Sunday, August 31, 2008

Republican National Convention Eve

With Hurricane Gustav expected to make landfall tomorrow, the atmosphere and tone of the convention have changed significantly. President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have both cancelled their appearances here tomorrow, and the schedules have been altered significantly as a result. In keeping with the theme- "Country First" - the convention has been scaled down to the minimum requirements of the RNC Bylaws for nominating a President and Vice-President.

There is still a lot of excitement in the air, but it is tempered by concern for our fellow Americans in the Gulf States. Most of our peripheral meetings/receptions have been modified to become fund-raising events for the Gulf State region, and the event sponsors have generously set up matching grants to help double our impact.

Day 1 of the convention officially starts tomorrow. As developments happen I will have notes and commentary. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A VP we can REALLY Believe In

Sen. John McCain announced Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate this morning. This move is a an absolute masterstroke by McCain. Some of Gov. Palin's many strong points:
  • She is a young, energetic mother of 5
  • She is solidly pro-life. Her youngest son, born this last April, has Downs Syndrome. This is a perfect counterpoint to the pro-death views of the Democratic party - who would have aborted this beautiful child.
  • She has made a name for herself fighting the corruption that Alaska has become infamous for.
  • She is the mother of a US Soldier. In the War on Terror both her and Sen. McCain have put their money where their mouth is. When they put soldiers in harms way it is personal for them. They won't take this responsibility lightly because the stakes are so personally high.
  • As both a mayor and governor she has cut wasteful spending and then returned the funds to the people that paid into it.
  • She directly confronted corruption and entrenched interests in her state to make government serve the people, not the special interests, demonstrating a courage not often found in politicians.
  • She is the Governor of our largest oil-producing state, but not an oil executive. This gives her credibility on the energy issue without suspicion. (Who better to tell us the TRUTH about ANWR?)
  • She has executive experience as both a Governor and a Mayor
  • She has credibility on environmental issues.
  • She is fiscally conservative in every sense of the word.
  • She is a lifetime member of the NRA as well as an avid hunter and fisher. She is absolutely rock-solid on the 2nd Ammendment
  • Finally, she is a woman. Selecting her as his running mate gives the lie to Democratic accusations of our party being sexist and may help attract and/or retain the "defense moms" that put President Bush over the top for his second term.

Governor Palin will bring great strength to Senator McCain's campaign. He has made a choice that surprised a lot of people - demonstrating his independent streak, but this choice also takes some of the spotlight off of Obama's historic run as the first African-American to be a major-party nominee. Governor Palin is a choice that the party base can enthusiastically support, and this move will bring much more excitement and interest to the GOP base that has been mostly lukewarm to Sen. McCain's candidacy.

Excellent choice Senator McCain!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

J.T. Ready - Please Resign

One of the more odious issues to come out of this election cycle is the neo-Nazi affiliation of J.T. Ready, an elected Republican PC in LD 18 and a former candidate for both the Mesa City Council and the State Legislature.

Congressman Jeff Flake and MCRC Chairman Tom Husband have been exchanging letters recently regarding Mr. Ready and his affiliation with the Party as an elected PC. In this exchange it has become obvious that the Party cannot officialy do anything about Mr. Ready's position - the only one who can change that status before Sept 2 is J.T. himself. The only thing that is left for us to do is to ask him to resign his position before Sept. 2nd.

Let me be the first:

J.T., your neo-Nazi affiliation is an embarrassment to the good people of your precinct who elected you as a PC, to the other PC's of LD 18, and to the Republican Party as a whole. We do not accept your twisted worldviews and ask that you please resign your position as a PC forthwith.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Primary Campaign Cannibalism

The full-scale war that is being waged for the LD 18 Senate Seat reminds me of a similar battle that was waged in our district in the not-so-distant past. Four years ago Rep. Karen Johnson and Dr. Mary Jo Vecchiarelli squared off in a primary campaign for the LD 18 Senate seat being vacated by Mark Anderson. We had a comparatively large group of active PC's working in the district at the time and this particular campaign split us pretty much down the middle, with half of us going with Rep. Johnson and half with Dr. Vecchiarelli. At times the verbal attacks and ripostes between these two were very entertaining, but the overall effect was damaging to our district as a whole. The decline in active PC's over the years since this contest seem to indicate that we are still dealing with the consequences of those attacks. I'm sure that there are several other factors which have contributed to our decline in PC activity in LD 18 over the past few years but I can't help noticing that the active individuals who supported Dr. Vecchiarelli in that contest four years ago have mostly vanished from our meetings. And, unfortunately, they have taken their strength with them.

