Wednesday, January 28, 2015

So I landed a position as senior editor of a new conservative news site

The Washington Examiner has the exclusive story about today's launch of the new site I am working for. Today happens to be the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, which has special meaning for the Catholics onboard, as St. Dominic started his order of friars to live out their religious life in the public square. The site will carry a wide variety of right-leaning thought, forging a consensus somewhat similar to the late WFB, my hero. It's been exciting to see all the people who have been brought onboard; I happened to pick up the November issue of National Review - and there was an article by one of our other senior editors, David Mills!
...
Evangelical religious broadcaster James Robison and Catholic author Jay Richards on Wednesday are unveiling the Stream, an online news site that promises to offer both syndicated contributions and original news analysis.
“There’s a problem in America for people on the Right because many of them are simply fragmented and don’t play well together,” Richards told the Washington Examiner media desk. “The Stream offers that cohesion. It’s a response to the fragmenting.”
Richards said, "The inspiration for the Stream actually started from a collaboration that I had with James Robison. We started collaborating in about 2010. We got together from different worlds: I’m a Catholic and I’ve been mostly in the think tank world, and he’s a popular former evangelist and [television] personality.”
Among Stream's current writers are Rachel Alexander, former editor of Western Shooting Journal, and reporter Tom Sileo, who is a five-year veteran of CNN and a syndicated columnist.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Obama Apologizes to the French for Choosing Football Over Anti-Terrorism March

Dear French personnes,


I’ve been deep in thought while drinking a Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Organic Chocolate Brownie Iced Vanilla Double-Shot Gingerbread Frappuccino at Starbucks, and feel like I owe an apology to you people for ditching France last Sunday. I realize over 40 world leaders and as many as three million people walked in the France Unity March to show solidarity against the fatal terrorist attacks on the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. As you know, I’m the most powerful man in the world, and up until the country started to go downhill under my administration, the U.S. was the number one superpower. Little people have plenty of free time, big people have legacies to make.


Now, I did instruct a wealthy donor of mine who lives in France, Jane Hartley, to attend the march, does that count? She raised me an impressive $500,000 in 2012, so I made her an ambassador to France last fall. Some assistant secretary at the Department of State also showed up, I can’t recall her name, a low-level official. John Kerry was in India giving an important speech on manmade global warming -er, climate change is what we’re calling it now - but gimme some credit, I did send him to France after the march because he appears kinda French. Eric Holder was already in France for a counterterrorism summit, but he bungled my instructions to attend the march - I think he got distracted by a race riot on the way there. Joe Biden was too busy cleaning his shotgun.


You gotta realize, there are some important criteria I consider when choosing my world vacations -er, travel. Do Michelle and the kids want to visit there? Right now, they are burnt out on France. I’ve taken five trips to France so far as president, more visits there than to any country except Mexico. Once you’ve been golfing at Morfontaine a few times, it gets kinda old. Currently, the “Beyonce gang,” as I call my three girls, are pressuring me for a trip to the Bahamas. Isn’t there some need for intervention in Nassau due to pirate attacks?




Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Was Thayer Verschoor Thinking?

Former state lawmaker Thayer Verschoor’s recent editorial on the Salt River Project’s proposed tax on rooftop solar customers is long on hyperbole and short on facts.

Nowhere does he mention that SRP wants to impose a $50 tax on rooftop solar customers. That’s a pretty big deal.

Instead his editorial reads more like a love letter to a monopoly that wants to kill off competition.

Verschoor also trots out the same talking points used by utility monopolies to bash solar.

Vershoor won’t come out and say he supports the proposed SRP solar tax because that would be inconsistent with the conservative principles he has claimed to support over the years.

Verschoor doesn’t mention that SRP is trying to impose a tax on rooftop solar in order to force competitors out of business. That would not be consistent with free market principles Verschoor once claimed to embrace.

Verschoor talks solar subsidies yet fails to note they no longer exist in Arizona while his utility friends continue to receive subsidies at all levels of government.

Instead Vershcoor twists conservative principles to make an argument for a tax hike that would damage a thriving sector of the Arizona economy.

