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Rum, Romanism and Rebellion

"We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them!" - William Jennings Bryan

Updated: 2012-04-12T14:26:20.142-07:00


Democratic Wags Like Me Are "Pullen" for a Randy Victory


A Republican told me (yeah, they still talk to me. I must be too easy on them) to watch for attendance at tonight's Chairman's Dinner that the Republican Party puts on before their State Convention. Some big donors and firms that usually buy whole tables are now only buying a ticket or two. The word is that this is happening because these folks want to show their support for the party, but are reluctant to shell out a lot of cash because they are worried that Randy Pullen will be in charge after this weekend. It's this sort of thing that makes Democratic wags light candles and say Novenas for a Pullen victory Frankly, I think we on the asinine side (and I mean that in the biological sense) win in either case. Pullen's opponent and establishment candidate Lisa James can only, at best, promise the same team of consultants, retainers and toadies that lost them the Governor's race, two congressional seats and seven seats in the legislature. Even with a promise of more of the same missteps that made people like me, Lofty Donkey and Wactivist chuckle at their ineptitude, it just won't be as much fun with James in charge. Pullen, on the other hand, promises a whole new world of comedy: a party run by folks like Phil Mason, whose "help" getting Pullen elected to the RNC over Mike Hellon is still clouded in controversey, and intrepid RINO hunter Rob Haney will give people like me a field day. The irony of folks like Haney, whose demands for ideological purity would make Tomás de Torquemada blush, backing a guy like Pullen, a former donor to Democratic candidates and rather recent convert to the conservative cause, seems to be lost on large swaths of the Republican activist community. I was asked to endorse Pullen by a Republican wag. What? And ruin my objectivity?

Democratic Establishment to Delegate Wannabes: Wait Your Turn, Kids


A bit of a scuffle is brewing between the Young Democrats of America and the Democratic National Committee. The YDA is asking the DNC to, gasp, follow their own charter when it comes to having a delegation that looks like the Democrats from the state that selected it. A bit of background here: back in 1974, when the whole delegate selection process was revamped, the DNC adopted new language in their charter that set goals, but not quotas, for minorities and women. This language was later amended in 1976 to include youth. Chris Gallaway, YDA President, found this language in the charter when he was developing a plan to get more young people to the next convention. He also found out that unlike the other affirmitave action goals, the one regarding youth was never enforced and state parties were not directed to follow it. So, Gallaway contacted the Democratic National Committee (his letter here) and made his case. The DNC responded that sure, we have that language in the charter (letter here), but it doesn't count because in 1980, we passed a reolution on delegate selection that doesn't include youth. Of course, a resolution doesn't override the charter (and would in few organizations), especially just because of something that wasn't included. Gallaway rightly points out that the youth vote is critical to the Democratic party (John Kerry would have won overwelmingly if only people under 35 voted). Unsaid is that many Democratic campaigns would be unimaginable without younger activists (especially the 2004 campaign of current DNC Chairman Howard Dean). But, some states continue to elect delegations that don't reflect this reality. Gallaway and the YDA are calling for a e-mail campaign. You can visit a special web page they have set up with plenty of information on the dispute, contact details for the relevant DNC members, and an online petition. We in Arizona have been lucky on this score. As long as I have been active, we have elected a pretty sizeable share of younger delegates. I was elected as a youngin' (by YDA's definition) three times, my youngest as a 26 year old (and I wasn't the youngest in that delegation). Also, our last delegate selection rules were written by Alexis Tamerón, who is now Vice-President of the YDA. Needless to say, "youth" was included among the affirmative action goals. I can't remember if it was 1996 or 2000, but in that year a reporter asked me about the number of younger delegates, and told me that the youngest Arizona delegate for the Republicans was 40. The irony for me is that the very folks that this rule was written for, young activists that cut their teeth on the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 60's and 70's, are now the ones that don't think it's that important. The co-chairs of the Bylaws committee are, of course, boomers. NB - Three NBs, actually. In the past, when the enforcement of the "youth" provision has been in question, the response has sometimes been that it will interfere with other affirmative action goals. As if youth can't fit into other "categories." Our younger delegates have included Hispanics, Native Americans and African Americans. In fact, our youngest delegate in 2000 was an African American. I always here complaints from older activists that we elect younger delegates and never see them again. This can also be said of older delegates that we elect as well, but somehow it's more noticed with younger folks. I remember this one woman that we elected as our delegation chair back in 1992, 35 years old. What ever happened to her? One disturbing trend I've seen in recent years is the free use of "strikes." The campaigns are allowed to strike delegates if they don't feel they represent the campaign. This was used sparingly until 2000 (I asked Martin Bacal about it once, and he only could remember one instance of a delegate candidate being struck). In 2000, the Al Gore campaign attempted to strike nearly all the delegate candidates, leaving only the number necessary to fill the slots. There was a revolt against this decisio[...]

