FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, April 29, 2011

SPEAKING OUT: A Hero In Tucson Shooting Spree Wants To Work With NRA To Strenghten Background Check System

One of the three Tucsonans who helped put an end to Jared Loughner's shocking January 8 shooting spree is now speaking out to try to prevent other would-be assassins from carrying out future attacks.  Patricia Maisch has a post today on the well-read Huffington Post, calling for the NRA (National Rifle Association) to meet with her and others to find common ground on how to strengthen the background check system that many do not have to go through before purchasing weapons.  Politico has a broader report on the NRA convention, and that those protesting are focusing on the January 8 attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and subsequent shooting spree - which killed 6 and wounded 13.

Maisch has been lauded for being the person who came over and grabbed a second ammunition clip from Loughner as he was being held by two men, Roger Salzgeber and Bill D. Badger.  (link to video of January interview with Maisch)

Here is the action paragraph of Ms. Maisch's column:
"We're asking NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre to join us in seizing on this rare opportunity to make a change that 86 percent of all Americans and 81 percent of gun owners say needs to happen. Because the NRA supports background checks, and Mr. LaPierre has said he wants the checks to be more effective so they catch people who the law says can't have a gun, it stands to reason they should be willing to talk about how to make those checks comprehensive and unavoidable."
As an aside, even though Giffords has been an outspoken gun owner, the NRA worked hard to defeat her last November, spending more than $53,000 on behalf of her Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly (including a radio ad).








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, April 22, 2011

BEYOND HYPER-PARTISANSHIP: What Happened After Date Night?

Ahhhh, remember the good old days of January, 2011, when our Representatives and Senators paired off or went in groups to the prom the State of the Union address with members of the other party.  Unfortunately, it still seems like high school, when couples "going steady" just sort of fizzled out or - worse - starting spreading nasty rumors about the ex-.


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, April 21, 2011

SIGNS, SIGNS, EVERYWHERE SIGNS: Pro-Joe (Arpaio) Group Goes To the Digital Billboards

In February, the freelancing "Defend Sheriff Joe" 527 group raised $20,000 to encourage Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl.  While that effort does not appear to have achieved its stated goal, the group is now spending that money to run digital billboards around Phoenix thanking the sheriff.


These three billboards will run on a rotating basis during the next few weeks.  Former Paradise Valley Mayor and Congressional candidate Vernon Parker is the chair of the 527 group, and states that the ads are "to remind the community what a good job he is doing."


As noted in February, "Defend Sheriff Joe" has approximately $100,000 cash on hand, and paid nearly $15,000 to the Republican political consulting firm Lincoln Strategy Group (Nathan Sproul) last year.





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.

YEAH, WE'RE LOOKING AT YOU, ARIZONA: Daily Beast Piece On Gov. Brewer's "Sanity Attack"

Occasionally, we try to highlight news coverage of Arizona from around the rest of the nation and world.  The series will be titled, "Yeah, we're looking at you, Arizona."

Here is a piece that was on the Daily Beast website yesterday, entitled "Gov. Jan Brewer's Sanity Attack in Arizona."  It is by former New Times reporter Terry Greene Sterling.


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 ARIZONA'S POLITICS: It's Official: Rep. Flake Raises More Than $1 Million In First Six Weeks

(My apologies if you ended up on this post, but were actually looking for the May 18 post on Joe Arpaio's fundraising machine.  Here is that link.)


It is now official:  Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) raised slightly more than $1 million in the first six weeks of his campaign to replace Sen. Jon Kyl in the U.S. Senate.  That headstart has established him as the frontrunner for the seat and no doubt kept several other politicians from jumping into the race.

His quarterly campaign report shows that the first-out-of-the-box senatorial candidate took in $1,031,172.37, against expenditures of $88,246.08.  As of March 31, 2011, Flake had $1,570,977.90 cash on hand (ended his last House campaign in the black).

Flake announced his candidacy on February 14, so those contributions (except for about $24,000 received in the two weeks before the announcement) came in very quickly.  The conservative group Club For Growth has already claimed credit for bringing in more than 1/3 ($350,000) of Flake's monies.



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.

Seriously, Rep. Harper? Purported Political Nose-Picking?

Imagine Arizona's Politics' excitement to get a personalized Tweet from State Rep. Jack Harper (R-LD4).  Imagine Arizona's Politics' disappointment to learn that the legislator had personally asked dozens of his followers to Retweet the same message linking to a YouTube video. 

Intrigued by the message - "While Republicans are working to secure the border, Democrats are just picking their noses" - we watched.  Imagine Arizona's Politics' disappointment upon realizing that Rep. Harper had spent the time to put together a couple of YouTube videos featuring Rep. Ruben Gallego explaining his "no" vote on SB1406.  Near the end of his explanation, he scratches his nose and his finger gets perilously close to entering a nostril.  That's it.  (Not even a montage of several Democrats nearly picking their noses, even though the Tweet implies it was multiple actual pickings.)

SB1406 is now on its way to the Governor.  It will set up a state fund to hire private contractors to use prison inmates to build a border fence along Arizona's southern border, and authorize the Governor to enter into a compact with other states along the U.S.-Mexico border.  (It also does a nifty job of hand-picking which county sheriffs will make up the committee that will control the job.)

I initially surmised that this YouTube video (the one Harper Tweeted features music over Gallego's explanation, though he separately posted the Gallego audio) was one of those whiling-away-the-hours-'til-sine-die projects, but Harper actually posted and Tweeted about this after the legislature called it quits.




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.

Gov. Brewer, President Obama Put Religion Front and Center This Week

Religion is front and center this week on political stages in Phoenix and Washington.  At this hour, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is hosting the "Arizona Prayer Breakfast", and earlier this week, President Obama held an Easter Prayer Breakfast.  Last week, the President hosted a Passover Seder.

The Arizona Prayer Breakfast is put together by Arizona's Legislative Chaplain, Donna Kafer.  The inter-denominational get-together is hosted by Gov. Brewer, is patterned after the National Prayer Breakfast (put together by a Christian organization known as "The Family"), and is "centered in Jesus Christ".  This year's featured speaker is the well-known Christian disabled ministry leader Joni Tada.  Tickets were $35 each.