Whether Verschoor likes it or not those omissions speak volumes. They point to a politician turned lobbyist who would ignore the facts in order to support a tax. They point to someone who says one thing and does another. They point to a conservative who has either lost his or never really believed in free markets and cutting taxes.

Verschoor concludes his editorial by twisting the words of Senator Barry Goldwater in order to support a tax hike.


Here is another Goldwater quote for Mr. Verschoor to consider, “I won't say that the papers misquote me, but I sometimes wonder where Christianity would be today if some of those reporters had been Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

Arizona Republicans lose 32,800 voters in last two years; drop to 2nd place behind Independents for first time

This is not good. We've got to spend more time getting out the vote (GOTV = both voter registration and voting day) and less time attending meetings and preaching to the choir. From MCRC Briefs -

·       A Two Year Decline In Arizona Republican Voter Registrations is revealed in the Secretary of State’s Voter Registration Records for the 2014 Election Cycle (Jan 2013 - Nov 2014): http://www.azsos.gov/election/voterreg/VRcounts2014.htm  Comparing the January 2013 Total Republican Registration numbers (1,147,543) to the November 2014 Republican Registration numbers (1,114,743)  shows the loss of  32,800 Republican voters over the past two years.  

·       Republican Registration Has Dropped To Second Place -- below the Independents -- for the first time in state history. This two-year decline in the AZGOP voter registration  is not a good sign –considering the glowing reports we were getting last summer about the number of doors the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) teams were knocking on all across the state. Obviously we are losing ground instead of gaining registered Republicans.  If Arizona is to remain a ‘Red State,’ the AZGOP State Committeemen must select strong, aggressive leaders next Saturday - who are willing to roll up their sleeves and “get ‘er done” as we move toward the 2016 elections.  – FT

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New AZ AG Brnovich on Fox News: "Amnesty will cost Arizona billions" [VIDEO]


Monday, January 12, 2015

Phoenix Fed Soc's Annual Lawyer-Student Mixer (Jan 23, 2015)

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
Friday, January 23, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM (MST)
*** Location Near Central Phoenix -- Details Received Upon RSVP***


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divider Please join us for Phoenix Federalist Society's Annual Lawyer-Student Mixer -- featuring Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich! This event is a great opportunity to connect with fellow Federalist Society members and discuss important Constitutional issues affecting the legal order of our state and country today.  We hope to see you there!

Phoenix Federalist Society Lawyers' Chapter

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National Review editor to speak at launch of ASU center

Posted: December 31, 2014
Richard Lowry
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, is an esteemed conservative columnist and commentator.
Photo by: HarperCollins Publishers
January 22, 2015 
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Many consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest American president to date. Revered across the political spectrum, Lincoln believed in a small but active government in a nation defined by aspiration. He embraced the market and the amazing transportation and communications revolutions beginning to take hold. He helped give birth to the modern industrial economy.
Lincoln’s vision of an upwardly mobile society that rewards and supports individual striving was wondrously realized. Now, it is under threat.
To meet these challenges, Rich Lowry, the New York Times bestselling author and editor of National Review, draws us back to the lessons of Lincoln both in his book “Lincoln Unbound”* and in a public lecture at Arizona State University titled “Abraham Lincoln and the American Idea.”
"It is imperative," Lowry argues, "to preserve a fluid economy that makes it possible for individuals to thrive and live the American dream."
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Jan. 22, at Old Main, Carson Ballroom, on ASU's Tempe campus, this public lecture at ASU is in celebration of the launch of the new Center for Political Thought and Leadership. 
The center will provide research and training for the next generation of local and national leaders on the foundational principles of good government, civic involvement, free markets and political liberty.
“Professor (Donald T.) Critchlow is the ideal person to lead this new center forward, and his distinguished background in political thought and research will bring great perspective and value to the center at a time of continued political deadlock and precipitous decline in civic literacy in the United States,” said ASU President Michael Crow.
In addition to undergraduate education, Critchlow says the center will seek to engage the larger community outside the university: “Participation from many internal and external partners will encourage community involvement, create a network to foster students’ careers and provide a path for scholars to speak to the larger world.”
“It is important that the center is embedded in the community and becomes a recognized and trusted voice in the debate surrounding political thought and leadership,” he added.
Lowry was named editor of National Review in 1997. He has written for Politico, Time magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and a variety of other publications. He is a syndicated columnist and a commentator for the Fox News Channel and often appears on Meet the Press and Face the Nation. His book, "Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years," was a New York Times bestseller.
This event is co-sponsored with National Review Institute, which was founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1991 as the 501(c)3 educational sister organization to National Review magazine. 
Parking for the event is available for a fee in the ASU Fulton Center Parking Structure at the interseciton of University and College avenues. 
The Center for Political Thought and Leadership is a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
*Description of “Lincoln Unbound” courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers. 
Roxane Barwick, roxane.barwick@asu.edu
480-727-5436
Center for Political Thought & Leadership
 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Boehner Re-elected Speaker . . . And You Got Played

