FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two Senators DO Propose Constitutional Amendment To Supercede 14th Amendment's "Birthright Citizenship"

Two United States Senators - Republicans David Vitter (LA) and Rand Paul (KY) - have announced that they have filed a resolution proposing to amend the United States Constitution to ensure that babies born to illegal immigrants in the U.S. are not automatically granted citizenship.

Earlier today, Arizona's Politics discussed the current legislative efforts - at the state and the national level - to remove "birthright citizenship" from babies born in the United States.  Our conclusion was that the efforts which fail to amend the Constitution are likely to fail in the courts.

Vitter and Paul apparently reached the same conclusion.  They filed their joint resolution on Tuesday (SJR2) and, while the text is not yet available on Congress' website, the Senators' news release indicates where they are headed with it.

The Senators state that their proposed amendment "would amend the Constitution so that a person born in the United States to illegal aliens does not automatically gain citizenship unless at least one parent is a legal citizen, legal immigrant, active member of the Armed Forces or a naturalized legal citizen."

No other co-sponsors are listed at this point.






We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

No Arizona Representatives Co-Sponsoring Bill To Change Birthright Citizenship/Anchor Babies

No members of the Arizona Congressional delegation have signed on to co-sponsor Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) bill to change U.S. law - under the Constitution and the statutes - to restrict "birthright citizenship".  As discussed in the previous post, King is attempting to work on the second clause in the sentence in the 14th Amendment by stating that babies born to two illegal immigrants are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

King introduced H.R. 140 earlier this month, and has signed on 45 co-sponsors.  To date, not one member of Arizona's delegation has signed on to King's effort and none of them are on King's subcommittee that will schedule a hearing on it.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

READ and TWEET: Entire Relevant Portion of 14th Amendment; Anti-Birthright Citizenship Movement Weighed Down By Scalia's (and Its) Originalist Philosophy

Here is the entire, very clear text of the first two sentences of the first section of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.
It is so clear that no bolding or italics are necessary to interpret it as the U.S. Supreme Court did in 1898.  It is so concise that - with only minor Twitterifying adjustments to the language - it can be Tweeted in only two Tweets.  (Which I did - with a #14Am "hashtag" - at http://twitter.com/#!/AZs_Politics; re-Tweet them as you wish.)

Republicans in Congress (46, led by Rep. Steve King) and in a number of states (including Arizona) are attacking that plain language without attempting to amend the U.S. Constitution.  The states' efforts are an attempt to bring the matter before the U.S. Supreme Court; however, it is hard to see how any court could leap the first hurdle that states cannot redefine the nation's citizenship laws.  The Congressional effort would be more appealing to judges and justices, tinkering with who is "subject to the jurisdiction" of the U.S.

However, the two factors weighing heavily against all of the legislative efforts are (1) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's popular originalist judicial philosophy for interpreting the Constitution; and (2) the principle of respecting previous Supreme Court opinions (stare decisis). 

There is little doubt that those working to redefine who is a citizen (or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States) are contradicting their oft-stated belief in the Constitution, and are hoping for "judicial activists" to rule in their favor.  Instead, if they do not like what the Constitution clearly states, they should amend it.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce's Nightmare Spam Act: "For Just $250", He'll "FAX Every Member of Congress and Obama Every Day for 5 Days"

It is not every day that you get an e-mail from the President of the Arizona State Senate, offering to help me petition Congress.  But, that is just what Russell Pearce (R-LD18) and his anti-illegal immigration group sent me (and the more than 800,000 people*1 presumably on their e-mail lists) yesterday.

Pearce is not only the President of the State Senate and the "Tea Party Senate President", but is also the "Honorary National Co-Chairman of BanAmnestyNow.com".  In that role, he signed and blasted out an e-mail with the subject line "Fax Congress and Help Me Secure the Border." Along with the usual rundown of the battles he has won and is fighting (and the proven-false statistic thrown in), and the request for money to keep fighting ("...to protect American and American families."), Pearce repeatedly asks his supporters to click on the link to "FAX Congress".   (text of e-mail below the jump)

Click on the link, and you are sent to B.A.N.'s "Contribution" section, and a page to "Send Blast Faxes To Congress", for the stated purpose of "Stop(ping) Congress From Passing the DREAM Act!"  It is a convenient way to donate to B.A.N. while letting them do the hard work of exercising your Constitutional right of petitioning Congress and the President.

The options are enticing and run the gamut from hitting just the Senators from one party or the other ($19), all 100 Senators ($29), all 435 Representatives ($99), and all 535 MOC's plus President Obama ($119).  All well and good, and a fine way to exercise our free market rights and our free speech rights simultaneously.

But, wait.  B.A.N. offers this "SPECIAL- FAX Every Member of Congress and Obama Every Day for 5 Days - Let them know you mean business for just $250".  That's right.  Because nothing lets a Congressperson know you mean business like placing your name in the "From" line with Pearce, Arpaio, Tancredo, Buchanan and McCaffrey and sending the same generic message over and over and over (and over and over).  (Let's not even discuss the propriety of a State Senate President and a tax-exempt political organization adding to our national debt by wasting Congressional resources.)

By the way, the proposed fax does not explicitly address the "DREAM Act" that must be stopped.  Instead, it is a laundry list that includes "opposition to the dangerous and divisive amnesty schemes proposed and promoted by Barack Obama and others in Washington."  It requests the recipients' to "join us in our mission to save our great nation."

Pearce's e-mail seems to suggest that the pay-for-faxes and contributions help him and B.A.N. to travel "to the recent court hearings in liberal San Francisco" to "defend SB-1070 in the courts" and to pass similar laws in all 50 states. 

It is hard to figure out where the line is drawn between Pearce's legitimate private life fundraising for a tax-exempt organization (which he may or may not receive support from), his political campaign committee's activities, and his government-paid expenses.  For example, it would appear that Pearce's campaign committee reimbursed Pearce on November 5 for airfare and lodging, in the amount of $551.17.  (The hearings in "liberal San Francisco" took place the week before.)

The Arizona Senate President using his position and prestige to solicit monies for a massive Congress-bombarding operation would seem to be a major effort at erasing those lines altogether.

(NOW how much would you pay for a fax? BUT WAIT, here's more:)

BONUS POINTS:
1) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio removed himself as Pearce's "Honorary Co-Chair" of B.A.N. last October after B.A.N. sent out an e-mail over Arpaio's signature calling for an army of volunteers to monitor polling places.  However, Arpaio's name remains on the fax that Pearce is hawking, and is still all over the website.
2) Pearce sticks to his guns;  however, this time his "guns" are false statistics.  His e-mail repeats the oft-discredited statistic that "more than 9,100 Americans are killed each year by illegal aliens."  Arizona Republic's Fact Check thoroughly demonstrated that Pearce and Iowa Rep. Steve King could not validate their "fact". (And Arizona's Politics took the Republic to task for claiming that theevidence was "inconclusive"; Pearce's claim deserved - and deserves - a "double F" for False Fact.)
3) Pearce's e-mail to stop the Dream Act came mere hours before Obama mentioned two specific immigration-related measures in the State of the Union address: the Dream Act and the STAPLE Act.  The latter bill was re-introduced in Congress the day before by Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6).
4) Pearce and his B.A.N. buddies really need to be more careful and proofread and/or update their appeals.  Not only do they bounce back and forth and back again about the main topic, but they have not even updated their Senate numbers to reflect the gains that the GOP made in November's election.
5) What is up with Pearce self-identifying as the "Tea Party Senate President"?