(text of Obama's comments)


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, April 20, 2011

WATCH: Gov. Brewer Offended By "Snub" On Immigration Meeting; President Wanted To Talk About Amnesty, DREAM Act

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was back speaking with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren yesterday, expressing her being "offended" with President Obama's failure to invite her to the White House as part of the meeting to discuss "the broken immigration system".

Van Susteren seemed stuck on the fact that not everyone was invited to the meeting - even though the White House news release makes it obvious that it was going to be a planning session among stakeholders who support a so-called comprehensive reform.  Brewer went along with that, though Van Susteren did say she would like to see a comprehensive solution.



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, April 17, 2011

FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Gabrielle Giffords, Ben Quayle Raising Money Fast Out of Gate; Five Of AZ's Eight Reps' Reports Are Up

Not sure how the FEC places candidates' reports up on its website - but only five of Arizona's eight Representatives have their 1st quarter campaign finance reports posted so far.  The biggie is not yet up - Jeff Flake's $1 million plus gathered in the six weeks after he announced his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Jon Kyl.

Of the ones that are up, Reps. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) and Ben Quayle (R-CD3) are far out-pacing their colleagues.  Rep. Ed Pastor (D-CD4) has the most cash in the bank.  Here are the thumbnails.

Giffords - who has been recovering from the January 8 attempted assassination - received $357,737.69 in contributions, spent $87,025.79, and has $556,013.14 in the bank (as of March 31, 2011).  Approximately $240,000 of the contributions are from PACs and from colleagues in the House.

Quayle may be the biggest surprise.  The freshman has raised $210,447.43, spent only $29,413.84, and has $188,865.73 cash on hand.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) has gathered $84,575.00, spent $26,083.23, and has $65,069.11 in the bank.  He defeated Ann Kirkpatrick last Fall, and she recently announced her intent to try to win the seat back. Her statement of candidacy was filed with the FEC on April 1, 2011, so she did not have to file a quarterly report.

Pastor received $47,683.63 in contributions and spent $33,576.26.  That $14,000 net swells his bank balance to $1,376.490.15.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) doubled his cash on hand during the quarter, to $54,722.23.  He spent $27,717.76 and raised $53,402.22.

Besides Flake, the reports for Reps. Trent Franks (R-CD2) and David Schweikert (R-CD5) are not yet posted.

By the way, if you spot anything noteworthy in these reports, please do not hesitate to either post a comment or shoot me an e-mail (info@arizonaspolitics.com).  Thanks!

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, April 15, 2011

ANALYSIS: Why There's Nothing Wrong With A State Law Requiring Presidential Candidate To Prove Eligibility, And What's Wrong With Law On Brewer's Desk

Understandably, Arizona's so-called Birther Law is getting a lot of attention - positive and negative - from around the country.  It is a simple idea that is justified, but is hyper-charged with politics, conspiracy theories, with a possible jolt of racism thrown in.  Governor Brewer should not sign it.

During the 2008 campaign, when so-called Birthers started to file various and sundry lawsuits across the United States challenging Obama's eligibility to be President, I reviewed a number of those suits.  I noted - at a different website - that the suits were misguided, but our system of federal and state laws does not have any way of ensuring that the constitutional eligibility requirements are met.  I posited that such laws would have to be passed at the state level and pass U.S. Constitutional muster.

Arizona's new law - waiting for Governor Jan Brewer's decision on whether to sign it, veto it or to ignore it and let it go into law - is such an attempt and probably would pass constitutional muster.  However, there are political and legal issues with it that should convince the Governor to veto it.

Political:  Because President Obama is the only presidential nominee who has ever had his eligibility seriously questioned (I do not think McCain questions reached the level of lawsuits or widespread discussion), and he is running for re-election, this appears to be designed as a vendetta - a way of trying to keep him from being re-elected and to say that his first term was illegitimate.

This is not appropriate.

Legal:  The text of the new, proposed statute is pasted below the jump.  Sections A, B and C deal with the affidavit that would be required and the forms of proof that should be attached.  Fine.  It is the second half of the statute, dealing with enforcement and remedies where things get sketchy.

Section F allows anyone to file lawsuits to try to enforce this law.  I am not sure why it distinguishes between state(?) legislators OR any other citizen.  But, this is setting Arizona to be the center of attention for a raft of lawsuits.

Section D allows the Secretary of State to set up a committee "to assist in the determination or hold hearings and submit any documents for forensic examination."  A lot of leeway there, very broad indeed.

Then, in Section E, the Secretary of State of Arizona is permitted to make the determination to keep a national presidential candidate off of the November ballot, and he or she only needs to go by a "preponderance of the evidence" standard.  That is SCARY.  (Plus, we already know that the Secretary of State in 2012 will likely still be Ken Bennett - a staunch GOP partisan.)

In recent presidential elections, both parties have accused Secretaries of State from the other party of imperiling our democracy because of politically-motivated decisions.  No matter how many Secretaries of State or candidates for the position declare that they will enforce election laws impartially, noone believes that that is possible.  The Secretary of State is a political person by the very nature of our system, and is often a very partisan political person.

I think that this is a major flaw in the pending legislation.  IF the law had required a multi-partisan (no such thing as non-partisan for this) panel of judges, it would be different.  IF the law had stated that it would go into effect for the 2016 election, it would be different.  IF the law had not given the right to anyone to sue to try to enforce this action (what's up with specifying a state legislator or any other citizen, anyway?), it would be different.

However, it is what it is.  And, it should not be signed into law.

Kyl Aide Takes Full Responsibility For #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement; Kyl Has Fuller Explanation, Too

The Arizona Republic's Dan Nowicki has a post with explanations from both Arizona Senator Jon Kyl and his press secretary about their comments one week ago that are on their way to becoming part of the lexicon when politicians botch a fact.  On the Senate floor, Kyl stated that he wanted to provide some information (about the issues that were holding up a deal to avert the government shutdown), and went on to horribly botch a statistic about Planned Parenthood and the percentage of abortions they provide.  When confronted, his press secretary gave a now-classic explanation, stating that Kyl had not intended to make a factual statement.