Last week, John Boehner (R-Ohio) easily won re-election as Speaker of the House. Only 25 Republicans defected, with 216 Republicans voting for him. In the days before the election, there was a flurry of emails and activity on social media about the vote, calling on members of Congress to oust Boehner. After the vote, conservative talk show hosts were outraged, denouncing Republicans who voted for him as RINOs and traitors. Even well-loved, conservative members of Congress like Utah’s Mia Love did not escape the anger. Tea Party favorite Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) missed the vote, but said he would have voted for Boehner.
To many, it did not make sense why conservative Republicans would settle for another term of the compromising Boehner, considering Republicans now control both chambers. In Arizona, the most conservative members of the delegation all voted to retain Boehner: Rep. David Schweikert, Rep. Matt Salmon and Rep. Trent Franks. Only Rep. Paul Gosar, who has the lowest American Conservative Union rating of the four, voted against Boehner. Newly elected Republican Rep. Martha McSally of Tucson also voted for Boehner. After the vote, some conservative activists in Arizona started calling Gosar the only true conservative in the delegation. Something wasn’t right. I called Rep. Schweikert to get to the bottom of it.
He told me the vote was largely ceremonial. The real decision was made six weeks ago, at the House Republican Conference. After that, it was too late to persuade most members to change their minds, deals had been made. Anyone who agreed to switch their vote after that could not be trusted based on prior experience. South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney confirmed this in a post on his Facebook page. Two years ago, the Boehner opposition collected signed pledges from enough members of Congress to defeat him. But when it came time to vote, almost half of them changed their minds.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Brnovich Family-Friendly Reception - This Saturday!


Free Celebration with Food, Drink and Live Music!

~ Bring the Whole Family ~
 
Mark Brnovich Victory Celebration

Saturday, January 10th, 2015
6:30 – 10:00 pm

St. Sava Church Reception Hall
4436 E. McKinley St.
Phoenix, 85008
 (Across the street from the Chinese Cultural Center
at 44th St. & the 202 Freeway)
For for more information, email Mark@Mark4AZ.com

  *Please bring your family and invite friends and fellow supporters*

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jan Brewer 2016: What 5 Leading Pundits Say About GOP Presidential Hopeful

NEWSMAX
Wednesday, 31 Dec 2014 04:51 PM
By Morgan Chilson

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer may run on the Republican presidential ticket in 2016, building on the following she has built for her strong conservative stances, particularly on abortion and immigration.

As Brewer, who announced earlier this year that she wouldn’t seek a third term as governor, determines whether she’ll join other GOP hopefuls in the upcoming race, national pundits have commented more on what she’s done leading Arizona than her chances on a GOP 2016 ticket.

Urgent: Do You Support Jan Brewer for the GOP Nomination? Vote Here Now

1. In particular, the issues where Brewer didn’t stay conservative — pushing for Medicaid adoption in the state, for instance — received a lot of national media attention.

The general belief seems to be, as CBS News said, that her running in 2016 would be “not only unlikely, but inadvisable, too.”

"If she jumps in the race for president, she would be adding to the current pool of polarizing and unelectable candidates who are a distraction to the viable," Trey Hardin, a campaign strategist, told CBS.

Here’s a look at what pundits have had to say about Brewer’s Arizona leadership on four key issues she faced during her tenure:

2. When Brewer vetoed a “religious freedom” bill in Arizona that would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve the LGBT population based on religious views, the conservative media criticized her strongly for the decision.

