debt obligations.  Instead, the federal government should follow Arizona’s example and cut spending.  America needs a long-term plan that will balance our federal budget and bring stability to our economy.

“In addition to burdening the federal budget, the Act unconstitutionally imposes staggering new costs and obligations on the states.  It transforms Medicaid from a federal-state partnership to reimburse needy persons’ medical costs into a vast federally-mandated program to benefit millions of persons with incomes above the poverty line.  While the states previously had discretion to manage their programs consistent with the needs of their citizens – indeed, Arizona’s own Medicaid program, AHCCCS, is a model nationwide – the Act now limits state flexibility and turns the states into an administrative arm of the federal government.  It also compels the states to assume responsibility not only for cost reimbursement but for the provision of the healthcare services.  These changes will add more than $1 billion per year in costs to an already overstrained state budget. 

“ObamaCare also forces private insurance plans to expand coverage.  While some of these changes may seem fair on the surface, ultimately the costs of these changes are borne by families.  According to the Wall Street Journal, coverage changes demanded by ObamaCare could increase some premiums as much as 9 percent.  Many Arizonans have already been told by their employers to expect high increases in their insurance premiums that will dramatically impact their household budgets.

“Ultimately, the law is unconstitutional.  It represents an unprecedented intrusion on the sovereignty of the states and the freedom of their citizens.   Congress is using its authority under the Commerce Clause to require citizens to purchase health insurance or face a stiff penalty.   This overreaching application of the Commerce Clause cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny. 

“Congress’s commerce power extends to regulation of activities having a substantial relation to interstate commerce, but it may not be used to compel individuals to enter a marketplace.  Likewise, Congress’s power to tax does not authorize it to compel persons to buy specific insurance products.  By enacting ObamaCare, Congress has seized powers denied it under the Tenth Amendment, in violation of the Constitution’s federalist structure and individual rights under the Fifth and Ninth Amendments.

“ObamaCare is a key point upon which Attorney General Goddard and I differ.  I asked the Attorney General as the Arizona chief legal officer to join his colleagues in the other states in reviewing the constitutionality of the proposed law as it was making its way through Congress last year.  He said no.  Once it passed, I asked him to join the other states in challenging the law.  He said no.  In fact, Mr. Goddard recently argued that Arizona is “better off” with ObamaCare.  Realizing that Congress has crossed the constitutional line and Attorney General Goddard was going to do nothing to protect Arizona’s citizens, I called the Arizona Legislature into special session to remove his authority to speak for the state on this matter.  The Legislature, without pause, authorized me to join the multistate suit on behalf of the citizens of Arizona.

“In addition to ObamaCare’s constitutional deficiencies, citizens simply do not support the law’s mandate that they purchase insurance or incur federal penalties.  Just weeks ago Missouri voters rejected any federal mandate to purchase health insurance with the measure passing with more than 70 percent of the vote.  On November 2, 2010, Arizona citizens will vote on Proposition 106, which is similar to Missouri’s new law.  I support Proposition 106 and have every reason to believe that Arizona voters will overwhelmingly pass this measure and, when they do, a clear message will be sent to the president and Congress that this type of overreaching by the federal government will no longer be tolerated. 

“When these cases are ultimately decided in favor of the states on the merits, it will be a great day for the citizens who have the right to set their own health care policies and the states who have constitutionally guaranteed sovereignty to establish their own policies in the area of health care.”

Rising Stars of GOP – Part 1

There’s a lot of great talent in Arizona politics.  We thought it would be great to run a series highlighting some of those stars.  We’ve come up with a list of names based on conversations with insiders and are our own personal biases.

This is the first of three articles on the rising stars of the GOP and focuses on people who currently serve in public office.  Future articles will include people running for office and people not in office but should be.

In a naval sense, these would be lieutenants and midshipmen now.  But they all have the ability become post-captains and command a ship of the line.

Kirk Adams – the current Arizona Speaker of the House and being in his late 30’s, he has a long career ahead of him.  In only his second term in office, he managed to knock off the previous Speaker.  Such panache reminds one of a dashing young Horatio at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent.  We have to think Kirk’s ability makes him a contender for Congress or the 9th floor someday. 

Jonathan Paton – having raised $500,000 in his first month running for Congress, we fully expect Paton to be commanding a fourth rate 50 gun ship in January.   In civilian terms, he easily beats Gabby Giffords to become Southern Arizona’s Congressman.  And Jonathan, we know you are an army man.

