As we end another week in the Grand Canyon State, I thought I’d share my opinions and observations on the politics, policy, and happenings throughout Arizona and beyond.
This week saw a showdown of epic proportions (figuratively speaking) between myself and my counterpart on the Democrat side, Chairman and trial lawyer, Don Bivens. This forum was sponsored by the Harvard Club of Phoenix and moderated by Dr. Bruce Merrill of Arizona State University and what a spirited debate it was. Now as you can probably guess, the Harvard Club leans to the left. In fact, in 2004, employees at Harvard University contributed to the presidential campaign of John Kerry by a margin of 25 to 1. Don Bivens, who is a well respected lawyer and a friend, is a Yale grad so it would not be fair to say the Harvard crowd was entirely behind him.
Time and again, throughout the debate, Don reiterated the phrase, “we are trying to speak to the center with solutions.” This echoed back to the 2006 election when Governor Napolitano essentially ran as a Republican with Cable TV ads trumpeting her tough border position and fiscal conservative spending record. Of course, the Republican legislature literally had to fight tooth and nail to keep her from putting the state further in debt with more spending and well, you know her real position on illegal immigration.
The contrast could not have been clearer. While I spoke about tangible ways we could fix the budget crisis in Arizona, bring our troops home from Iraq with honor, and market based solutions to make our world leading healthcare system more affordable for all Americans, the Democrat Chairman Bivens continued to express “talking to the center” and “trying to find solutions.” Chairman Bivens’ talking points reminded me of similar rhetoric I’ve heard as of late, the populist platitudes of Barack Obama. He tells us he has a plan for America, but never elaborates. He claims to have real solutions to real problems, but never articulates. He argues that he alone can restore America, but never once furnishes details. He has become a pied piper to many young professionals and college students in America, who desperately want to believe Barack Obama, like the hero in an Oscar winning movie, can solve all the problems of the world. His soaring words make me uneasy and bring to mind the verse from Mathew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Barack Obama, along with the rest of his Democrat comrades think they live in a utopian world full of ever expanding federal government programs supported with more and higher taxes, paid by the rich. Unfortunately for you and me, it turns out that we are the rich. As some of them are apt to say, “They are going to take things away from us for the common good”. It’s going to take more to fix America, restore confidence, and to move the country in the right directions than fancy words, attractive catch phrases, and bumper sticker policies.
This week, we again witnessed General David Petraeus face off against the Democrat controlled U.S. Senate. The testimony of Petraeus and that of Ambassador Ryan Crocker was grueling. Petraeus and Crocker’s independent assessment of the situation in Iraq was caught in the sights of the Democrat political spin machine. Before the testimony began, liberal Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi launched a preemptive political attack by warning General Petraeus to tell her what she wants to hear and speak nothing of progress. Throughout the two days of testimony, Democrats grilled Petraeus and Crocker on what they perceive as Iraq failures and demanded timelines for withdrawal. They also tried to belittle Petraeus and Crocker as mere puppets of the Bush administration.
The sad truth of the matter is that Democrats would rather play politics with American lives and with our own national security than to accept the real situation in Iraq. They would rather attempt to tar and feather men of great stature, such as Petraeus and Crocker, than allow them to deliver their report. They would rather practice the politics of personal destruction than participate in finding constructive solutions to win the war and bring our sons and daughters home. The Democrat Congress continues to pander and be beholden to such liberal interests as MoveOn.org and Code Pink. They continue to cater to these groups by their attempts to withhold funding for our troops, trying to micromanage our military, and by trying to force artificial time tables in Iraq.
We cannot surrender to terrorists. We cannot cut and run in Iraq. We cannot allow our allies to believe for one instant that we will abandon them to fend for themselves in an environment of irrational extremism. The commitment of America, the resolve of U.S. military forces, and the will of the America people will help preserve, protect, and defend the fledgling democracy in Iraq and force a retreat in those who would do democracy and America harm. Victory in Iraq is victory for the ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice.
Today is an exciting time to be an Arizona Republican. The historic campaign of John McCain adds a local touch to the campaign for the White House. The process leading to the Republican National Convention starts here at home with various caucuses in the counties and legislative districts. Here, delegates are elected to represent their home districts and counties at the 2008 Arizona Republican Convention. Once at the state convention, these state delegates will elect 50 national delegates, 50 national alternates, one national committeeman and one national committeewoman. Throughout this past week, my staff and I have attended several of the local county and legislative district caucuses. It has been a fulfilling experience to see the many Precinct Committeeman turn out and engage in this process. From what we have seen, Senator McCain will enjoy broad base Republican support at both the state and national convention from his home state of Arizona. 2008 will be an extraordinary year to be an Arizona Republican. I encourage you to get your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members excited and involved. When we all pull together, we can ensure that we elect Republicans from the White House to the courthouse.
That concludes this week’s commentary. Thank you for your time and attention. Be sure to catch me next week as we talk about the government’s favorite holiday, tax day. When you have a minute, be sure to check out the new and improved Arizona Republican Party website at www.azgop.org.