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Trent Franks In D.C. At Annual March For Life Rally: "Mr. President, There Is Nothing Liberating About Killing Our Children"

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD) spoke (for 57 seconds) at the annual March For Life Rally yesterday in Washington, D.C.

"I'm Congressman Trent Franks from Arizona.  You know, recently the President gave a speech.  He said all of should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to the expectations of our children.  And I believe that to be true, Mr. President.  We cannot do that while we stand by and watch 4,000 of them be killed every day.  Mr. Presdent, there is nothing liberating about killing our children.  Mr. President, America has not yet forsaken our unborn, and in two more years, we're going to have another election, Mr. President.  And, by the grace of God, we will see Roe v. Wade fall in the ash heap of history. God bless you all."



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

COMING UP: Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar Sets Five Town Hall Meetings Jan. 31-Feb. 4

New Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) has scheduled five townhall meetings for the upcoming "Constituent Work Week".  Given the crazy spread-out nature of CD1, the meetings are practically all over the state.

Here's his schedule:

PRESCOTT TOWN HALL

Monday, January 31st
6:00pm – 8:00pm MST
Prescott City Hall Building
201 S. Cortez Street
Prescott, AZ 86303

FLAGSTAFF TOWN HALL
Tuesday, February 1st
6:00pm – 8:00pm MST
Thorpe Park Community and Senior Center
245 N. Thorpe Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

WINDOW ROCK TOWN HALL
Wednesday, February 2nd
6:00pm – 8:00pm MST
Navajo Nation Museum
Arizona 264 & Post Office Loop
Window Rock, AZ 86515

SUPERIOR TOWN HALL
Thursday, February 3rd
5:00pm – 7:00pm MST
Superior Junior Senior High School
100 West Mary Drive
Superior, AZ 85173

CASA GRANDE TOWN HALL
Friday, February 4th
6:00pm – 8:00pm MST
Paramount Theatre
420 N. Florence Street
Casa Grande, AZ 85122





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

COMING UP: Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle On Fox Business (Cavuto) At About 4:30 (AZ Time)

New Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) will be discussing the State of the Union address this afternoon on the Fox Business channel.  Host Neil Cavuto will question Quayle at approximately 4:30p.m. (Arizona Time).


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH (BEYOND HYPER-PARTISANSHIP): Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar Hopes Congress Only Stands When They Really Mean It Tonight

New Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) spoke the least at this morning's news conference about the mixed seating movement for tonight's State of the Union address, but he may have uttered the best line. 

After Rep. Heath Shuler talked about staying away from making C-Span speeches except when it is really important and that none of the C-Span speeches win Oscars, Gosar jumped in to talk about the tendency for Congresspeople to jump up and down with too-frequent standing ovations whenever the President who matches their party label finishes a line.
I'm the newbie here.  But, maybe what it'll all orchestrate is that the true meaning of when you stand for an important point.   I think what we've gotten to is a point that we exemplify (amplify?) everything that is said in the speech.   It's past that point.  The American people want to have some concise language. And, maybe we'll have a little less standing ovation, and really mean it when we actually stand.  (about 18:10 mark)
Gosar also delivered a one-minute prepared text (about 9:25  mark), and answered a question by saying that noone had instructed the Republicans on how to behave (about 19:10 mark).

(The C-Span video is - for some unknown reason - "not embeddable".  This link should take you to the 18:05 mark where Rep. Gosar jumps in.)




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

First Tweet From Giffords' Staff

Rep_Giffords Gabrielle Giffords

From the entire Giffords team: Happy 21st Birthday Daniel Hernandez! Sounds like you have fun plans tonight :)

48 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Third Time The Charm? Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake Re-Introduces Bill To Exempt Foreign PhD Recipients From Visa Quotas

Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) yesterday re-introduced his bill - titled the "STAPLE Act" - that would exempt foreign students from visa quotas if they receive a PhD in the United States.

Flake's reasoning:
“Unless we want to see the next Google or Intel created overseas, we’ve got to enact legal immigration reforms that allow foreign-born, U.S.-educated students who have earned advanced degrees to remain and work in the country after they’ve graduated,”


“At a time when there’s a lot of focus on keeping the U.S. competitive globally, if we don’t keep these highly-skilled workers in the U.S. after they’ve graduated, we’re going to see the next round of high tech companies created overseas rather than here in the United States.”
Here is a link to the bill's main page.

This is the third consecutive Congress in which Rep. Flake has introduced this measure.  It has not gotten out of committee the past two times, though it did pick up five bi-partisan co-sponsors in the last Congress. 






We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH: Arizona Sen. John McCain Pre-Ridicules "Investment" This A.M. On CBS; Warns Of "Bankrupt America"

"We've seen this movie before... 'Investment'."  Arizona Senator John McCain pre-ridiculed the expected calls for investment in President Obama's State of the Union address tonight, comparing it to the stimulus plan that failed to keep the unemployment rate under 8%.

He also echoed his previous calls that the Democrats could "bankrupt America." 

"14 trillion dollar debt.  It's unimagineable, and the consequences of our failure to get spending under control will be to bankrupt America."
He added limited defense spending cuts and Medicare fraud to his mantra of going after agricultural subsidies and entitlements.



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

NEWS RELEASE: 9/11 First Responders Present Signed American Flag To Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Office Today

(I don't usually post news releases en toto.  However, I was touched when I stumbled upon this story, and because of time constraints and that it would really be silly to try to re-write this, I am posting this as is.  The presentation takes place at 2:00p.m (Arizona Time).)


9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS TO PRESENT SIGNED FLAG TO U.S. REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS’ OFFICE



Memento cites song, saying ‘It will be a beautiful day’ when Giffords returns to Congress

WASHINGTON – First responders from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks of New York City will present a signed American flag to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office in the Capitol tomorrow.

“We are deeply honored that the first responders who answered the call when terrorists attacked our nation on 9/11 plan to visit the congresswoman’s office,” said Pia Carusone, Giffords’ chief of staff and a native New Yorker. “Their service to our country during the hours and days following that terrifying attack were an enormous comfort during one of the most difficult periods our nation has experienced.”

On the date of the 9/11 attacks, Carusone was director of a New York state certified emergency medical services unit that sent multiple emergency medical technicians to assist in responding to the tragedy.

Tomorrow’s flag presentation has been arranged by John Feal who made 89 trips to Washington to lobby for the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The act, signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 2, pays for health care for responders sickened by pollution at the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York.

About 50 first responders from 9/11 will be in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate passage and signing of the James Zadroga Act. Feal said the police officers, firefighters, construction workers and volunteers decided to also honor Giffords.

“I saw a brilliant young lady struck down by senseless violence,” Feal said of Giffords. “I just felt that we had to do something.”

Feal noted that Giffords has said that “Beautiful Day” by U2 is one of her favorite songs. She chose it to be played as a wakeup song on a 2008 space shuttle flight commanded by her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly.

Because of that, the signed flag to be presented to Giffords’ office will have the message, “Congresswoman Giffords: When you return to Congress, it will be a beautiful day,” said Feal.

“When 9/11 happened, it brought the entire country together,” Feal said. “This has the potential to bring people together, too.”