It was widely assumed that Kyl's comment that more than 90% of what PPA does is provide abortions was a misstatement of the 3% figure that PPA self-reports.  However, Kyl's explanation to the Republic is that he inadvertently left out the word "pregnant" from a statistic showing that 98% of the services provided to PREGNANT WOMEN are abortions.  He cites that statistic's usage by an anti-abortion foundation and a former PPA employee who now campaigns against PPA;  PPA disputes the validity of how that percentage was derived from its report.

For his part, press secretary Ryan Patmintra clearly states that he made his statement about Kyl's intentions without running it by his boss.  And, "that, in retrospect, made no sense."

It is very likely that if Sen. Kyl and Mr. Patmintra had made these comments on Monday instead of waiting for Thursday, that faux news commentator Stephen Colbert (and Jon Stewart and others) would have decided not to run with the so-called "excuse-planation", letting loose a non-stop barrage poking fun at the Senator.  Ah, well.




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.

Rep. Quayle Most Absent Member Of Congress; Unfair Statistic?

The front page of the very non-partisan GovTrack.US website shows freshman Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) in a very unfavorable light. And, likely an unfairly unfavorable light. "The highest percentage of missed votes" dubious distinction belongs to Quayle, having missed 58 votes since being sworn in three months ago - 22%.

But, a review of the voting records show that Rep. Quayle only missed a Friday-Saturday debate on the 2011 spending in February (18th-19th) - the voting that continued the issue to last weekend when a government shutdown was averted at the last moment. (Quayle voted against that budget deal earlier today.)

During those two days, the House voted 58 times - almost entirely on various amendments.  Quayle has not missed a vote before or since.

His percentage of missed votes is also higher than others who may have missed those two days (including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from the January 8 assassination attempt) because GovTrack calculates the percentage for the Congressperson's entire tenure.  For example, Senator John McCain is the only other Arizonan on the list, and he has missed 10% of votes dating back to his first day i the House (representing much of the same district Quayle currently represents, by the way) in 1983.

It is unclear why Quayle was not there, or where he was.  Our records show no scheduled constituent events, his website yields no clues, he did Tweet several times on the 18th but do not answer the question, and his spokesperson has not responded to Arizona's Politics e-mailed request.

Regardless, statistics can often be painful, but much of that pain can be dulled once the evidence behind the statistic is looked at more closely.  Nevertheless, it is not hard to imagine that the missed votes from those two days may find their way into some political ads next year.






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, April 14, 2011

Kyl On #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement: "That Was Not Me"

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl has finally acknowledged that he simply misspoke last Friday when he stated on the Senate floor that more than 90% of the services performed by Planned Parenthood are abortions.  (The correct figure is apparently 3%.)

The botched statistic received attention from comedians and more when he (his office) released a statement saying that "it was not intended to be a factual statement."

Now, Sen. Kyl has told Politico that he misspoke on the floor "and I said so."  Arizona's Politics has not been able to find any coverage before this Politico report where Kyl had acknowledged an error.

As to the "not intended to be a factual statement", Kyl passed the buck: "That was not me - that was my press person." And that may or may not be intended to be a factual statement.


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 Senators McCain, Kyl Both Vote For Budget Deal

Both of Arizona's Senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, were among the 81 who voted this afternoon for the bill that authorizes federal spending through the rest of FY2011. 

Over on the House side, Arizona's delegation overwhelmingly opposed it.  Only Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) voted for it, saying he did so because of the military troops.

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.

Rep. Paul Gosar Explains Why He Voted For 2011 Budget Deal; It Was "For the Troops"

Although he was not as quick at getting out his news release as three of his Arizona GOP colleagues, here is Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-CD1) explanation as to why he voted for the bill that continues funding of the federal government - the manifestation of last week's last minute deal which avoided a government shutdown.

“Today I voted for H.R. 1473, a continuing resolution that funds the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. This was not an easy decision, but there is one thing I will not do- I will not play politics with our troops. I am extremely disappointed that some in Congress wanted to use our brave men and women in uniform to gain political points. That is wrong and I will never leave our troops without the funding they need to do their job. Without this funding, our military would be defunded by tomorrow night. I could not accept this.


“I also want to highlight how the tone in Washington has changed throughout this entire process. When I came to Washington in January, the Senate and Administration had no intention of cutting any spending, and in fact were talking about increasing spending for programs that we simply cannot afford. Today, Congress voted for the largest spending cut in our history and it will cut $315 billion over the next ten years. We are changing the way Washington works. This is one aspect of the bigger picture; we will continue to fight for spending cuts in the debt ceiling, the budget and individual appropriation bills.

“Let me be clear, we still have a long way to go and we must stay focused. I am looking forward to debating next year’s budget so that we can start to make long-term changes to the government’s spending problem and begin to curb the skyrocketing debt. If the last Congress had done its job and passed a budget and didn’t spend trillions and trillions of taxpayer money with no accountability, perhaps we would not be in the fiscal disaster we are in today. But I cannot change the past; I can only work with you to find solutions to the problems we face today so that our children and grandchildren aren’t left to clean up this mess in the future.”





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: Post-Funding Bill Comments From Reps. Flake, Quayle, Schweikert

Here are the comments from three members of Arizona's House delegation, who all voted against the bill to continue funding the federal government through FY2011, in the order in which they hit my e-mail box.  (Although Arizona's Politics always reserves the right to limit the length of these comments, in this case, we did not.)

Rep. Jeff Flake:  “Simply put, the cuts in this bill don’t go deep enough to begin to get us on the right fiscal course.  As President Obama conceded yesterday, the fiscal crisis facing the country is serious.  Unfortunately for taxpayers, this bill doesn’t reflect the seriousness of the problem.”

____


Rep. Ben Quayle: “Without question, the Republican Majority in the House has brought about a fundamental shift in the dialogue coming out of Washington. Since Members of the 112th Congress took the oath of office, the crux of our debates has been about saving money rather than spending it. Speaker Boehner and the Republican House leadership should be commended for shifting the debate.  However, I do not believe this funding agreement goes far enough to reduce our debt. My constituents sent me to Washington to rein in spending and create jobs. We need to make serious reductions and reforms to ensure that future generations of Americans have the same opportunities that past generations have enjoyed.”