 “The storm rose against Arizona and Jan Brewer proved she was no Ronald Reagan. She has an honored place in the ranks of the French Republicans. Corporations and business interests, many of whom support far left wing causes, like Apple demanded this bill be vetoed. Apple gives 96 percent of its political giving to Democrats. Why a Republican listens to a word from Apple or lifts a finger to help them is beyond comprehension. The NFL threatened to pull the Super Bowl from Arizona in 2015. Someone with courage would have called their bluff. Arizona has Jan Brewer,” wrote Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation.

Urgent: Who Should the GOP Nominate in 2016? Vote Here Now

3.
Brewer fought President Barack Obama’s decision to “dump” illegal aliens in Arizona, and she fought strongly on immigration issues on both state and federal levels.

To that, Frank Camp wrote at ReadingTheScore.com, “Jan Brewer (though not particularly conservative) stood up to a president who is endangering this nation, and now she’s being punished. Take note of the fact that the two states in which the illegals are being dumped are two of the nation’s most conservative states: Texas, and Arizona.”

4. As Brewer wrapped up her six years as governor of Arizona, columnist Robert Robb at The Arizona Republic summed up what he thought of her tenure: “Brewer inherited a fiscal mess. After six years, she's leaving a fiscal mess. In my book, that's a failure, irrespective of what happened in between.” 

5. Brewer surprised many when she pushed for Medicaid expansion in Arizona, even going so far as to threaten to veto all legislation until she got a bill in front of her addressing the situation.

Rachel Alexander
of Townhall.com had this to say
: “Brewer’s support of Obamacare sounds more like that of a Democrat governor, and her bullying tactics similar to the Alinsky tactics the left uses. …To many Arizonans, the desertion of principles by Brewer is nothing new. She avidly supported an 18% sales tax increase in 2010, appearing in TV commercials with attractive looking children to advocate for it. The tax increase was to be spent on infrastructure and education. State Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R-Gilbert) perhaps said it best, ‘This governor, who became famous for wagging her finger in the face of the president, is now wagging her finger in the face of the people of this state.’ The repercussions of this will be deep and long lasting, and will be seen in the 2014 gubernatorial and legislative races.”

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Obama Donor Backing McCain's Purge

