The Debate Over Debates

There are certain sillinesses that go on every election that remind us that, yes, it is time to exercise our franchise soon. For example, I got an e-mail from Ally Miller’s campaign alleging that Nancy Young Wright was messing with her signs.


One of the other biannual rituals is a candidate complaining that the other candidate will not debate them. The craziest is when a candidate agrees to several debates, but one particular debate invite being refused is a sign of a disrespect for the voters, hatred of our democratic process and a general lack of cojones.

Of course, once in a while you gotta ask if someone is ducking. Which brings us to the debate imbroglio between Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona.

Flake has agreed to a sum total of one debate
. Solitary. Singleton. Nada mas uno. What strikes me more than the number (once again, one) or refusal to have one outside of the greater Phoenix area is the length.

Half an hour.

That’s right, because the issues facing our nation can be handled in half an hour. By comparison, Jonathan Paton and Ann Kirkpatrick will be having three debates, the shortest of which will be an hour and a half. Heck, your typical Clean Elections forum featuring a couple of State Senate candidates will be longer.

So, what gives, Jeff?

What, No Payday Loan Places Available?

In the years after his failed campaign against John McCain, Richard Kimball (who looked nothing like David Janssen) would often wax about how shallow campaigns had become. His complaint always got back to the one ad that he ran where he was on a ranch somewhere feeding a carrot to a horse.

“What did feeding carrots to horses have to do with the Senate?” he’d say. If memory serves, he was not a horse guy.

With that…here is a post from Jonathan Paton’s Deputy Campaign Manager Robert Meyer:


Given the Southern Arizona portion of District 1 seems to consist chiefly of Oro Valley and Saddlebrooke, good luck finding a “rugged” work place.

(And by the way, I’m enjoying seeing the campaign of a former employee of SAHBA hunting for an unobstructed view of the mountains.)

The silly part is, Paton isn’t the guy that hangs out in machine shops. Everyone knows that. Why pretend?

Worth Checking Out

I can’t get to everything, folks. Here are some other things from the intertron worth checking out:

Salon published a great piece on the too-often forgotten Shirley Chisolm, who was the first black woman to run for president. This, as the article points out, makes Chisolm a trailblazer for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But more than that, she was a symbol for what the Democratic Party might have been:

Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman in Congress, and George Wallace, the most notorious segregationist politician of the 20th century, worked together to raise wages for domestic servants, probably the most abused and unregulated sector of the workforce… Was that an unrepeatable one-off event based on a bizarre personal connection, or an example of a cross-racial, North-South, class-based political coalition that might have been?

– You know the frequently discredited claims that Obama and whatever Democrat is available has cut Medicare benefits by 700 some odd billion dolalrs? According to Blog for Arizona, the latest candidate to sell this is Jonathan Paton, who got slapped down on this one by the Arizona Daily Sun. This won’t matter to the next guy that tries to use it.

The ridiculous decision by a Coconino County Superior Court judge to give a slap on the wrist to an off duty DPS officer who sexually assaulted a woman, followed by a lecture given to the victim that amounted to telling her that she asked for it by being in a bar infuriated the living hell out of me. I didn’t write about it, because I knew Donna over at Democratic Diva would do it with the proper helping of outrage.

By the way…who would appoint someone with such a retrograde, puritanical, boys-will-be-boys view of the world?

Color Nintz Skeptical

Martha McSally’s campaign released a poll this morning showing that they are only behind Ron Barber by five points.

Of course, it also shows Barber at 50%…meaning even if these numbers are true, if the election were held today, McSally could get most of the remaining votes and still lose.

(By the way, I hate that “if the election were held today…” trope. It isn’t today. Sorry for going there.)

I always have trouble with polls that get released that don’t have other questions to provide context. Things like presidential numbers and partisan breakdown can provide some context. These numbers weren’t included in the release.

It took the Tucson Weekly’s Jim Nintzel a call to find out what the missing partisan breakdown was: 38 Republican, 37 Democratic. It’s pretty close to the numbers in the district, but why leave them off? I chalk it up to sloppiness, which doesn’t cast a good light on the research.

Also sloppy: I start to have doubts when the firm in question can’t even get names spelled right. Gabrielle Giffords, not Gabriel. She’s been in the news an awful lot, fellas. You could have looked it up.

Nintzel points to another indicator that things may not be all rosy for McSally. Even though they have invested money in Jonathan Paton (who has not yet cleared his primary), they are still holding back on McSally. They may eventually spend money in the race, but the fact that they haven’t made that commitment shows that they have some doubts.


Tribes to Take a Whack at Paton Today

San Carlos Apache Vice President John Bush, White Mountain Apache Chairman Ronnie Lupe along with local and Democratic Party leaders are scheduled to hold a press conference today where they are expected to blast Jonathan Paton for his stand on tribal sovereignty.

