AZ Politico: GOP Rudderless, Dysfunctional


Damning comments in the Washington Examiner today regarding the health of the Republican Party here in Arizona. (Byron York wrote the piece which I think is a pretty good assessment of the upcoming 2010 elections.)

According to a nameless Arizona politico,

The Republican Party in the state is a mess,” says the GOP politico. “It’s dysfunctional, rudderless, not accomplishing anything, not even doing the basics of getting out the vote and doing voter registration drives.”

This comes in an article regarding a return to the reddening of Arizona voters while the Democrats in Congress run roughshod over the economy and our personal lives.

I have to wonder who this “politico” is (and I know quite a few of them!)

So where exactly would “Politico” lay the blame? Is this person truly in either one of the warring camps? Are they questioning Pullen/Mecum’s leadership or is it more directed toward McCain, Kyl, Brewer, Shadegg?

Here’s my perception. The party is doing its best to assuage and woo voters who still don’t trust the GOP – although Democrats are now in the hot seat. This is reflected in voter registration where both parties are hemorrhaging voters to “Party Not Declared” (PND) and Independents. While Democrats elected at the federal level are in serious trouble with voters in Arizona, the Governor and Legislature – controlled by Republicans – could be in trouble. For months, I’ve been blaming this on the Governor who broke with Republican principles and went off on some Democrat-based fix to Arizona’s economy by raising taxes in a recession. Because she’s fought the Legislature, of course Republicans in the Legislature got muddied up by the fight to raise taxes. (Democrats have sat back and watched this take place while trying to find something to be relevant about.) How will this affect legislative races? Democrats will look to capitalize on the Arizona GOP’s inner party battle which has not sat well with the already angry voters.

The sad possibility in all this is that while national Republicans could make stunning gains in the 2010 elections – yes, even here in CD-1, 5 and 8 – the GOP could actually lose statewide and legislative seats here in Arizona – all because of the record-setting sessions of bickering between the Governor and Legislature.

And with McCain possibly facing the political fight of his life by JD Hayworth, the trickle down to the party “establishment” could further distract and fracture leadership from having an impact.

What’s the answer? I’m not sure. One thing the party could do is pull a play from the Democrats and put all candidates in one room and set the primaries. Another thing the party could do is bring more “rogue” statesman in the state, like Sarah Palin. She continues to energize voters and hopefully, that will get get the GOP to think outside of the box. Finally – and I’m not going to be popular for saying this –  get the current Governor to drop out of the race. Enough damage has been done and all the appeasements made to the teachers union and AFSCME members will never translate to votes.

Getting back to the original article, perhaps there is a little truth to politico’s argument. My question is what are we going to do about it?


  1. Oh there’s an answer alright.

    Johnny Mac should retire to Sedona and enjoy his wife’s money. Retire in grace while he still can and GET OUT OF POLITICS. Quit trying to control the AZGOP and let us sort it out. We’ll do just fine, nay even better, without him.

    He and his coterie of lobbyist hangers-on and infrastruture developer fanatics (because they cant get a real job) are the ones causing the trouble in the party.

  2. DSW’s answer is to get the incumbent governor to drop out of the race? Shane, you’re more politically savvy then that. What so we can run a few candidates who have quick one liners but couldn’t come up with a real plan to save their lives?

    Brewer’s suggestion of letting the voters decide what size of government they want may not have been popular but at least it is a plan.

    Until I see a list of cuts from a candidate the incumbent Gov is going to get my vote.

  3. So far, I haven’t seen a real plan from the Governor. All she has done is obstruct spending cuts the Republicans in the legislature agreed to because they wouldn’t also agree to her tax referral. Now, she is not making any credible proposals for spending cuts.

    Brewer should get out of the way to create an opening for a Republican who can do a better job. Otherwise, we’ll get Terry Goddard.

  4. Jefferson Smith says

    Here’s a radical though serious idea to help the Republican Party in Arizona… receivership.

    Stay with me…

    Our biggest obstacle to accomplishing the baseline functions of a political party is the sad fact that none of the various factions of the Arizona GOP trust any of the other factions to hold the reins.

    What if party leaders, the elected and self-appointed alike, get together in the proverbial smoke-filled room and agree to disagree on leadership of the party and instead turn over the day-to-day operations of the party to a trustee… someone, likely from out-of-state, who all could stomach as an honest broker. This person would be given a limited, non-renewable contract to do the important work of ensuring that Republicans are in a position to seize the opportunity the Great Obama/Pelosi/Reid Overreach has presented us.

    Would the trustee participate in the chronic infighting and back-biting that plagues the AZ GOP? Absolutely not. They would make sure voter registration, fundraising for post-primary political action and other critical functions are carried out.

    The “grassroots” would be allowed to challenge whichever incumbent politicians they feel deserve a primary while the “check-writers” would feel safe in contributing to the party without concern over funding non-general election efforts that fuel party division.

    This suggestion is not a slam on Randy Pullen or Rob Haney. It’s a slam on all Republicans for our thorough lack of trust in our fellow Republicans of a different faction.

    A temporary trustee to supply a little adult supervision might just be what our party needs to restart the long process of rebuilding the trust and civility that will be necessary to continue as the majority party in Arizona.

  5. Hunter can pretend there isn’t a plan because he doesn’t agree with it but there is a plan. She even gave it a name (Her 5 Point Plan).

    Just because there were people who disagreed with 1 of the 5 points, doesn’t negate that it didn’t exist.

    Saying “I won’t raise your taxes” while allowing the state to burn might get you past a Republican primary but reality isn’t years away, it is now. Anyone who says that without a concrete plan will lose in a General Election.

    Reality will catch up before the July 1 deadline for a new budget. We are out of gimmicks. Our credit lines are maxed out and there are no funds to sweep or piggy banks to crack open. The citizens of the state need to decide at the ballot box what they want their government to look like. If they don’t want more taxes and are fine with cuts to education, healtcare, etc, then the legislature will have a blank ticket for cuts.

  6. The legislature has the mandate already…I think all the Republicans ran on a low-tax platform.

    Governor Brewer, however, not only didn’t run (not her fault) but also wants to raise taxes (definitely her fault). Don’t blame the legislature, they are doing what they told the electorate they were going to do and got elected to do.

  7. Sean,
    Just do something is so last-century.

  8. The emergence of this committee, which bypasses the State GOP to raise money now, pretty much sealed the end of the State GOP. No one takes the State GOP seriously anymore, they’re ineffective. If you want to get anything done you go to the Maricopa County GOP or through this new victory committee…

  9. This is the exact in fighting that garauntee mitchell won in CD-5. I saw it and heard it from everyone schweikert had zero ground game because the party couldn’t get it together.

    If this doesn’t change soon not only will the party lose seats in the legislature but we will still have dems in 1, 5, and 8…

    I actually like the trustee idea mentioned above. Just something to get the grassroots going because right now the party is a joke…

Leave a Reply