The most commonly abused terminology

Emil FranziBy Emil Franzi, Special to The Explorer

I do not “blog,” although I post on some. I dislike the format because it allows for anonymity, which I don’t hide behind on my own posts. You want to run off at the pen, have the guts to tell me who you really are like I tell you.

Something we who do talk radio learn quickly is to dump the dumb caller as rapidly as possible. Allowing some yahoo to rant is an invitation to station change.

The late Marshall Fritz, well known in libertarian and educational freedom circles, once explained to me a principle from Little League coaching he called “Gresham’s Law of People.” Taken from the economic principle that bad money drives out good, he believed that loud-mouthed jerks drove away good folks and should be purged early and often for the health of any organization.

Newspaper editors have discretion when it comes to letters to the editor, which must be signed hopefully by a real person or even the person who actually wrote them. Some blogs are policed better than others. But the amount of illiterate drivel allowed to pass from left, right and ignorant center is still appalling.

I find many right-wing posters to be embarrassments, not for me personally or my philosophy, but for themselves. Hyper-active newbies always emerge whenever there is any kind of popular awakening, from opposing the Viet Nam War in the ’60s to opposing the Obama leftist agenda now.

California conservatives had a name for the worst of this category in the early ’60s – one-book Birchers. They read “I Saw Poland Betrayed.” Actually, they got up to page 23. It took three days. They found out there were communists and that was enough. They usually didn’t stay active long. This was pre-blog or they would’ve hung around longer.

There are left-wing equivalents, but they’re not my problem. You know who they are. Some of them on both sides are decent folks who just don’t know any better. My job is to help clean up my own. Best way to do that is to clarify the most commonly abused terminology.

• RINO, or Republican in Name Only. A simple measurement separates them from liberal Republicans. RINOS are Republicans like Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, who are not only liberals but don’t support other Republicans in general elections. Except for the Mecham recall in 1988, Sen. McCain hasn’t publicly dumped on other GOP nominees. He’s not a RINO and is too inconsistent to qualify as a liberal. I think CINO probably fits him best.

Conservatives and particularly conservative Republicans must learn these distinctions. Mayor Guliani is not a conservative, but supports the ticket. Mayor Bloomberg is a Republican out of convenience only and doesn’t. Real RINOS were the GOP officials who walked on Barry Goldwater in 1964. Those like Oregon’s Mark Hatfield who didn’t deserve consideration for playing by the rules.

• Conservative. There’s broad philosophical diversity in the movement which includes some libertarians. There are libertarians who don’t consider themselves conservatives, and conservatives who agree. Before you decide to yell sell-out or RINO, please note the lack of conservative consensus on immigration, fair tax, term limits, the Afghan war, and the foreign policy diversity you get from Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan. Both qualifed as RINOs for having once run on another party’s ticket. Republicans holding party roles talking third party also qualify.

• Socialist. Has specific meanings and, like conservative, is highly diverse. Marxist? Positivist? Fabian? National? Fascist? Hint: It was not socialized medicine when the Roman Army sent early medics along with each Legion. Learn to focus.

There’s more. Hopefully there are some folks I have thoroughly offended. I can only hope those wishing to berate me will use their real names.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.

Term limits, and term lengths

There’s a film clip circulating on the Internet featuring what is obviously a legislative body in session.

A member is making a speech from the podium while other members can be seen in various frivolous poses, including playing video games on their desktops. It is being used to encourage term limits for Congress.

Only the legislative body pictured is the California Assembly, which has been term-limited for 20 years. It doesn’t work.

One of the great by-products of federalism is the ability it gives states to find out how well certain things will work – or not. States like Arizona having term limits aren’t governed any better than those that don’t.

One problem with term limit proponents is their belief that the Founding Fathers wanted everybody to just serve for a bit and go home. I devoted an entire column recently to listing all the major figures in our nation’s birth, and noting how from Sam Adams to James Monroe they all spent considerable time in various public offices, both appointive and elective, and we should be grateful to them for that.

