2014 Candidate Endorsements/Recommendations

AKA “Better Late Than Never”

Every election season, I’m approached by a lot of people with some version of the question, “who should I vote for?”

This year is no exception, and I have been promising to publish my list of endorsements and recommendations, but I’ve been swarmed under with a huge amount of work and other commitments.

So it’s slow in coming, but here it is.  I separate endorsements from recommendations insofar as the notion of distinguishing candidates that I heartily cheer from those that are simply the best choice for their office or the least undesirable (and it may even be the case that all the candidates for a particular office are so undesirable that I tacitly avoid recommending any of them by not making a recommendation).  The other, more common reason I refrain from endorsing or recommending for a particular office is that I simply do not feel qualified to do so, lacking the necessary information to make the judgment.

 

Endorsements

Governor: Doug Ducey (I’ve known Mr. Ducey for a while, and I’ve always thought he’d make a great AZ governor)

Attorney General: Mark Brnovich (Tom Horne no longer impresses me in the least, and Brnovich is endorsed by the Federalist Society, who seek to end Arizona’s current adherence to the Missouri Plan for judicial selection, which gives the left-leaning Arizona State Bar far too much influence in the process)

Corporation Commission: Vernon Parker and Lucy Mason (of all the candidates running for any office, I know Vernon Parker best – I know his heart, and I know he’ll serve competently and with respect to individuals’ rights.  I know less about his “running mate” Lucy Mason, but I know that he would not choose to run in tandem with her unless she fits the same conservative mold he does)

House of Representatives – CD 1: Adam Kwasman (a fresh new face of reliable conservatism for AZ)

House of Representatives – CD 2: Martha McSally (Ron Barber’s prospects are weak – he was very lucky to have been elected in 2012 – the RNC will play in this district as well, and McSally is the one GOP candidate who’s ready for prime time – and besides, how cool would it be to have TWO female fighter pilots representing AZ in Congress?)

House of Representatives – CD 3: Gabriela Saucedo Mercer (ANYBODY but Marxist, anti-American Raul Grijalva)

House of Representatives – CD 4: Paul Gosar (rock-ribbed conservative, good family man, my cousin by marriage)

House of Representatives – CD 5: Matt Salmon (being re-elected to Congress after a hiatus is not easy – it speaks to Salmon’s value to Arizona – very good man)

House of Representatives – CD 6: David Schweikert (file under “duh” – Schweikert is a good guy and a great congressman – will go on to bigger, better things, mark my words)

House of Representatives – CD 8: Trent Franks (rock-solid, reliable, unbeatable)

I’m only endorsing one candidate at the local level (which speaks to the conviction of my endorsement): Chandler City Council hopeful Chelle Daly … she brings the fresh, untainted mindset of a citizen legislator, something that our little town could use.  My wife and I have known Chelle and her husband for quite some time, with kids in school together and other interactions.  Chelle is whip-smart and would serve our town well.

 

Recommendations

Secretary of State: Michelle Reagan (would like to see her tack to the right as she serves in higher office, however)

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Diane Douglas (I have known John Huppenthal for a long time, and he has always impressed me … until recently.  It appears to me that he has begun to buy into the liberal notion that spending more money is the proper solution to all problems, but my biggest complaint is his inexplicable decision to refer to Common Core opponents as “barbarians”)

House of Representatives – CD 7: Jarrett Maupin (with the occasional exception, Maupin is a reasonable, decent man (and truly a man of God) … would not be my very first choice among all candidates for Congress, but in his district, he is a vastly better choice than Mary Rose Wilcox.  I’m afraid she will win the nomination, and hence the seat in Congress, but I predict she will lose that seat over corruption … the Republicans in DC won’t bungle her ouster like they have here in AZ)

House of Representatives – CD 9: Wendy Rogers (I really like Kyrsten Sinema personally, and get along with her very well … but I would REALLY love to see her lose her seat in Congress.  I don’t see either Wendy Rogers or Andrew Walter as high-octane candidates who could defeat Sinema with only their own resources.  My friend Raffi Williams of the RNC assures me that the RNC will be pouring a lot of resources into this race in the general election, and I believe that the political contours of the district, despite the personalized-for-Sinema gerrymandering by the “independent” redistricting commission, are such that Rogers or Walter have a shot.  I also believe that the same voters who carried a strong woman to victory in CD 9 in 2012 would be disposed to do so again – Wendy Rogers gets my nod)

 

Get Out and VOTE!

Be sure to get out and vote … the left is rocking back and forth, eyes closed, knees drawn up to their chins, chanting “please let ‘independents’ hurt the GOP in the primary”  Maybe someday the AZ GOP will grow a spine and end the suicidal practice of open primaries, but until they do, the electorate (which is vastly more conservative than the state party and many of its candidates) must bear the burden, pick up the slack, and get to the polls in big numbers to overcome the self-inflicted damage done by Democrats playing in the GOP voting.

AZ Central’s Contrived “Fact Check” Won’t Touch Ducey

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Although the scope of this blog and podcast will be national, from time to time I’ll write or talk about issues here in my home state of Arizona, particularly when the story, though local in scope, exemplifies a fundamental that applies nationwide.

A number of newspapers and blogs across the country have established “fact check” features: ostensibly unbiased examinations of statements made by politicians or their supporters, intent upon showing whether the statements are objectively true or false.  These monuments to cynicism were, in fact, developed to facilitate bias while denying it outright.  Some are more clever than others and some are more subtle than others, but generally speaking, they have all, at one time or another, employed carefully-worded deception and even outright logical fallacy to advance or damage a political position or candidate.