Feal lost part of his foot working as a construction supervisor at the World Trade Center site. He was a leader in winning passage of the legislation last month.

Feal will be in the gallery at Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech, invited by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate and a close personal friend of Giffords.

Feal, a U.S. Army veteran, is founder and president of the Feal Good Foundation. The non-profit organization educates the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders and provides assistance to relieve them of financial burdens.

Carusone noted that first responders are called to duty at a moment’s notice every day around the country – including on Jan. 8 when Giffords and 18 others were shot by a gunman at Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner event in Northwest Tucson. Six people, including a member of Giffords’ staff, were killed in the attack.

“The sheriff’s deputies, police officers, paramedics and others who responded to the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson saved lives and were a tremendous source of support and comfort to Tucsonans and members of the congresswoman’s staff who were affected by this horrible event,” Carusone said.

Carusone said the flag, which the first-responders are presenting in a shadow box, “will be a valued gift that we will forever treasure.”


WHAT: First responders from 9/11 present signed flag to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office
WHEN: 4-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
WHERE: Congresswoman’s Giffords’ office, 1030 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.



BEYOND HYPER-PARTISANSHIP: Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar Participating In News Conference On Efforts To End Partisan Seating At State Of The Union

New Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) continues his busy schedule in Congress.  At 9:00a.m. (Arizona Time), he will participate in a news conference with lawmakers Sens. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), about the status of their efforts to end partisan seating at tonight's State of the Union address (by President Obama).  Expect numbers.

Gosar was an early adopter in this effort begun by Udall.  Word comes that he is pairing off with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) because of their mutual interest in pediatric dentistry.  (Gosar has been a dentist and Cummings has campaigned to increase kids' access to dental care.)


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

UPDATE Re: Rep. Pastor and Progressive Letter To Obama Re: Social Security

On Friday, we posted about Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) and the letter he co-headlined from the Congressional Progressive Caucus to President Obama, urging him to mention in his State of the Union address that Congress should keep its "hands off Social Security". 

We noted that caucus member Rep. Ed Pastor (D-CD4) did not sign on to the letter, and wondered why.  At our request, we received a response from the Congressman Monday.  He indicates that the letter did not get to him until it was already sent, and that he attempted to sign on after the fact.

Mystery solved.  And yes, we agree that those kind of things do unfortunately occur.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar "Honor(ed) To Learn From Justice Scalia" Yesterday

A mini-brouhaha reached its peak yesterday when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a presentation to a group of (mostly) Tea Party Congresspeople.  New Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) was among the few dozen who were there, and noted afterward that "It is an honor to learn from Justice Scalia."

Scalia was invited by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to address her Constitutional conservative seminars - in conjunction with the House Tea Party Caucus - and has received criticism from some quarters for speaking to an overtly conservative group of Representatives and for doing so behind closed doors.  Bachmann did say that all members of Congress were welcome (apparently, three Democrats did attend) and that she plans to invite all Supreme Court Justices to also speak with her group.

Following the session, Gosar stated: "“It is an honor to learn from Justice Scalia. The Constitution is an important part of our country and should be incorporated into the lawmaking process.”  He indicated that he is also glad that many Members, when submitting bills, are citing which part of the Constitution authorizes the bill.






We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Rep. David Schweikert On Fox Business News: "We're Devastatingly Broke"

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) appeared on Fox Business News this afternoon.  In a joint interview with California Democrat Loretta Sanchez, Schweikert defended Rep. Paul Ryan's plans for cutting spending, saying: 
"We're devastatingly broke, and the entitlements are going to drive us into the ground.  So if you really care about that college student and that student having an economic future, we have to do the tough stuff now, or it comes crashing down around us."
Of course, the hosts had to ask if Sanchez and Schweikert were going to sit together tomorrow for the State of the Union address.  Sanchez took a flirty approach, while Schweikert noted that the Arizona delegation (except those apparently, who like Sen. McCain, already have dates) is probably going to sit together.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar Among Freshmen Sleeping In Their Congressional Offices

At least one of Arizona's three new Representatives is among the group of Congresspeople sleeping in their Washington, D.C. offices, according to CBS News.  Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) was featured placing sheets on a mattress on the floor.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Arizona State Sen. Linda Gray Gains Nat'l. Attention For Bringing Roe v. Wade Into Reasons For Attempted Assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; Or, Did She?

This weekend, George Washington University ran a special examining the attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and subsequent murder spree.  They invited one Arizona Democrat (Steve Gallardo) and one Arizona Republican (Linda Gray) to speak about the tragic circumstances.

The popular Politico website must have been listening, and they found Gray's comments newsworthy.  Sen. Gray (R-LD10) was asked what lawmakers can do to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.  This gave her the opportunity to riff on "training of people to respect human life", the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade which legalized abortions in some circumstances, and the "cultural issue in the disrespect for human life."

Politico took the comments from a riff on what can be done to prevent future shootings, and headlined it to be a factor in this month's tragedy: "AZ lawmaker: Roe v. Wade a factor in shootings". 

Here is the full post from Politico, after the jump:


WATCH: "We Have To Go After the Sacred Cows, and Then We Have To Go After Entitlements" --Arizona Sen. John McCain

CBS' Bob Schieffer seemed tickled pink to have Arizona Senator John McCain on his program "for the first time in EXACTLY one year"  - even though he is the most frequent political guest in the history of the program.  He questioned him for approximately 10 1/2 minutes.

Not a lot of new information came out of the discussion, but McCain did indicate he would sit with New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and hoped Sen. Mark Udall (the original proposer of the bi-partisan seating idea) would sit in his usual seat.  He said it has been blown out of proportion, but hopes that it will cut down on the cheering/frowning game.

He lauded President Obama's Tucson speech, and his coming around to talking about spending cuts.  The issue of spending got him the most fired up, and he repeated variations of the headline quote several times:  "We have to go after the sacred cows, and then we have to go after entitlements, and entitlements have to be on the table sooner rather than later... and the longer we wait, the worse the problem is going to be.  We have saddled our kids and grandkids with a debt that is unconscionable, and unsustainable, and outrageous."




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

In Arizona, The "Others" Now Outnumber Dems, "May Very Well... Eclipse" GOP'ers in 2012

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) released new January 2011 voter registration figures today, and - for the first time - the number of registered independents (aka "others", including "party not designated", "independents" and other minor parties) exceeds the number of people registered as Democrats. 

And, while Bennett's news release trumpets that notable factoid, at the bottom comes a quote that adds some perspective: Bennett thinks that the number of "others" may also outnumber registered Republicans by the end of next year, too.

"We may very well see the number of registered independents eclipse the number of Republicans around the time of the 2012 election."

Here are the big-picture numbers, in a nutshell:
Republicans: 1,142,605, or 35.80%
Others:          1,010,725, or 31.66%
Democrats:    1,008,689, or 31.60%
Libertarians:       24,880, or 0.78%
Green:                  5,040, or 0.16%
TOTAL:        3,191,939

The smaller-picture numbers are going to be extra important, as the Redistricting Commission will be using them when they begin their work in a few months.  Accordingly, here is the link to the numbers by County, Congressional District, and state Legislative District.  The report also shows the inactive voters in each of these categories and sub-categories.