____

Rep. David Schweikert:
“We have a duty to be unwavering in our commitment to get Washington back on the right track, but today’s bill does not go far enough in doing that. This is the first continuing resolution brought to the House floor this year that does not achieve the $100 billion level of spending reductions that Republicans had pledged.


“I applaud the Republican leadership for forcing the president to the table during this debate. We must continue to change the conversation in Washington from raising taxes and growing government to limiting government and preserving economic freedom.

“House Republicans know we must keep up the fight to cut spending at the scale we need. We can do better and we must do better.”









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.

Rep. Paul Gosar Only Arizonan To Vote For 2011 Funding Deal

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) was the only member of Arizona's House delegation to vote for the last-minute deal that will continue funding the federal government through the rest of the year.  The bill passed 260-167. 

The other four Republicans and the two present Democrats all voted against the bill.  GOP Reps. David Schweikert (CD5), Ben Quayle (CD3) and Jeff Flake (CD6) immediately sent out news releases trumpeting their negative votes.


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.

OFF TOPIC: Diamondbacks Tickets

I haven't done this before, but some good friends of mine share season tickets for the Diamondbacks games, and one asked me if I would publicize their plight - they need someone(s) to join their group.  While I would have preferred that they bought a big display ad on this blog, I agreed.

Soooo, if you are interested in FOUR very good seats for 8 or 16 games during the several-month long season, contact them.  They claim that the seats are the best value in the park, and I believe them.

I suppose you could leave your contact information here (he reads the blog), but I don't recommend that.  So, he's set up an e-mail box for contacting him, at azfan61@yahoo.com

And, my comment:  GO, Diamondbacks!  And, go SEE the Diamondbacks!

P.S. I think it comes with opportunity to go to the All-Star Game(s), and to buy individual game tickets.
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 THE MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Rep. Jeff Flake's Ties To Club For Growth Grow Closer Every Week; Flakes Spend CFG-Sponsored March Weekend In Palm Beach

Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) has long* been a favorite of the conservative organization the Club For Growth ("CFG").  However, the ties have grown significantly closer in the past two months and the amount of support from CFG has mushroomed.

Since its high-profile campaign (after Sen. Jon Kyl announced that he would not seek re-election in 2012) to convince Flake to run for the Senate seat, CFG and its members have played a large role in bolstering Flake.

The Club's endorsement of the Mesa Republican moments after his announcement sent a strong signal - both to its members and to other potential Republican candidates for the Senate seat.  Two weeks later, Flake (and his wife) were guests of the Club For Growth in Palm Beach Florida - a weekend trip worth more than $2,500. ($2,573.66).  It was the seventh time in the past eight years that the Flakes attended CFG's Winter conference;  this time, it allowed him to meet with CFG's donors and fundraisers as a guest of honor. (Sure, several potential presidential candidates were also there, but Flake was the only candidate with a CFG endorsement splashed across their website.)

Flake has been featured in two prominent spots on CFG's website for the past few weeks: once just above the scroll (i.e. near the bottom of the page as it initially displays) as the only CFG-endorsement, and once just below that as the leader in the Club's "Power Rankings".  (Flake is slightly edging out Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul as the current darling of CFG members, an honored slot that he has held in the past.)

Besides the prominent placement and the endorsement, the Club For Growth spent more than $22,000 (as an independent expenditure) on Flake's behalf in the four days following the campaign announcement, to help raise funds.

All of the visibility and hard work has materially helped Flake in his Senate bid.  The Club For Growth is apparently responsible for about one-third of all the money that Flake raised in the first six weeks of his campaign.  His first report should be filed tomorrow, but he has already announced that he raised more than $1 million by the March 31 reporting deadline.  A week earlier, the Club For Growth boasted that its members had already contributed more than $350,000 to Flake. 

For comparison purposes, Arizona's other Senator ran for re-election last year.  Sen. John McCain raised more than $21 million.

The partnership of Jeff Flake and the Club For Growth is not only filling Flake's coffers and providing weekend trips, but it has also likely helped keep the Republican primary field clean.  Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) has also attended CFG winter conferences in the past, and decided at the last minute to not run against his colleague.  Other potential GOP candidates have also, to date, steered clear.

There is nothing nefarious either implicit or explicit in the Flake/CFG relationship - Rep. Flake has consistently been a fiscal conservative, even before he was in Congress.  However, it is of interest when one ideological organization provides such a large portion of a candidate's campaign fund.


*Although not always a favorite.


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, April 13, 2011

WATCH: Conservative Commentator* Continues Assault On Sen. Jon Kyl's So-Called "Excuse-planation"

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl and his (office's) explanation for botching a statistic about how many abortions Planned Parenthood performs (as a percentage of all services it performs) continue to be on the receiving end of conservative commentator1 Stephen Colbert's sharp barbs. Colbert led last night's show with a segment on what he calls Kyl's (office's) "ground-breaking excuse-planation".


There is some seriousness to Colbert's crusade, however. He points out that Kyl's non-factual statistic is now in the Congressional Record. And, as he closes the below segment,
"But, 'Nation' (his moniker for his viewers), when you Tweet something you know to be false about Senator Kyl or anyone else, be sure to use the hashtag #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. Because Jon Kyl taught us that makes it OK. And, if it's not OK, I look forward to hearing Senator Kyl's response, perhaps in a Tweet. Although it might take him awhile. After all, he did just have all of his fingers surgically replaced with Bratwursts.2"
(embedded video from Comedy Central not working again - at least for me; here's the link: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/381484/april-12-2011/jon-kyl-tweets-not-intended-to-be-factual-statements?xrs=share_copy



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. Jon Kyl's Speech BEFORE Non-Factual Statement; Sometimes, "Context" Does NOT Set You Free; #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

(UPDATE: Although the comment has been scrubbed from the Congressional Record, it is still in the C-Span archive.)