The short-term service argument is a myth. What matters is the ability and quality of the character of those we choose.

One thing has changed in the last 200 years, and term limit supporters would be wise to notice – and propose remedies – for it. We allowed the terms of office to be lengthened to the degree that too many public officials are far less reachable.

Patrick Henry served seven terms as Governor of Virginia, John Hancock six as Governor of Massachusetts. Those were one-year terms. Most local and state officials had one-year terms well into the 19th Century.

Debates over ratification of the original constitution focused not on term limits but on term length. Many complaints were made about allowing members of the U.S. House to serve for two full years.

The idea of representatives as policy makers as opposed to actual representatives became popular with academics and among the original Progressives towards the end of the 19th Century, when terms of office began to be extended. The argument given was “we don’t want our representatives to be constantly campaigning.”

Translation – we don’t want them going back to the folks who elect them to discover the ideas we’re selling them on really suck. We need to isolate them from their constituents for as long as possible to get all this unpopular crap passed.

Two-year terms for governors and others became common at the beginning of this century, driven by a coalition of policy wonks and politicians who wanted less supervision. That has now been extended almost everywhere to four-year terms. The group of elitists centering around former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is pushing it for legislators.

One unintended consequence of the four-year term in Arizona has been the incredible growth in recalls, particularly in local governments like town councils and school boards where the jurisdictions are still small enough to be handled by citizen rebellion. It would make more sense to simply put the terms back to two years.

It would also make sense to reduce terms for all state and county officials as well as city councils and school boards. One can directly chart the growth of government at all levels to the growth in the length of terms for those who did the growing.

One additional advantage is that off-year and local elections are great message senders to those holding power. Having them twice as often would greatly enhance that communications device and give us less reliance on guys like Rasmussen and Zogby for national trends.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.

’09 was a pivotal political year

By Emil Franzi, Special to The Explorer

Measuring the relevance of important dates usually comes later. Some, like 1941 and 9-11, are immediately obvious, others need time to sink in. In October of 1929, nobody thought “wow, we’re starting the Great Depression.”

Often converging events need their dots connected. The year 2009 had a lot of converging events.

Like 1929, 2009 started with a new President and large majorities for his party in both houses of Congress where the numbers are strikingly similar – 58-39-1 and 267-167-1 then for Republicans, to 58-40-2 and 256-178-1 for Democrats now. Biggest difference was Herbert Hoover won by 17 percent to Obama’s 7 percent, and carried 41 of 48 states.

The 1930 election gave Democrats eight more Senators and 53 Representatives. GOP popularity sank while Hoover instituted counter-productive proto-New Deal measures. He was smashed in 1932 by FDR and Democrats gained 90 more House seats and 13 Senators. After FDR’s 1936 re-election, it was 76D, 16R, 4I, and 331D-76R-4I.

The tide turned in 1938 with heavy Republican gains. The New Deal was out of gas, unemployment was rising and an arrogant President tried packing the Supreme Court. The events of 2009 are accelerating and compacting that process for President Obama, who is far more arrogant and less skilled than FDR.

As Michael Barone notes, 60-plus years of mounting federal bureaucracy make it impossible for any President to do what FDR did when he told Harry Hopkins to simply put the unemployed on the government payroll. “Shovel-ready jobs” are a myth. Civil service, due process, union deals and environmental regulations make it impossible to hand anybody a shovel without months, often years of red tape. Unemployment will remain high until the private sector creates more jobs.

FDR and other successful Presidents focused on implementing the popular portions of their agenda first. Obama and Democrat Congressional leaders in 2009 exposed the degeneration of the federal legislative process in forcing an unpopular health care measure upon too many people. In doing so, they exhibit a political cluelessness rivaling those members of Czar Nicholas II’s Court ,who had no idea who Vladimir Lenin was up to the moment he had them shot.