One other note of interest:  Pima and Santa Cruz counties are the only two counties that showed a dip in the number of registered voters between the General Election registration cutoff (October) and January 1.  This may be the result of removing outdated names off of the registration rolls, fewer new registrations than the other counties, less population increase, or a combination thereof.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.
1,142,605

Friday, January 21, 2011

COMING UP: Arizona Senator John McCain On "Face the Nation"

Arizona Senator John McCain will one of Bob Schieffer's guests on CBS' "Face the Nation" this Sunday morning.  This will be the 3rd weekend in a row that a member of Arizona's Congressional delegation has been on the program, Sen. Jon Kyl was on the day after the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) and subsequent murder spree, and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) was on last week. 

It airs at 9:30a.m. on Channel 5 in Phoenix and Channel 13 in Tucson.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Arizona Progressive Rep. Raul Grijalva Co-Headlines Letter To Obama Re: Social Security

(UPDATE (1/25):  I received a response from Rep. Pastor yesterday.  He indicates that the letter did not get to him until it was already sent, and that he attempted to sign on after the fact.)

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.  As such, he is the first signer on a letter to President Obama urging him to tell Congress "hands off Social Security", during the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Talking Points Memo has a copy of the one-page letter.

Potentially interestingly, fellow Arizona Representative and CPC member Ed Pastor (D-CD4) did not send the letter.  An effort to ascertain why is being made.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

UPDATE: Desert Dems' Deal To Delay Divided Decision Dead; State Committee Vote Tomorrow Should Be Interesting

A flurry of e-mails in the last few minutes from Andrei Cherny and Rodney Glassman, the two candidates for chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, confirms that the apparent deal to delay the potentially divisive election for at least one month is off. 

Rodney Glassman opened today's series of e-mails with one (1:32p.m.) setting out endorsement messages from State Senator Gallardo, State Progressive Leader Dan O'Neal, and Pima Progressive Jim Hannley.  Five minutes later, he then sent his own message "humbly" asking for votes from the State Committee Members.  Key quote as to the delay deal issue: "Our friend Gabrielle Giffords was injured carrying out her responsibilities as a Congressperson.  We honor her by continuing to carry out our responsibilities as elected precinct committeepersons and state committeepersons."

Andrei Cherny's e-mail hit my box 17 minutes later. He acknowledged the dropped delay deal near the bottom of his plea for support:  "As many of you know, there was a proposal that we reelect the current leadership for a one month period to give ourselves more time to heal and to not have a divisive meeting on the two week anniversary of the Tucson shooting. The request was supported by Rep. Giffords’ office. It was discussed by all sides for over a week. Everyone involved in those discussions knows that this was not a ploy to shut down debate, but an attempt to bring people together. Yet despite knowing that, some have used this as a chance to make us more divided as opposed to more united. That speaks to the decision you will have to make tomorrow."

Whether some state committee members still see the one-month delay that the parties had apparently agreed to remains to be seen, though it seems unlikely with both candidates (both of whom lost their statewide contests last November) now actively back in campaign mode.

(Disclosure:  I am not a member of either party's state committee, nor am I a precinct committeeperson.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva Endorsed Rodney Glassman For State Democratic Chair, But What's Up With This???

Arizona's Politics does not generally wade into the intra-party political maneuvering - and, I am not sure why I got this e-mail - but, the latest is impossible to ignore.

An e-mail from a Democratic District Chair (Jeffrey Rich) is headlined "Another backroom deal courtesy of Don Bivens and your Arizona Democratic Party".  He attaches an e-mail chain setting forth a letter from Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) and former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.  Grijalva has endorsed Rodney Glassman for State Party Chair and Terry Goddard has endorsed Andrei Cherny.  The State meeting is set for this coming Saturday.

Grijalva and Goddard set this post-Giffords assassination attempt era as a "moment of sorrow" and an inappropriate time to conclude a contentious battle for the Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.  Therefore, they detail a proposal to keep current Chair Don Bivens (and the rest of the current officers) with the conditions that he/they will resign in one month.  A new election would then have to be noticed out.

The most interesting part is that the e-mail chain includes one from Cherny agreeing to the delay.  The other one is from Glassman to Rich, with the less-than-concurring subject line of: "FYI- Look at what Bivens and Cherney are planning next".

This would appear to indicate that Grijalva moved forward with this apparently-bipartisan proposal without Glassman's (a former aide of Grijalva's) support.  An interesting move, and one that is sure to make Saturday's meeting buzz even louder than before this attempted quieting proposal.  Rich's mass e-mail is just the first indication of that.

(Arizona's Politics is not posting the e-mail chain at this time because we do not yet have confirmation that the Grijalva-Goddard letter has been sent, and most of the other e-mails were supposed to be private until Rich sent them out.)




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

VISIT: Arizona Rep. David Schweikert Indoors Tomorrow, Saturday To Meet With Constituents; First Since Fellow Rep. Giffords Shot

New Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) is the first of Arizona's Congressional delegation to announce open meetings with constituents since the attempted assassination of colleague Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8).

The "listening sessions" were announced on Schweikert's Twitter account, and will take place tomorrow (Friday), from 9-11a.m. at the Tempe Pyle Adult Recreation Center, and Saturday, from 2-4p.m. at the Pecos Community Center in Phoenix (Ahwatukee).

(The addresses are 655 E. Southern Ave. and 17010 S. 48th Street, respectively.)

The announcement does not appear to be up on either Schweikert's official House website or his old campaign website.

No word on formats or security arrangements yet, but the fact that both will be in inside rooms - as opposed to Giffords' ill-fated session outside a Safeway grocery store - will make it more easily controllable.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

READ: Arizona Rep. David Schweikert's Fundraising E-mail To Keep Democrats From Bankrupting America

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) did not get to speak during the House debate on HR2, which passed late this afternoon.  The proposal to repeal last year's healthcare reform bill will now move to the Senate, where it appears to be stuck.  However, Schweikert did send out a campaign committee fundraising e-mail today supporting the repeal effort.  The text is below the jump.

In it, he asks the reader to "Stand with David Schweikert in 2011! Click here to support our fight in Congress to bring real healthcare reform that does not bankrupt our nation."  He then claims that "ObamaCare" will cost $2.7trillion and increase the national deficit by nearly $700 billion. 

Text below the jump.

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle On Repealing Healthcare Reform Law

Last night, Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) gave a one-minute mini-speech in favor of repealing the healthcare reform law passed last year.  He stated that the law was extra-constitutional ("...expands the scope of the government well beyond the parameters set forth in our Constitution") and was formulated "behind closed doors and against the will of the American people".



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH and READ: Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar's Speech On Repealing "Onerous" Healthcare Reform Law

Here is the one-minute mini-speech that Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) gave on the floor of the House last night.  He suggests that "If we are serious about putting our nation back to work, then we can start by repealing the onerous health care law and work hand-in-hand with the American people to implement true health care reform."




Text of speech is below the jump:

House Passes HR2 To Repeal Healthcare Reform; No Surprises In Arizona Delegation

A few minutes ago (3:53pm, Arizona Time), the House of Representatives voted along party lines to repeal the healthcare reform law that was signed into law last year.  The total was 245-189.  The three Democrats who voted for repeal were not members of the Arizona delegation; Arizona Reps voted along party lines.  (Giffords was the only Representative in the not voting category;  however, it is highly unlikely that she would have voted for the repeal.)

