With Romney on his mind, McCain sips lemonade with EV friends


Mitt RomneyJohn McCain

Governor Mitt Romney           Senator John McCain


The  East Valley Tribune  ran an interesting article on Sen. John McCain’s attempt to rekindle his alliances with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  During his first run for Congress in 1982, he was elected from an East Valley district, moving to North Central Phoenix to campaign for the senate seat he currently holds.
In the intervening years, under the guise of “Maverick,” McCain has alienated much of his conservative base with positions that lean heavily to the left.  He has voted in favor of funding for embryonic stem cell research, supports an amnesty-like program of “earned citizenship” for illegal immigrants and sanctions same-sex marriage.  McCain favors the tightening of the rights of gun owners and fought President Bush’s tax cuts.  Already 71, he would be the oldest president ever elected if he were able to pull off this feat. Massachusetts (former) Gov. Mitt Romney, vigorous at age 60, presents a formidable contrast.
Romney, a member of the LDS faith, and McCain’s most worrisome rival, has declared his intention to run for president on the Republican ticket.  Mormon voters tend to vote consistently and conservatively, which creates a monumental problem for McCain.  This is no doubt the impetus behind McCain’s incursions into the faith’s community.
Following the lead of Gov. Janet Napolitano, who traveled to Utah to meet with LDS leadership and the First Presidency of the church in June 2006, McCain recently scheduled a local meeting with respected members and church leadership to strengthen his influence within the community. 
Such actions are a strong indication of his concerns regarding Mitt Romney’s candidacy. The son of a former Michigan governor and Cabinet member, George Romney, Mitt has proven himself to be a likable anomaly– a conservative able to be elected in the liberal state of Massachusetts.  He is a skilled fundraiser, having amassed $6.5 million dollars in an all-day telethon in which Romney joined 400 volunteers to place 15,000 calls to supporters. Outgoing Colorado Gov. Bill Owens  is one of many conservatives who have signed on as supporters. Romney intends to raise $100 million in 2007.
Hoping to avoid the Al Gore embarrassment of losing his own home state, McCain has been working with the congressional delegation to bolster support for establishment pick, Lisa James, in her attempt to win the AZ GOP state chairmanship.  Arizona’s National Committeeman, Randy Pullen, is a strong contender in that race. Congressman Jeff Flake has been placing calls in support of James to fellow Mormons in the East Valley and has pulled along a few–although resistance to that pressure remains strong.
The concept of separation of church and state appears to have taken a back seat as Arizona’s senior senator hopes meetings with his rival’s faith-based community can influence the outcome of the upcoming election.

This wouldn’t be the first time. In 2000 Sen. John McCain’s campaign placed thousands of phone calls to Catholic voters in Michigan (link), in an attempt to link George W. Bush to the anti-Catholic and inter-racial dating policies of Bob Jones University. Initially, the campaign denied being involved with the calls, then later was forced to accept responsibility.

What ever became of the novel idea of campaigning on the issues?


  1. On any other day Jeff Flake would be considered a stalwart of the conservative agenda. I am a member of what would be called the “Religious Right”; since when is the separation of church and state a conservative concern when it comes to politics as opposed to governance? The pro-life, anti-gay marriage machine certainly has done good things for conservative candidates in the past. Is it just that this is not YOUR candidate, so it has to be bad? Is it possible that Mr. Flake just thinks Lisa James is the better choice for the position she seeks? Jeff Flake has no problem doing things his way, following his own conscience, and bucking the system if he sees it as wrong; I doubt this particular situation is any different.

  2. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    I like Jeff, except for his open border nonsense. Especially on fiscal stuff, he’s a real stud. But going along with the delegation and the downtown Phoenix crowd in trying to install Lisa James is hardly an act of rebellion.

    I’d guess that Jeff’s calls aren’t helping Lisa much, since the LD chairs from districts 18, 19, 21, and 22 are all endorsing Randy Pullen. And a cursory review of Randy’s website reveals solid majorities of the PCs in those districts doing so as well.

    So long as the delegation continues to fight against the wishes of the grassroots, they’ll continue to divide this party against itself.

    The funny thing is, all of these Congressmen used to love the grassroots and the PCs when they were just candidates looking for support and help. There must be something about that oath of office that suddenly makes them so much smarter than all the rest of us that we should now merely do as we’re told…

    We pay their salaries, these are the good Republicans, yet they still think that we work for them? We’ve really got to review that oath!

  3. To Sonoran Truth Squad:
    What has the delegation done to fight against the grassroots? Are the likes of Flake, Franks, Shadegg and Kyl (all solid conservatives) voting against what grassroots Republicans want? I doubt it. In fact, given the re-elect numbers of those four, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a large number of grassroots types who aren’t happy with our delegation. Was the grassroots unhappy with JD? Is that why he lost? I would venture to guess that the delegation still loves the grassroots and relies on their support for signatures, phone calls and knocking on doors… I’m perplexed…

  4. Gerry Mander says

    Who is getting these calls? I’ve spoken w/ about a dozen state committeemen and no one has reported receiving a call from Flake or any other Congressman or Senator.