by   12-30-14 FRONTPAGEMAG

McCain is busy with two wars. He’s fighting to help Muslim terrorists in Syria and to hurt conservatives in Arizona. And he’s using some dubious methods to do it.
As the longtime Republican senator lays the groundwork for a likely 2016 reelection bid, his political team is engaging in an aggressive and systematic campaign to reshape the state GOP apparatus by ridding it of conservative firebrands and replacing them with steadfast allies…
The ambitious effort — detailed to POLITICO by nearly a dozen McCain operatives, donors, and friends — has stretched from office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, where strategists plotted and fundraisers collected cash for a super PAC, to Vietnamese-American communities across Arizona, where recruiters sought out supporters eager to help the incumbent defeat the tea party.
If McCain had put in as much effort into running for president as he did in fighting conservatives, he would have been in the White House.
Until this year, however, McCain aides had never seriously considered a concerted effort to remake the state GOP apparatus, which has traditionally been dominated by his conservative antagonists. That changed after the January censure, which rapped the senator for having an insufficiently conservative record that was “harmful” to Arizona.
“He was very unhappy with the censure and wanted to make sure it never happened again,” said Mike Hellon, McCain’s deputy campaign manager in 2010.
In the days after the state party’s rebuke, a group of top McCain political hands, including Jon Seaton and Christian Ferry — who worked for McCain in his 2008 campaign and have remained with him since — hatched a plan to form a super PAC that would spend money to elect a more friendly slate of precinct committeemen.
The super PAC, which was based out of offices in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Phoenix and given the generic name “Arizona Grassroots Action PAC,” raised nearly $300,000. The largest checks, according to contribution reports, came from Gregory Maffei, a Colorado businessman, and Gregory Wendt, a San Francisco-based financial adviser, both longtime McCain donors.
That’s part of the story. Here’s the rest of it.
Greg Wendt and Lisa Wendt of San Francisco, CA (generous benefactors of the Democrat Party and its candidates) gave over 40% of the funds for Grassroots Arizona; a PAC set up to target the Republican chairman of legislative district 11.
Greg and Lisa have been very generous to Democrats. Greg has donated to such people as Ron Wyden, Max Cleland, Barack Obama, Diane Feinstein, and Claire McCaskill, among many other Democrats.
This story dates back to 2006, because despite Politico’s McCain puff piece, he’s been at this for a while. Wendt’s donations are on the unusual side. He donated to Obama’s senate campaign and to Ted Cruz’s senate campaign. He donated to Barbara Feinstein and Kelly Ayotte. He donated to Act Blue and Freedom First. And he is a steady McCain donor. Presumably there is some kind of interest there.
McCain’s other big donor for remaking the Arizona GOP is also out of state. Greg Maffei is from Colorado and while he is a steadier Republican donor (though he also donated to Democrats like Maria Cantwell, Salazar and Jay Rockerfeller) and he’s also a pal of Colorado gun control governor Hickenlooper.
And responsible for $100K of McCain’s anti-Tea Party war chest. That was his biggest donation of the campaign cycle.
There’s something obviously slimy about a powerful senator using out of state money to try and purge local critics in his own party. It’s anti-democratic and exactly the kind of thing that McCain, who claimed to be for campaign finance reform, was expected to oppose.
Except he’s been doing it for a while.
This is the problem with McCain. He’s not only a liberal Republican, but he’s vindictive and ethically challenged. He doesn’t seem to represent Arizona. He represents a handful of wealthy out of state donors trying to manufacture voters still willing to blindly pull the lever for him.
Out in Arizona, the McCain forces, led by Seaton, set out to find would-be candidates for the precinct committee positions, many of them citizens with little or no political experience. They conferred with the establishment-aligned Chamber of Commerce and held recruitment house parties.
They also found a well of interest among Vietnamese-Americans, a small but politically active community which has long treated McCain, a Vietnam veteran who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, as an ally; as a senator, he’s taken up the cause of the country’s refugees. More than 50 individuals of Vietnamese descent signed up to run for the precinct slots, and won.
One of the victors was Kevin Dang, the president of the Vietnamese Community of Arizona. Vietnamese-Americans had been motivated to run, Dang said, because of the attacks against McCain, which the community regarded as “disgraceful and discreditable.”
So they’re basically McCain’s Diem regime. Looks like he hasn’t learned anything from history.

Arizona Republicans Face Progressive U.S. Senator John McCain’s Wrath in Upcoming AZ GOP Elections

By Annette Shuford

At a crucial time when conservatives across the country remain steadfast to the conservative-based, National Republican Party platform, and energized toward ensuring elected Congressional members hear their voices in national policies, Arizona conservatives are facing the wrath of U.S. Senator John McCain’s censure through paying his personal supporters to infuse the Arizona Republican Party in a fervent takeover attempt to further oust true conservatives in his calculated goal of conquer, divide, and oust!

Nowhere in Arizona is this conquer, divide, and oust conservatives within the Republican Party endeavor more apparent than in Arizona’s largest county of Maricopa. Arizona Republican party conservatives are aligning to cast their votes for the Arizona Republican Party leadership including the new Maricopa County Chairman. Now, more than anytime in the party’s history, has it has become critical that the Arizona Republican Party and leadership become infused with a newer, younger, energized generation of conservatives to carry both the Arizona Republican Party as well as National Republican Party forward to ensure the longevity and viability of those, both elected and volunteer, who will support the Republican Party platform. Upholding the conservative values inherent in the Republican Party platform and conservative leadership through consistent action, is the only adhesive to bind Republicans in unity. Compare this unity to those who hold steadfast to the U.S. Constitution and its principles. Unity can only be achieved through written standards which provide the litmus test for those who support conservative, Constitutional values.
Tyler Bowyer, a youthful newcomer to the Arizona Republican Party is proving to be the breath of fresh air Arizona conservatives are looking for. His goal and impassioned ability of reaching out to a younger generation of Arizona conservatives, which will need mentoring by the experienced, mature, conservative stalwarts, may very well be the key in moving the Maricopa County Republican Party forward in much needed growth and resuscitation.