Steve Montenegro – Smart, sweet-natured, often referred to as “adorable”.  He is in his mid-twenties and may be a midshipman now, but its easy to imagine the national Republican Party recruiting him for higher office. Currently taking severe heat from the liberal-wing of the Hispanic community for his support of SB 1070, he continues to work on what’s right. 

 

Gary Pierce – Serving on the Corporation Commission, we could say Gary already commands a sloop.  But Gary’s letter to the LA City Council suggesting that Southern Cal should boycott power from Arizona, gave Arizonan’s their own rally monkey.  Who knew you could gain national attention by serving on the ACC?

Michelle Reagan – Michelle is a perennial vote getter in her district.  While many conservatives diapprove of some of her votes (including the good Admiral), she does have a center-right voting record that fits Scottsdale well.  And her last name doesn’t hurt!  If Harry Mitchell manages to keep his seat in 2010 (please Lord don’t let that happen!), Michelle would be a likely favorite in 2012.

Steve Pierce – a rugged rancher from Prescott.  In only his first term in the state senate, he assumed a leadership post as Majority Whip.  Its fair to say that had he decided to challenge Ann Kirkpatrick for Arizona’s first Congressional District, he would be selecting curtains for his office on Capitol Hill.

Russell Pearce – An icon and force in Republican politics.  In fact, he is as much a force in Arizona as Sarah Palin is nationally.  Senator Pearce need only smile and choose his path at this point.  Should Rep. Jeff Flake move on, Russell would take that seat without much competition.  Heck, he might be able to take Flake’s seat now.

Of course, no list would be complete without our current Governor Jan Brewer.  She has double-digit leads against her primary and general election opponents, and national name ID due to her defense of Arizona.  She’s cruising to reelection and come January, she’ll be full Admiral and in full command of the Arizona’s waters.

Two honorable mentions are Phoenix City Councilman Sal Dicicio and Chandler City Councilman Jeff Weninger.  These are future mayors.

The CD3 Poll: Quayle leads, but watch out for Parker and Waring

The Arizona Guardian recently released a poll on CD3.  We’re guessing the winner of the August 24th primary gets 23% to 25% of the vote.  About 30% of voters are still undecided.

 

Top Tier

On the surface, yes, Quayle has the lead with 18%.  That is close to the winning number and he only needs a few more points to get over the top, but how much upside is there for Quayle?

He has spent around $1M, including 4 very nice mailers sent out right before the poll was conducted, another two mailers when he declared, and he has universal name ID because of his dad.  We have to think that just about every Republican primary voter has an opinion of him.  We are pegging his final vote total close to 20%.

Jim Waring gets second place in the poll (barely), at 13%.  Clearly his 8 years of door-knocking in LD7 has paid off, but after running TV commercials right before the poll, he has to be a little disappointed he does not poll higher.  It’s fair to say LD7 is solid for Waring, but does he have the money to grab another 10 points elsewhere?  If he’s got $300K or more going into the early ballots, he could be a contender.  If not, 13% to 17% may be the most he’ll get.  After a lackluster 1Q fundraising report, we have to wonder if Waring’s got it.

Vernon Parker comes in 3rd at 12%, but really is tied with Waring for second place.  His 12% is very impressive considering he has not spent any money on direct mail or TV.  Not too mention his base is tiny Paradise Valley, which has only a few percent of the vote and is divided up between Parker, Quayle and Steve Moak.  Once Parker ramps up the direct mail and TV to get his name out to the voting public, he’s got a lot of potential to rise in the polls (Parker had a very good 1Q fundraising so we expect a good 2Q).

Parker is the sleeper candidate.

The noise:

Being a complete unknown, Moak has a respectable 7%.  However, it has cost a lot of money to get there.  Is he willing to spend millions to climb up to the mid-20’s?

Gorman’s numbers are good and bad.  On the positive, having spent no money (and not even putting up signs until two weeks or so ago), she still gets 6% of the vote.  However, in our humble opinion, Gorman should have run away with this race.  Her voting record is great, she’s gorgeous and has a lot of energy.  Yet for some reason, she hasn’t been able to raise money.  There must be a reason…

Paulina Morris has spent plenty on signs and TV, but is only at 3%.  Like Moak, she’ll need drop seven figures to get that winning number.

Sam Crump is another person tailor made for the Congressional seat (he even looks like John Shadegg).  But at 3% and not much money in the bank, its time for him to start thinking about growing his law practice.