The problem with these types of dirty campaigns is the wedge they drive between good people who probably agree with each other on at least 95% of the other issues. It seems that our claims and counter-claims of Republican orthodoxy can make us so dogmatic that we can't clearly see the other person's point of view. If we could see clearly I am sure that most of the time we would find our differences to be more about tactics than principles.

The primary campaign that is going on right now is a perfect example of how bad things can get. The personal attacks directed at Rep. Pearce during this campaign and the responses from all camps have made the atmosphere of our district more like a war zone than a free and open political forum. Instead of being excited about whichever candidate we are supporting, we are perpetually angry at the other candidate. This bunker mentality distracts us from the other real issues we need to focus on if we are to win in November, both on a local and a national level.

I realize that in any contest we have to point out differences, but we don't need to attack people's character for having a different point of view. It is also OK to approach each contest with an open mind about the different candidates and their ideas. We only help the other party when we engage in sandbagging each other. The truly Reaganesque thing to do in these types of contests is to stick strictly to the issues and obey the 11th Commandment - "Thou Shalt Not Criticize Thy Fellow Republicans".

In those instances when we have a candidate who simply can't seem to abide by this simple commandment we silence them in the most effective and permanent manner possible - we soundly defeat them at the ballot box.

(I realize that this post is probably a little too idealistic and might even open me up to accusations of hypocrisy, but I am really getting sick and tired of the personal attacks that are going around, not just in our district but in Republican races throughout the state. Do we really need this much cannibalism? Look at what it is doing to our party!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Countdown to the Convention - Minnesota Here We Come!

Earlier this year I was elected to be an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. My wife and I fly out this coming Saturday and will be there through the convention, returning to sunny AZ on Friday, September 5th. I am taking my laptop with me and will attempt to give a daily update on the convention and our different activities during the week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Honoring a Local Hero

This morning I had the opportunity to ride with other Patriot Guard Riders as we escorted Lance Corporal Juan Lopez-Castañeda to his final resting place. I was touched as I witnessed first-hand the sacrifice that our servicemen and their families make for our nation. The following short bio on Lance Corporal Lopez-Castañeda was sent to all of the Patriot Guard Riders with the details on the escort mission:

Lance Corporal Juan Lopez-Castaneda, 19, US Marine Corps died on Thursday, 14 Aug 08, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Juan was a rifleman who joined the Marine Corps on June 4, 2007. He was on his first deployment and received the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Lopez-Castaneda was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA.

Thank you, Corporal Lopez-Castañeda, for your service and sacrifice that have helped keep us free.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Man of Courage

One of the more gratifying political developments lately has been the backlash against the numerous hit pieces run against Rep. Russell Pearce. Instead of weakening his position, the attacks have only galvanized his base of supporters and stirred them to action, effectively counteracting their intended effect. It has also ruined any hopes of a political career that Mr. Gibbons hoped to have in this district.

The Republicans in LD 18 are not only very passionate about their politics, they are also informed voters that are concerned about the issues . This is definitely one area where Rep. Pearce shines. The attack ads did not address any issues, they just attempted to assasinate Rep. Pearce's character. In doing so they made a foolish (if not downright stupid) miscalclulation - a large portion of the Republican voters in LD 18 know Russell Pearce personally. It doesn't take more than about 5 minutes with the man to discover that he isn't a racist, that he loves his family, and that he is committed to his positions because he sincerely believes that they are the right things to do. They are also well thought out and reasoned approaches to the issues that concern our state. Just talk with him about the different issues - illegal immigration, bloated state budgets, unconstitutional government programs, etc. - and you will discover that he has put a lot of thought into the problems, their origins, and possible solutions. He is not a reactive legislator.

Rep. Pearce also has another character trait that has made him a "favorite son" in this district - Courage. On the issues that concern us the most, Rep. Pearce is the point man. Yes, other legislators support him, but Rep. Pearce is the one who gets the issues brought to the forefront. As a result he also becomes the punching bag for the political pugilists that take opposite points of view. Rep. Pearce has sponsored referendums and initiatives that, when put to a vote by the citizens of Arizona, have been approved with over 70% of the vote. Despite this obvious connection with the Arizona electorate, the media outlets would have you believe that Rep. Pearce is the most loathed man in the state. Rep. Pearce has remained committed to his policy positions regardless of the complaints and accusations from his opponents. He is doing the people's business, and we would all be better off if the other legislators showed at least half of the courage and conviction that Rep. Pearce shows every day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 5

The good people at Mesa Issues have put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The fifth and final installment of this discussion follows:

5. Make a prediction on how you think the race will ultimately turn out.

East Valley Immigration:
Pearce wins by a good margin. The immigration stuff is too big for Gibbons to overcome.

