Long (and dull) Knives Distract From Real Story

The blogosphere is alive with reports of a coordinated effort to spend $225,000 in 17 districts, hoping to pressure lawmakers of both parties into supporting Governor Brewer’s efforts to raise the sales tax.  The group conducting the effort is called Building A Better Arizona 2012 and the consultants who designed the campaign are High Ground, who are also consultants to Governor Brewer.  Several media sources got their hands on an email that contained the plan, as well as a list of the two dozen or so people who received it, all of whom are either close to the Governor or to the BABA2012 effort.

Much of the coverage is on the effort itself and the effects it will have on Brewer and her relationship with Republicans at the Legislature.  One blog though, usually a source of intellectual nourishment, decided to take the opportunity (yet again) to take shots at AZGOP Chairman Randy Pullen, who was one of the names copied on the email.  Sean Noble’s “Noble Thinking” blog has a history of anti-Pullen bias, and Noble himself has been on the attack against the GOP boss since Pullen first ran for the office back in 2006.  The other twenty-plus people who also received the email weren’t even mentioned in Noble’s blog post, titled “AZ GOP Gov. Brewer And Team Launch Campaign Against Republican Legislators“.  Remarkably, in Noble’s coverage, the AZ GOP actually gets top billing as the leader of the effort, besting even the Governor herself, whose role in all of this is altogether clear.

Noble writes “It is stunning that Pullen is participating in a campaign that literally goes after incumbent Republican legislators when we are going into an election year that is critical to maintaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate.”  The rhetoric here is standard political spin from an experience hand.  With the entire Legislature elected every election, when are we ever not “going into an election year that is critical to maintaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate.”?  Never.  But his language is designed to imply that Pullen’s involvement is made so much more shocking because of its timing.  We could note that the campaign targets Republican and Democrat districts, which would make Noble’s portrayal of this effort strictly as anti-Republican as yet another exaggeration, except that to do so is to miss the much larger error.  Randy Pullen and the AZ GOP will have no role in this effort, and Noble could have found that out by just making a phone call and asking.  That’s what the bloggers over at Gila Courier did as part of their coverage, and its a long distance phone call for them.

We expect that AZ GOP personnel (including the chairman) are participants in meetings where the Governor and her agenda are represented and discussed.  The same goes for legislative meetings.  So we can’t say as we’re surprised to see AZ GOP names on the list of recipients of the email.  But when an email is sent out asking for “input on the strategy”, that’s a pretty good sign that the recipients haven’t signed on to anything and that the plan itself is not final.  It certainly is enough that a good reporter or blogger would know to make some phone calls and perform some fact checks before accusing any of the recipients of leading the charge.

The real story here is the steadfast dedication that Governor Brewer is showing to the passage of a tax increase at a time when even the crazies in California won’t vote to pass one.  You could write some good stories about the internal debate at the Legislature, or even about the lack of support that the tax hike is getting from Democrats.  Now that is unusual.

Instead, Noble pulls out the long knives to try and take another slice off of his old nemesis, GOP boss Randy Pullen.  Two victories as State Party Chairman later, we’re pretty sure that Pullen is over Sean Noble.  Noble, and his readers, would be well served if Noble would finally get over Pullen.


  1. Glendale GOP says

    Glad to hear that the Party won’t be a part of this effort. Their job is electing Republicans, period. That said, you’d think Governor Brewer would also want to be working with a Republican Legislature? What’s up with trying to get voters mad at her own crew? Would she prefer Democrats?

  2. OK–so where is Pullen decrying this effort? If he’s in on the meetings, and he knows about this fratricide, then why isn’t he condemning it?

    He has been a strong voice for the Brewer tax hike. His involvement is assumed because of this.

    But, as this blog points out, he can distance himself from this.

    Has he? Will he?

  3. “The real story here is the steadfast dedication that Governor Brewer is showing to the passage of a tax increase at a time when even the crazies in California won’t vote to pass one.”

    Wow. Whoever wrote this must never have heard of a guy named Ronald Reagan. How courageous of her to jack up taxes by a billion dollars when over 9% of people are unemployed and 10% are facing foreclosure, with many others recently foreclosed and both trends worsening. It’s not like the government is too invasive or wastes too much money or anything. If I want to read this kind of stuff, I’ll check out the New Times.

  4. Grumpy Gus says

    She is delaying the inevitable, not showing leadership. The ballot measure won’t pass, and then they’ll be forced all over again to cut spending. They will then take on entitlements, and end up in court. It will take a long time, so she should get started now, not the day after the election.

  5. AZGOPgal says

    Could it be that the base that supported Pullen (ahem, many of the SA bloggers and commenters) is not willing to accept that their great leader just may be closely tied with the effort? It would most certainly call for the pedestal that Pullen has been put on to be brought down. Believe it. If he wasn’t in the loop, involved and supportive, they wouldn’t bother including him on the email.
    I’m with Rellis in asking – where is Pullen decrying this effort? I will be surprised if there is one.
    Maybe now people will recognize that Pullen isn’t all they made him out to be. Shocker.

  6. AZGOPgal says

    If I could also point out that Pullen and Mecum’s emails are in the “to” column. Not merely copied. And the email is addressing the “team”. That, to me, suggests involvement. And as someone pointed out, if the memo is dated the 26th…why are we here, 3 days later, with no response from Pullen?

  7. The amazing thing here is that there are people out there who fail to see that raising taxes in a recession is less popular than ever. In other times tax increases were absorbed and overall continued prosperity made their effects nearly invisible. With many people laid off (who can’t charge their expenses off the to future), to people who clearly see that they might be in the same boat 3 months from now, to people who always knew that higher taxes means a lower standard of living for everybody but direct government beneficiaries the number of people who can be hoodwinked by government promises is steadily dwindling away. I think the question come November 2010 won’t be if Jan Brewer will be running for Governor but which savvy Republican will light the torch of inspiration across Arizona with a cry to limit government and limit taxes and proclaim freedom to be the purpose governments are instituted, not continued government education programs.
    Arizona Constitution article 2 section 2: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights. “

  8. Glendale GOP says

    AZRep, I think you’re misreading the post. I don’t read the author as being pro-tax increase, I think he/she is pointing out the determination/commitment/single-mindedness of her pursuit of a tax increase in the face of mounting evidence that nobody wants it. Just my two cents.

  9. From the Capitol Times story on this:

    Republican Party Executive Director Brett Mecum, who received a copy of the memo, said the party would not support a plan that attacks Republican lawmakers, though he noted the strategy in the memo is advocacy, and not negative. But he said the party should stay out of the campaign altogether.

    “From my standpoint, it’s not something I would bring the state party into,” he said. “It’s not my purview to be pushing the budget one way or another.”

    So there you have it, the AZGOP’s position on it. Any chance Sean Noble will be printing a retraction or correction? I kind of doubt it.

  10. Grumpy Gus says

    Mecum, please call Pullen. Get your stories straight. Pullen endorsed Brewer’s plan to hike taxes. Now you’re contradicting that. Who are we supposed to believe?

  11. Oberserve says

    Fact: Noble SUPPORTS Brewer’s tax increase.

    So, this fake attack against Randy is nothing but that. Fake. Make by a liar.

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