What prompted this was his answer on a questionnaire put out by our state’s social conservative scolds, the Center for Arizona Policy. CAP is run by pro-bullying lobbyist Cathi Herrod.

Check out answer fifteen on Paton’s questionnaire for the organization.

Bear in mind that this advocacy of “further restrictions” on tribal gaming comes from a guy who has been talking about loosening regulation on rural industry as a way to increase economic development. Except, I suppose, for the industry that the most impoverished Arizonans have depended on for economic development.

Maybe he was hanging out at the legislature too long and confuses what’s good for rural Arizona with what Phoenix lobbyists like Herrod want.

Catching Up

All sorts of articles and links I have been meaning to comment on have come over the transom over the last few days. What better way to write a Friday morning post than to summarize…a précis, so to speak.

First off, Hispanic Politico had a piece yesterday proclaiming “Tea Party Republican Tom Horne set to retire?” Fun little story, I suppose, but don’t expect to happen any time soon. The story is based on a whackjob e-mail being circulated among tea party activists. The most interesting part of it is, despite the Horne’s crusade against ethnic studies, he’s got tea partiers that aren’t enamored with him.

Also this week, Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign got a little bit of mileage from Jonathan Paton’s pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He said this in an address to the Navajo Nation Council, and the act includes a reauthorization of the Indain Health Service.

I’d say “oops,” but given how much of the rhetoric against the ACA isn’t actually based on what’s in it (they are still talking “death panels), I don’t think it really matters to him or a lot of these candidates how they would deal with the issues that would come up if the act disappeared.

By the way, Paton still hasn’t risen above “on the radar”, despite being the leading candidate for the Republican nomination in an area that has been represented by Republicans in all but four years of the last two decades.

And finally, color me totally unshocked that Russell Pearce was sending racist e-mails. Cue the responses that there is not a single, solitary person with a racist bone in their body that is in any way involved in the anti-immigration movement. Yeah, it’s Randy Parraz sowing racial division by being all Hispanic and trilling the Rs in his last name.

In Patience to Abide…

Way back in 1974, Walter Mondale was mentioned as a presidential candidate. He decided against it giving as his reason his desire not to spend his nights sleeping in Holiday Inns.

Folks who don’t run are allowed to complain about what a pain in the nalgas running for office is, but people actually running? Nope: the campaign trail is a marvelous experience and their favorite part of being a politician. That’s what you are supposed to say, or else your opponent will have a chance to do something like this:

That should do wonders for him among the rural voters in the primary.

This Day in Lobbyists-Turned-Politicians

Well, two of our congressional candidates are getting a wee bit of blow back for their previous careers as shills…I mean hired guns…I mean necessary parts of our legislative process.

Jeff Flake’s previous career as a lobbyist is a not well hidden, but seldom mentioned, part of his past. It was left off of his bios, much like Mark Wahlberg’s years as Marky Mark are a blank spot on his resume.

Well, he’s all of a sudden discovered that claiming private sector experience is hip. He’s spent the last decade in congress, so he had to dig back a ways. Well, he now brags on his Facebook page about his time managing “public affairs” for a mining company in Namibia:

After returning to the United States, I formed Interface Public Affairs, which provided public affairs representation to Namibian companies and translation services to U.S. entities.

By the way, Flake is allowed to use his time as a lobbyist to respond to attacks from his primary opponent, but Democrats are forbidden from bringing it up. Those are the rules.

Anyone remember the phrase “Payday Paton”? It may be back.

For those of you who need a refresher, “Payday Paton” was the moniker foisted on Jonathan Paton by the Arizona Democratic Party in 2010 to remind voters of Paton’s time as a lobbyist for payday lenders. The industry was odious enough that even Frank Antenori took pot shots at them, and the phrase became so ubiquitous that Jesse Kelly used it a few times.

The Payday Paton website has been revived by the Arizona Democratic Party, and this time it comes with a Twitter account.

I’ve never seen the polling data, but I’ve always suspected that the attacks may have hurt Paton in the 2010 Republican primary. Given that his opposition is so split, I can’t see him losing this one. But it can’t help him much.

Paton Drops Suit

I was a bit perplexed last week when I read that Jonathan Paton was suing to get one of his opponents, Gaither Martin, off of the ballot.

The reason why I was perplexed was because we all saw what happened last time when he had only one, largely unknown, challenger from the right. You’d think he’d want to leave as many people in the race as possible.

The trouble was that all he really succeeded in doing with this challenge was ticking off Martin’s friends among Mormons and Eastern Arizonans, and they had plenty of other places to go in the primary.

Well, Paton thought better of it and dropped his suit. I don’t know if this is due to lack of merit or a political decision. Just because Nate Sproul is involved in Martin’s campaign, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there was any hanky panky with the signatures.