Moore in Arizona for Taxpayers

Stephen Moore

The Arizona Federation of Taxpayers held its annual award luncheon today featuring keynote Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal Editorialists and founder of the Club for Growth. (AFTA is the sponsoring organization for the Arizona Taxpayer Action Committee, a political action committee for which I serve as Treasurer.)

The event was well attended by many taxpayer-friendly elected officials and activists from across the state. Even blogger extroardinnaire, Greg Patterson of Espresso Pundit, was in attendance and has posted his observations on the event.

Several awards were handed out including the “Oops on You Award” which went to Janet Napolitano for vetoing taxpayer-friendly bills. The worst legislator of the year award went to the bottom of the food chain of taxpayer-friendly Democrats, Oliva Cajero-Bedford. Kyrsten Sinema would have won the award again this year if she had not been in an automobile accident that kept her from voting against AFTA-supported legislation. Now that she’s been re-elected by the Peoples Republic of District 15, she’ll probably be working to reclaim her title in 2007.

This year’s top three legislators also received awards. Outgoing State Representative Colette Rosati, who deserved to win her Senate primary against RINO Carolyn Allen in LD 8, received the third-place award followed by State Senator Jack Harper from LD 4. But the top friend of the taxpayer champion award for 2006 went to Senator Ron Gould of Lake Havasu (LD 3).

Keynote speaker, Stephen Moore, spoke on the recent elections and posed the plaguing and penetrating question, “Will Republicans learn their lesson?” Moore further detailed how the ascendency of the GOP was driven by principles in 1994 but since 2000, Republicans began to act less like conservatives. In the last six years, the federal budget has increased $900 Billion or 49.6 %; The Department of Education budget has doubled from $25 billion to $50 billion and; earmark projects have grown from 1,500 in 1995 to 15,000 in 2006! Moore asserted that this was one of the major reasons why the voters gave the GOP the boot on November 7th and elected conservative Democrats in traditionally “red districts.”

But Moore’s speech also gave a prescription which was well received: 1) Reform the tax system, 2) Clean up the corruption, 3) Cut government spending as much as possible, 4) Promote free trade and; 5) Pass voucher-based educational reforms. If the GOP takes this advice it will prove that it has learned its November 7th lesson and regain control of the legislative branch in elections ahead.

One interesting anecdote that Moore referred to was President Reagan’s first cabinet meeting. When Ronald Reagan had gathered all the new cabinet members in the West Wing of the White House he waited until the room fell silent, stood up and made the following statement, “Gentlemen and ladies, I hate inflation, I hate taxes, and I hate Communism. Do something about it.” He then walked out of the room and as you all know, the rest is history.

At the end of Moore’s speech, he took a few questions from the audience which included his speculation on the 2008 Presidential race. He conceeded that Hillary Clinton has locked up the Democratic nomination as she has gained the support of trial lawyers and labor unions. He then mentioned several names which brought about interesting reactions. Mitt Romney seemed the most innocuous while Rudy Giuliani brought on a “not conservative enough” reaction. Most favorable was the name of Newt Gingrich who engineered the GOP takeover in 1994. Apparently, a majority of the crowd thought we need to get back on the reform bandwagon.

But the name that brought about the most vehement political gag reflex was none other than Arizona Senator John McCain. Not one person in the crowd of nearly 200 raised their hand in support of our senior senator. Moore was quite surprised but the moment was captured by someone who yelled out. “We know him!” Oh do we ever.

I was quite surprised by Moore’s recommendation of Congressman Jeff Flake as a candidate in the style to consider. He was also disappointed that John Boehner and Roy Blunt were both reelected to GOP leadership when Mike Pence and John Shadegg were clearly the reform candidates so direly needed. This he felt, was a display that the GOP has not learned their lesson.

Overall, the luncheon was a terrific presentation of a growing movement in Arizona to strengthening our taxpayer-friendly climate and influencing the direction of Washington in the years ahead.

Hats off to my hard-working AFTA friends, Tom Jenney, Tom Husband and especially Chad Kirkpatrick on a luncheon well done!

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