Bowyer, a graduate of Arizona State University, 7th generation Arizonan, and Tea Party activist, served as the universities’ Republican Party President. Bowyer has proven to be undeterred by the largely progressive policies and obstacles presented to him, though his appointment to the ASU Board of Regents by Governor Jan Brewer. Liberal policies and policy makers abound in the university systems across the U.S. Bowyer’s valorous resolve to ensure conservative voices were heard, is a feat that should be applauded by Arizona Republicans. As one conservative voice on the Arizona Board of Regents, a Governing Board for Arizona’s three state universities, Bowyer was one of the only members to investigate long-term tuition strategies and public university quality standards. During his tenure, he successfully led the charge to expose and defund one of Arizona’s largest publicly funded unions and became the only Regent to oppose and vote against Medicaid Expansion. After graduating from Arizona State University, during the past two years, Bowyer has continued his work in the Arizona Republican Party by serving as a volunteer Republican District Chairman for Chandler, Gilbert and Sun Lakes. As District Chair, Bowyer has been an influential conservative voice in holding elected officials accountable in upholding the conservative Republican platform, and organizing to sweep every local election for Republicans for the first time in Chandler history. Of equal importance and significance, Bowyer has proven, through action, to have the ties, influence and credentials to ensure conservative voices are heard where it is most critical: our state universities! Maricopa County Republicans would be wise to elect Bowyer in a prominent leadership position where he is able to precipitate the viability and growth of the Maricopa County Republican Party which has been not only stagnant in growth, but declining in party registrations, particularly among our impressionable youth.

Will Maricopa County conservative Republicans move propulsively in growth opportunity and conservative unity, or remain stagnant in ideological divisions by those seeking leadership positions clearly trying to straddle ideological fences purporting this is the way to ensure party unity? It’s time to decide whether to elect leadership which supports the very conservative Republican Party platform, which is, and always has been the foundational basis for Party unity, or decide if anomalous ideologies of moderate conservatism, to full blown progressivism is the key to party unity. It has become apparent, especially more indisputable on the national level, as evidenced by GOP Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney’s rejection by conservatives in 2012, an artificial semblance of unity of ideologies hasn’t been successful in moving the Republican Party forward.

In a recent interview, Tyler Bowyer’s urgent message to Arizona Republicans is the resounding message needed among the GOP nationwide: “Now is the time to show voters that the Republican Party has backbone. We must show that our leadership is local. We are their next-door neighbors, colleagues at work, at school, and friends they bump into at the grocery store. We are fellow church parishioners and parents of kids on their kids’ soccer teams. We must stand up for principle and show that the GOP has the backbone and vision to execute the Party Platform, not stand by and watch as those who claim to be Republicans, walk all over it. Now is the time for fresh leadership that will give faith to the next generation of conservatives who are waiting in the wings for a Republican Party that shows its worth through goal-oriented action that reveres the Constitution and publicly emphasizes principles that make our country exceptional.”

It’s time to pass the baton, and as usual, time for Maricopa County to send a national message. All eyes are upon you!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Politico: McCain purging conservatives, tea partiers out of party leadership in Arizona

McCain's big purge 
The Arizona senator’s team has been ridding the state’s GOP apparatus of his tea party foes. 