So who stays in the race? With a 1 month to go, probably all of them.  The real question is who is in it to win and spend what it takes.

Do Moak and Morris continue to drain their personal savings accounts?  If not, Moak’s voters may split between Quayle and Parker (Quayle reportedly asked Moak to drop out).  Morris supporters go to Gorman and Parker.  Parker could net 5 to 7 points, to Quayle’s 3.

The skinny:

The winner will take it with about one-quarter of the vote, beating the second place person by 1 to 3% points.

Quayle is in the lead, so you have to give the advantage to him.  But once Parker starts spending money (and especially if Moak and Morris unofficially call it quits), Parker could easily win.

Pamela Gorman: Driving Liberals Crazy

Its easy really.  Just have fun and disagree with one of liberalisms deeply held “religious” beliefs, such as American-made global warming, openly celebrating Christmas and the truth about terrorism.  Do that and watch the angry left go nuts.

Which brings us to Arizona’s own Congressional Candidate Pamela Gorman.  With an eensy-weensy YouTube commercial, Pamela has set-off the mad-hatters at MSNBC.  For turning Keith Olbermann into a deranged, eye twitching, head snapping, insult spewing, spittle pool frenzied, sock monkey,  Ms. Gorman deserves high praise.  Granted, the ad is a little “out there.”  But outside of San Francisco and the Upper West Side, there is nothing too extreme about this ad — especially in Republican circles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXj-4w4Reiw

We’re not sold on Gorman being “the right caliber” for Congress, but hey, she makes a great commercial!

Brewer to Obama: We will not surrender Arizona

 

Obama: More money for Hamas than for Americans

My friend Steve Schippert points out that the $600 million President Obama has finally provided for the defense of Americans at the southern border is considerably less than the $900 million Obama provided to Gaza in one of the early acts of his presidency. Gaza is (and was then) controlled by Hamas, which has been formally designated a terrorist organization under U.S. law for about 15 years.

Governor Brewer Invites 0bama to a lunch and learn

Doing what she can to solve the border problem, today Governor Brewer sent a 4 page letter to President Hopey Changey urging him to live up to his promises (good luck with that!) and help secure the border.

When we visited, you committed to present details, within two weeks of our meeting, regarding your plans to commit National Guard troops to the Arizona border and expend $500 million in additional funds on border security matters. You also discussed sending members of your senior staff to Arizona to discuss your plans.  While I am pleased the 28th has been set for a meeting time and we have reviewed a copy of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Southwest Border Next Steps” Press Release, I am still awaiting details on National Guard deployments and how the proposed additional border security funding will specifically affect Arizona (and the other Border States). 

As I mentioned to you on June 3rd, it is very difficult to have much of a dialogue without specific details regarding your proposals. I strongly urge you to request your staff provide us with missing details of your proposals prior to the meeting on the 28th.

As you can tell, the Governor wants details (emphasis mine).  This is a woman in charge!

Governor Brewer’s letter took a very balanced and reasonable tone.  Instead of imitating the shrill attacks and finger pointing of Al Sharpton, Kyrsten Sinema and President Hopey Changey, the Governor firmly but politely made the case that the state law is a reaction to the lawlessness on the border.  Holding out an olive branch, the Governor let the President know that

 

when the public sees consistent evidence of federal commitment, I am convinced the demand for state action will wane.  State and local governments have plenty to do and will be happy to stay out of border security and immigration law enforcement – along with the expenses of such work – if the federal government takes a firm and effective grip on the problem.

 

She concludes with this invitation:

And when you do come, lunch is on me.

 

Oaxaca or Bombay Palace, I presume.  But if Governor Brewer really wants Obama to visit, she should have invited him to play golf.

Here is the full text of the letter:

June 23, 2010

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for the opportunity to visit with you in person during my recent trip to Washington, D.C. As you know, the issue of border security is foremost in the thoughts of many Arizonans and Americans alike, and I appreciated the chance to personally relate to you my concerns and outline my proposed solutions.

Mr. President, the need for action to secure Arizona’s border could not be clearer. Recently, my office received a number of calls from constituents concerned at reports of new sign postings in interior counties of Arizona warning residents not to access federal lands due to criminal activity associated with the border.  These warnings signal to some that we have handed over portions of our border areas to illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. This is unacceptable. 