Wow, I Can't Come Up With a Clever Title At All


A correspondent alerted me to a site on Cafe Press called Sinema's an Idiot. It's run by a guy named Buffalo Rick, who is a cowboy comedian, western musician and anti-immigration activist. He adopted the name "Buffalo," no doubt, to show his credentials as a true Arizonan...even though buffaloes haven't been native to this area since the close of the last ice age. Anyhow, the page treats us to this wonderful introduction:
The New American Revolution will expose every lousy, bonehead that has helped put America on the downhill slide into a third world HELL HOLE! STOP THE MADNESS! STAND UP FOR AMERICA, OR LOSE IT! Know another Traitor? Contact us at: to report these slimy bastards!
Wow, more calm reasoned rhetoric from the anti-immigration side. I can't imagine why anyone would think that this crowd has anything to do with the bizarre threats being e-mailed to Kyrsten Sinema's office. Anyway, you can order a coffee mug with the logo "Kyrsten Sinema: Product of a Failed Education System." Hmm, Sinema is a lawyer, legislator, community leader and talk show host. Yeah, her education certainly failed her. I guess if her parents had school vouchers or something, she could have gotten a career, I dunno, doing puerile comedy and badly performing Tex Ritter songs. Oh, you can also buy a shirt that says Goofy Gallardo. Really, this is no worse than what his friends call him. There is also a shirt that calls Alfredo Guitierrez a Nazi. Given some of the rhetoric the underside of the anti-immigration movement engages in, I'd be careful throwing the word "Nazi" around so easilly guys. And, of course, anti-Hillary Clinton shirts are available. -YAWN- Say, my brother signs on to these bills that Gallardo and Sinema write that seems to get the dander up of these folks. Where is the love? Or hate, or whatever it is.

I'm Not Ashamed of My Lesbian Daughter, Just Don't Bring Her Up.


Yesterday's Wolf Blitzer interview with Vice President Dick Cheney:

Q: We're out of time, but a couple of issues I want to raise with you. Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family:

"Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child."

Do you want to respond to that?


Q: She's obviously a good daughter --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren.

And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question.

Q: I think all of us appreciate --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think you're out of -- I think you're out of line with that question.

I'm just curious, did Cheney call any of the self-appointed moral guardians who pontificated on his daughter's situation "out of line"? Or is that sort of thing reserved for members of the press and Democratic Vice Presidential nominees?

Nothing, But Still...


Here's the story as told to me by Barrett Marson, spokesman for the House Speaker: suspicious packages were sent to four members, Eddie Farnsworth, Adam Driggs, Ben Miranda and Kyrsten Sinema. Sinema, understandably spooked by the numerous threatening e-mails she's recieved over a bill she's sponsoring that labels groups like the Minutemen domestic terrorists, called the Capitol Police. Miranda, who has not signed on to the bill, also contacted the Capitol Police after recieving a package. The packages, as it turned out, were pages and pages of court documents from a self-styled "sovereign citizen" in Casa Grande who is out to prove that the State of Arizona has no legal authority over him. The four members may have been chosen because they are all part of the House Judiciary Committee. Although the packages were bizarre, they turned out to be quite harmless. Thank God for that.

Breaking: Arizona House of Representatives Evacuated


The Arizona Capitol Times is reporting that the State House of Representatives has been evacuated due to two suspicious packages recieved by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. Sinema has recieved a number of threatening e-mails after she sponsored a bill limiting the activities of anti-immigration vigilantes.