  5. The race for GOP chair boils down to one thing. Will the next chairman be a puppet for John McCain in the next two years or will they do their job and the right thing by working for all presidential candidates? This race is about McCain controlling the party or not controlling the party. Period.

  6. Could it be possible the likes of Flake, Franks, Shadegg, and Kyl actually see the big picture and not just the “McCain puppet” mantra? Could it be they have an idea of what works and doesn’t and who is respected outside of certain circles and who may not garner the same level of respect and results, not to mention overall ability? Certainly Franks has made it clear, he is not endorsing McCain.

    Nobody had a monopoly on grassroots.

  7. As long as we are examining the ample warts of McCain, we should look at the problems with the “vigorous” Romney. He’s flipped on life on life and marriage.

    The role of the AZ state party chairman for 2008 had better be getting CD5 and CD8 back, or we never will; finding legitimate opposition to Pastor instead of the whackjob we keep putting up in that district; setting up a system to ensure that the voter registration process only allows AZ citizens to be involved in the process; and raising money.

  8. Regardless of who your favorite candidate is, the State party needs to not pre-endorse one over the other. We need to inform the public of each of the candidates and let them decide in the Primary. Then we unite and get that candidate elected. When we work for a candidate in the Primary, we should be doing so as a citizen and not flaunting status in the Republican party. As for getting CD8 back (I don’t know anyone in CD5) a powerful candidate would be State Senator Tim Bee although he may not want to serve while his children are so young. A strong conservative who can sway independents and perhaps conservative democrats would be ideal (again. Bee comes to mind).

  9. Gimmeabreak says

    I’m surprised that no one has “jumped” on the Jeff Groscost angle of this story.
    Had Jeff not died he would have run for state party chairman and won. The other
    thing is Jeff would have served as McCain “in” to the LDS community. With Jeff
    gone it leaves McCain with a huge gaping hole in the East Valley and to the LDS
    community in general in the Phoenix Metro Area…

    And that’s the Real Story for today… Take that, Glenn Beck!!!

  10. Sen McCain has shown the ability to suck up to many groups, but has consistently spurned true conservative stands. His main constituancy seem to be the mainstream press.

    Somehow he has lured many AZ politicians to his camp, probably with promises of high office and threats if they don’t join his team.

    Hopefully, Randy Pullen and the other true conservative will not be fooled.

  11. The Question:
    “Could it be possible the likes of Flake,Shedegg & Kly actually see the big picture and are not just the McCain Puppet?
    The Answer:

  12. Gimmeabreak; it is not that the angle you present has not been mentioned, I have alluded to it without being so direct in an effort to respect his name and not use it as political leverage. You are correct, Jeff was going to run, and I agree, would have won. With his passing brought about the Lisa James candidacy. This is not to say Lisa is not a ready, willing, and able candidate; it speaks more to the circuitous route some have made such fuss over. There was a clear need for an alternative to Randy Pullen , his candidacy was already known and many active party members AKA grassroots felt Lisa was the best person for the job. The McCain/downtown crowd story hardly fits when you look at her list of supporters.

  13. With supporters like Carolyn Allen, Linda Barber, Jennifer Burns, Pete Davis, Evalyn Ekrom, Barb Hein, the Kenskis, Michele Reagan, etc. she certainly looks to have the moderate / RINO wing of the party behind her. All she needs to do now is ad Pete Hershberger. Maybe she is not McCain’s direct stooge but the liberals in the party certainly like her.

  14. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    Gimmeabreak is not correct when he says that Groscost would have won. He was one of the first alternatives to Pullen that the McCainiacs spoke with, but baggage does not begin to describe the man. To simply state as fact that he would have won is incorrect.

    Ann does not do Lisa any favors by directing us to look at her list of supporters, as az gnat so helpfully points out. Many of these folks have publicly worked AGAINST Republican candidates who they felt were too conservative, so the fact that they want Lisa James in charge is a strike against her, nothing more…

  15. Coloring everyone with the same brush certainly does not portend an ability to build coalitions, maintain a majority, or speak to the many who feel left out of your version of conservatism. As I’ve said before I have been a Republican for over 30 years, and would qualify by most standards as a very conservative person. But, I do not agree with other so called conservatives on every issue. Does that make them wrong or am I out of step with what a true conservative is? Just who owns that definition and who has the right to label someone a RINO because they have a different viewpoint on an issue? Isn’t that the way the weaker person tries to make their position strong by calling names and hoping for safety in numbers and fear of being called out by the mob? Your dismissal of many strong conservative names that do not serve to make your point is an example of such ideology.

    Call me RINO; but I will and have voted pro-life, strong military, secure our borders, and low taxes every time.

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