Instead of warning Americans to stay out of parts of our own country, we ought to be warning international lawbreakers that they will be detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We ought to be establishing measures to ensure that illegal traffic of any sort is kept to an absolute minimum, and that Americans are safe and secure within our own borders.

When we visited, you committed to present details, within two weeks of our meeting, regarding your plans to commit National Guard troops to the Arizona border and expend $500 million in additional funds on border security matters. You also discussed sending members of your senior staff to Arizona to discuss your plans.  While I am pleased the 28th has been set for a meeting time and we have reviewed a copy of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Southwest Border Next Steps” Press Release, I am still awaiting details on National Guard deployments and how the proposed additional border security funding will specifically affect Arizona (and the other Border States). 

As I mentioned to you on June 3rd, it is very difficult to have much of a dialogue without specific details regarding your proposals. I strongly urge you to request your staff provide us with missing details of your proposals prior to the meeting on the 28th.

While we await the specific details of your border security plans, I wanted to take the time to reemphasize some of what I shared with you and respond further to some of what we discussed. In essence, I have proposed a four-point Border Surge strategy, as outlined in my recent letter to Senator Charles Schumer, summarized as follows:

1.  National Guard Personnel and Aviation

I believe a significant number of troops operating with a legitimate mission set is an essential part of any strategy to secure the border. I appreciate your commitment of 1,200 troops and the promise that Arizona would receive the largest contingent. I am concerned, however, that more is required, such as the deployment of 6,000 personnel proposed by Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain for the entire southwestern border.

In addition, I want to make sure that these troops have legitimate missions that:
•       Support federal, state and local law enforcement—all three!
•       Serve as a blocking force to stop illegal crossing activities.

•       Employ the troops in a way that speaks loudly to all—both north and south of the border—that the U.S. is serious about this matter.

As part of your commitment, I also hope that you order a significant increase in aviation resources supporting border security operations on the ground.  After meeting and talking to various experts, I am persuaded that aviation support is critical to the effort on the ground. Any effort will fail absent the ability to coordinate ground assets from the air, particularly given the nature of much of Arizona’s border region terrain. 

I respectfully ask that you give serious consideration to my May 20, 2010 correspondence, which makes a very reasonable request for a reallocation of National Guard OH-58 helicopter assets in order to make a Border Surge effective.  Your support of this request can make a significant difference between a winning effort versus a losing effort.

2.  Border Fence

In short Mr. President, we need to complete, reinforce and then maintain the border fence.  In my April 6, 2010 letter to you I proposed inmate labor and other methods (i.e., purchasing instead of leasing equipment) as a means to bring down construction/maintenance costs. 

I certainly support efficient and effective Ports of Entry where both American and Mexican border officials can allow legal traffic and crossings.  Everywhere else along the border, though, I strongly believe we must have fencing and barriers that are both substantial and monitored if the illegal crossings are to be minimized.

3.  Enforce Federal Law and Appropriately Fund the Effort

The United States must be prepared to detain, prosecute and then incarcerate convicted violators of United States laws.  The current “no consequences policy” has resulted in a border security failure.  I appreciate your general proposal to commit additional resources, but it is very difficult for me to comment without any details. 

It is without doubt, though, that the current border policy will continue to fail the State of Arizona without additional resources committed to the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and detention facilities; prosecution; public defense; and federal prisons.

4.  Reimburse States for the Additional Burden of Illegal Immigration

As I mentioned the very first time we met last year, I must continue the calls for Arizona to be reimbursed for expenses we are forced to carry because of our porous southern border. Arizona and a few other states are at a terrible disadvantage in good times, and an even worse position during bad times, because of the additional costs of illegal immigration. 

Just in terms of state prison costs, we estimate ongoing expenses at approximately $150 million to incarcerate criminal aliens. While substantial on its own, this figure does not include law enforcement, prosecution and defense costs, or the enormous societal costs of the criminal behavior of those who are not even legally entitled to be here.

We are hundreds of millions of dollars short of what we should receive to relieve the disproportionate law enforcement/jail/prison, health care and education burdens we face due to our porous southern border and rampant illegal immigration. It is simply unfair for the federal government to force Border State taxpayers to carry these burdens.

Immigration Reform

You shared with me your thoughts about the matter of immigration reform and I am grateful you listened to mine.  As I mentioned in our meeting, the phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” is code for “amnesty” to many in Arizona and elsewhere in our Nation. 