Knaperek: It Wasn't Me, It Was All Pullen


(image) According to the folks over at Sonoran Alliance, the latest jab at Randy Pullen comes from former State Representative Laura Knaperek. Once again this goes back to the $100 contribution that Pullen gave to Harry Mitchell, then a candidate for State Senate. If you buy into Knaperek's theory, that contribution to Mitchell led to a series of events that enabled Mitchell to defeat J. D. Hayworth and resulted in Republican legislative losses in the area this year. Given that Pullen gave a comparatively small contribution to Mitchell years and years ago, and that he hasn't done that since, I guess this must be the political equivalent of the "butterfly effect." Pullen's contribution led not only to Mitchell and David Schapira being elected, recent gains by the Canadian Liberal party in local elections and probably the current tension between Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin as well. You may have noticed that Knaperek is a "former" representative, and apparently she is looking for someone else to blame for her loss. As Tempe became more Democratic, she continued to vote down the line with the leadership and refused to see what was coming. That's Pullen's fault though. Knaperek seems to have developed a habit of blaming others for her political decisions. The Pullen faithful are rightfully indignant about the attacks over a paltry $600 in contributions given nearly ten years ago before he was an active Republican. However, I think they have only themselves to blame for this. You've got people like Rob Haney and his "purer than thou" crew supporting Pullen. Heck, Haney doesn't even consider John McCain a real Republican for God's sake. As long as your folks are demanding ideological purity, you've got to expect the other side to ask for it from you too.

Papas con Kielbasa


(image) I never follow Phoenix city council races, but a corresponent up there in the Valley of the Yakes sent me some information on a certain Michael Nowakowski who is running up there. I don't know much about him, but one thing is obvious: He's a Polish-Mexican like me. For once, I can engage in genuine ethnic solidarity! Nowakowski has been general manager at Radio Campesina for a couple of years and had also done work for the Diocese of Phoenix. His website boasts of membership on a number of community boards. He doesn't have an easy race. He will be running against Laura Pastor, who's father represents the area in Congress. I've been told that he is a fan of the Guadalajara Chivas. I'll try not to hold that against him. So, that's the team for the Mexican part, what about the Polish part? ŁKS Łódź? Powodzenia and buena suerte, Michael. NB - This is more common than you might think: the attempt by the Mexican government to poplulate Texas and New Mexico in the early 19th Century didn't just recruit Americans, but emissaries were sent to areas like Bavaria, Bohemia and Poland (they wanted Catholics) to offer land to families that were willing to, in essence, "homestead" these areas. A book was released on the subject in the mid-1990's called Poles in the Southwest. Also, discrimination against Poles by their Russian overlords sent many of them packing to various nations, including Mexico.

More "Wisdom" From the Aptly Named Mike Barnicle


I suppose I should appreciate Mike Barnicle's writting, but he sucks as a political commentator. His recent turn as a sub on Hardball was untouched by any knowledge of American political life and the inept questions almost ventured into territory previously explored by The Chris Farley Show. His political commentary gives us such "gems" as this, posted on MSNBC's Hardblogger site during the State of the Union address:
Math has never been my strong suit. And I have difficulty balancing my check book. But you don't have to be Stephen Hawking to figure out that A. Nancy Pelosi's outfit cost more than the average American paid for their first home and B. there is a pretty high degree of difficulty involved in balancing the federal budget yet the leader of the free world just told us, "We can do so without raising taxes." And half the people in the hall - Bush's half -stood and cheered.
Point taken on balancing the budget, but why the swipe at Pelosi's dress? Apparently, producers at MSNBC thought that the dress comment was insightful enough for their "crawler" and ran it several times without the accompanying comment about balancing the budget. I'm not one to seek out sexism all the time, but this sounds dangerously like the porcine breed that was known back in the 70's as the "MCP" is rearing it's ugly head here. I suppose that Barnicle would have us believe that Dick Cheney, sitting next to Pelosi in his own expensive suit, bought his clothes with one of those vouchers they give homeless folks over at the Jackson Center. Jackass.