AZ Central has their own such fact check feature, and they have deployed it on occasion to either advance the Democrat agenda or harm the Republican agenda in ways that I must concede are sometimes admirably clever.  As the drumbeat of the 2014 election begins to pick up, they have realized something that many of us have seen coming for quite some time; Doug Ducey is emerging as the likely GOP gubernatorial candidate for 2014.  At the very least, there are more than a few among the AZ Central editorial staff who strongly oppose his election.  They also know that there is not a Democrat candidate that can defeat the GOP candidate in the general election, so they will use their fact check feature, among other devices, attempting to either wound Ducey’s candidacy or help a more moderate Republican win the primary (and hence the general election).

On Friday, June 6th, a gubernatorial candidate forum was held; presented by The Arizona We Want Institute, and “powered by” AZ Central.  Ducey was asked about SB1062 and its effect on the state’s reputation, and moderator Brahm Resnik asked if Ducey would veto the measure if he held the state’s top office.  According to AZ Central’s fact check feature, Ducey stated “I was one of the first to come out and say I would veto” the bill.  The fact check feature spells out the “objective truth” against which the statement is to be measured, in this case with the statement, “WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT: Whether Ducey correctly characterized his position on the controversial legislation …”  This statement is obviously not an objective standard.

The author then states that AZ Central had previously established that Scott Smith (the least conservative and hence the publication’s favorite serious GOP candidate) was the very first gubernatorial candidate from either major party to publicly declare his opposition to the legislation.  A timeline detailing, to the minute, when each of the candidates publicly stated their opposition to the bill is presented in order to establish that Ducey’s statement came almost 26 hours after Smith’s statement, and that four other candidates publicly voiced opposition in the interim (an attempt to paint Ducey as either the most conservative serious candidate or as wobbly and unable to quickly state a principle-based position).  The author then introduces Ducey’s official statement, which says that if he were governor, “I would veto SB 1062”, and the fact check then concedes that Ducey was indeed the first candidate to explicitly state he would actually veto the measure.

Here’s where the wheels come off for AZ Central.  Ducey was asked in the forum if he would veto the legislation.  He said yes.  And the facts show that he was the first candidate of either major party to publicly say so.  Somehow, the author of this piece manages to interpret these facts to arrive at the the conclusion that Ducey’s statement rates “two stars” out of a possible four in terms of its honesty.  In the piece, he concedes that Ducey was the first candidate to explicitly state he would veto the measure, but goes on to say, “However, his statement at Friday’s forum also implied he was out in front among the gubernatorial candidates in opposition to SB 1062 when that is not the case”.

I’m truly struggling to understand how any such implication can be tortured out of Ducey’s response to a very direct question.  When was asked if he would veto SB 1062, he responded, “I would veto SB 1062”.  But the “fact check” disingenuously holds up an objective, factual statement against a subjective standard, specifically whether Ducey “correctly characterized his position …”.  Characterizations are, by definition, subjective.  In politics, characterization is a rhetorical device, and indeed, multiple parties can observe an occurrence and characterize it afterward in very different ways, contingent upon their own personal biases.  In Ducey’s quote from the forum, he goes beyond his veto statement to portray himself as a coalition builder, a very broad assessment that does not even address the specific issue of SB 1062.  The author’s conclusion that Ducey “implied he was out in front among the gubernatorial candidates in opposition to SB 1062” is a laughable stretch that simply holds no water from a logical or factual standpoint.

One other key point: Ducey didn’t even claim to be the first candidate to publicly state he’d veto the bill … he only claimed to be “one of the first” to do so.  Based on what was stated in fact, Ducey is 100% in the clear – not only was he one of the first, he was unquestionably first, according to the article.  But the author still tries to declare Ducey less than completely truthful by using a subjective yardstick to measure an objective fact.  In terms of logic, it’s similar to an equivocation fallacy, playing fast and loose with the meaning of the term “characterized”.  It’s clear that AZ Central, presenting a pedantic minute-by-minute timeline, is splitting hairs and playing a shell game in terms of which “fact” they’re trying to establish.  The media would love to have the serious GOP candidates take opposite positions so they could be played against each other, but since they did not, AZ Central tried to manufacture a distinction that painted Smith as a moderate, hence the winner and Ducey as an arch-conservative, hence the loser.

The topic of the bill itself is tailor made for “gotcha” questions – SB 1062 was indeed highly controversial.  I’m not fond of the notion of government stripping the right to choose clientele based on one’s morals and ethics from those who offer goods and services.  But I strongly doubt the necessity or the wisdom of introducing a preemptory measure to prohibit the government from doing so, particularly a measure that, in my mind, was possibly worded in such a way as to deliberately stir up a “Christians vs. gays” fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses in an attempt to get it before the courts.  Among the voters that primary candidates will need in order to win the nomination are both supporters and detractors of SB 1062, and AZ Central will continue to ask Doug Ducey questions that attempt to catch him off-guard, seeking a response that would alienate one of these groups or another, hence reducing his primary vote count and harming his potential nomination.

Ducey is way too smart for that strategy to succeed.  I guarantee that he and his people have sat down and brainstormed to consider every possible issue and every possible way the liberal media (and the liberal candidates) will ask the gotcha questions.  He’ll be prepared.  And frankly, if this is the best that AZ Central can do, they will not achieve their goal of influencing the outcome of the primary or the general election.