Too many liberals look down their elitist noses at millions who are part of the latest populist reaction to bad governance that emerged in 2009 in the Tea Party movement. About the only thing that could prevent massive Republican gains, including the White House in 2012, would be the failure of the GOP to absorb Tea Parties and force them into their own party. The only hope for liberal Democrats is that the GOP is as inept as they are.

The year 2009 also exposed the massive manipulation occurring by pseudo-scientists supposedly compiling the climate data used to justify their political agenda. While attention focused on the sleazy e-mails (probably leaked, not hacked), more relevant was the databases exposed that have folks like Russian scientists wondering where the real data they sent disappeared to. Warm Earthers and their Democrat co-religionists took a bath on this one.

Strikingly obvious in 2009 was the almost total collapse of the old elite and in-bred media. They’ve been gradually replaced by a combination of cable news, talk radio and the internet, which continue to report what they ignore or, worse, misunderstand.

Finally, only the clueless believe “there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats.” The year 2009 ended with all 60 Democrat and Independent senators voting for Obamacare and all 40 Republicans voting against it. Polarization and partisanship have never been greater.

That polarization gives us the clarity needed to make real decisions and exposes the trite notion that somehow everything can be compromised. It may well be the greatest contribution we got from 2009.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.

The Center is a Relative Concept

By Emil Franzi, Special to The Explorer

The late GOP Congressman and 1972 American Independent Party Presidential candidate John Schmitz always claimed he was a member of the John Birch Society to appeal to the moderates in his district. In 1968, I was elected chairman of the Los Angeles County Young Republicans as the centrist candidate. I was supported by both the Birchers and the Objectivists.

I’m not making this up. I only report it to again illustrate that the center is a relative concept, and that moderation is far more a demeanor than an epistemology.

I was correctly taken to task for a prior column where I stated that should State Sen. Jonathan Paton enter the race for the GOP nomination in CD8 next year, he might run as a moderate. Sen. Paton called to tell me that’s difficult for someone with his solid conservative voting record on issues from gun control and abortion to taxation and spending.

The “moderate” possibility came from a Democrat consultant friend of his. Paton responded that was someone proposing how he should run, not how he would if he does.

Fair enough, but some advice. Spend a little more time with Tea Party folks and a little less with Democrat consultants.

My old colleague Jim Nintzel at the Tucson Weekly sees Paton as the GOP heavyweight in the CD8 race, and thinks it’s a replay of the Democrat CD8 primary of 2006, where Iraqi combat veteran Jeff Latas was wiped out by State Sen. Gabby Giffords’ late entry, with Iraqi combat veteran Jesse Kelly playing the Latas role and Paton Gabby’s. Putting aside two other Iraqi combat vets already in the GOP race, Brian Miller and Andy Goss, and Paton’s own Iraqi service, the races aren’t analogous. Here’s why.

Democrats aren’t Republicans. Democrat primary voters aren’t impressed by a 20-year lieutenant colonel with an Air Force Cross, and are downright suspicious even when he’s a lefty. My take on Democrat behavior erred judging that race because of my own biases. Jim’s current take on GOP behavior errs for the same reason.

2010 isn’t 2006. Politics are tidal. Conservative Republicans now have the wind at their back instead of in their face. And incumbent legislators have hardly grown in stature.

Latas never raised any money. Kelly already has a quarter million. Latas garnered little big name support. Kelly has many heavy hitters both in and out of state, including talk show host Mark Levin, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, and former House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter joining Congressman Trent Franks, Sheriffs Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu, and Paton’s State Senate colleague Al Melvin in state. Even more important, the troops who turn out primary voters really like him.

Others are already committed to Goss, who’s from the Cochise County portion of Paton’s Senate district, and Miller, who gets to even more gun shows than I do. Paton may be too late. Eight months ago when Kelly announced, Gabby looked like a re-election slam dunk. Somewhere between Cap and Tax and ObamaCare the blue dog faded to pastel.

One comparison Republicans hope won’t re-occur is the clumsy muscle job party heavies pulled in favor of State Rep. Steve Huffman in the 2006 GOP primary. Conservatives would now rebel if you tried to force feed them Ronald Reagan. And some who drove the Huffman operation, like GOP money guru Jim Click, already support Kelly.

Paton isn’t Huffman. He’s in the GOP conservative mainstream ca. 2010 along with Kelly, Miller and Goss. Should he choose to run he’ll have a good shot as long as whatever GOP establishment types supporting him don’t follow the heavy-handed route and make him look like Huffman.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030 AM.

GOP has self-recruited young talent

The “woe is me” wing of the GOP should note those reports of their demise were a tad premature.

Pundits telling us the future is with Democrats based on youth and ethnicity ignore that the young grow up and ethnic minorities, even when artificially compressed into plantation districts by hack leaders, ultimately act in their own self interest, move away and follow the Irish, the Italians and others into the American mainstream.

Terri ProudRepublicans concerned about youth should check the inordinately large batch of talent seeking local office. Here in District 26 note Terri Proud, a young mother of two planning to make this district solid GOP in 2010. She’s bright, articulate, attractive and has a better grasp of issues than some already there.

In Congressional District Seven, Ruth McClung, 27, is about to save the GOP from the embarrassment of again nominating racist pariah Joe Sweeney. McClung has a unique approach based on the cliche “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist.” As an employee of Raytheon who works on rocket design, she is a rocket scientist.

Ruth McClungRepublicans should be embarrassed with Sweeney as a nominee, but incumbent CD7 Congressman Raul Grijalva should notice that a political derelict publicly repudiated by leaders in his own party got 36 percent of the vote against him in a heavy Democrat year.

The big GOP talent show is in CD 8, held by pastel-dog Democrat Gabby Giffords.

Four Republicans are running there.

Tom Carlson and Andy Goss are so far the weakest. Neither has noticed a weekly newspaper in the northern portion of the district with a columnist who writes about this stuff who also hosts a radio talk show.

Carlson served as an Army Reserve officer in Kuwait. Goss is from Sierra Vista and is an Iraqi Army veteran. Their websites are carlsonforcongress.com and gossforcongress.com.

It’s hard to avoid Brian Miller and Jesse Kelly both at GOP and other events.

They’re young, attractive, articulate, intelligent conservatives who would give Gabby a real brawl that her glass jaw can’t handle after her Cap and Trade and ObamaCare votes. Both Kelly and Miller have attracted national attention and, like army vet Goss, are under-40 combat veterans of the Middle East.

Edge for now is with Kelly, who has collected both the most endorsements and the most money. Kelly served as a Marine infantryman, Miller as an A-10 pilot and instructor. Websites are: votejessekelly.com and brianmillerforcongress.com.

The usual backroom GOP suspects have noticed Gabby’s vulnerable, and impressed with incumbent state legislators, are pushing State Sen. Jonathan Paton. They tried this in 2006 with State Rep. Steve Huffman, who lost the primary to former State Rep. Randy Graf, who was promptly shivved by them for being “too conservative.” (When you hear that, read “too uncontrollable.”)

In 2008 they muscled everybody out for State Senate President Tim Bee, someone everybody liked, raised him plenty of money but forced him into a mush-mouthed campaign. He was beaten as big as Graf.

CD8GOPCandidates

Political street talk has Paton running as a “moderate.” If so, he’ll lose the GOP Primary to either Miller or Kelly, maybe both. The 2008 election moved America just far enough left for more people to find out what that really means. Voters are fed up with party hacks.

Paton’s six months in Iraq as an intel officer is a higher qualification than being a state senator, but any attempt to shove him onto GOP voters here will be met with overwhelming resistance.

Something more relevant than ephemeral youth votes. All five GOP candidates in CD 8 wore a uniform, two more than ran for President (McCain, Hunter, Paul) .

Good trend.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.

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