Thoughts on Mesa:
I believe the race will ultimately turn out in Pearce favor. Before that happens though I believe that we will see a lot more negative mail pieces.

Sonoran Alliance:
Russell Pearce will ultimately win this election. The attack on Russell will backfire even though he is outspent by his opponent and political action committees. Russell knows his district and he knows his voters. West Mesa voters will back Russell because he is one of them and an attack on Russell is seen as an attack on them. Gibbons and his supporters will leave the political scene quietly with some never getting involved in politics again.

Adams and Jefferson:
I predict that Rep. Pearce will win this race, but it will be close and may weaken him politically.

Mesa Issues:
Pearce wins, but the polling will motivate some more people to come out against him. He must realize that this is not a ringing endorsement, but rather a great time for him to mend the rifts in the party and make friends. You must always be gracious in victory.

Participating in this roundtable discussion has been great, and I want to thank Mesa Issues for putting it together. It has allowed me to post something interesting during a very hectic couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 4

The good people at Mesa Issues have put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The fourth installment of this discussion follows:

4. If you had one piece of advice to give to one of the candidates, what would it be?

Sonoran Alliance:
Russell Pearce - Stay very visible and continue to communicate to the voters in your district. They respect you and expect you to stand and fight for them. Running and hiding from the hit pieces will create doubt in their mind and validate the hit pieces. Fight for your supporters and they will fight for you. Kevin Gibbons - Get to the know the voters of district 18. Running a campaign from a distance won't gain voters. Elections are about addition and the more you meet and listen to voters, the more support you will gain. Also be adamant about why you are running. This is not about becoming someone. It's about doing something.

Thoughts on Mesa:
Don't attack people personally. It is OK to attack on the issues but not on family.

Mesa Issues: For Kevin Gibbons - be honest about why you are running, who is helping you and where your money is coming from. Acting like you are above everything is going on after you gave money to the Domestic Violence Shelter and the ADL shows you had an idea about what was going on and where people were going to attack Pearce.

Adams and Jefferson:
For Kevin Gibbons - When you are asked a question in a debate - just answer the question. It is impossible to find out what you really think about the issues because you never answer the question that is being asked.

East Valley Immigration:
Talk about the issues instead of trying to insinuate another message. It seems like Gibbons is running the I'm not Russell Pearce campaign which means I know nothing about him. That tells me that the candidate is an empty suit.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 3

The good people at Mesa Issues put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The third installment of this discussion follows:

3. How do you think the influx of independent expenditures from different groups are going to effect the race?

Mesa Issues:
Well, as it already has, it’s going to draw a lot of attention to the race. However, in the end, I wonder if it’s not too little too late. If they really wanted to take out Pearce, it’s going to take a long time to create doubt within his faithful.

East Valley Immigration:
I think it's going to get a lot more negative and you'll see more lies and half truths. I think people will be annoyed at the constant barrage of the same literature. It's funny, they aren't supposed to work together but by looking at it, you can't tell which are Gibbons and which are the independents. I must have gotten 5 or 6 just this last weekend!

Thoughts on Mesa:
We are seeing that now with the negative mailers that are being mailed out. I.E.s will probably change the mind of a very few people. I think however they will have the opposite desire and turn people off. People don't like negative campaigning, political junkies love it but the public doesn't.

Sonoran Alliance:
An influx of independent expenditures will only work against the group funding the IE's. We believe that the Sproul/Mesa Deserves Better attack pieces will backfire. Any outside groups advocating for or against will only work against the goal of the IE. West Mesa voters do not like being told how to vote by outsiders.

Adams and Jefferson:
They will further polarize the district. Since the expenditures are mostly directed against Rep. Pearce - he is going to take a fairly nasty public beating.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 2

The good people at Mesa Issues put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance , and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The second installment of this discussion follows:

2. What do you think is the greatest handicap for each candidate?

Sonoran Alliance:
Pearce- people think he only is about immigration. He's actually a big player in the no-tax crowd. Gibbons- He's all for open borders and has aligned himself with by taking money from big time Democrats.

Mesa Issues:
Its going to be hard for people to get past the fact that Gibbons and his donors are double dipping in donating to his campaign and for the independent expenditures. If he has changes to the employer sanctions laws, he better speak up now, instead of letting others speak for him.

Thoughts on Mesa:
Gibbons – his ties to those fighting the employer sanctions laws and his own attempts at personally attacking Pearce.Pearce – He talks too much and gets off subject.

