As many are aware, some recent comments of mine on Facebook have touched a sensitive nerve with many people. Additionally, many have simply taken my posting out of its contextual environment. Had I chosen my words differently, or had the President offered to use the power of his office to lessen or mute the public impacts of this impasse in Washington, we might not be having this discussion.
Let me clarify that I never used the word or said that President Obama was “Hitler.” That was a creative assumption of the Capitol Times reporter, who also reported that I referred to our government as a “Constitutional Democracy.” I would never use that description because, we are in fact – through law and history – a Constitutional Republic.
What I did suggest, rather directly, was that the National Park Service enforcement personnel (referring to them as “thugs” for their reported behavior) were simply following orders of “their leader” – and I used the German phrase for emphasis, Der Fuhrer. I am referencing the Presidents behavior as indicated by his actions. The Merriam-Webster New Collegiate Dictionary defines “Fuhrer” as “(2) a leader exercising tyrannical authority.”
Consider that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) originated in the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Constitution directly states that laws establishing new revenues must originate in the House of Representatives, so the House closest to the people can decide if they want to pay for the new spending. The way the ACA was established was in direct contradiction to the Constitution.
President Obama has unilaterally changed the ACA several times, through waivers and exemptions, without returning it to Congress. A president changing established law unilaterally? Is that Constitutional or “exercising tyrannical authority”?
Consider the reports of the U.S. Park Service Supervisor in Washington, who spoke to the media and said that the Park Service was told to “make things as uncomfortable as possible.” I ask you, who has the authority to give such a directive?
Please remember, that someone in the Administration directed the IRS to seek out and harass conservative groups and groups identifying themselves with the Tea Party. Is that not “tyrannical authority” and did it not seem that IRS office personnel obeyed enthusiastically? What President of the people orders the NSA to spy on his citizens and sends the IRS against his enemies? Is this not behavior in accord with tyrannical authority?
Arresting veterans for visiting their war memorials? Prohibiting Catholic priests from volunteering to perform the Mass for our Catholic men and women in uniform? Closing businesses on federally leased land? When did volunteering to minister to our armed forces become a bad thing in America? How would you classify that; Constitutional authority or Tyrannical authority?
And tell me, how many times in eight years did the Progressive Left and the media depict President Bush with a funny little black mustache, or worse? Yet there was no indignant outrage shown by those who are today outraged at my choice of words. Actions speak louder than words; President Obama’s actions are what I have to base my observation of “tyrannical authority” on.
Nancy Pelosi has called conservatives “terrorists” and “legislative arsonists.” If I had simply said “the leader” in my Facebook post, would we be having this community discussion today? My purpose was to bring to the public’s attention the actions and behaviors of our president and his administration since this government shut-down began.
For the record, I was suggesting that President Obama was behaving as a tyrant. Didn’t the Founders of our country call their king a tyrant and worse?
The Declaration of Independence asserts that a government derives its powers and authority from the consent of the governed, and that governments are instituted among peoples to protect the people’s inherent rights endowed by their Creator. President Obama’s actions contradict these fundamental and foundational cornerstones of our Constitutional Republic.
In the most general of terms, a conflict of interest is “a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”
In Arizona, there really are no rules governing legislative conflict of interest statutes. Essentially, as long as at least 10 people benefit from a piece of legislation, there is no conflict of interest. Should allegations of conflicts of interest arise, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it. Arizona is one of only nine states without an independent organization to oversee ethics comp
It is not uncommon for legislators to sponsor or vote on bills that affect their personal career industry. When you have a “citizen legislature” it’s impossible to not vote on bills that relate to education, doctors, lawyers, real-estate agents, landlords, etc. But what about political consultants? Does that pass the “citizen legislature” smell test?
The Arizona Republic pointed out earlier this year that there are a number of lawmakers who run or work for consulting firms whose scope of work remains unclear. The campaign disclosure forms do not require lawmakers to reveal their clients, making their potential conflicts of interest even murkier. But, some of these contracts are no doubt related to campaigns and public policy objectives.
House Minority Leader and potential Democratic candidate for Governor Chad Campbell lists “public affairs consulting” for Inspired Connections on his financial disclosure form. The “About Us” page for Inspired Consulting does not list Campbell as a member of their staff and it is unclear what his role is with the firm. Other state legislators who serve as “consultants” include Sen. Al Melvin, Sen. Steve Gallardo, and Rep. Ruben Gallego. Melvin recently made news by announcing he’s exploring a run for governor.