The speeches from the Arizona delegation will be posted here later.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

BEYOND HYPER-PARTISANSHIP: Comments Are Welcome And Won't Be Censored; Here's an "Ironic" One That's Staying Up On Giffords Post

I have always welcomed comments on this blog, and I do not plan on censoring any unless they clearly cross the bounds of decency, or are spam. Comments that are in bad taste/obnoxious/etc. often are instructive nonetheless.


My simple post putting up the video of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) reading the First Amendment on the floor of Congress two days before the assassination attempt/murder spree has become one of my most-read/viewed posts (and has introduced a number of readers to this blog). (It continues to receive many hits.)

I received a few e-mails and a couple of phone calls from the new readers - all of them complimentary. Thanks. However, only a couple of people posted their thoughts online. Perhaps because their comments were about the Congresswoman and not about the blog.

One of the commenters apparently decided to unleash on a couple of Democrats in Congress who "used the opportunity" of the "discussion" ensuing after the shooting to raise the issue of the "Fairness Doctrine". In it, he labeled them as "liberal fascists ( ) demanding" that the freedoms of speech and press be "taken away". (His full comment, and my response, are re-posted at the bottom of this commentary.)

This comment falls under the category of "the rhetoric that ridicules and demonizes people with whom you (or your party) do not agree with"; I used that phrase hours before the anonymous commenter let fly with his (or - less likely - "her") vitriol. And, as I said earlier in this post, some comments are "instructive".

So, commenter, your remarks will remain. Not unnoticed and not unaddressed, however. In fact, I suspect that some other readers will want to express their opinions of your angry words.

******
Text of comment: "What irony. Rep. Giffords reads the 1st Amendment on the floor of Congress on Jan 6.  In response to her tragic shooting at the hands of a paranoid schizophrenic two days later, the liberal fascists are demanding Congress take away the people's freedoms of speech and the press."

Text of my response:

@wrthomas: Sure glad you didn't post your "liberal fascists are demanding..." comment on the (re-)post I made earlier on the 12th ("Only in...").

@all: By the way, if you unfocus your eyes on Giffords' jacket (above), you might be able to make out a 3D version of the Catalina Mountains.


If you refocus on the Congresswoman, you might see a strong, determined woman who doesn't just talk the bi-partisan talk and actually walks the walk.


Her obvious inner determination displayed the past less-than-two-weeks has been nothing short of miraculous and inspiring - no matter whether you're a liberal fascist, a conservative fascist or any other of the (ahem, fascistic) political epithets that have been thrown around too frequently!

Add your comments here.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Sets Forth Her "Four Cornerstones of Reform" (LINKS)

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer released a paper today setting forth what she considers the "Four Cornerstones of Reform" that will propel Arizona to "reclaim its historic position as a national leader in population growth, job growth and economic energy" during the next four years.  Read it here.

For those who want the shorter, press release version, click here.  Or, you can read the following synopsis.

The four cornerstones are "Economic Competitiveness", "Education", "State Government", and "Renewed Federalism". 

Economic Competitiveness:  Gov. Brewer proposes "a special session of the Legislature for the purpose of enacting an economic competitiveness package," to be convened "in the coming month."  The special session should set up a new "Arizona Commerce Authority", set up new "tax incentives that reward companies for creating high-quality jobs", and new tax reforms to reduce the corporate income tax rate and the business personal property tax.

Education: "Further details of Governor Brewer's education reform plan will be announced forthwith", according to the news release.

State Government: The Governor's policy agenda paper sets forth several budget reforms already released, and operational reforms that are in the works.  The latter include dealing with the state personnel system, the retirement system, and strengthening right-to-work provision by proposing that the governor cannot impose a meet-and-confer process.

Renewed Federalism:  Governor Brewer suggests that "the United States has a federal government, not a national government."  (emphasis hers) Her plan suggests that Arizona will keep fighting the federal government on border security and health care reform.  In addition, she urges eligible local governments in Arizona to remove themselves from the requirment that the federal government pre-clear any changes that may effect minority representation.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake Delivering Weekly Republican Address; Addresses Rep. Giffords Shooting, "Fanatic" Jared Loughner

Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) delivered the weekly Republican address ("response" to President Obama's weekly address) on Saturday.  Of course, the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the subsequent shooting spree by "lunatic" Jared Loughner.  The sub-3:00 speech follows.

Flake:  "These violent acts have no place in our society, and we should honor those who stood up in defiance, for it was from the shadows of this evil that we saw true heroism emerge."


We welcome your comments about this post. If you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

ABC "This Week" Tucson Taping Takes Twist; Shooting Victim Arrested For Threatening Tea Party Spokesman

Tucson's ABC affiliate KGUN (Channel 9) provides the most thorough account of the bizarre twist that took place today.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Only In Gabrielle Giffords' Medical Condition: "No Change Is Good"; Our Nation's Political Condition: "No Change Is Dangerous"

Updated: This post initially ran on Monday morning. Because President Obama is about to address Tucson - and the world - at McKale Center, I chose to re-post this. It is widely expected that he will NOT directly address the firestorm that has been (re-)ignited about the status of our nation's political discourse. That would be wise, even though I do not believe that calls for beginning to unpoison our political atmosphere are ever unwise. Even in the wake of Saturday's tragedy. It would be unwise for the President because the firestorm has already spread in too many directions, and he cannot hope to fight the fire with more fire; the best approach may be to starve it of new oxygen.  (minor, non-substantive edits have been made)



I covered many briefings at University Medical Center in years gone by. Now, I find myself watching them on TV or the internet, or reading accounts of them on the Arizona Daily Star's website.

I searched a few minutes ago for the latest from UMC, and was happy to see the headline of the Star's summary of this morning's briefing: "Giffords, other shooting victims continue to improve".

Of course, the headline does not tell the story fully. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) remains in the ICU, a portion of her skull is still unattached, and her condition has not changed. This is the quote from UMC doctor G. Michael Lemole, Jr.: "At this point in the game no change is good, and we have no change."

Seven other victims of the murder spree remain at UMC - five in serious condition and two in fair condition. (Apparently, there are six others who were injured who are either at other hospitals or have been treated and released.)

I have been reluctant to post too much since learning of the tragic events on Saturday while with my family at an all-day event. I have tried to maintain this site as one as close to an objectively-reported blog as possible. A few readers have tried to guess what my personal political pov is - some correctly, a few incorrectly. Maybe that means that I am succeeding, to an extent.

One theme that does appear to run through Arizona's Politics, however, is that moving "beyond hyper-partisanship" is a good thing. That is why most of my limited posting (and Tweeting) in the past 48 hours has been to re-post some specific examples of the rhetoric by and against Giffords.

I have long been concerned with the rhetoric that ridicules and demonizes people with whom you (or your party) do not agree with. No matter which side is doing the demonizing. I have spoken out against both. (However, I will not repeat a false equivalency and suggest that the two major sides in this country's political debate have reached equal levels of demonization.)

The demonization at all levels of our political discourse has to be ratcheted down. Far down. Our politicians have to ratchet down their levels and have to call out their allied forces when they do not ratchet down their stream of vitriol.

In Giffords' current medical situation, "at this point in the game no change is good, and we have no change." In the longer-term, political situation, "no change" is NOT good and will lead to further deterioration of our democracy and our country. And, that deterioration is something I will continue to fight.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH and READ: Arizona Reps. Jeff Flake and Trent Franks On House Floor About Tucson Tragedy; Text of House Resolution

The House of Representatives is currently "debating" a resolution condemning the attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and subsequent shooting spree in Tucson, and honoring the victims and heroes.  It is a good summary of the situation, and the full text of the resolution is below the jump.