Many Americans are still waiting for the reforms that were promised by the federal government in the 1980s when amnesty was granted to thousands of illegal immigrants.  Until we establish a secure border, and reestablish trust with the public that our international borders are meaningful and important, and enforcement of federal immigration law is not an idle threat, any discussion of “comprehensive reform” is premature.

Let’s first block illegal entry into the United States and enforce current law, and then other discussions, including immigration reform, might then, and only then, make sense to the public.  I am committed to a serious discussion of legitimate reform—but not any false front for amnesty—when the federal government halts the free flow of illegal immigrants and illegal drugs across the southwestern border.

Arizona’s Law

You also shared some concerns about a “patchwork” approach to policy.  This makes sense to me, but the failure of the federal government has driven frustration levels to the point that tolerating the status quo is no longer acceptable for Arizona.  From my perspective, the single most significant factor behind the passage this year of SB 1070 and HB 2162 (the follow-up bill with amendments to SB 1070) was the frustration of Arizona elected officials, and the public we serve, regarding the failure of the federal government over the years to effectively address the problem of illegal immigration.

The growing concerns over spillover violence, the increased awareness of kidnappings, the spread of drop houses in neighborhoods throughout metropolitan areas, the scourge of the drug trade and the oppressive financial burdens posed by illegal immigration—burdens even more difficult to shoulder in this economic downturn—all contributed to accelerating the public’s frustration.

I am 100% committed to fair and just enforcement of the new Arizona law. I have made it clear that civil rights will not be compromised. The first step has been educating and training law enforcement, as well as the public, on the details of the law—a step I have already ordered in Arizona.

Instead of any discussion about suing Arizona and not cooperating with the efforts of local Arizona law enforcement to address illegal immigration, the federal government should reassure Arizona (and other states) that securing the border and enforcing federal immigration laws are duties to which the federal government will make a renewed and sincere commitment.

When the public sees consistent evidence of federal commitment, I am convinced the demand for state actions will wane. State and local governments have plenty to do and will be happy to stay out of border security and immigration law enforcement—along with the expenses of such work—if the federal government takes a firm and effective grip on the problem.

Conclusion

In closing, I want to assure you that I am looking to develop a solution, not have a standoff, with you and the federal government.  Illegal immigration is a serious problem and I am sincerely committed to seeing something done to curb it. 

The real challenges at hand are about violent crime, huge taxpayer burdens, the rule of law and ensuring that our southern border does not become an open door for radical terrorists. Commerce with other countries is important to me and Arizonans—I truly want a vibrant and positive relationship with Sonora, other Mexican States and the rest of the world.  Federal immigration law, however, must be honored and enforced, and our border must represent an effective means to help ensure our sovereignty and security. 

I remain eager to receive the specific details of your proposals and to have the follow-up meeting with your senior staff.  It is disappointing that we are such a short time away from the meeting and Arizona and the other Border States still are awaiting the specific details of what you are proposing.  There is still time, however, to ensure the meeting next week is productive. 

Finally, I want to re-extend the invitation I made to you to come to Arizona yourself, visit with families living along the southwestern border and see the situation firsthand.  My prior visits to the border and the air survey of the Cochise County region have been very important to shaping my perspectives and thinking.  Governor Richardson joined me for one trip and I believe you would also benefit from such an experience. 

And when you do come, lunch is on me!

Yours in service to the great state of Arizona,

                                        Janice K. Brewer
                                        Governor

The Democrats: More focused on defeating Republicans than solving problems

They refuse to call terrorists “terrorists”.  Their response to the worst environmental disaster is to point fingers and block the Governor of Louisanna and foreign firms from cleaning up the oil spill.  Their solution to near 10% unemployment and a long recession is to give handouts to their political cronies and blame former President George Bush.

But when it comes to patriotic and law-abiding Americans, the Democrats seem excited to call them “racist” and “violent”. 

And so it comes to the securing the border.  First Obama claimed the bill would lead to racial profiling despite having never read the bill.  Then Obama lied to Governor Brewer that he would visit Arizona with a plan to secure the border.  Now we find out that Obama lied about telling Senator Jon Kyl that he would not secure the border unless it was part of “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Byron York of the Washington Examiner sums it up nicely:

…Even if [Obama] didn’t have so many other fights on its hands, it would be unusual for an administration to align itself against an American state. But that’s precisely what has happened. Soon it will be up to the courts and voters to decide whether Obama’s campaign against Arizona will succeed or fail.