East Valley Immigration:
Pearce- people think he only is about immigration. He's actually a big player in the no-tax crowd. Gibbons- He's all for open borders and has aligned himself with by taking money from big time Democrats.

Adams and Jefferson:
I see three main challenges for each candidate:
Russell Pearce:
His strong position on illegal immigration has allowed his opponents to accuse him of being a racist.
He has angered a lot of powerful people across the state who have organized a concerted effort to remove him from office.
He is a Clean Elections candidate which limits his financial resources and also gives the Gibbons camp an opportunity to challenge his conservative credentials.

Kevin Gibbons:
His list of campaign contributors include Democrat party activists and othergroups who directly oppose key principles/platforms of the Republican Party. This has angered the Party and led to the MCRC endorsement of Russell Pearce in this primary - a very uncommon thing for them to do.
His supporters are more "anti-Pearce" than "pro-Gibbons" which isn't the best motivation for voters
He has snubbed the LD18 Precinct Committeemen who are now mad as hornets at him and will be working with their friends and neighbors to make sure the Rep. Pearce is sent to the Senate.

Blogger Roundtable Discussion - LD 18 Senate Race Part 1

The good people at Mesa Issues put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance , and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The first installment of the discussion follows:

1. Which candidate (Pearce or Gibbons) do you think has greater negatives right now?

Adams and Jefferson:
Kevin Gibbons - he is taking on a "favorite son" in the district and will have difficulty proving himself to be more conservative than Mr. Pearce in an incredibly conservative district.

Thoughts on Mesa:
Even though a negative piece came out on Pearce about a 28 year old divorce filing, I think that most republicans can see what is going on by the "open boarder" and "cheap labor groups" supporting Gibbons. I still firmly believe that Gibbons has the greatest negatives.

East Valley Immigration:
Although Gibbons is making a run at smearing Pearce, I think when you consider the fact we are in a Republican Primary, Gibbons has the most to lose. He has come off looking like an open border, democrat taking special interest money. I know my neighbors in Mesa don't exactly line up that way.

Mesa Issues:
I think that the independent expenditures were fired up because they saw that Gibbons had clearly been put forth as the outsider with a lot of questionable connections. Gibbons has spent considerable time trying to put Pearce down more, when in fact, he should be trying to play up his positives. I predict that from here on out, Gibbons will go positive and allow his colleagues to do the mudslinging.

Sonoran Alliance: One would think that Russell Pearce has the highest negatives with the recent independent expenditure hit pieces against him but it is quite the opposite. Kevin Gibbons negatives are greater and continue to increase as more attacks on Pearce occur. Even before the attacks on Pearce, Gibbons was considered an outsider with ties to business interests trying to thwart the employer sanction laws. One must remember that West Mesa neighborhoods are a very tight-knit community and an outside attack on someone so closely identified and respected is seen as an attack on the whole community. Over the years, Pearce has earned the respect of many people in his district and knows more people than his opponent anticipated. Gibbons has an uphill battle trying to earn the respect of a community that which knows he has not been apart of. The revelation that Gibbons did not participate in previous elections will hurt him. Gibbons' ties to immigration legal services is also a problem with voters who have seen their community negatively affected by illegal immigrants and cheap labor. Finally, there is also a perception that Gibbons comes from a higher class status and was handpicked by individuals seeking political power. West Mesa voters are very protective of their community and elected officials and are not likely to be told what to do. Kevin Gibbons has an uphill battle and it only gets more difficult with each hit piece on Russell Pearce. I believe that Mesa Deserves Better's tactics are backfiring back on Gibbons.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

LuAnne Pearce Responds

Representative Russell Pearce's wife LuAnne has issued the following statement regarding a really nasty hit piece that was recently mailed out by a group called "Mesa Deserves Better":

"Recently opponents of our State's employer sanctions law made despicable, misleading and false attacks on my husband and our family. Twenty-eight years ago a petition for divorce was filed on my behalf. The allegations in this 28 year old document are not true and the petition was shortly thereafter withdrawn.
The people behind this "Mesa Deserves Better" committee are not honorable. Their only purpose is to destroy my husband's good reputation, to hurt our family and to repeal the law which prevents them from hiring individuals who are in this country illegally. I urge everyone to reject these mean spirited people and all who are affiliated with them. It is apparent that they will go to any length and use any measure to further their own political agenda.
My husband is a good man, a man of faith who taught our children and grandchildren the meaning of honor and duty to God, Family and Country. I hope all voters in District 18 join me in supporting my husband for State Senate and rejecting these misleading and false attacks."
-LuAnne Pearce