Former LD15 State Senator David Lujan (and good friend of Kyrsten Sinema) directed an independent expenditure effort against Republicans during the 2012 election cycle. “Building Arizona’s Future” spent over $700,000 in the last cycle defeating Republicans, funded in large part by national Democratic money from D.C. that Sinema helped direct into Lujan’s committee coffers. Lujan is now running for Phoenix City Council District 4.
This isn’t the first foray in the consulting arena for Campbell or Lujan. In 2007 Campbell and Lujan formed a political consulting firm with then Democratic legislator and colleague Kyrsten Sinema. It is unclear what Forza Consulting did or whom they represented, but according to records with the Corporation Commission the LLC still remains “open.”
Democratic Representative and rising star of the Left Ruben Gallego currently has the most prolific consulting background. Before being elected to office in 2010, Gallego previously spent time with Valley PR firm Reister, and also served as Chief of Staff for Democratic Phoenix City Councilmember Michael Nowakowski. He was also the Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. Gallego’s wife, Kate Gallego, is running for Phoenix City Council in District 8 to replace term-limited Councilmember Michael Johnson.
Ruben Gallego is listed as the Director of Latino and New Media operations for Strategies360’s Arizona office. Gallego works with Director of Arizona Operations Robbie Sherwood, a former reporter for the Arizona Republic and former Congressman Harry Mitchell’s Chief of Staff.
During the 2012 election cycle, Strategies360 was paid by the Yes on Prop 204 committee (“Quality Education & Jobs”) to handle communications on behalf of the union-funded campaign. Prop 204 proposed the single-largest permanent sales tax increase in Arizona’s history and was viewed by many as a “special interest giveaway.” Voters defeated the proposition nearly 2-to-1
Strategies360 was also paid at least $10,000 during the 2012 election cycle to handle “earned media outreach & strategic communications” for the Arizona Accountability Project (AAP). The AAP was one of the chief committees used to funnel liberal money into the last election cycle to defeat Republican candidates. AAP spent almost $600,000 last election cycle targeting Republicans including efforts against Jerry Lewis, Joe Ortiz, Frank Antenori, and John McComish. They also did work in support of Democrat Tom Chabin.
Strategies360 was involved in the 2012 election to defeat Sheriff Joe Arpaio and is currently involved in the present effort to recall Arapaio. Recently, Gallego appeared at a “Respect Arizona” rally (the group organizing the recall). Also present at that event was Minority Leader Chad Campbell.
During 2012, Gallego even helped lead the efforts of the group opposing Arpaio, Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement PAC. Arpaio’s campaign manager at the time, Chad Willems, questioned the financial motivations of Gallego and others:
“This is just another group out there of people lining their pockets,” Willems told HuffPost. “It seems like a full-time employment group for these guys.”
Gallego’s reach into the far-Left elements of the Democratic Party are deep. He even served as the professional consultant for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona during the 2012 cycle, orchestrating their attacks against pro-life Republicans. His firm was paid nearly $5,000 in consulting fees, and they were paid more than $20,000 to handle the mail program attacking several Republican lawmakers and candidates.
Let me be clear: there’s nothing illegal about what Gallego or his firm is doing. Consultants on both sides of the political spectrum are involved in these sorts of efforts every cycle. Some would argue this is no different than the efforts of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House and their Victory Funds last cycle. That’s a fair comparison, but unlike Gallego (and possibly other legislators), the President and the Speaker were not financially compensated for their involvement.
Current Arizona statute provides for a one-year ban on former legislators serving as lobbyists after they leave the legislature. Specifically, ARS 38-504(a)(b) state that for one year, a former public officer, including legislator, shall not represent another person for compensation before the legislature concerning any matter with which the legislator was directly concerned and personally participated.For two years after he or she leaves office, no public officer, including legislator, may disclose or use for personal profit information designated as confidential. Further, section c states:
A public officer or employee shall not use or attempt to use the officer’s or employee’s official position to secure any valuable thing or valuable benefit for the officer or employee that would not ordinarily accrue to the officer or employee in the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official duties if the thing or benefit is of such character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence on the officer or employee with respect to the officer’s or employee’s duties.
When legislators like Gallego are using their positions of influence to help direct thousands of dollars in independent expenditure efforts designed to defeat their colleagues and change the partisan make-up of their chamber, while simultaneously making money off of these efforts, how is that not a conflict of interest?