Among the Arizona delegation speaking was Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2).  Here are their remarks this morning.



Text of the resolution is below:

Monday, January 10, 2011

READ: Arizona Sen. Minority Leader David Schapira's Opening Day Remarks Also Scrapped For Remarks On Giffords Shooting; Mi Shebeirach

As Governor Jan Brewer did, State Senate Minority Leader David Schapira (D-LD17) scrapped State of the State remarks and spoke about the tragic events in Tucson.  He used the Jewish concept of tikkun olam - repairing the world - as his "peg" for his remarks.  Here is the text:

Senate Minority Leader David Schapira's Opening Day Remarks


"Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a friend and colleague to many of us in this room. She sat there, where Michelle Reagan sits today when she served in the Arizona Senate. She held the seat that Paula Aboud now holds. As I said, many of us count Gabby as a friend, but my heart especially goes out to those who have been with her in Tucson in recent days, Paula Aboud and Linda Lopez. Know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers as you were there to console the close friends and family of the Congresswoman and the others injured on Saturday.

In addition to a friendship, Congresswoman Giffords and I share a religious tradition. Part of the tradition is the principle of “Tikkun Olam” or “repairing the world.” As Jews, we are commanded by God to exercise our compassion, our strength and our skills to make the world a better place. This has been my mission as an elected leader, and I know it’s Gabby’s as well.

I want to send thoughts and prayers on behalf of myself, my family and all of us here today to the families of Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, Dorwin Stoddard, Christina Greene, Dorthy Murray and Phyllis Scheck and to those who are still fighting for their lives in Tucson. Although, we will spend lots of time talking about our friend Gabby today, it is important to recognize that she was not the only victim of this senseless act.

I know that over the last two days and in the coming weeks and months, all of us try to make sense of this tragedy, but it makes no sense. This was an act of a deranged young man. Those of us in this room know how to have political discourse without resorting to violence, but there are those out there who don’t. That’s why it’s incumbent on us as elected leaders in the public eye to maintain civility, to avoid hate-filled labels and to treat each other with respect both away from and in front of TV cameras. If this horrendous act is to teach us anything, it should be that we are all human and all of us are granted certain inalienable rights by our creator.We must treat all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, party or immigration status as such.

This morning, I contemplated where I would like to be for the moment of silence asked for by President Obama. I thought about coming here or going to the Democratic Party, but I finally decided that the most important place for me to be was at home with my infant daughter. I held her and hugged her, and thought of the nine year-old girl who tragically lost her life Saturday.

We need to be better, all of us, so this doesn’t happen again."
When reading these remarks, I decided to attach the Jewish prayer said for those who are sick and are in need of healing.  Upon searching YouTube for "mi shebeirach", I quickly learned that Debbie Friedman - a composer of much contemporary Jewish music, who also composed the re-working of the prayer that many congregations now use - passed away yesterday.  So, in addition to those who were killed or who are recovering in Tucson, and to my family member currently in ICU, we include this Mi Shebeirach in memory of Debbie Friedman.






I ask that as we each deal with this tragedy in our own ways, we all remember the principle of “Tikkun Olam.” The world needs healing, our nation needs healing, our state needs healing. As our friends begin their process of physical healing at hospitals in Tucson, let’s honor them and honor those who lost their lives on Saturday by starting Arizona’s healing today.
We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Historical Question About Assassination Attempts

In answer to a discussion this weekend with one of my children.

Question: Why is this such big news in other parts of the country (and world). 

Answer:  This is the first time that an elected federal official has been shot in nearly 30 years - since President Ronald Reagan was shot (in the chest) in March 1981, and you have to go back 42+ years to find one that was killed (Robert Kennedy).  This comes on heels of very nasty election campaign and is part of an escalating trend of nastiness in political life.

We should note that James Brady - the President's Press Secretary - was shot in the head in the Reagan assassination attempt.  He is permanently disabled and has slurred speech as a result of that shooting.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

READ: Gov. Brewer's Speech In Place of State of the State

Here is Gov. Jan Brewer's speech before the state legislature (and on national cable).  She shelved the State of the State speech, instead delivering a short, moving eulogy of those killed - particularly Judge John Roll and 9-year old Christina-Taylor Green in the Saturday assasination attempt in Tucson.

Here is the text:

"Good afternoon.


Speaker Adams, President Pearce, Honorable Senators and Representatives of the Centennial Legislature, Chief Justice Berch and Justices of the Supreme Court, constitutional officers, tribal leaders, honored guests, and my fellow Arizonans:

I had intended to deliver a State of the State address to you today -- remarks that outline an exciting and solid plan for job creation, education, and tax reform .....

.... and I WILL deliver that plan to you.

But, not now.

Not today.

Tragedy and terror sometimes come from the shadows – and steal our joy and take away our peace.

That happened on Saturday when a gunman took away people we love, innocent people, and outstanding public servants – like U.S. District Judge John M. Roll.

Judge Roll had just come from the light of a Catholic Mass – and confronted the darkness of a madman.

The gunman gravely wounded others -- people we love and respect -- like Gabby Giffords, my good friend.

This past weekend's events have caused me – caused all of us -- to reflect on many things, including how we respond to those terrible events.

2

First, our response to this tragedy must be led by prayer and comfort for the victims and their families.

So, please -- join me in a moment of silence as we pray for all those we've lost -- for the injured -- and for the suffering.

Thank you.

With our faith and our courage tightly in place, we will step forward from this Chamber, dedicated to the Lord's work -- continuing our service to the public.

One year ago, from this very place, I told you I would serve beside you -- proud to serve the people of Arizona.

I said then, that public service is acting NOT in self-interest -- but on behalf of others.

And, I asked people to join me in the field.

Gabby Giffords DID join me in the field.

And, we worked together, knowing that when our public service ended, we would be judged LESS by what we achieved than what we over-came.

In addition to Judge Roll -- Arizona also lost -- Dorothy Morris, Dorwan Stoddard, Phyllis Schneck, and Gabriel Zimmerman.

Let me take a moment to recognize the acts of extraordinary Arizonans -- who responded with professionalism --and saved lives -- law enforcement, emergency responders, the Tucson medical community, and the staff at the University Medical Center.

Daniel Hernandez, a University of Arizona junior showed no fear in the face of gunfire.

His quick action in going to Gabby Giffords' aid -- likely saved her life.

Daniel is here today and I'm going to ask him to stand and receive the thanks of a grateful state.

It was a sunny Saturday at the supermarket in Northwest Tucson.

It was a picture of what our country is all about: Public servants doing their duty, citizens, old and young coming to hear -- coming to participate -- in the beauty of our government in action.

We lost someone else on Saturday ... nine-year-old, Christina Green.

3

She was just elected to her student council.

She was hoping to be a positive part of the future of America.

And, she has become just that.

She loved baseball -- she was the only girl on her Little League baseball team; and she loved to wear red, white and blue.

I should tell you, Christina was born on September 11th, 2001.

She thought of her birthday as a day of hope -- a time to find goodness in America.

As her mother said, "Her light shines on all of us today."

Saturday's events were not just an attack on those individuals we loved and lost, but an assault on our Constitutional Republic -- on our democracy -- on all we treasure and hold dear -- as citizens and public servants.

Arizona is in pain, yes.

Our grief is profound.

We are yet in the first hours of our sorrow -- but, we have not been brought down.

We will never be brought down!

In fact -- we've been lifted up by America's thoughts and prayers – and we're deeply grateful for them.

Arizona, like all of America -- has been through difficult times before.

But, those times have united us, and made us stronger -- more enduring.

Let those of us who serve our state and country do so in a way that honors those we have lost.

Our meetings on sunny days will not end.

Like the words from Isaiah, I believe Arizona will rise on wings like eagles -- we will run, and not get weary -- we will walk, and not grow weak

So -- I ask for your help -- and your continued prayers, as we step from here, and guide this Great State with courage and devotion.

4

May God bless all the victims and their families and those suffering from Saturday's tragedy.

May God bless those who serve us in the cause of freedom and justice.

May He bless you and your families and our Great State of Arizona.

And may God always bless and protect the United States of America.

Thank you."
We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

FOLLOWING MONEY IN POLITICS: Tom DeLay Sentenced To 3 Years Prison, Out Pending Appeal

Just heard that breaking news on CNN, before an interview with parents of Christina Taylor Green, slain in the Giffords assasination attempt.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

BEYOND HYPER-PARTISANSHIP, READ: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' E-mail Friday Working "To Tone Our Rhetoric and Partisanship Down"

The night before being shot, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) sent a personal e-mail to Kentucky's about-to-resign Secretary of State (and incoming director of Harvards' Institute of Politics) Trey Grayson, saying that she would love to talk with him about toning down the rhetoric and partisanship.  Let us hope that that conversation can still take place in the not-too-distant future. 

For his part, Grayson says that Saturday's assasination attempt on Giffords - and murder of six - will prompt him to "redouble (his) efforts" to highlight moderation and working across party lines.





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

POSSIBLE CONTRADICTORY REPORTS On Giffords Coverage: (1) Patricia Maisch's Efforts; and (2) When Did Loughner Ask Giffords Question About "Words"

Certainly, there has been a bit of contradictory information and inaccurate reporting in the past 50 hours.  Very understandable, given the circumstances.  However, it becomes less forgivable as the initial shock and tumult die down a bit.

In reviewing coverage, I have come across two possibly-contradictory accounts;  I hope that this post can help get them sorted out.

1) Reports about Patricia Maisch's valiant efforts in preventing further shooting by Loughner.  Several reports indicated that she had grabbed the second magazine and had delayed Loughner until Roger Salzgeber and Bill D. Badger could tackle him.  However, Ms. Maisch explained to ABC News that he was already knocked to the ground when she joined in.  (See the video below.)

2) The second question is about when Loughner asked Rep. Giffords his question about "What is government if words have no meaning?"  It appears that it is being widely assumed that he asked it AT the "Congress On Your Corner" event that he attended in August 2007 at the Foothills Mall.  However, at least one of the sources for that question appears to be Loughner's former friend Bryce Tierney. And, Tierney - in his interview with Mother Jones magazine - has stated that Loughner may have gone to other Giffords' events AND that Loughner asked the question after she had opened up the floor for questions.

As has been reported extensively about Saturday's "Congress On Your Corner" event, it is strictly a situation where constituents could have a few minutes of one-on-one time to speak with their Representative in Congress; there would not have been a time that "she had opened up the floor for questions."

***

Small points, to be sure.  But, hopefully, they will be ironed out and more reports will be cross-checked as carefully as possible going forward.





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH: Video of UMC Briefing On Gabrielle Giffords Medical Condition



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Only In Gabrielle Giffords' Medical Condition: "No Change Is Good"

I covered many briefings at University Medical Center in years gone by.  Now, I find myself watching them on TV or the internet, or reading accounts of them on the Arizona Daily Star's website.

I searched a few minutes ago for the latest from UMC, and was happy to see the headline of the Star's summary of this morning's briefing: "Giffords, other shooting victims continue to improve".

Of course, the headline does not tell the story fully.  Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) remains in the ICU, a portion of her skull is still unattached, and her condition has not changed.  This is the quote from UMC doctor G. Michael Lemole, Jr.: "At this point in the game no change is good, and we have no change."

Seven other victims of the murder spree remain at UMC - five in serious condition and two in fair condition.  (Apparently, there are six others who were injured who are either at other hospitals or have been treated and released.)

I have been reluctant to post very much since learning of the tragic events on Saturday while with my family at an all-day event.  I have tried to maintain this site as one as close to an objectively-reported blog as possible.  A few readers have tried to guess what my personal political pov is - some correctly, a few incorrectly.  Maybe that means that I am succeeding, to an extent.

One theme that does appear to run through Arizona's Politics, however, is that moving "beyond hyper-partisanship" is a good thing.  That is why most of my limited posting (and Tweeting) in the past 48 hours has been to re-posting some specific examples of the rhetoric by and against Giffords.

I have long been concerned with the rhetoric that ridicules and demonizes people with whom you (or your party) does not agree with.  No matter which side is doing the demonizing.  I have spoken out against both.  (However, I will not repeat a false equivalency and suggest that the two major sides in this country's political debate have reached equal levels of demonization.)

The demonization at all levels of our political discourse has to be ratcheted down.  Far down.  Our politicians have to ratchet down their levels and have to call out their allied forces when they do not ratchet down their stream of vitriol.

In Giffords' current medical situation, "at this point in the game no change is good, and we have no change."  In the longer-term, political situation, "no change" is NOT good and will lead to further deterioration of our democracy and our country.  And, that deterioration is something I will continue to fight.






We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

MOMENT OF SILENCE at 9:00a.m. (Arizona Time) "To honor the innocent victims"

President Obama statement declaring moment of silence to take place in 15 minutes:

“Tomorrow (Monday) at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”








We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl To Be On "Face The Nation" Sunday Morning

UPDATE (Sun. 9:20am):  Just heard that Face the Nation will spend the entire one hour program covering the shooting in Tucson.  On at 9:30 on Channel 5 in Phoenix and Channel 13 in Tucson.


Arizona Senator Jon Kyl will be on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday morning  (check local listings).  This was scheduled before the tragic shooting spree in Tucson, of course.  However, given the amount of attention being paid to this, it will no doubt be several minutes before they discuss the Congressional issues they intended to cover.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH: Pre-Election Day Ad From Arizona Senators McCain and Kyl Shredding Gabrielle Giffords


Arizona Senator John McCain spent some of his excess campaign cash and made ads supporting Republican candidates for three of the contested House races shortly before election day. In this one, McCain and Kyl simply stand in front of the camera and explain why they think Gabrielle Giffords is wrong for Arizonans.

TRANSCRIPT:
McCain: While Arizona families have struggled, Gabrielle Giffords voted for the failed, liberal Pelosi-Obama agenda.
Kyl: She voted for the failed stimulus package and Obamacare, and received a grade of "F" from the National Taxpayers Union for supporting so much spending and debt.
McCain:  Gabrielle Giffords is out of step with Arizona. That's why we need Jesse Kelly in Congress. I'm John McCain, and I approve this message.



The McCain campaign's failure to timely report this ad (and similar ones made against Reps. Raul Grijalva and Harry Mitchell) appears to violate campaign finance laws and is the subject of a complaint with the FEC filed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH: Collection of TV Ads In Gabrielle Giffords vs. Jesse Kelly Campaign; Sens. McCain and Kyl Slam Giffords Just Before Election Day

Regular readers of this blog know that we tried to post videos of as many of the campaign ads as possible, concentrating on the "independent expenditure" ads - those funded by outside groups without coordination with either of the candidates.  Here are a few that demonstrate the heated rhetoric in the final days of GOP candidate Jesse Kelly's effort to unseat incumbent Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8). 

1) "Controversial "McCain Ads" For McClung, Kelly" (posted Oct. 21)
Arizona Senator John McCain spends some of his extra campaign cash and makes ads supporting Republican candidates for three of the contested House races.  In this one, McCain and Kyl simply stand in front of the camera and explain why they think Gabrielle Giffords is wrong for Arizonans.  (The McCain campaign's failure to timely report these ads appears to violate campaign finance laws and is the subject of a complaint with the FEC filed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.)



2) "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Ad Running Attacking Jesse Kelly Re: Social Security" (posted Oct. 23)


Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (CD8) began running the following ad this week, hammering GOP challenger Jesse Kelly for his earlier comments supporting privatizing Social Security:



3) "60 Plus Association Ad Lumping Together Reps. Giffords and Grijalva"
The 60 Plus Association made another major ad buy in southern Arizona today, spending $130,000 to produce and run an ad urging a no vote on Democratic incumbent Reps. Gabrielle Giffords (CD8) and Raul Grijalva (CD7).










 
We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

Friday, January 7, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Sen. John McCain Is On the Air; DADT, Budget Gimmicks

I'll try to watch/listen to these over the weekend, but wanted to make sure that I posted them.

1) On Imus, apparently expressing softer stance on DADT repeal now that it has passed.


2) On Van Susteren, apparently fired up about budget gimmicks.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords On Fox News Pitching Pay Cut For Members of Congress (BONUS: Text of Bill)

(Edited to correct record and note that Arizona now-former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) was the primary sponsor last year of a bill that would have reduced salaries for members of Congress.)

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) was on Fox News this morning, pitching her proposal to cut salaries for members of Congress by 5%.  Host Bill Hemmer attempted several times (sometimes incorrectly*) to put her (and Democrats, in general) on the defensive, prompting Giffords to acknowledge that she was a Republican and is now a Blue Dog Democrat "interested in making sure that our country maintains our prosperity".



Rep. Giffords has 18 co-sponsors for her bill, which is short and sweet.  Here's the text:

A BILL


To provide for a 5 percent reduction in the rates of basic

pay for Members of Congress.

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2

tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Congressional Pay Cut

5 Act’’.

6 SEC. 2. REDUCTION IN RATES OF BASIC PAY FOR MEMBERS

7 OF CONGRESS.

8 (a) IN GENERAL.—Effective with respect to pay peri
          9 ods beginning after the date of the regularly scheduled

1 general election for Federal office held in November 2012,

2 the rate of basic pay for each Member of Congress shall

3 be reduced by 5 percent, rounded to the nearest multiple

4 of $100 (or, if midway between multiples of $100, to the

5 next higher multiple of $100).

6 (b) PREEMPTION.—The adjustment under subsection

7 (a) shall be in lieu of any adjustment which (but for this

8 Act) might otherwise take effect, in the rates of basic pay

9 for Members of Congress, with respect to the pay periods

10 referred to in subsection (a).

11 (c) DEFINITION.—For purposes of this Act, the term

12 ‘‘Member of Congress’’ means an individual serving in a

13 position under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of section

14 601(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2

15 U.S.C. 31).

* Hemmer seems to forget the bi-partisan Concord Coalition started by Democratic Senator Paul Tsongas and Republican Senator Warren Rudman, and the deficit reduction plan passed by Democrats in 1993-94.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

"Rebel, Rebel" vs. "Party People": CQ's Analysis of the Arizona Congressional Delegation (Link To CQ Chart)

Earlier this week, Congressional Quarterly released its analysis of Congressional votes in 2010.  Arizona's 10-member delegation (8 Reps and 2 Senators) had three of the biggest Democratic rebels and one of the biggest GOP party men.  The rankings are similar to those continuously-updated on the Washington Post's site, and shows that Republicans stuck together much more (some would say "much better") than the majority party in 2010.

Of Arizona's three rebels, only Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) was able to withstand the barrage from the GOP and retain her seat; she voted against the majority of her party colleagues a whopping 40% of the time (8th most rebellious).  Harry Mitchell (D-CD5) was the 4th least-likely-to-be-party-man in Congress, and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) was 10th;  they were defeated by David Schweikert and Paul Gosar, respectively.

The Republic does a good job of setting out the numbers, and we'll just put those into table format (below).

We'll add three other points:
1) All five of Arizona's Republican members of Congress voted with their party majority at least 97% of the time, while only one (Pastor) of Arizona's Democrats did so (Though Grijalva was at 96%.)
2) The Republic did not mention one of the interesting aspects of CQ's analysis: combining "party unity" with "presidential support".  Where the White House expressed a clear postiion prior to the vote, CQ analyzed those votes and plotted them along the X-axis.
     a) Among the Arizona Democrats' three rebels, Mitchell was slightly more likely than Kirkpatrick to also oppose the White House's position.  On the other hand, Giffords was far more likely to agree with the White House in those situations.  The numbers were 76%, 80% and 88%, respectively.
     b)  On the flip side, Flake was more likely to oppose the White House position than his Republican colleagues;  he tied for 3rd in that category, voting the same way the White House would have in only 20% of those roll calls.
3) The Washington Post figures incorporate 2009 and 2010, compared to CQ's 2010 analysis.  That comparison shows that Arizona GOP members stuck with their party's majority much more in 2010 - hinting at coordinated campaign strategy.  On the flip side, Grijalva and Pastor were consistent in 2009 and 2010, while the three rebels were much more rebellious in the election year - also hinting at being aware of the election year mood.







McCain  98%
Kyl         97%
Franks   100%
Shadegg  98%
Flake       97%
___
Pastor      98%
Grijalva    96%
Kirkpat    67%
Giffords    60%
Mitchell    47%

(BONUS: Video of Shadegg's baby-holding healthcare reform speech - added later:)





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

WATCH: Arizona Reps. Trent Franks and Paul Gosar's Parts In Constitution Reading

Yesterday, we posted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-CD7) part in the reading of the U.S. Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives, and noted that we did not know if anyone else from Arizona's delegation had participated; we had searched Google, Reps' Twitter feeds, and other sites.  (Giffords' office notified us of the clip.)

Today, we searched the C-Span site for the rest of the speakers and found that Trent Franks (R-CD2) and Paul Gosar (R-CD1) were the only other members from Arizona to participate.  Here are their clips:

Franks helped set up the reading:


Transcript of Franks' comment:
"Mr. Speaker, in a few moments, the United States Constitution will be read for the first time in a long time in this Chamber. And I, for one, Mr. Speaker, am glad to see this welcomed day come.

I know there are those that will dismiss it as symbolic. But I remember the words of Daniel Webster when he said, ``Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6,000 years may never happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.'' Mr. Speaker, I hope, as we go forward in this new Congress, that we will all hold Mr. Webster's words in our hearts."
Rep. Gosar had the honor of reading the last sentence of the 14th Amendment, and then was asked to also read the first sentence of the 15th Amendment - the one that forbids discrimination based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" with regards to the right to vote.




(Rep. Giffords read the 1st Amenment.)



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.