An Elephantine Struggle: James v Pullen, Part IX


As a snarky Democratic activist, I love the struggle for the Republican Party Chairmanship. Ours turned out to be so darned dull. I mean, Randy Camacho got elected to a lower office and is singing David Waid's praises now. What fun is that? A Republican State Committeeman has a choice on Saturday: either Lisa James, who promises to keep the same cadre of consultants and hangers on that have lost them two governor's races in a row or they can choose Randy Pullen, a man who seems bound and determined to alienate large parts of both the fundraising base and the electorate. I love it! The latest salvo is a series of e-mails between Nathan Sproul, the, um, ahem, controversial Republican consultant, and Pullen. Sproul's problem with Pullen goes back to 1998, when Pullen gave donations to both Paul Johnson and Harry Mitchell. The e-mails have been posted over at Espresso Pundit, and they were quite the thing to read among Republican muckety mucks today. As usual, the problem here isn't so much the initial "scandal," such as it is, but Pullen's lame attempt to spin out of it. First, he claimed that he did this on behalf of his employer (his employer: Pullen & Co.), then he claimed that he had to do it as a lobbyist. That would make sense if he gave to both candidates in these races, but he didn't, and one of those contributions was to Johnson, a candidate without a chance in hell of winning that year. Now, his latest excuse is that he raised $2,000,000 for the Republican party, so that makes it okay. Sproul disputes this in his e-mails and alleges that Pullen had to be replaced by Jordan Rose, who oddly enough was in the University Democrats with me way back when. The responses to Sproul's allegations are interesting as well. A fella named Tim (named, no doubt, for the classic Replacements album) wrote:
Of course, working literally next door to Lisa James and working with her (allegedly and not depending on the media account) on various campaigns and relying on fat contracts from the State Party might, just might, require some of us to question his motives.
Da-ha-ha-ang! It is hard for me to judge from out here who is actually winning, although one Republican blog claims that they have a count showing Pullen slightly ahead. Please, guys, keep this up. And don't stop after Saturday either...

That Roy Warden, Persecuted Again for Exercising his Right to Threaten People


Most of you, no doubt, have heard the news that Roy Warden was given three years probation for assault and intimidation for an incident back in June when he burned a Mexican flag in front of the Mexican consulate. Apparently this liberal activist judge did not agree with Warden's novel legal theory that attacking someone and threatening to shoot a child is covered by the First Amendment. Someone must have gotten to him. The judge suspended most of Warden's fine, so it was reduced to $300. Warden's attorney, Gary Kreep (I am not making that name up), claims that Warden is indigent and can't pay the fine. I bet Warden would have a decent job, if only someone hadn't given it to one of them Messicans. Obviously, the judge fails to see that the probation, which enjoins him from going to any public demonstration, keeps Warden from doing his important work. Maybe Warden can pay someone to shout threats into a bullhorn and burn Mexican flags. I'm trying to think of a group of people that would be willing to do the work cheaply...

Lori Oien Demonstrating the Creativity and New Ideas That We Need On the City Council


Rodney Glassman's campaign sent out an e-mail to his supporters on January 4th. It was a typical fundraising e-mail with some biographical details plus a "why Rodney will win" bit. Then, it ended with:
Please print the attached contribution form that you also need to complete and mail to me. If you have a spouse, partner or friends that you feel might also participate please share this email with anyone you would like (please forward this email with your own special note and get involved in this campaign). You may also visit our campaign website at (which should be launched by the end of the week). Rodney will not let us down and so I hope you will consider joining me in helping him win election! We are trying to raise money as quickly as possible so please send your contribution today! Thanks in advance and Happy New Year!
Lori Oien's campaign sent out an e-mail to her supporters on January 16th. It was a typical fundraising e-mail with some biographical details plus a "why Lori will win" bit. Then, it ended with:
Please print the attached contribution form, complete it and mail it with your check. If you know of anyone else, that would like to participate in this election, please forward this e-mail to them, with a word of encouragement for Lori's Campaign. You may also visit her campaign website at, (which should be launched soon). Lori has always been, "A Can Do Person," so I hope you will consider joining me in helping her with the Ward 2 seat! We are trying to raise funds quickly so please mail your contribution today.
Not the worst case of plagiarism ever, I'll admit. Think about this for a second though: Glassman's e-mail was blasted to his friends that he's gotten through his charitable work, which means a lot of big name Republicans. So, these guys got an e-mail from Glassman, then a similar looking e-mail from Oien a week or so later. You can bet that more than a few of them would have noticed that.



(image) I wanted to correct an earlier post. A correspondent wrote to me and stated that Jonathan Paton is not, in fact, in the Green Zone, but a camp outside of Baghdad and isn't, according to the correspondent, "even allowed to look in the direction of the Green Zone." I hope that no one thought I was implying that Paton was somehow in a "safe" part of Iraq. I've got enough friends that have been over there to know that there is no such thing.