Everyone has had some fun - Arizona's Politics included - at Arizona Senator Jon Kyl's expense the past few days, after his expanation for why he erroneously stated on the Senate floor that 90% of Planned Parenthood's services performed are abortions when only 3% are: "it was not intended to be a factual statement".  But, one of the primary missions of this low-budget blog is to try to provide context to the soundbites that are hammered into all of our heads.

With that in mind, we went to watch Sen. Kyl's Friday morning speech (we had already posted Friday evening's oration), hoping to find an indication that he was not wanting the viewer/listener to take him seriously.  Unfortunately for Sen. Kyl, sometimes the context does not set you free.

In Kyl's favor, he immediately followed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's much-played soundbite speech ("I'm not going to do it.  As a legislator, I am very frustrated.  As an American, I'm appalled.  As a husband and a father and a grandfather, I'm personally offended."). 

However, Kyl starts off by saying that
"I think we would be best served by providing some information to our constituents.  And, as politicians, resist the temptation to throw rotten apples at each other.  And also, I think it would be wise for media not too hype or over-hype the situation regarding government shutdown, but to try to put things into perspective.  And, so, let me try to do that here for a moment."
Then, at about the 18:34 mark (of the session, not of his speech), he lets the unintentionally unfactual statement slip out.

  (Parenthetically, at the end, he repeats the "rotten apples" phrase; was that intended to be a statement referring to rotten "tomatos"?)




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, Sheriff Arpaio Fail To Stump On "Jeopardy"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe "On Jeopardy, In Jeopardy" Arpaio seemed excited last night when he (or his staff) Tweeted that he has now "made it to the big time" because he was the subject of a "Jeopardy" question (ahem, Sheriff, "answer") last night.  It was not our first thought, but we were curious about what the answer and question were.

Not surprisingly, there are people who (probably illegally) post each episode on YouTube shortly after it airs.  A scan of the category titles helped us locate the answer-question combo easily.

You will find it within the first two minutes of the below segment.  (I will update this post later with the A&Q, so as not to spoil your viewing pleasure.)



Link to video: http://bit.ly/f9DFpo


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.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio On "Jeopardy" Yesterday, In Jeopardy This Morning

Last night, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (or his staff) issued the following Tweet:  "you know you've made it when Alex Trebek makes you a Jeopardy question.That happened to me today! Now I've finally made it to the big time."

This morning, the County Board of Supervisors are listening to a report "about the potential extent of widespread misspending and mismanagement of jail funds by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office."  Apparently, the number is slightly less than $100 million over the past five years.

No word yet on a response from the Sheriff's office.



Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/04/12/20110412board-of-supervisors-arpaio-jail-funds.html#ixzz1JQLgGHOe





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, April 12, 2011

(technical difficulties): Here's more of the Stephen Colbert/Jon Kyl

(Editor's Note:  The video of Colbert skewering Arizona Senator Jon Kyl over his egregious Planned Parenthood statistic flub - and his subsequent explanation that it was is not intended to be a factual statement - is in the post below.  But, something about the embedding code must have gobbled up the rest of the text of the post.  Twice.  (I now have less hair than I did this morning.)  I have not had a problem posting here in quite some time that would prompt me to save text before hitting submit.  Sooooo, I do not have the time to re-create the text for what was a pretty decent post, for a third time.  Therefore, I will just post the links with one line descriptions.  Please fill in your own jokes and text!)

1)  Kyl Senate floor speech Arizona's Politics posted from Friday; NOT the one in which he made the error: http://bit.ly/hxvCsC

2) Colbert's Twitter feed, in which he (and his staff) are issuing a Kyl factoid* every 30 minutes: http://bit.ly/gW3ALM

3)  Example of one of the #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement statements about Kyl: http://bit.ly/g7YuZK

4) Transcript from CNN reading Kyl's office's statement: http://bit.ly/e42FpP


*Anything marked with an asterisk is not intended to be a factual statement.

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): Conservative Commentator* Stephen Colbert Firing Two Rounds An Hour At Arizona Senator Jon Kyl





*Anything marked with an asterisk is not intended to be a factual statement.

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 Gov. Jan Brewer On Fox News Last Night; "Keep Us Posted"

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer sat for a 5 minute interview with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren last night, to discuss yesterday's Ninth Circuit appellate decision upholding a stay keeping most of anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070 from going into effect.

Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne are trying to decide whether to ask for the rest of the Ninth Circuit judges (not "justices", as mentioned in the interview) to review the decision, or go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Van Susteren - an attorney-turned-talk-show-host - occasionally tried to coach the governor as to what she thought the best arguments would be.  When Brewer used her tried-and-true line about SB 1070 mirroring federal law - "Are the feds going to change their laws?!?!" - Van Susteren quickly noted that the better argument is that the federal government is not fulfilling their responsibilities and that that is forcing Arizona's "constitutional gesture - an unconstitutional gesture - if the federal government did its job."

Governor Brewer also made another national television appeal for donations to the quasi-governmental legal defense fund that is presumably being used to pay private attorneys to represent the state.  The large and prestigious law firm of Snell & Wilmer (and top attorney John Bouma) represented the Governor in this appeal, and this does not fall under their pro bono policy.  According to the website, the fund has already raised more than $1.5 million.

At the end of the interview, Van Susteren thanked Governor Brewer and said she would follow the case closely.  To which the Governor replied, "Keep us posted."



(Previous reports:  Brewer/Horne news release: http://bit.ly/hdwsnx
Quickie Analysis of Ruling: http://bit.ly/edaWFC )

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, April 11, 2011

WATCH TONIGHT: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Goes To Fox News To React To 9th Circuit Ruling

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will go back to one of her favorite shows to react to today's decision from the 9th Circuit.  At 7:00pm Arizona time, Brewer will be one of the guests on Greta Van Susteren's "On The Record" show, on Fox News Channel.

Brewer (and AG Tom Horne) have already released a joint statement expressing their disapproval of the appellate court's refusal to undo the injunction preventing most of the controversial anti-illegal immigration SB1070 law from going into effect.  The 2-1 decision was released earlier today.

Here is video from Brewer's last Fox News Channel appearance, in February.



