On Coughlin, espressopundit, and anonymous blogging

Greg Patterson at espressopundit has clarified that his post about our blogging entitled “Adult Supervision Required” did not mean that he thinks anonymous blogging should be prohibited. That’s fine, we’ll take him at face value, but we beg to differ that we were purposely trying to interpret him otherwise. When you title something “Adult Supervision Required,” and talk about how the Arizona blogosphere needs to come up with guidelines for anonymous blogging, it sounds like you’re trying to shut it down, or regulate it until it’s no longer feasible. Reading the post, I distinctly felt like he was pressuring Shane to put a halt to this anonymous blogging.

What is peculiar is the subject matter Patterson has chosen to defend. This isn’t some dispute between two solid Republicans, like the controversies during the election of Pullen and James for State GOP chair. This is about stopping a tax increase by a Republican governor, which many Republicans at the legislature are concerned is being pushed behind the scenes by lobbyist Chuck Coughlin, known for backing liberal causes. Besides the TIME initiative, Coughlin was the consultant on the Prop. 400 campaign in 2004, the light rail/massive infrastructure tax increase initiative. Wonder how much business his client Associated General Contractors made off of that. Don’t forget all the brand-new equipment the construction companies went and bought for that project – it was an abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Coughlin’s fake sanctimony on playing nice rings hollow. Besides the untruthful ad he ran during the Attorney General’s race, he’s run ads comparing supporters of an initiative to Nazis:

In May 2005, Peter Kanelos, Wal-Mart’s Community Affairs Director for Arizona and Southern California, approved an advertisement in the Arizona Daily Sun that featured a well-known 1933 photo of Nazis throwing books on a pyre at Berlin’s Opernplatz. The ad equated those who wanted to restrict Wal-Mart’s growth to Nazis. Wal-Mart’s advertising consultants produced the ad and the company acknowledged approving it.

Wal-Mart’s use of Nazi imagery in its ads was widely and nationally criticized by community groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and several members of Congress. “It’s not the imagery itself. It trivializes the Nazis and what they did. And to try to attach that imagery to a municipal election goes beyond distasteful,” said Bill Straus of the ADL.

Wal-Mart and Protect Flagstaff’s Future eventually issued full apologies, but at the time Chuck Coughlin, the president of the consulting company that produced the ads fought back. “We wanted people to think about the freedoms we enjoy in America. The intent was wholly honorable and good,” said Coughlin. “We will not back away from the substance of the ads.”

And just yesterday, the Yellow Sheet reported that Coughlin’s firm High Ground was behind a suspicious poll that found voters supposedly support a tax increase. Coughlin had denied being behind it (does he have a problem telling the truth?). The Yellow Sheet says the High Ground poll results were the exact opposite of a poll that was taken 2 weeks ago. The well-established polling company Rasmussen Reports had found in their poll on March 17 that 65% oppose a temporary tax increase to help the state’s budget. Isn’t it coincidental how Coughlin’s self-interest in getting this tax increase passed results in a poll with vastly different results from the reputable Rasmussen poll.

Coughlin’s cronies are posting numerous comments after these posts in order to try to prevent this kind of information from coming out. Add that to the usual cadre of leftists leaving comments, it is creating the impression that this information shouldn’t come out, it’s all just “mean personal attacks.” But in reality, there’s a silent majority out there telling us they want to know what’s really going on behind the scenes at the Capitol, and they don’t buy into the spin labeling this kind of information as a personal attack. It’s understandable why Patterson takes the position he does – he’s a lobbyist and has to work with Coughlin. Coughlin may be the most powerful lobbyist in the state, but he does not control all of the press. Republican voters have a right to know the truth about backhanded tax increases initiated by Republicans.


  1. If you had said Coughlin was stupid, or fat, or sleeping around, I could see those being considered personal attacks. Explaining his ties to left-wing agenda and exposing him for being a hypocrite doesn’t seem unreasonable on a political blog.

  2. Basil St. John says

    Greg didn’t “clarify” anything. He pwned you, man. Twice. And his point was that if Shane allows you to keep contributing your weak sauce, it’s going to hurt the rep of SA.

    Judging from your NBA All-Star post, reading comprehension is not your strong point.

  3. Veritas Vincit says

    The *recent* poll cited by High Ground is a typical political ploy to counter the earlier Rasmussen poll.

    Carefully dissect the poll statistics then dig back into your old grad school stat book.

    Could it be that the Az Republican Party is infected with parasitic political consultants such as Gordon James, Chuck Coughlin, Nathan Sproul, John Echols, or Chad Willems?

    They care not a whit about “the party” but rather the hefty paychecks to be generated by satisfying the political lusts of men and women in elected office who’s only aim in life is to remain in power no matter the cost.

    Could it be?

  4. Veritas Vincit says

    Like hogs at the trough, they and their kind root about in the droppings of the likes [place your favorite politico’s name here].

    If politicians are reviled by the public, how much worse are the parasites who feed from their droppings?

  5. nightcrawler says

    I have never met Coughlin, wouldn’t recognize him if he walked by. I also agree that many of Chewie’s posts are shall we say “a leap of logic “. Construction companies are entitled to buy new equipment to properly and safely complete a contract. Most taxpayers would not object to that.

    In the larger picture, Chewie has a right to bring up concerns over conflict of interest. Those concerns may or may not be valid, but the discussion has merit. If you get paid as a lobbyist, don’t expect the lake to be like glass all the time. Turn your canoe upwind and man up.