Mo Was Right About those Circular Firing Squads


Back in the closing years of the last century, I was regional director for the Young Democrats of America. A month or so into my term, an e-mail hit the YDA listserv (something I started, one of the few tangible accomplishments I made during my brief brush with leadership in that group) announcing that Oklahoma was leaving their region and joining mine. No one asked me, it just happened. There was some dispute in their region about appointments to standing committees, and the Oklahomans felt jilted. They left and let it be known that they were going to force me to recind the appointments I had made to open up seats for them. I was a bit tweaked about this whole thing, so I sent an e-mail to Elizabeth Kennedy, a good friend who was Vice President of the YDA. (Always good to mention Kennedy, she had an Alabama accent that could melt steel. Still makes me a bit wobbly remembering her.) Kennedy gave me a call and said about the whole silly dust up, "How many Democrats will this elect?" Good point. I was reluctant to write about the Seven Against Lopes crack up in the Democratic caucus. For one thing, there are still people who think that my brother somehow directs all that I write on here (and a few who still think he writes this stuff. Just so you all know, Tom is actually illiterate. It's a shame my family has to bear.). The last thing I wanted to do was throw hexane on this little conflagration and have people think he had something to do with it. I've known many of the details about this for a week or so (many of them not from my brother or any other Democrat at all, but from a Republican staffer, oddly enough), but it didn't seem to be prudent to write about it. Well, now it has made Espresso Pundit and the Star (Gawd, scooped by Greg Patterson and Daniel Scarpinato, too bad my oven is electric). For those of you who don't know the story, several members of the House Democratic caucus (Seven according to Patterson, Scarpinato only has six and doesn't list Dave Bradley) are staging a sort of slow motion coup d'etat against minority leader Phil Lopes. The initial event that allegedly triggered this was dissatisfaction with some committee assignments, and several members chose to bypass Lopes and go to Speaker Jim Weiers. There was also a small blow up over seating arrangements. Always a critical issue, those seating arrangements. The thing that disturbs me most about this incident is that it seems to be about nothing more than personality. Let's say, for example, that Jack Brown led a rump group of conservative Democrats that tried to upend things. It would tick me off, and I would write about it, but at some level it would make sense. There seems to be no ideological bent here: Lopes's leadership team includes Brown, and he counts among his allies the very liberal Kyrsten Sinema. If you can't fit comfortably between Brown and Sinema, chances are, you ain't a Democrat. The rebels are pretty spread out on the spectrum too. Given this, it is hard to see how this is about policy or ideology. I don't know what exactly this accomplishes to move the agenda of either the caucus or the rebel members. Patterson supposes over at his blog that the seven members have agreed not to help Lopes if he tries to override the speaker's actions. No one that I have talked to has seen this letter that the seven allegedly signed, and I would hope such a thing is not true. If it is, it seems a high price for the Democratic agenda to pay just so a few folks can snag nice committee assignments. I can understand making a move like this if it advances an issue that is important to you. For example, one of the people in this group is Linda Lopez. She's had a bill that she's tried to push over [...]

Jim Pederson and Terry McAuliffe Walked in on What?


The Hotline has a preview of former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe's book, What a Party!: My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals. In it, apparently, we get a mention of our own former Democratic Chairman, Jim Pederson. Far better for you to read it yourself. Who is coming up with McAuliffe's book titles, Fiona Apple?