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: Arizona Governor (Jan Brewer) and Attorney General (Tom Horne) Jointly Release Reaction On Anti-SB1070 Ruling

Arizona's Governor and Attorney General are on the same page when it comes to defending the anti-illegal immigration SB 1070 law; today, they issued a joint news release blasting the appellate decision upholding an injunction against the key provisions of that controversial law.

Jan Brewer states that today's ruling will harm Arizonans' safety, and Tom Horne believes that the 92-page opinion (summarized earlier) "relied heavily" on opposition from Mexico (on two of the four provisions).

For your reading pleasure, here is the news release.



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.

OFF-TOPIC: LA Times Music Blog Updates On Still-Creative 80's Icons

It is not too often that I go off-topic here, but the wonderful LA Times music blog (creatively-titled "Pop & Hiss") has great posts updating on Prince (21-date run in LA starts this week), U2 (working with Danger Mouse on new album as Half-Billion Dollar grossing "360 Tour" winding down) and Mick Jones (from the Clash, playing Coachella).

Plenty to chew on just after I just compared the current Newsweek/website coverage of Arizona to the Beatles on the Billboard charts!


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.

Newsweek Magazine Becomes "Arizona Week"; Sen. John McCain Profile Beneath Feature On Rep. Giffords' Recovery

We just posted a summary of Newsweek's feature story on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  We would be remiss if we did not also point out that Newsweek's website is also featuring Sen. John McCain.  Arizona's one-two punch, a bit like the Black-Eyed Peas simultaneously holding the numbers one and two slots on the Billboard Hot 100.  (Or, Elvis Presley or The Beatles, for those of us a bit older; The Fab Four actually held the top FIVE spots one week in 1964!)

Here is the McCain profile by Howard Kurtz, positing that McCain has re-found his mojo as a result of the Libyan conflict.


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.

Newsweek Features Lengthy Report On "What's Really Going On With Gabby Giffords?"

Newsweek Magazine (and Newsweek.com, of course) is turning its in-depth eye onto the recovery of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8), and questions whether it is really as rosy as previous reports would have us believe.  "What's Really Going On With Gabby Giffords?" is a 3,616 word featuring many interviews with persons close to the recovery of the intended victim of the January 8 shooting spree which left six people dead and 13 others injured.

The article's conclusion is that those close to the Congresswoman have somewhat exaggerated the progress that she has made in the three months, although she "has indeed made enormous strides", and that noone is certain what her "new normal" will be.  It closes with a final expression of husband (and Space Shuttle Endeavour Commander) Mark Kelly:
Kelly seems to be asking for greater perspective in the public narrative of his wife’s recovery. At the same time, his own expectations for her remain undimmed, and his conviction does not admit the notion that there is a new normal.


“The answer to that is no,” he says, “because she is improving. I was gone for three days down in Florida for terminal countdown tests. I was away for three nights. And I could notice a change, and an improvement, in her ability to communicate” when he returned to Houston. “The doctors are very optimistic about where she’ll be three months, six months, from now. Incredibly optimistic. So we don’t know what that new normal is going to be for her.”





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.

Quickie Analysis Of 9th Circuit Ruling Upholding Stay On Arizona's SB 1070

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today issued a 2-1 ruling upholding a stay that is keeping the key provisions of last year's controversial SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law from taking effect in Arizona.  Pending a likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. lawsuit against Arizona's law is sent back to U.S. District Court for proceedings on the merits.

The Arizona Republic has posted an excellent summary of the decision, along with a link to the 92-page ruling itself.  A quick review of the ruling prompts this brief analysis:

1) All three judges on the appeals court panel wrote their own opinions.  Judge Richard Paez wrote the main opinion.  Judge John Noonan wrote a brief concurring opinion in which he discussed the importance of the Arizona Legislature's intent in passing the law.  Judge Carlos Bea wrote a lengthy opinion in which he dissented in part but concurred in part.

2) The majority opinion quickly points out that it should only reverse District Court Judge Susan Bolton's decision to grant the injunction if she abused her discretion and applied an erroneous legal standard or on clearly erroneous findings of fact.  It analyzes the preemption principles of each of the four key provisions that Bolton stayed, and found that she properly applied all four.  (In the first stayed section, the majority finds that Arizona's argument contradicted the plain text of the law.)

3) The dissenting opinion agrees that sections 3 and 5(c) (of the law) should be constitutional and therefore should not be enjoined.  Judge Bea agreed with the majority on sections 2 and 6. 

Section 2 requires officers to determine immigration status if they have reasonable suspicion that the stopped person is in the U.S. illegally; section 6 authorized officers to arrest - without warrant - anyone they believe has committed an offense that would make them removable from the country.

4) The U.S. Department of Justice is required to file an answer (in District Court) this week to Arizona's counterclaim.  That deadline is unaffected by today's appellate ruling.




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.

Really, New York Times? Article About Arizonans Dyeing Grass Greener Makes Sunday Front Page

(cross-posted to fledgling Media In AZ blog)

I appreciate that the New York Times opened up a Phoenix bureau last year, and that excellent reporter Marc Lacey has to file some stories other than border updates and unusual Arizona elected official actions, and that this story is a semi-decent slice of life.

But, was an article about how some Phoenicians have sprayed green dye on their lawns REALLY front-page news?  Especially when there is no indication how popular it is - in fact, the article includes a statement that it might NOT be popular, and the business cited claims (on its website) that it is popular in California and the rest of the nation.  Inside, where they place human interest or gardening stories, maybe.  But, the front page?

I understand the Times' desire to place a fun or quirky story on the front page to get some attention.  But, the Gray Lady does appear to relish any story - from Lacey or otherwise - which paints Arizona and/or Arizonans in a too-unusual-to-be-taken-seriously light.

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. Jon Kyl On Bipartisan Approach To A Budget Diet

Retiring Arizona Senator - and GOP Minority Whip - Jon Kyl is holding true to his word (in news conference announcing plans to not run for re-election) and is urging his colleagues to not be too extreme in their federal deficit-cutting plans.