By ALEX ISENSTADT 12/30/14 5:33 AM EST

Note: A FB group has been started called End the Reign of Senator John McCain

Nearly a year ago, tea party agitators in Arizona managed to get John McCain censured by his own state party. Now, he’s getting his revenge.
As the longtime Republican senator lays the groundwork for a likely 2016 reelection bid, his political team is engaging in an aggressive and systematic campaign to reshape the state GOP apparatus by ridding it of conservative firebrands and replacing them with steadfast allies.
Story Continued Below
The ambitious effort — detailed to POLITICO by nearly a dozen McCain operatives, donors, and friends — has stretched from office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, where strategists plotted and fundraisers collected cash for a super PAC, to Vietnamese-American communities across Arizona, where recruiters sought out supporters eager to help the incumbent defeat the tea party.
Team McCain’s goal? Unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.
Under the byzantine rules of Arizona Republican Party politics, these elected officials, known as precinct committeemen, vote for local party chairmen. The chairmen, in turn, determine how state and local GOP funds are spent, which candidates are promoted in an election year, and which political issues are highlighted — all matters of central concern for McCain heading into 2016, when the threat of a primary looms.
Prior to Aug. 26, when the races for the party offices were held, the vast majority of the 3,925 precinct slots were filled by people McCain’s team considered opponents. Now, after an influx of candidates were recruited by the senator’s allies, around 40 percent of those offices — 1,531 to be exact — will be held by people McCain’s team regards as friendly. They will have the power to vote down hostile Republican chairmen in each of their respective localities.
“There’s been a huge organizational effort that I’ve never seen before,” said Gordon James, an Arizona public relations executive and longtime McCain confidant. “A lot of the party folks who were hostile to John McCain have been marginalized, and that’s a good thing.”
The biggest foe to fall: Timothy Schwartz, the man who authored the McCain censure resolution. Earlier this month, Schwartz was ousted from his post as a GOP legislative district chairman by a group of newly elected precinct committeemen who voted in favor of a McCain-aligned candidate. Another outspoken McCain detractor, A.J. LaFaro, recently announced that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection to the Maricopa County Republican chairmanship, a tacit recognition that he didn’t have enough support to win.
In an interview, Schwartz blamed his ouster squarely on McCain, whom he said had singled him out. “It’s very clear what’s going on,” he said. “Look, John McCain has prominence and money and influence and because of that he thinks he can ramrod us.”
John McCain has prominence and money and influence and because of that he thinks he can ramrod us.
LaFaro accused the senator of engaging in the equivalent of “ethnic cleansing.” “For John McCain to have been so vindictive in his actions … It’s just amazing,” he said. “It’s been all-out war.”
McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has long faced opposition from conservatives who view him as too moderate, particularly on immigration. During the height of the tea party movement in 2010, McCain stared down a spirited primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth, a conservative former congressman. Many in the state expect the senator to face another primary challenge in 2016.
Until this year, however, McCain aides had never seriously considered a concerted effort to remake the state GOP apparatus, which has traditionally been dominated by his conservative antagonists. That changed after the January censure, which rapped the senator for having an insufficiently conservative record that was “harmful” to Arizona.
“He was very unhappy with the censure and wanted to make sure it never happened again,” said Mike Hellon, McCain’s deputy campaign manager in 2010.
In the days after the state party’s rebuke, a group of top McCain political hands, including Jon Seaton and Christian Ferry — who worked for McCain in his 2008 campaign and have remained with him since — hatched a plan to form a super PAC that would spend money to elect a more friendly slate of precinct committeemen.
The super PAC, which was based out of offices in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Phoenix and given the generic name “Arizona Grassroots Action PAC,” raised nearly $300,000. The largest checks, according to contribution reports, came from Gregory Maffei, a Colorado businessman, and Gregory Wendt, a San Francisco-based financial adviser, both longtime McCain donors.
Out in Arizona, the McCain forces, led by Seaton, set out to find would-be candidates for the precinct committee positions, many of them citizens with little or no political experience. They conferred with the establishment-aligned Chamber of Commerce and held recruitment house parties.
They also found a well of interest among Vietnamese-Americans, a small but politically active community which has long treated McCain, a Vietnam veteran who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, as an ally; as a senator, he’s taken up the cause of the country’s refugees. More than 50 individuals of Vietnamese descent signed up to run for the precinct slots, and won.
One of the victors was Kevin Dang, the president of the Vietnamese Community of Arizona. Vietnamese-Americans had been motivated to run, Dang said, because of the attacks against McCain, which the community regarded as “disgraceful and discreditable.”
“The Vietnamese immigrants throughout the U.S. have a high regard for the senator, and the Vietnamese community in Arizona is proud to have him as our senator,” he said.
During the summer-time run-up to the party elections, which were held at the same time as other primary contests across the state, voters received mailers and automated phone calls from the pro-McCain super PAC advertising the new precinct committee hopefuls. In years past, these low profile races had mostly been uncontested affairs that drew only the most politically active conservatives — in other words, people generally hostile to the senator.
McCain aides maintain that he hasn’t been personally involved in the skirmishing, choosing to let his political handlers do the dirty work. But, they say, he’s pleased with the results.
“Sen. McCain has been a supporter of efforts to expand the party and to get more people involved,” said Brian Rogers, a McCain spokesman.
The effort to overhaul the state party comes as McCain, 78, is making other preparations for a reelection campaign. The day after the November midterm elections, he held a Phoenix meeting with top fundraisers that was attended by Michael Bidwill, the president of the Arizona Cardinals football franchise, and Bill Franke, the Frontier Airlines chairman.
McCain, who was first elected to the Senate in 1986, is also taking steps to show voters that he hasn’t forgotten about his home state — a perception that brought upon the defeat of his friend and Senate colleague, Indiana Republican Dick Lugar, in 2012. This month, McCain, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined several members of Arizona’s congressional delegation on a fly-around to four of the state’s military installations.
Rogers, the McCain spokesman, said the senator had not made a final determination on whether to seek a sixth term but is “strongly leaning toward running again.” A decision, he said, would come sometime next year.
In Arizona, talk of a primary challenge to McCain persists.
Much of the speculation surrounds two potential conservative challengers, Reps. David Schweikert and Matt Salmon. Both have clashed with McCain in the past; in 2012, the senator endorsed establishment primary challengers to each. Spokesmen for Schweikert and Salmon didn’t respond to requests for comment.
McCain advisers believe their campaign to alter the state GOP will strengthen his hand in 2016; a more sympathetic Arizona Republican Party, they reason, will be less likely to lodge a censure resolution against him and rally activist support for any would-be primary opponents.
“If Senator McCain seeks re-election in 2016, the groundwork laid in 2014 will be extremely helpful,” Seaton wrote in an email, adding that he would be “running with the strong support of thousands of grassroots Arizonans.”
The next front for McCain will come next month in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, when precinct committeemen there elect a new GOP chairman to succeed LaFaro. In the contest for that influential post, the McCain team is lining up behind local activist Lisa Gray and encouraging the county’s new precinct officers to support her over two opponents.
The McCain team hasn’t decided whether it will launch a similar campaign to influence local races in 2016; it’s priority that year, it says, will be reelecting the senator.
The tea party crowd, for now, isn’t retreating in the face of the McCain onslaught.
Anti-McCain forces are still in charge of the majority of precinct committee slots statewide, and, activists say, there are many remaining conservative chairmen hell-bent on making life miserable for the senator.
Schwartz, the ousted McCain foe, hinted that tea party forces were planning on striking back after the holidays. He declined to provide specifics.
“They think it’s over,” he said. “But the fat lady hasn’t sung.”