Some Comments on Saturday


I expected that David Waid would win. Before the meeting, I would have said that a decisive win would have been 65% or so. Waid won with a ridiculous 86% of the vote. I don't know if this means that there wasn't as much enthusiasm from the new progressive wing about Randy Camacho as had been reported, or if maybe his odd speech lost him support, who knows? Jeff Latas ran for Senior Vice Chair. He lost, but got many more votes for that slot than Camacho did for chair. I don't know if this was due to Pima County supporting one of our own (although Ken Smith, a former Pima County activist who moved to Pinetop was also running), or if, like I said before, the enthusiasm for Camacho wasn't there among the new progressives. Camacho's speech was very strange. He had an awful lot of fluffy rhetoric (including quoting Alfred Tennyson or was it Jane Tennyson?), but not one word about his program. I suppose it could be argued that his "30/15/8" plan was available on his website and was detailed in the mailing he sent, but this was a chance to close the deal and he didn't take it. Waid, on the other hand, gave a dry recitation of what the party has done over the last year or so. Whatever the reasons for Camacho's low vote total, I think that it indicates that the new progressive wing of the party needs to do more work to reach out to the rest of us. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with Waid, but Camacho's folks didn't spend an awful lot of time working outside of the various DFA and progressive organizations to push these people to their side. Donna Branch-Gilby was elected First Vice Chair, which once again gives Pima County a voice on the DNC which we haven't had since Martin Bacal was defeated in 2004. Former Baja Arizonan Ken Smith was elected as Senior Vice chair. Smith was part of a reform group on the Amphi School board that helped clean up the cronyism that had been going on there, and his wife was part of the Tortolita town council during that rump town's entire legal existence. We need those two trouble makers back. In other races, Latas and Camacho both were elected to the copious 2nd Vice Chair offices. Other interesting names were Tony Gonzales, a young activist from Flagstaff and Jo Kelleher. Interestingly, there is also a Jo Kelleher in Ireland who is a nurse and elected official. Ireland's Kelleher is a member of the Fine Gael party and ran her last race for Passage West/Monkston Town Council on an anti-incineration platform. I left early (Tucson was playing Phoenix in Roller Derby, I have my priorities), but Pima County's anti-war resolution hit the floor after I left. National Committeewoman Janice Brunson spoke against it. She said that people would think that Democrats were crazy if it passed. Someone pointed out that surveys show that nearly 70% of the people want an end to the war. "Are 70% of the American people crazy?" "Yes," Brunson responded. For all of the problems I have with Brunson, she has been able to really keep in close touch with a pretty sizeable group of Democratic activists. With that though, she lost the room. Lucky for her, her office wasn't up on Saturday.

Results from Leadership Races


I need to run some errands, so I will give y'all more details later. Here are the folks that won yesterday: Chair- David Waid (Maricopa) First Vice Chair- Donna Branch-Gilby (Pima) Senior Vice Chair- Ken Smith (Navajo) Vice Chairwomen- Sharon Covey (Cochise), Lois Pfau (Maricopa), Jo Kelleher (Coconino) Vice Chairmen- Tony Gonzales (Coconino), Randy Camacho (Maricopa), Jeff Latas (Pima) Seceretary- Judy Kennedy (Maricopa) Treasurer- Rick McGuire (Maricopa) Affirmative Action Moderator- Michael Williams (Maricopa) Educational Coordinator- Anne Greenberg (Maricopa)

Republican Establishment to Iraq Vet: Wait Your Turn, Son


Republican mahouts are already working behind the scenes to avoid the divisive primary that they feel cost them Southeastern Arizona's District 8 seat. The current rumor is that fundraisers and kingmakers have made up their minds that newly elected Senate President Tim Bee will be the candidate, and have been working Rep. Jonathan Paton, currently on active duty in Iraq, to tell him that this isn't his time yet. The folks that told me about this haven't told me exactly how Paton gets worked over by Jim Click while he's in the green zone, but this is what they tell me. Lt. Paton, by the way, has sent a Mesopotamian missive to Espresso Pundit that you may want to check out. Paton would be an interesting candidate. There has been a great deal of buzz over the last year or so about candidates like Tammy Duckworth, Patrick Murphy and Paul Hackett who were Iraq vets. All seemed to be Democrats. Even a political geek like me is hard pressed to think of a Republican Iraq veteran (at least of this more recent conflict) that has run for congress. Paton has the distinction of running against Gabrielle Giffords once before, in a State House race in what was then District 13. This fact probably isn't brought up much since he placed fourth behind Giffords, Carol Somers and Ted Downing. Whether these moves actually result in Bee walking through the primary unmolested is still up in the air. The folks that are apparently trying to clear the field for him are some of the same people who backed Steve Huffman in this last race. They would have little sway over the more conservative elements in the party who feel that Huffman's backers ruined Randy Graf's shot at congress. Also, these aren't people who would have much sway over Ray Carroll, a popular maverick who's term on the Pima County Board of Supervisors is up in 2008. CORRECTION: I was mistaken in my assertion that Lt. Paton was in the so-called Green Zone. A correspondent pointed out to me that Paton "isn't even allowed to sniff the green zone." I'm assuming that this means he is outside of Baghdad.

There's Still Time!