"If we try to be too strong here about how we try to reduce spending, we are not going to be successful because people just won't stand for it," said Kyl on the Senate floor Friday night as the last-minute deal to avert a federal government shutdown was minutes away from being announced.

Kyl advocated for three measures for Congress to pursue: a balanced budget amendment, a constitutional spending limit ("a very, very good idea"), and a bipartisan (Corker-McCaskill) effort to cap mandatory and discretionary spending ("create a glide path by which we could gradually reduce the spending so you don't have to do it all at once").

Kyl compared the need to slim down the budget and the deficit to a diet, saying you do not gain all your weight at once and you cannot get rid of it all at once.

Here is the entire 16-minute presentation he gave - a pretty good summation.  (If you want to see a good summation of a representative Democratic viewpoint, keep watching after Kyl for Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).)




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.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

READ: Gosar, Grijalva Comments On Avoiding Shutdown; Arizona's Delegation Votes For The Short-Term CR

Arizona's House delegation all voted to approve the last-minute deal to avoid the federal government shutdown. The House vote last night was 348-70.  Within an hour, Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) and Paul Gosar (R-CD1) had sent out news releases with their reactions.

Grijalva:  “I was glad to get the call to cast this vote, and I’m glad the government will continue normal operations. A shutdown would do drastic, immediate damage to our national economy and federal work force. No amount of ideological posturing is worth the pain it would have caused, and Congress is right to pass this budget resolution.


This process has been marked by House Republicans’ refusal to negotiate in good faith, and our government should never be brought to the edge of a shutdown for partisan reasons. Rather than laying out a reasonable position and compromising for the good of the country, Speaker Boehner spent weeks posturing for the benefit of his Tea Party base and refused Democratic offers that went beyond his demands. Threatening hundreds of thousands of working Americans with furloughs to make a political point is not leadership. The country deserves more.

This kind of brinksmanship is hardly inspiring, and while I cast my vote tonight to keep the government running until next Thursday, I am reserving judgment on any longer-term deal until the full details emerge. I regret that this vote was not on a full six-month proposal, because short-term resolutions are a poor way to run a government. I look forward to a more reasonable conversation in the coming days about a long-term deal than the conversation that took place over this last week.”

And, from the other side of the aisle:



Gosar:  “I voted for this continuing resolution H.R. 1463 so we can continue to fund our brave men and women fighting overseas to defend our freedom. However, I am very disappointed in the lack of leadership from the Senate and the Administration and their unwillingness to make serious spending cuts. I look forward to continuing the fight against this outlandish deficit spending in the upcoming budget and debt ceiling debates.


“The cuts made with the continuing resolutions are nearly four times greater than any cuts made in American History, but it only slows the bleeding. This is not a solution to our deficit spending. The budget for the bureaucrats in Washington needs to be on par with the budgets of the people of the first district who have been tightening their belts and doing more with less for years. We can claim a victory for the American people by now framing our future discussions on spending cuts, getting our financial house in order and Americans back to work. “






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, April 7, 2011

Raucous House of Representatives Budget Debate Continuing Today

Here is the link to watch the often raucous debate going on on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives: http://cs.pn/gljHEi

Earlier, the House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor led a pep rally for his Republican colleagues, yielded the floor to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer but cut him off when Hoyer garnered loud boos by referencing the influence of the Tea Party wing of the GOP.





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, April 4, 2011

READ: U.S. Supreme Court Decision On Arizona Tax Credits Opens Up Way For Government To Help Any Private Organization

Here is a copy of the 5-4 Opinion handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court today on the constitutionality of Arizona's private school tuition tax credit program.  The Court decided that the taxpayer plaintiffs did not have the legal standing to file the legal action;  the Justices thus sidestepped a ruling on the substance of the law which permits taxpayers - individuals and corporations - to designate some of their taxes to private schools.

Reading the syllabus of the Court's opinion is a quick way of getting to the crux of the opinion.  I recommend paragraph (c) of that syllabus (page 3 of the pdf document linked above).  It is clear that the majority (Justice Kennedy writing) believes that the tax credit gives the choice to send money to private schools to the individuals, and that governmental choices are the only ones that taxpayers can challenge.

There is no syllabus for the dissenting opinion (written by Justice Kagan), so looking at her conclusion is the easiest way to understand the dissent. About the majority opinion, Kagan writes: "The Court’s opinion thus offers a roadmap—more truly, just a one-step instruction—to anygovernment that wishes to insulate its financing of religious activity from legal challenge."

"Silliness" is how attorney for the plaintiffs, Paul Bender, describes the ruling to the Arizona Republic reporter.  It is too late for Arizona legislators to propose new bills (though they can still offer strike-everything amendments), but it will be interesting to see what the reaction will be at the state Capitol. 

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.

Targeted Launch Date For Endeavour Shuttle Pushed Back To April 29; More Likely Giffords To Attend?

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced today that the target date for the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour is pushed back to April 29 (12:47p.m., Arizona time). Although not the stated reason - scheduling conflicts with a Russian supply ship - the ten extra days may make it more likely that Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) will be able to attend and watch her husband, Cmdr. Mark Kelly, lead the shuttle crew into space.

In addition to the scheduling conflict with the Russian Progress 42 flight, NASA has indicated that strong thunderstorms in the launch area last week apparently caused "minor damage" to the foam surrounding the external fuel tank.

Giffords has been reported to be making continued good progress in her therapy following the January 8 attempted assassination, and many - including her husband - are expecting her to be in Florida for the shuttle launch later this month.
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.

Synopsis of Some Reaction To Gov. Brewer's AHCCCS (Medicaid) Proposal For Encouraging Healthier Lifestyles

Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer continue to generate national interest in how our state is dealing with AHCCCS - its Medicaid program - in light of the budgetary crisis.  Thursday, Brewer's letter to the federal government responsible for Medicaid programs drew attention for proposing to incentivize enrollees to lose weight or stop smoking.