Posted from http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/john-mccain-arizona-tea-party-113849.html#ixzz3NVM3cyyp

Monday, December 22, 2014

The 20-year Demise of a Blue State

Seattle's Socialist city councilwoman, who got the minimum wage increased to $15/hr.
I left Washington state about 20 years ago for Arizona. A Washington native, I had become fed up with the left-wing politics of Seattle. A couple of years ago, I moved back to the Pacific Northwest. A lot had changed while I was gone, and very little for the better. The only “improvement” I noticed was more greenery everywhere. The environmentalists had gotten so many restrictions passed on logging and burning dense forestation that the Evergreen State had started to look like a jungle.


Everything else had gone downhill. The roads and traffic had become horrendous, especially in the Puget Sound area around Seattle, since there was no longer enough money to keep up with maintenance and expansion, and the left-wing politicians had prioritized mass transit over road infrastructure and planning. This is despite the fact that Washington has one of the highest gas taxes in the country, resulting in high gas prices. Republican legislators in the state side with the Democrats on many issues, including higher taxes for education and gas. Legislation is now being considered that would tax drivers per mile. Seattle has the eighth worst traffic congestion among large U.S. cities, even though it is only the 22nd largest city. Consequently, drivers have lost their reputation for being the nicest in the nation.


Driving in downtown Seattle is dreaded as much as driving in larger cities like Washington, D.C. and New York City due to congestion and parking. The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, which has been under construction in downtown Seattle since summer 2013, making traffic a nightmare, was never approved in any general election or referendum, and has been the subject of multiple lawsuits. It is scheduled to be completed in 2016, but no one believes it will on time due to unions, and it is frequently compared to Boston’s corrupt “Big Dig.”