I didn't get one, but apparently there is an e-mail sent by Randy Camacho denying the anti-gay rumors that are allegedly being spread by supporters of David Waid. I don't know exactly what is going on among the Maricopa County activists, but the only reason I have heard about this rumor is because of the denials from Camacho supporters. Given this, it doesn't smack to me of an organized effort from the higher echelons of the Waid campaign. An e-mail also went out from newly elected Pima County chair Vince Rabago in support of Waid. I will be going up today...and I'll be carrying a proxy. This makes me twice the kingmaker. There is still time for the candidates to beg me for support, and I do take bribes.

Something I've Been Meaning to Write About


(image) Many of you have probaly read about Virginia Delegate Frank D. Hargrove Sr., who told an African American who was supporting a resolution apologizing for slavery to "get over it." I hear this sort of thing from many white southerners when people bring up the past. In one of Ed Bradley's final stories, he travelled to Mississippi to talk about the reopening of the Emmett Till case. Over and over again, he encountered whites who kept saying, "That's the past, and there is no need to open up old wounds." Okay, I can see where people would get frustrated when they keep hearing about issues that seem to have been settled years or even generations ago. I understand the desire to move on. But, I'd be more willing to entertain pleas from white southerners that their black neighbors move on, if they themselves had moved on. Take a look at Hargrove's own state. Up until 1997, the state song was "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," a song where the narrator, a newly freed slave, is nostalgic for his days of bondage. The move by the legislature to ditch the song (Hargrove himself was there at the time; I don't know how he voted) is still controversial today. You can't have a candidate debate, particularly in a Republican primary, without a question about the display of the Confederate battle emblem. Former Governor and Senator George Allen felt the need to surround himself with all sorts of Confederate nostalgia as if his great-grandaddy fought at Antietam, despite the fact that his father was from Union state Michigan and Allen grew up in California. Southern blacks watch as symbols of the segregationist and even slave past of their region are innocently celebrated as "heritage" on a regular basis. Not that I am in any position to make deals on the part of the African-American community, but I'd bet that they will "get over" their past as soon as a majority of the Southern white community gets over theirs.

"I'm Art Buchwald, and I Just Died"


(image) Political humorist Art Buchwald has died. Last year, he decided to forgo dialysis and his doctors gave him only five weeks to live. Well, he hung on for much longer and was able to even tape his own eulogy (the first line is quoted above). He had been asked if there was anything that he was sorry he was going to miss. His answer: he was jealous that the rest of us will get to enjoy global warming.

More Fun in the Race for Republican Chair


The best part about the race for chair on the Republican side is that they hold their election a week after we do, so I get to make fun of them for seven days after our bloodletting is done. (image) One of the things you'll hear from the conservative activists that support Randy Pullen is that their man is a more "pure" conservative, more Republican in every thought, deed and external organ than that Lisa James and that "RINO" John McCain. Pullen's detractors have been labeling him an opporitunist who only recently donned the cloak of a "true Republican." Well, the boys over at Politico Mafioso have found something interesting. Back in 1998, Pullen gave to Democrats Paul Johnson and Harry Mitchell. Pullen has come up with the lame excuse that his employer made him give. His employer: Pullen and Co. The funny thing was, these were the only contributions that Mr. Republican gave to Arizona candidates that year. I suppose that such a thing could understood since this happened nine years ago and before Pullen was an active Republican, but this guy represents the "litmus test" wing of the party. Had this been any one else, he and his supporters would be screaming "RINO" before the ink dried on the checks. If this burries his candidacy, he has his own rhetoric to blame. I love this stuff. Keep it up guys.

No or Something


(image) The Weekly ran an item in yesterday's Skinny that named Adelita Grijalva as a possible candidate to run in Ward 1. One of the publishers of the old New England Revolution fanzine Pictures of Chairman Mao had a word for such things: Rumpswab. I decided not to call Grijalva herself, since she just had a baby and is probably a wee bit busy, doncha think? Definitely too busy to be running for City Council. But I talked to several people close to her and the consensus was that she'd be a great candidate and a great councilmember, but she ain't running. Not even considering it. One of the things that has ginned up speculation is that no one has pulled packets to run in Ward 1. No Democrat, no Republican, no Libertarian. Even the old Anti-Masonic party hasn't thrown in. No candidate has pulled a packet, including incumbent José Ibarra. We political observers abhor a vacuum, and any sign, no matter how weak, that there may be one leads all of us to make up all sorts of things. Let's see, who else lives in that ward? Paul Eckerstrom? Peter Hormel? Odie Mae Elliot? Oh yeah: Al Perry...