Here is a synopsis of some of the national reaction (with links), courtesy of longtime news aggregator (heck, they were aggregating before the internet) The Week: http://bit.ly/hlzqLh

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. Ben Quayle Kills, Dies At Congressional Correspondents' Dinner; Not As Bad As Paper Made It Out To Be

Comedy is tough.  Political comedy is tougher.  Political comedy for a politician is tougher, still.  Arizona rookie Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) took a crack at it last week, whiffed on a couple, fouled a couple more, and connected on a couple of others.  He even was on the receiving end of a couple of shots, and left the game standing.

Arizona's Politics has been on the DL much of the time recently and had not heard about Quayle's call up to the big leagues until the Arizona Republic panned his debut.  Thanks to C-Span, we are able to go to the tape (how quaint that sounds) and run a few instant replays.

The Congressional Correspondents' Dinner was last Wednesday night, and it featured three freshman lawmakers and one veteran in the comedy/roasting slots (evenly split from the GOP and the Dems).  NY Rep. Anthony Weiner (Dem.) was easily the most comfortable with the assignment and probably exceeded the professional comic (Larry Wilmore from "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart").  Quayle and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) bookended Weiner and seemed equally uncertain about whether they should be repeating the jokes that were on the note cards in front of them. (Actually, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) preceded Quayle to the microphone and uncomfortably - repeatedly - joked about how a staff member was going to be fired for each bad joke, leading to an increase in the unemployment figures. Laugh or else.)

Quayle's seven-minute routine did everything it was supposed to - mention the other speakers, roast a portion of the media that invited you, make some standard late-night jokes about members of both political parties, gently poke fun at yourself (or, in Quayle's case, his father), and close with sincere praise for the media organization that invited him.  Some were funny, some were not.

(If you want to watch the routine before reading the transcripts of some of the speech and our critiques, please skip right to the video below the jump.  If you want a condensed version, read on.)


In fact, his routine would have generated zero interest from the national and local press, if not for the uncomfortable joke he opened with.  He tried to substitute Politico.com (popular political website, which has some sort of affiliation agreement with the Arizona Republic) for Barack Obama in playing off of his buzzed-about campaign commercial decrying the worst President in history.  In doing so, he appeared to be seriously saying that Politico had no credibility.  That drew surprised groans and silence.  Here's the transcript of the segment:

It's a little weird for me to be speaking at an event that's sponsored by the media.  Although I come from a newspaper family, we seem to have a strained relationship with the press.  'Strained' is the polite term for 'troubled'. And, 'the press' is a generous term for 'Politico'.  Y'know, it took everything I had not to refer to Politico as 'the worst media outlet in history.' 

Friday, April 1, 2011

READ: Part Of Brewer's AHCCCS Plan Includes Fee For Obese, Diabetics, Smokers; This Could Get Interesting

The Wall Street Journal broke the story today that Governor Jan Brewer's new request for waivers from the federal government includes $50 levies on obese enrollees who do not follow a doctor's regimen, and similar fees for similarly-situated diabetics and smokers.

Here is the wording in the Arizona's request to be the first state Medicaid program using such a behavior-oriented penalty:

In addition to flexibilities to assess eligibility, the State is seeking to pilot penalty and

incentive strategies that would assist the State in partnering with the consumers to
take responsibility for their own health care. For instance, all smokers enrolled in the
childless adult population would be required to pay an annual fee of $50. In addition,
childless adults who are obese and/or suffer from a chronic disease, such as
diabetes, will need to work with their primary care physician to develop a care plan.
Individuals who do not adhere to the plan and meet specified goals will be required
to pay an annual fee of $50.

AHCCCS will combine these annual fees with incentive strategies, including those
grant opportunities outlined by the Affordable Care Act, to provide appropriate
incentives for healthy behaviors and disease management. AHCCCS has solicited
input from the public regarding these strategies and will work with stakeholders on an
initiative that best meets the agency’s goal of improving health outcomes and
lowering the cost of care. In addition, the Arizona Department of Health Services
has obtained a $400,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and National
Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, which will be aimed at
wellness initiatives for the Medicaid population. (State's letter to HHS Secy Sebelius, March 31, 2011)
This could get very interesting.


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.

BREAKING: Rep. Trent Franks NOT Running To Replace Sen. Jon Kyl

Moments after posting a story about Arizona Rep. Trent Franks possibly announcing a senatorial campaign tomorrow when appearing with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and about his call for "a second Civil War", came news that Franks will not enter the race.

Although we have not located the actual statement yet (on either his congressional website, his campaign - from 2010 - website, or his Twitter feed), the Star (and, earlier, Hotline) has the meat of it:

“After diligently and prayerfully trying to consider every aspect a potential Senate bid would entail, I have sincerely concluded that mounting a Senate bid at this time would not be what is best for my family, nor what would best allow me to serve my country at this critical time in her history."
Hotline also has a quote from the already-announced Rep. Jeff Flake (which was not on his websites or Twitter feed, either):  "Trent is a good friend and I'm glad I won't have to face off against him in a campaign."


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. Trent Franks Hoping To Lead African-Americans Into "Second Civil War"

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, who may declare his candidacy for the soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat, is hoping to lead African-Americans in a "second Civil War". 

Franks has received attention in the past for both his very strong stances against abortion and for asserting that the African-American community is more devastated by abortion than it was by slavery (when that community had not yet earned its hyphen).  However, Arizona's Politics had not actually heard him call for a "second Civil War" until today, when the following video on YouTube popped up on the monitor.

First, the background on how Arizona's Politics came to see this video and write this post.  The possibility that Rep. Franks may announce his candidacy for the Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl tomorrow, when he is at a fundraiser with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), got the ball rolling.  Wondering if there is video of Franks past appearances with Bachmann, we searched and found Franks praising his colleague (but not of return praise):
"Michele Bachmann has such a gentle and kind demeanor that she's kind of considered the sweetheart of the Congress.  But, I will tell you that she also has the heart of a Valkyrie, and the people of America are responding to her voice to rescue this country like perhaps noone else in Congress."


Searching for return praise, Arizona's Politics then came across an interview that Franks did with Peter Shinn for ProLife Unity on July 14, 2009.  A movie was being shown that day in a Congressional office building about how abortion is a Black genocide that originated after the Civil War.  Franks repeatedly gave high praise to the film and issued his call to arms: