Archives for February 2007

Charlie Schweikert

I had the privilege to meet Charlie Schweikert a few weeks ago at the Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office. Charlie is the adopted dog of our County Treasurer, David Schweikert. He is a adorable asset to that office and Maricopa county.

Here’s your chance to meet Charlie:

Morris on McCain

The recent Dick Morris column at appears to back up speculation that John McCain’s campaign is running out of steam despite his announcement today that he is running for President.

Here’s the Morris/McGann piece:

McCain’s Campaign Collapses
Dick Morris & Eileen McGann
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007

The John McCain candidacy, launched amid much hope, fanfare, and high expectations, may be dying before our eyes.

Even worse, it may go out with a whimper instead of a bang.

It may not end in an Armageddon style primary defeat, but just dry up from lack of support, money, or interest.

Throughout all of 2006, McCain sat atop the polls right next to Rudy Giuliani. In the Fox News survey of December, 2006, he was getting 27 percent of the Republican primary vote to Rudy’s 31 percent. But, after Giuliani announced that he was running, the Arizona senator fell to 24 percent while Rudy soared into the stratosphere at 41 percent of the primary voters. But even when McCain was polling well, he wasn’t raising the money he needs for this campaign.

In the last quarter of 2006, during a time when he was tied for front-runner status in the GOP and doing well in general election matchups against likely Democratic rivals like Hillary Clinton, he raised only $1.7 million according to his filing with the Federal Elections Commission.

Even worse, he had less than $500,000 on hand, pocket change in a presidential race and barely adequate for a run for Congress.

Part of McCain’s problem was that he wasn’t raising money. But the other part has been that he is spending money too rapidly — and not on reaching voters but on paying political consultants. One top Republican operative from the old Reagan campaign commented, “McCain has hired every consultant he can find. He has all the top names, but no money.”

What is McCain’s problem?

Why did he go from the most exciting candidate in the race a year ago to the verge of oblivion today?

Fundamentally, he failed to heed the Shakespeare’s admonition “to thine own self be true.” The John McCain of the 2000 campaign is nowhere in evidence in 2007.

Instead of challenging the party establishment, he pathetically waits at its door, hoping to be invited. Where he used to challenge the religious right, he now panders to them. Once he led the battle against big tobacco, for corporate governance reform, in favor of campaign financing changes, and in support of action against global warming.

Now he has been identified with two issues, neither popular in the Republican Party: The Iraqi troop surge and amnesty for illegal aliens.

Rather than stake out an independent voice apart from the Bush administration, he has become the last survivor at Custer’s Last Stand in its support of its policies.

Republican strategist and Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins makes an interesting point about McCain: He has switched roles. He has gone from being the McCain of the 2000 race, challenging the party orthodoxy, offering new ideas, and demanding reforms and changes to the Bush of the 2000, toeing the party line and only timidly venturing different ideas if he advances them at all. And this is no way to win the presidency or even the Republican nomination. But where it has counted, on the two core issues that move Republican voters these days — tax cuts and immigration — McCain is badly out of step with the GOP base.

He voted against the Bush tax cuts, the only real success of the administration and the main accomplishment of the president’s first term. On immigration, his bill, cosponsored by Ted Kennedy, permits illegal aliens to become citizens without returning to their native lands and seeking legal entry.

Both positions run afoul of the deepest views of the Republican primary electorate. But beyond the substantive problems with the McCain candidacy, he has simply failed to impress the American public with his performance on the television talk shows that are the core of this year’s pre-primary nominating process.

He looks small, shrunken, weak, cowed, and timid. He shows all of his 70 years of age including the roughly lived period at the hands of the tender mercies of the North Vietnamese. It is hard to imagine him as a strong leader as he meekly answers questions from the likes of Tim Russert and George Stephanopoulos.

other problem can be summed up in one word: Rudy.

Giuliani, with extensive management experience and a track record of heroism on 9/11, projects a strong image of leadership and a kind of charisma that McCain has trouble matching.

The excitement Rudy’s candidacy has generated has swelled his poll numbers at a time when McCain, who announced too early and campaigned for too long, was fading. As Rudy surged in January 2007, it was clear that McCain had peaked too soon.

Has Giuliani, too, peaked too soon?

Perhaps he has. But the nominating process for the 2008 election seems destined to be a very early one.

With many major states advancing their primaries to early February, 2008, and the 24/7 cable talk shows and Internet Web sites focusing full time on the race, the evaluation of the candidates may be complete before the first votes are cast.

Since only the front-runner in the autumn of 2007 is likely to be able to generate the campaign cash to afford to advertise and campaign simultaneously in all the big states that are advancing their primary dates, it is probable that whoever is ahead at the end of 2007 in each party will be the nominee.

In view of this early calendar, Rudy seems to have peaked at the right time while McCain is fading badly.

Rudy also surges at a time when the other candidates are disappearing from the Republican nominating process. In addition to McCain’s swoon, the other possible top contender, Mitt Romney has stalled and is falling backwards. His flip-flop-flip from pro-life to pro-choice and back to pro-life again is not winning him any converts.

Before he ran for senator against Kennedy in Massachusetts, he was pro-life. Then, as he ventured into America’s most liberal state as a Republican candidate, he said that his experience with a relative who died after an illegal abortion led him to reconsider his stand on the issue. “I will protect and defend a woman’s right to choose” he said as he campaigned for the governorship after losing his Senate bid against Kennedy. But after he had been re-elected as governor and began to focus on a possible presidential race, Romney rediscovered his roots and began to “evolve” on the issue back to a pro-life position, a change which isn’t fooling anybody or satisfying either side.

On the issue of homosexuality, Romney promised during their debates to be a better friend of gay rights than Kennedy had been. But now he is campaigning on an anti-gay marriage platform.

Beyond these two legitimate issues, Romney is, unfortunately, paying a steep price for his Mormon faith, something that should not be an issue in this campaign . . . but is.

If Newt Gingrich doesn’t enter the race, who is there who can challenge Rudy Giuliani?

If Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, it will be Hillary vs. Rudy in the battle of the giants. And poor John McCain will go back to the Senate.

Sophistication and Culture come to Tucson.

Growing up in the Phoenix area in the late 60’s and early 70’s was a blast. Living in Pima County now, I still marvel at how jealous people down here can be toward the Valley of the Sun. I often visit Phoenix and enjoy it every time I go there. It has a few attractions that Tucson just does not have, a great airport for one. My niece loves the Nordstrom store at Scottsdale Fashion Square. If a car dealer is getting funny with you during negotiations you can just drive to Maricopa County where several dealers have dozens of the exact model you seek.

I could go on but Tucson is on the verge of catching up with Maricopa County in the important category of fine dining. In-N-Out Burger is coming to town! Actually we have known they were coming for a while but after a lengthy delay they have announced a specific date. Their first restaurant in Pima County will open in April at the El Con Mall in Central Tucson. In mid-summer their second outlet will open at the Arizona Pavilions in the fast growing town of Marana.

A trip to Phoenix will just not be as exciting.

Speaking of Marana, that is actually where the recent Accenture Match Play Championship was held, Tiger Woods and all. The tournament took place at the stunning Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain. It is good that Tucson will still have something of which to be jealous.

Are You Paying a Lobbyist to Increase Your Taxes?

According to yesterday’s Arizona Capitol Times Yellow Sheet, (hat tip to the folks over at HotAzitGets for posting the story) and reported earlier this week on this blog, APS lobbyist, Marty Schultz, is leading the charge to push for higher taxes to pay for transportation. Originally it was thought that Schultz was just looking to increase sales taxes. But according to the Yellow Sheet, it’s much worse than that.

Apparently, Schultz is now leading the fight to push for veritable smorgasbord of higher taxes. Higher gas taxes – YES! Higher property taxes – YES! Higher sales taxes – You Betcha!

I suspect hope this plan will never see the light of day in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But stranger things have happened.

As for all of you APS customers out there, you can rest easy knowing that each month when you pay your electric bill, you are actually helping to pay for Marty Schultz to spend his time working to increase your taxes. Thanks APS!

Arpaio Joins Romney Camp

Word from the Romney camp today and Fox News is that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has signed on as chairman of the Romney campaign in Arizona. Clearly the Arpaio endorsement a nice get for Romney, but let’s be honest here. As much as McCain is disdained by conservatives in Arizona, he still wins the state – easily.

As for Romney, he seems to have his own problems with conservatives as they begin to realize that Romney’s words don’t really match his record on either social or fiscal issues. Romney’s flip-flopping on important issues apparently has even his own consultants concerned.

And rightfully so. We have all heard about him flip-flopping on gay and abortion issues, but Romney has also changed his position on 2nd Amendment issues and tax cuts. The question conservatives will have to ask is “who is the real Mitt Romney?”

Is it the politician running for President who says he is pro-life, pro-traditional values, pro-tax cut, and pro-gun? Is it the candidate for Senate who was pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and said he “didn’t line up with the views of the NRA?” Or is it the governor of Massachusetts who pushed through universal health care, and opposed President Bush’s tax cuts?

I guess for Mitt Romney it depends on what office he is running for.

Paton Packs The House

2nd Lieutenant and State Representative, Jonathan Paton

Second Lt. Jonathon Paton is definitely not General George S. Patton on the battlefield but he certainly knows how to command an audience.

Tuesday night many of Paton’s associates, supporters and closest friends joined him for a very warm reception hosted by Stan Barne’s Copper State Consulting in central Phoenix. It was a well deserved reception for Lieutenant Paton who returned home last week from a six month tour in Iraq. Those attending read like a who’s who in current elected officials including Speaker of the House Jim Weiers, Senators Linda Gray, Pamela Gorman, Jim Waring, Representatives Kirk Adams, Nancy Barto, Olivia Cajero Bedford, Marian McClure, Andy Tobin, Lucy Mason, Jennifer Burns, Nancy McLain, John McComish, Eddie Farnsworth and Arizona Corporation Commissioners, Gary Pierce and Jeff Hatch-Miller. I’m sure I missed several as the crowd flowed more than ebbed.

I was fortunate enough to steal a few minutes of Jonathan’s time as I congratulated him on winning reelection and most important, returning home safe and sound. He looked well and certainly a few pounds lighter but tougher.

Anyone who attended the event walked away proud of this soldier and with a stronger sense of comittment to winning this war and leaving the Iraqi people in control of their own destiny despite all the negative news.

Congratulations and blessed homecoming to our soldier-legislator, 2nd Lieutenant, Jonathan Paton. You make us proud.


McCain’s numbers drop again.

I got my McCain call today. First a live voice, then a recording from the Senator, and finally a different live voice asking for money. I said I might vote for him if wins the nomination but I was not ready to donate at this time. I was very polite.

The call took place before I realized that McCain is still waging war on the Republican base. What is he thinking having his name on an ongoing lawsuit against Wisconsin Right to Life? McCain is politically tone deaf to the mood of his own party. If you do not believe me check out his latest poll numbers from Rasmussen.

Early Predictions – McCain to Pasture

Mitt RomneyJohn McCainRudy Giuliani

Yes, SA is going out on a limb with this but it appears that Old Man McCain’s campaign may slowly be withering against a robust competition between Giuliani and Romney. The prediction in this is that McCain will fail to raise the money in what appears to be a two-man primary between Mitt and Rudy.

Age will be one factor as many GOP activists face the reality that McCain’s time has come and gone. The energy and momentum now lies with the younger horses and McCain will have to accept the title of elder statesman much like his predecessor Barry.

Ultimately, social conservatives will have to decide whether to trust a candidate once considered liberal on social issues to a candidate who promises to appoint Supreme Court Justices in the ilk of Roberts, Alito and Scalia.

Reminder Why I Oppose John McCain

Thanks to HotAZItGets for posting the press release on this.

This is a reminder why pro-life conservatives do NOT trust John McCain:

McCain files brief opposing Wisconsin Right to Life

February 23, 2007
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Phone: 812-232-2434; Fax 812-235-3685

FEC and McCain File Briefs Opposing Grassroots Lobbying by Wisconsin Right to Life

Today, two briefs were filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-969) and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-970). One brief was filed by the Solicitor General for the Federal Election Commission. The other was filed on behalf of Sen. John McCain, and other members of Congress, by lawyers from the “campaign finance reform” lobby.

Both appeals arose from the same case, WRTL v. FEC, but there are two appeals and two briefs because Sen. McCain, and other sponsors of McCain-Feingold (the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 or “BCRA”), chose to intervene in the case, thus putting their personal weight (and their lawyers’ efforts) against WRTL’s grass roots lobbying efforts. WRTL will respond in the U.S. Supreme Court to these two briefs on or before March 23.

WRTL involves an as-applied challenge to the McCain-Feingold “electioneering communication” prohibition, which bars corporations and labor unions from broadcasting ads mentioning the name of a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election. In 2004, WRTL wanted to do grass roots lobbying ads about upcoming votes in Congress and claimed that the electioneering communication prohibition could not be constitutionally applied to its grass roots lobbying ads. On December 21, 2006, the district court agreed.

When the McCain-Feingold bill was proposed, its sponsors always promised that “genuine issue ads” (including grassroots lobbying) would not be banned.  For example, on March 23, 2001, Sen. Jeffords (who introduced the Snowe-Jeffords amendment that became the electioneering communication prohibition) declared on the Senate floor that the prohibition will not affect the ability of any organization to urge grassroots contacts with lawmakers on upcoming votes. The Snowe-Jeffords provisions do not stop the ability of any organization to urge their lawmakers on upcoming issues or votes. That is one of the biggest distortions of the Snowe-Jeffords provisions. Any organization can, and should be able to, use their grassroots communications to urge citizens to contact their lawmakers. Under the Snowe-Jeffords provision, any organization still can undertake this most important task.

Yet Sen. McCain now denounces the district court’s ruling that WRTL’s grass roots lobbying ads are not banned by McCain-Feingold.

Sen. McCain intervened in WRTL to stop WRTL from broadcasting ads asking people in Wisconsin to contact Senators Feingold and Kohl and urge them to vote against the burgeoning filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominees. Sen. McCain also opposed WRTL’s effort to get court approval to broadcast a 2006 ad urging Senators Feingold and Kohl to oppose efforts to halt finalization of the Child Custody Protection Act (“CCPA”), which had passed by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress but was prevented by parliamentary maneuvering from finally becoming law. The CCPA would have prohibited taking a minor across state lines for an abortion without parental consent or knowledge. Senator Kohl had voted for passage of the CCPA, but during the prohibition period, when WRTL was unable to effectively grassroots lobby, he switched sides.

Sen. McCain, and other members of Congress, also intervened in a companion case, Christian Civic League of Maine v. FEC, which is also now on appeal to the Supreme Court after being dismissed as moot. The CCLM case was conferenced by the Supreme Court on February 16, but the Court has issued no order concerning the disposition of the case.  It is assumed that the Court is holding the case for disposition after the decision in the WRTL case. In the CCLM case, Sen. McCain intervened to try to stop CCLM from broadcasting ads in support of the federal Marriage Protection Amendment, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

In both WRTL and CCLM, the efforts of the FEC and Sen. McCain were effective in gagging these citizen groups from broadcasting their ads when they could have made a difference on the issue involved.  Notably, the district court has now held that WRTL’s anti-filibuster ads were constitutionally protected, which does not change the fact that WRTL forever lost the opportunity to broadcast them when they might have made a difference.

James Bopp, Jr., lead counsel for both WRTL and CCLM, states: “The Framers of the Constitution would be appalled to know that incumbent politicians have passed a law to silence the people from effectively lobbying them about upcoming votes in Congress.” “Further, it is unseemly,” he adds, “for members of Congress to intervene in cases to silence the people from talking about them. This is particularly troubling when the grassroots lobbying was about the important issues of confirming President Bush’s judicial nominees, protecting minors from abortion, and protecting marriage. And it is troubling that Sen. McCain and his allies now denounce a court ruling protecting grassroots lobbying, when they themselves assured the American people that McCain-Feingold did not ban such efforts.”

McCain-Feingold was passed in 2002.  In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law on its face, in McConnell v. FEC. In 2006, the Supreme Court held, in the first appeal of WRTL v. FEC, that the McConnell decision did not preclude as-applied challenges to that law and remanded the case for a decision on WRTL’s as-applied challenge for grass roots lobbying.  On remand, the district court ruled in WRTL’s favor.

The briefs in FEC v. WRTL and McCain v. WRTL are available on the Supreme Court’s website, and at Oral argument is set for 10:00 a.m. on April 25th. A decision is expected by late June, the end of the Court’s present term.
James Bopp, Jr. has a national campaign finance and election law practice with Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom. He is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech.


Free community crime summits coming up

There’s a post on hotazitgets about a community summit on crime next Sat., March 10 in the East Valley and one a couple of weeks later, March 31, in the East Valley. A friend emailed me about them who attended one of them last year and strongly recommended them, he particularly liked the class on internet safety. He said there were various breakout sessions to choose from, plus free breakfast, free lunch and doorprizes including the club, alarm systems, and other cool stuff. It’s put on by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office but there are several cities and police departments involved as well. Since crime just seems to be increasing these days, this is probably something everyone needs to attend.

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