I Got Me A Mailer...Two Even!


I finally recieved a mailer from Randy Camacho. I thought it was a bit unusual since it contained what was essentially a very wordy palm card, rather than a letter, detailing his 30/15/8 plan. I suppose that the card contained the same information that would be in a "Dear Democratic Friend" letter anyway. It just lacked that personal touch and warmth that a mass produced letter with a Xeroxed signature would have had. I also recieved another letter in support of David Waid. This one was signed (Xeroxed, of course) by the complete Democratic College of Cardinals: Janet Napolitano, Terry Goddard, Harry Mitchell, Gabrielle Giffords, Raúl Grijalva and Ed Pastor. As I have noted before, there has been some tension within this group over past and potential resource and staffing decisions made by Waid, but these have either been resolved, or they have agreed to resolve them later. State Committee members in Maricopa County recieved an e-mail from newly installed Maricopa County Headman Mark Manoil and immediate past chair Judy Kennedy endorsing Waid. The e-mail also included endorsements from past and present district chairs and other long time activists including Aaron Jahneke and Lois Pfau. All told, the e-mail lists 25 Democratic królewięta, which makes one wonder how many people were left to mail to.

Some Facts Behind the "Straw Poll" that John McCain "Lost"


There has been a bit of buzz about a straw poll among Maricopa county Republicans that showed John McCain coming in fourth place behind Duncan Hunter (don't worry, no one else has heard of him either), Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Gosh, how did our own US Senator do so poorly? How did a rather obscure US House member from California beat him and other more famous contenders? (Newt Gingrich? R Cubed Quiz: Name another person first named "Newton" who made a try at a presidential nomination.) Well, it's easy to do if you set the rules. The "straw poll" was, to put it charitably, less than formal even by the loose standards that the term "straw poll" implies. Apparently, Rob Haney, a Republican activist that has become famous for being the guy that wants to ruin McCain's chances at the nomination, handed out "ballots" to folks at the Maricopa County Republican meeting last week. Candidates on the "ballot" were listed as "acceptable" and "unacceptable," and the ballots were, according to some witnesses, selectively distributed. This wasn't done as any official part of the meeting, and there was no previous notice that it was going to occur. By the way, Hunter, who is supported by Trent Franks, was at the meeting and was able to personally work the delegates. This victory will help him come out on top in that "Obscure House Members Who Have No Chance of Winning" Primary over Tomás Tancredo and Ron Paul. I'm no McCain fan, but this just seems ridiculous. Unfortunately, Mike Sunnucks at the Buisiness Journal swallowed this as an official slap at McCain. I don't blame him, for all he knows, there was an official vote at a meeting. I wouldn't doubt that Haney's folks presented it that way. Straw polls can be useful, but in a limited way. They can tell you how much support there is within one organization or another for a candidate at best. Even at worst, a decent and honest straw poll can tell you which candidate has their act together enough to organize their supporters to attend. Interestingly, we Democrats are enjoined from doing such things (at least in Presidential races). The DNC wants to avoid the spectacle that often happens with these large straw poll extravaganzas on the Republican side. Hundreds of thousands of dollars get spent by campaigns to bus in supporters and on electioneering to win the votes of a few hundred people at what is really a fundraiser for a local party. I was in Florida on the eve of a huge straw poll in 1995, and I actually caught a TV ad run against Lamar Alexander. Yes, this was a straw poll and not the primary. In this case, this thing is barely a real straw poll. The conduct of this indicates the trouble with Haney and his crowd (and one that some activists on my side of the fence aren't immune from either), these guys keep talking only to each other and have convinced themselves that they represent the majority. Is there any serious political observer out there that thinks that John McCain will lose a Republican primary here? Heck, McCain won decisively here in 2000 despite much higher profile opposition (led by then-Governor Jane Dee Hull). These folks aren't showing any kinks in McCain's armor; they are just showing they are out of touch with most of the Republicans that they supposedly represent. R-CUBED QUIZ ANSWER: The only one I could think of is Newton Baker, who was a favorite of anti-Roosevelt forces at the 1932 Democratic conventio[...]