Whackjobs of a Feather

Joe ArpaioJoe Arpaio sent out a fundraising letter for J. D. Hayworth, bashing John McCain as a “moderate or even liberal.”

Arpaio’s attacks on McCain come as a surprise to folks from outside of the state, but as E. J. Montini points out, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock to people who actually follow our politics.

It is worth remembering that Arpaio didn’t endorse McCain in the 2008 presidential race, prefering instead to endorse the rock-ribbed conservative icon Mitt Romney.

A Little Perspective

Sarah Palin has been making the rounds (and no, I haven’t read the book) and one of the things that inevitably comes up is Katie Couric and her “gotcha questions.” It would be helpful to remember that one of these “gotcha” questions was about what newspapers she read. This wouldn’t even stump the contestants in one of Will Farrell’s Celebrity Jeopardy sketches.

The Latest

Apparently, Senate Democratic leaders are meeting with the governor at this hour. Despite the bluster in Chuck Coughlin’s editorial last week, indications are that la Cervecera’s plan is not the “sign and blame” that many of us thought. I’ve been told to look for line item vetoes, which could mean we still don’t have a complete budget.

I’ve been told not to expect any resolution on this today. I take it this means a change in the Governor’s travel plans?

Another for the “Who Do You Root For?” File

Those of us who are in Southern Arizona may have missed this week’s intra-mural grudge match between our state’s Republican officials.

Monday night at a meeting of the Legislative District 6 Republican club, as chronicled on conservative blog Seeing Red AZ, State Republican Chairman Randy Pullen ripped into two of the district’s Republicans, Senator Pamela Gorman and the Dickensian-named Representative Sam Crump.

Sam CrumpThis led Crump, who was at the meeting, to write an angry letter to Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, since Pullen is treasurer for the RNC. The point must be made here that Crump is part of the “more conservative than thou” faction that got Pullen elected and re-elected.

A big part of Pullen’s trouble is that even though his base among Republican activists is composed of the anti-government and anti-immigration wing, a big part of his job description is speaking up on behalf of Republican karmazyn like John McCain and Jan Brewer, neither of whom are popular in that slice of the Republican party.

The Seeing Red blog doesn’t give Pullen’s exact comments, but given his past statements, I can see how he could have been inartful, to say the least. There are ways to argue the governor’s position short of insulting people on your side, and obviously, Pullen didn’t know how to do it. I can’t imagine Jim Pederson, Harry Mitchell or Don Bivens waltzing in to a district club meeting back during Janet Napolitano’s administration and pulling a similar stunt, and there were plenty of Democrats that voted against her budgets. This is as much an indication of the rhetorical clumsiness of Pullen as it is the desperation induced by the impossible political situation Brewer has been backed into.

(Maybe the insults are the talking points these days from the Governor’s office, given the tone adopted by some of Brewer’s surrogates.)

The best response to all of this came from a Republican operative I spoke to about this incident. He had supported Lisa James against Pullen, because he was concerned about whether or not Pullen knew how to raise money and run a campaign organization. Both of these considerations, in the opinion of my source, were pooh-poohed by Pullen supporters. Because of this, he was particularly amused by this line in Seeing Red:

The party’s job is to keep Republicans in office, get more elected, and stand for Republican principles.

His response: “That’s what we were trying to tell you when we were supporting Lisa James!”

What Was Weak Last Week…

I’ve been enjoying the minor fracas among the Republicans that broke out late last week when the following YouTube video was making the rounds:

There were charges about who was behind the video, and fingers pointed to one of the usual suspects, Constantine Querard. There wasn’t much indication of who paid for the video, but there is a similar ad by the Arizona Manufacturers Council that is making the rounds.

Pamela Gorman
chalked this ad to “Chicago Style Politics.” Funny, I never heard of Anton Cermak or Richard Daley running YouTube videos.

I realize that the term “Chicago Style Politics” is now the phrase de jure among Republicans given the home town of the President. But this is Chicago style? Maybe it’s because it comes with celery salt or something.

Heck, looking at the tactics that consultants like Querard have used in the past, and the sort of knock down drag outs that Phoenix area Republican primaries have been for the last two decades (case in point: last year’s District 6 House primary), this seems like par for the course. Don’t blame Chicago, this is much more Maricopa County than Cook County.

And Funny Thing, ACORN Ain’t Involved

From the US Attorney’s Office:


TUCSON, Ariz. – A federal grand jury returned a 5-count indictment against James A. Marshall, 63, and Karen S. Marshall, 56, both of Green Valley, Ariz., for Conspiracy to Commit Fraudulent Voting and Fraudulent Voting. The indictment alleges that the Marshalls voted in more than one state during the November 2008 U.S. Presidential election.

The pair will receive a summons to appear for an arraignment on the charges in U.S. District Court in Tucson, on August 6, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Marshall.

The indictment alleges that James and Karen Marshall voted in both Kansas and Arizona, by way of early ballot, for the November 2008 general election. According to the indictment, the Marshalls represented that they were residents of Arizona on the Arizona early ballot application, and, around the same time, also represented they were residents of Kansas on the Kansas early ballot application. As a result of their representations, the Marshalls received ballots from both Arizona and Kansas. The Marshalls returned their Arizona ballots after signing a sworn statement that they reside in Arizona, and had not voted “and will not vote in this election in any other state during the calendar year of this affidavit … “. After voting in Arizona, the Marshalls then returned their Kansas ballots and affirmed that they were legal residents of Kansas.

A conviction for Conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both. A conviction for Fraudulent Voting carries a maximum penalty of five years, a $250,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, the assigned judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled Raymond K. Woo and Leta H. Hollon, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

Making Our State Proud

In my interregnum of negligence last week, I failed to say anything about Sylvia Allen’s comments in support of a memorial supporting more uranium mining in Northern Arizona. You’ve seen a lot of commentary about it already in the blogosphere, and it even got national attention:

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I must note that Keith Olbermann got it wrong about carbon dating (carbon dating only goes back 60,000 years. The isotopes used for uranium-lead dating have much longer half lives). Maybe Ann Coulter is right about Olbermann’s Cornell degree?

I kid, of course.

I’d like to remind Allen that saying “6000 years” may have weakened the argument. If her argument is that the earth has done just fine for 6000 years without being destroyed, think about how it would have been to say that the earth has been around for four and a half billion years with no problems? Eh? See? See?

It would also be worth pointing out to the senator that, even if we stipulate a “young earth” at 6000 years, that people haven’t spent a lot of that 6000 years pulling highly radioactive substances out of the ground and leaving a toxic mess when they are done. Of course, Allen seems to also think that we’ll “never know the mine was there when they are done.” Is Allen planning to buy a cabin on Horn Creek? Didn’t think so. Never know there was a mine? I know that Allen is from Snowflake, but maybe this session has gone on too long and she hasn’t been outside of Phoenix in a while. Take a quick trip around the state and she’ll see that you can’t even say that about copper mining.

By the way, Senator, the science that allows us to know where the uranium is is based on the same science that tells us the earth is a lot older than 6000 years.

Oh, and one other thing: why is it the people who adhere so closely to the most literal interpretation of Biblical creation are the same ones who seem so hell bent to wreck God’s creation?

In a bit of a post script, Daniel Patterson and several legislators have sent a letter to members of congress in opposition to the memorial bill that Allen was supporting. Given the track record of unread and sometimes unsent memorials (“post cards to congress”), Patterson’s letter has a better chance of being read by someone. At least I hope so.