    With regard to Expresso Pundit. Greg is a good man with good intentions. He chooses to run his blog his way and that is his prerogative. It is however unfair and perhaps a bit catty to become high brow.
    What we have here is an apple and orange. SA and more so SR, don’t sugar coat the cereal. These are conservative blogs that don’t mind getting in the mud if need be, which is both entertaining and informative. EP does a lot of feel good pieces and drives deep into journalism gossip which is fine but not of keen interest to all. To each their own.

  6. Keep on digging your own grave Chewie. With every post I get further and further away from your rationale. Read the comments from the previous post. I would trust the methods used by Kinski before the demographics of AFP.

    You spin yourself around in your arguments which actually goes straight to your level of intelligence. You say Coughlin is trying to push an agenda but yet completely ignore the fact that the entire purpose of AFP is to prevent taxes at any cost. Your one sided argument is clear to anyone with a 3rd grade reading comprehension. Evident in your previous posts (NBA All Star)- you might have skipped a grade or two.

  7. Conservative Republican says

    Basil St John,

    Comments like yours which are nothing more than personal attacks are what hurt this site. If you don’t have any substantive criticism then please keep it to yourself. Some of us actually enjoy the debate that has been taking place between the two blogs on this.

  8. So if I disagree with Chewie, then I’m a Coughlin cronie? Doesn’t seem fair to me to be smeared by Chewie before I even post anything. So I’ll do what lots of people are starting to do. I’ll skip this site and stop posting here altogether, at least until Chewie stops posting. That’s the free market at work.

  9. My understanding of this issue is that any tax increase proposal will have to be voted on by the electorate. So who cares about stilted polling or who’s working on what? If the public doesn’t want a tax increase they get to vote it down. Seems pretty sensible to me.

  10. Chewie is Chewy says

    Retrov, what they’re really talking about is not democracy and the public’s vote on the tax increase, but the way in which we expect the campaign to evolve and influence that vote. Who runs the campaign and with how much money will make a tremendous difference in the outcome, not matter how “smart” the electorate is.

    By the way, it’s hard to argue Pullen is a “solid R” anymore if he’s also backing the tax increase. While Brewer is responsible for representing the entire state, Pullen only represents the R’s, and he’s doing a poor job of that if he’s out backing a tax increase.

    On another note, this site has no more reputation than a typical corner of any public square. Maybe there’s a tradition, a string of opinions, but a real reputation? No such thing. SA is a street corner frequented by certain types, who could all be gone tomorrow and replaced by others, or loiter around forever. Patterson’s site is different because it’s all him on his own speaking with one voice.

  11. Maricopa GOP says


    Do you trust the methods of Kinski, High Ground and their client ARP (PS: the client always has great influence on the specific language of the poll questions) over the methods of Rasmussen Reports, who is recognized as the leading national pollster by most people, who is doing the polling without a client bias?

    Of interest is the fact Rasmussen released the precise language of the poll questions, while the ARP only gives you a narrative recap of the results. wonder why??

    Also, Rasmussen was of likely voters, while the ARP poll did not state the universe polled as far as I have read. For political impact, especially in a Primary, likely voters is a more valid group.

  12. Basil St. John says

    Hey CR: Count me as someone who’s loving the debate! I just happen to think the Greg is winning every round because Chewy’s counter-arguments depend on misinterpreting what Greg says.

    I don’t see how pointing out that Chewy has a tendency to misinterpret his subject matter (and in the process makes SA look foolish and amateurish) amounts to a personal attack. I haven’t attacked him (them?). I’ve said the content of his argument is weak. And judging by the reaction around here, I’m not the only one with opinion.

  13. Maricopa GOP- the way I read the question, it is exactly how Brewer’s 5 Point plan is listed. Cuts, 105, reform, temporary taxes.

    By the way, it was pointed out but you might have missed it. The Kinski poll used high efficacy voters and polled 600 people statewide. The AFP used random people in Phoenix and Glendale.

  14. Veritas Vincit says

    Retrov (#9 above)… Putting an issue to the voters is fraught with problems. Its one of the major reasons that AHCCCS costs have spiraled out of control (along with education).

    We elect a government of representatives to use both what we think combined with their best judgment to make decisions. The absolute worst form of government is straight up “democracy”.

    Here’s a quick and dirty definition of “democracy”… two wolves and a lamb deciding what’s for lunch. See the problem? It pits special interest against special interest each equipped with the latest marketing tools.

    Putting a *temporary* tax increase to the voters is like, well … putting a *temporary income tax* before the voters. Last time that happened we wound up with a Federal Income Tax that turned out to be anything but *temporary*.

    Putting this proposed tax increase before the voters is straight up poor leadership. Why? Because it relieves the Governor of having to make a decision and, like Pontius Pilate when he washed his hands, he left the decision up to the mob.

    Why would any elected individual in a leadership position pass on the “Buck Stops Here” position? So, when the tax increase fails to solve the problem, the elected official can say; “The voters made me do it.”

    And, like the Garden of Eden, the guilty parties will pass the buck back down the line, never acknowledging the error of their ways.

    As for the dueling polls? Pick your poison, neither is worth the paper its printed on except for propaganda purposes.

    #11 above: the precise language of the poll questions, while the ARP only gives you a narrative recap … You hit the nail on the head Amigo. You go to the head of the class.

    You want a real poll? Select 1220 voters from the 2008 primary voter rolls who voted. Make sure each party is represented in proportion to their registration figures and voting pattern. Then ask two simple questions:
    “Should Arizona your increase taxes to address the state’s financial disaster?” Yes / No
    Would you vote for a tax increase that you were assured by the Governor and the Legislature was only temporary?
    Yes / No

    I’ll bet anyone a drink at Seamus McCaffrey’s the “NO’s” will win by at least 65:35

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