Sonoran Alliance has obtained a recent poll that was conducted in Arizona on the latest public policy issue being debated among Arizonans – Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid in Arizona. This poll demonstrates the current attitude toward Governor Brewer, Legislators and the implementation of Obamacare. Magellan Strategies conducted the poll at the end of March. Here are the results of the poll:
ARIZONA MEDICAID EXPANSION SURVEY AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS
This memorandum is an executive summary of an automated voice recorded survey of 812 Arizona registered voters. The survey was conducted on March 27th and 28th and has a margin of error of 3.44% at the 95% confidence interval. The focus of this survey was to measure voter opinion regarding the expansion of Medicaid, the implementation of Obamacare, as well as voter reaction to their state legislator’s support or opposition to Medicaid expansion. The survey toplines are also included with this document.
GOVERNOR BREWER IMAGE RATING
Among all voters, Governor Brewer has a respectable net‐positive image rating with 49% of respondents having a favorable opinion of her, 40% having an unfavorable opinion of her, and 11% being undecided or not having an opinion. She is more popular among male voters than female voters, with 53% of men having a favorable opinion of her compared to 46% of women having a favorable opinion of her. Among senior voters aged 65 or older, 52% have a favorable opinion of her and 39% have an unfavorable opinion of her.
VOTER SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION FOR THE EXPANSION OF MEDICAID
When voters are asked if they support Governor Brewer’s proposal to expand Medicaid in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014, we find opinion almost evenly split. Among all respondents, 41% support the expansion of Medicaid, 37% oppose expansion, and 22% are either unsure or have no opinion about the issue. There are significant differences in support for expansion by party, with only 25% of Republicans supporting expansion compared to 62% of Democrats supporting expansion. “Independent” voters are split on the issue with 37% supporting expansion, 35% opposing expansion, and 28% are either unsure or have no opinion about the issue. The following table shows Medicaid expansion support and opposition by voter subgroup.
“As you may know, Governor Brewer has proposed the expansion of Medicaid in Arizona in order to fully implement the federal government’s health care system in 2014. Knowing this, do you support or oppose the expansion of Medicaid in order to implement the federal government’s health care system?”
ARIZONA VOTER SUPPORT FOR FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF OBAMACARE
When comparing voter support for Medicaid expansion to the full implementation of Obamacare, it is clear the full implementation of Obamacare has far less support than Medicaid expansion. While the issue of Medicaid expansion is nearly split among Arizona voters (41% support/37% oppose), 58% of all voters oppose the full implementation of Obamacare and a majority of those voters, 51%, strongly oppose the full implementation of Obamacare. Looking at the responses to this question by party, a whopping 87% of Republican voters oppose the full implementation of Obamacare and only 10% support it. Among Democrat voters, a plurality of 44% support full implementation of Obamacare and 35% oppose it. Among independent voters, two thirds, or 62%, oppose full implementation of Obamacare and 34% support full implementation.
VOTER SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATORS WHO VOTE TO EXPAND MEDICAID
To measure voter reactions if their state legislator voted to expand Medicaid, the following question was asked:
“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for the expansion of Medicaid?”
Not surprisingly, 63% of Republican voters would be less likely to vote for their state legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid and only 17% would be more likely to vote for their state legislator. Among Democrat voters, a plurality, or 47%, would be more likely to vote for their legislator if their legislator voted to expand Medicaid, and 30% would be less likely. Among independent voters, 28% would be more likely to vote for their legislator, 34% would be less likely and 38% were either unsure or did not have an opinion.
VOTER SUPPORT FOR TAX INCREASE TO FUND MEDICAID EXPANSION
In addition to measuring voter’s reactions toward their state legislators if they voted to expand Medicaid, the survey tested voter reaction for a tax increase on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid. As the data in the table below indicates, voters do not want their legislators supporting a new tax on hospitals to fund Medicaid. Among all respondents, 57% would be less likely to vote for their state legislator, and among Republican voters, 72% would be less likely to vote for their legislator.
“Would you be more or less likely to vote to reelect your state legislator if they voted for a new tax on hospitals to fund the expansion of Medicaid?”
Among all Arizona voters, 41% support Governor Brewer’s effort to expand Medicaid in order to implement the federal government’s health care system by 2014, and 37% of voters oppose it. Among Republican voters, 57% oppose expansion and only 25% support it. In addition, 63% of Republican respondents indicated that they would be less likely to vote for their state legislator if they voted to expand Medicaid. These two data points should be a cause for concern among Republican legislators when considering how to vote on this issue. Republican legislators that support Medicaid expansion could make themselves vulnerable to a primary challenge.
Bill Clinton is coming to Arizona Wednesday to try to make the state’s voters forget that Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi now run the Democratic Party. Playing on the American people’s nostalgia – and short memories – Clinton is coming to Arizona hoping to boost Richard Carmona with a joint visit to Tempe, where the Tucson Democrat and Obama Mini-me is particularly weak.
But Tempe happens to be part of Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District, where extreme liberal Democrat and criminal defense lawyer Kyrsten Sinema is running against Vernon Parker, a mainstream candidate with a track record of working across party lines.
The problem is Bill Clinton and Kyrsten Sinema have an extremely rocky history, which will make for ONE AWKWARD EVENING IN ARIZONA.
Top Eight AWKWARD differences between Bill Clinton and Kyrsten Sinema
1. Just a few months ago, Bill Clinton assessed Sinema’s record, then decided to endorse a less extreme candidate in her Democratic Primary. But even with his endorsement, the candidate he backed lost. (Don’t tell Rubberstamp Rich Carmona.)
2. In 2008, Sinema endorsed not one, but TWO candidates against Hillary Clinton, Bill’s wife, in the Democratic Primaries for President. Sinema’s Anybody But Clinton strategy succeeded.
3. In 2000, Sinema backed radical Ralph Nader over liberal Al Gore, Clinton’s Vice President, and ran for office (unsuccessfully) against the Democrats in both 2001 and 2002 because she believed the Democrats “had moved too far to the center.” That’s the first time before or since anyone ever called Al Gore too moderate.
4. In her 2009 book, a how-to guide for left-wing community organizers to sound more reasonable, Sinema took a shot at Hillary Clinton, writing: “Letting go of outcomes is really hard to do at first. Some people liken their great solutions to their firstborn children and treat them as such. (Think Hillary Clinton and health care, circa 1993.)” Ouch. ["Unite and Conquer: How to build coalitions that win - and last," by Kyrsten Sinema (2009) Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, page 89.]
5. Clinton put the Democratic Leadership Council on the map, to move the Democratic Party away from the Fringe Left. Sinema is a big-wig at the Center for Progressive Leadership . . . yup, the very definition of Fringe Left.
6. Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act and created Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Sinema made her name fighting those Clinton policies.
7. Clinton signed GOP welfare reform that added time limits to and work requirements for welfare checks. Sinema sponsored legislation to lift time caps on welfare and weaken work requirements for it.
8. Sinema has a law license. Clinton gave his up to avoid a perjury indictment.
Despite these awkward differences, Sinema and Clinton do have some things in common. They both support:
• Dramatically higher taxes on working families
• Government takeovers of our health care
• Big Government programs at every turn
• Weak policies on national defense and the fight against terrorism
Plus, Sinema is a criminal defense lawyer, and Clinton hired many of them when he admitted lying under oath in a court-ordered deposition.
So perhaps they’ll be able to stand on the same stage Wednesday after all.
Wow! I’m giddy. I was surprised and thrilled by Gov. Romney’s performance in last night’s debate (Oct. 3). I watched the debate with 7 other Conservatives, time-delayed by a Tivo box so that we could halt the action and toss in our own comments.
Several of us were apprehensive at the outset, but by the end of the debate we had worked ourselves into a frenzy of excitement, shouting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as he pounded home those key points that free-market, limited-government, fiscal-responsibility Conservatives have been trumpeting for years.
Now I have to confess. I had no idea that Gov. Romney had this in him. Sure, he’d had some brief flashes on the campaign trail, and his style turned for the better after naming Paul Ryan as his VP. But like many Conservatives, I feared the Governor was just the next-in-line Establishment Republican candidate — doomed to be another gracious loser.
I’m still absorbing what I saw & heard, and I’ll have to go through the whole debate again, but I do remember Romney’s first home run of the evening (for me) when he pointed out the immorality of the debt we are piling on the backs of our children. As I’ve written in the past (here, here, and here for example), we are effectively selling them into a modern-day version of debt bondage. At last we have a candidate who leads with that point against all those “compassionate” Democrats, the people who supposedly “care”.
As for Obama’s own performance, a repeated interjection among my friends was “He’s flailing, he’s flailing!”. Time and again he reached back for his standard campaign talking points, sometimes well off-topic, and he was visibly shell-shocked when Romney put them down emphatically, with compelling refutation points, nicely bulleted and driven home like nails in a coffin (puns intended).
If you can watch the debate again, keep an eye on Obama’s upper jaw near his left ear as he stares down at his podium. One of our friends spotted it first. You’ll see a light spot come and go as he visibly clenches and unclenches his teeth. This man is used to adulation and acquiescence, not reasoned confrontation. Bound up in his Leftist ideology and surrounded 24/7 by sycophants and a fawning, collaborative media, he was totally unprepared to defend his indefensible record. He spent much of the evening staring down at that podium as if being scolded by his school master.
Obama will be better prepared at the next debate, and Romney will have to guard against over-confidence. But I’m no longer worried. Obama’s hand is incredibly weak — almost everywhere, he’s holding a pair of deuces against Romney’s full house. And Romney’s better at the game — much better.
Of course, the election ain’t over ’til it’s over, and the Obama machine, the Great American Left, and the Democrat Media Complex won’t go gently into the night. But we have ourselves a candidate in Mitt Romney, and I have a new-found confidence that he and his staff might just run this campaign right across the finish line going away, and leading by several lengths.
Then, the long hard path to recovery begins.
[This article cross-posted from WesternFreePress.com]
During the Democratic National Convention boos break out for the vote to reverse the party’s position on Jerusalem (September 5, 2012).
CNN’s Pannel of Anderson Cooper, John King, Gloria Borger and others take apart Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s untrue answers about the Democratic platform (September 5, 2012).
Are any of you Conservative news junkies sensing what I’m sensing?
It seems the Leftist media are finally sensing defeat in November. And I mean really sensing it. The willful self-deception that they’ve cultivated for so long is crumbling. Their messiah is false. He’s failed. And rather miserably at that. And he may well take the party down with him in just a few weeks.
Why do I think they’re sensing defeat?
One of their media princelings, Chris Matthews, the bloviating, spittle-spewing host of MSNBC’s Hardball, shifted rather abruptly into defensive alibi mode on the August 31 edition of his show, less than 24 hours after Mitt Romney’s RNC acceptance speech. Matthews began slathering blame on “Republican opposition” for Obama’s failure, this time including a freshly announced conspiracy, ostensibly hatched “in secret” back in 2009, to oppose the President’s policies.
Short memo to Chris: The opposition opposes. That’s what they do. Especially when your messiah sets about to do what he’s done. And every minority party seeks to regain the majority. It’s nothing personal, okay?
But more importantly –
What Obama failure are you talking about? So now Obama has failures? Are you now implying he’ll lose the upcoming election? Are you seeking to lay off the blame for that in advance?
What happened? Did you watch the RNC speeches that your network wouldn’t air? Were you frightened by the depth of the Republican bench? (If so, eat your heart out, pal.) Did you mentally compare Paul Ryan to Joe Biden and suffer a panic attack?
I occasionally enjoy your show for its unintentional humor, but the sea change in your August 31 show was positively delightful. Please do it again on your next show. Please. As the RNC mystery guest said: Go ahead. Make my day.
Colleagues — The allegations against me are lies. I have not been arrested, charged, served or invoked immunity.
It seems I am being blackmailed by a person with bad mental health problems and a violent criminal history I only recently realized the severity of. When I asked this person to please consider moving out of my house, to protect my daughter, she went in to [sic] a rage. She attacked me, but I never hit her.
The truth will come out. You should not rush to judgment, please.
Members, I ask you please to call me to discuss my side of the story, the truth.
Then there is this little tidbit from The Yellow Sheet Report:
ETHICS COMPLAINT ‘POLITICALLY MOTIVATED’
Patterson also struck back at his caucus for calling for his resignation and filing an ethics complaint – moves that Patterson said were politically motivated. “Sometimes, they have a lynch mob mentality in politics. People want to elevate themselves by throwing someone else under the bus,” he said. Although he said on multiple occasions that he doesn’t hold anything against his colleagues and that he likes and respects Campbell and Hobbs, he said that he suspects they are trying to bolster their own political image at his expense. Campbell’s call for him to step down, he said, was driven by the fact that he was “one of the more independent members of the Democratic caucus, and some of the Democratic Party bosses in Phoenix don’t like that. Maybe they’re hoping to replace me with a yes-man who will toe the party line.” Hobbs, meanwhile, was seeking a cause to build her Senate campaign around: “Katie has always been a crusader on these types of issues. Maybe this is something she thinks will help her in her Senate campaign.” But, ultimately, he said, he works for his constituents, not his party leaders. Patterson attended the floor session today, but was only present to record his attendance. During the multiple COW calendars, he was not on the floor, but he returned for the third reading of bills.