Monday, February 18, 2008

If John McCain Steps Down... Could It Be Sen. Jan Brewer?

There has been some speculation about Sen. John McCain vacating his U.S. Senate seat once he secures the GOP presidential nomination in order to concentrate all his effort on winning the White House and remove the inevitable gamesmanship by the Democratic majority in the Senate (pointing out missed votes, etc.) Sort of replaying Bob Dole's decision in 1996!

Regardless of this rumor's accuracy, if he does win in November, Sen. McCain would need to resign his seat before inauguration day. Either way, Arizona’s Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano would have to appoint a Republican to fill the remaining two-years of his term.

Napolitano has long eyed that Senate seat for herself. Speculation has assumed that John McCain would not run for another term in 2010, especially after he achieves one of his remaining two goals: the first, securing the GOP nomination for president seems assured; the second, winning the presidency is to be decided.

What to do, what to do? Napolitano must be asking herself.

She’s a very smart political operative. She’ll think about all the angles before making her decision on any senatorial opening.

Does she go for an ideological match in order to impact policy? Does she place a chair-warmer in the seat who would not or could not pose a significant challenge to her likely 2010 run for the seat?

There are many ways to go but I suspect that Gov. Napolitano’s best political play for her own career would be appointing Arizona’s highest ranking Republican statewide officeholder. That’s right, Secretary of State Jan Brewer for replacement senator, especially if the move necessitates a 2008 special election.

Here's my reasoning... in sending Jan Brewer to DC as senator, it in no way disabuses the half-dozen-plus Republicans that have been eying that seat for more than a decade from running in a contested primary. They will be running hard (and dirty?) for the GOP nomination regardless of Sen. Jan Brewer keeping the seat warm. This serves Napolitano’s interests by weakening the eventual nominee and exposing huge riffs within the Arizona Republican Party.

The real beauty of this scenario for Napolitano is that it necessitates at least one other appointment, Jan Brewer’s replacement for the big office on the 7th Floor. This person too would have to be a Republican but he or she would be removed from the succession because of their appointment rather than election to the office. Remember, then-Attorney General Bruce Babbitt became governor when Governor and former-Secretary of State Wesley Bolin died in office and his appointed successor at State (Rose Mofford) couldn’t take the big chair (in that instance, she would a decade later).

Appointing Brewer to the U.S. Senate puts current Democrat Attorney General Terry Goddard one heartbeat away from the big office on the 9th Floor.

If McCain resigns early and loses the presidency, this scenario continues to serve Napolitano’s interests. If it’s Barack Obama winning over McCain, there is a good chance the new president-elect takes her to Washington with him as Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, etc. The gubernatorial succession issue (handing over the office to a Republican) is gone as the office falls to the elected Attorney General rather than the appointed Secretary of State.

Come 2010, incumbent Gov. Terry Goddard runs for re-election… er… election for a full term in his own right!

Moreover, Gov. Goddard will most likely have appointed a strong candidate to succeed him (say, Napolitano's Chief of Staff Dennis Burke) and the Democratic ascendancy in Arizona politics continues.

Think about it.

It could happen.

I’m an elected Republican precinct committeeman, state committeeman, and 2nd Vice Chairman of the Legislative District 20 Republican Party. I don’t relish the prospect of a continued strong Democratic Party effort up and down the Arizona ballot. But we Arizona Republicans have to come to terms with the fact that the days of pushover contests are over.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Arizona Congressman John Shadegg to Retire

Shocking news today from Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, he's not running for re-election this fall.

John Shadegg has been a stalwart champion of conservative public policy for seven terms in Congress. He has tackled complicated issues like health care reform and remained true to free market principles. His leadership will be greatly missed and difficult, if not impossible, to replace. His retirement is a real loss for Arizona and the nation.

Here is the press release:

Congressman John Shadegg Opts Not To Seek Re-Election

“It is time to seek a new challenge in a different venue.”

Washington, DC~ Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) issued the following statement today regarding the election this fall:

Serving Arizona in the United States Congress is the single greatest privilege in my professional life. It was a dream I had for years before my election in 1994, and I still get goose bumps when I look up at the Capitol dome as I walk to a vote.

I grew up in the shadow of Senator Barry Goldwater's home (Be-Nun-I-Kin). My father, Stephen Shadegg, was Senator Goldwater's speechwriter and campaign manager. I inherited his passion for freedom and his deep and abiding faith in the goodness of people. Like Senator Goldwater, I believe in the ability of individual Americans, regardless of their position, circumstances, or status in life, to make decisions for themselves and to manage and control their own destiny better than any government bureaucrat, agency, or politician.

For almost 14 years, I have enjoyed the great honor of fighting for freedom and individual responsibility in the U.S. House of Representatives - the peoples’ House.

I was elected at an exciting point in our nation's history as a part of the '94 Revolution. And, incredibly, I have pretty much seen it all. (In fact, over the years as events have unfolded, every time I would think I had seen it all, something stunning and unexpected would happen).

All in all, it was never my intention to be a professional politician. I have tried to do my best for the people of America, Arizona, and my district. And I believe I have accomplished a great deal as a Member of the U.S. House.

I have served in the Majority and the Minority. I’ve seen a balanced budget and deep deficits. I’ve served when we had a Democrat President and a Republican President. I’ve witnessed a government shutdown and an Impeachment. I’ve been in Congress when we were at war and at peace. I watched an ineffective strategy in Iraq; now we’re seeing real progress.

In 1994, I was excited to sign the Contract with America which promised to restore "the bonds of trust between the American people and the U.S. Congress." And, I have watched as the institution has protected and defended corrupt members and corrupt practices.

I fought to shrink the size and scope of the federal government and have it tax less, spend less, and interfere in our lives less. I've watched as excess spending spiraled breathtakingly out of control. We have piled ever more debt on our children and grandchildren, borrowing obscene amounts from China, Saudi Arabia, and others.

It has been a tremendous privilege to serve and a lot of fun! In Congress, if you want to get ahead, you need to go along and get along. Do what you're told; vote how you're told. I've spent 14 years breaking that rule.

I started my congressional career confronting our elected party leaders on behalf of my class, the freshmen class of 1994. We were elected to Congress to change "the way Washington works." While the leaders of the new Majority were happy to finally be in the majority, they weren't so keen on all this change stuff… so we fought. And, I was one of the lead trouble makers.

I've fought my party’s leadership, and been elected to leadership, and fought my party’s leadership again.

After deep reflection and consultation with my family, I have decided I will not be a candidate for re-election this fall.

As is the case anytime a politician decides to step aside, many will try to "read the tea leaves" and speculate as to "why." Obviously, the Arizona Democrat Party will gin up its partisan spin machine, consistent with its baseless attacks launched over the past few months. So I will answer the obvious questions.

My health is great; I have not felt better in years, and I expect to be involved in our nation's political discourse for decades to come.

I just came off the most successful fundraising year of my career. I raised more than $1 million last year, more since the beginning of this year, and I haven't begun to tap the financial support I could get if I needed it. Recently I have seen polling data that shows I would beat my Democrat opponent by more than 31 points.

It also shows a generic Republican beating a generic Democrat and it shows that on issue after issue the voters of this district support conservative, Republican positions. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the Republican nominee for this seat will win in November. This district will stay Republican.

The bottom line is that this is a personal decision between my family and me, about our dreams, goals, and ambitions, and we have concluded that it is time for me to seek a new challenge in a different venue to advance the cause of freedom.

I want to thank the people of my Congressional District for the tremendous privilege they have given me. Shirley and I owe a deep debt of gratitude to all who placed their trust in me, first electing me in 1994 and then re-electing me six times. We are forever indebted to them for giving me this privilege and for their friendship and support. I am also very grateful to the people who have donated to my campaigns. Without their generous support, none of this would have been possible.

I know I will at times deeply miss this job. It has been a privilege and an honor and an incredibly rewarding experience.

Our nation is facing huge challenges, and my passion for the cause of freedom is as strong as ever.

I believe we face the greatest threat to civilization in human history in the form of radical Islam, which seeks by violence, infiltration, or a combination of both, to destroy every thing we value and hold dear. Radical Islam opposes equality and equal rights for women and minorities, freedom, and even democracy itself.

And, I have no intention of letting up in the fight for my beliefs. I simply believe it is time for me to do so in some other capacity.

I will continue to work hard to the end of my term in January, and look forward to doing everything in my power to preserve and extend democracy, economic prosperity, human rights, personal freedom and individual responsibility.


CRITIQUE & REVIEW: Second “National Treasure” Flick Enjoyable Until You Realize Its Plot Will Likely Crowd Out Real History for All Kids Who See It

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is an enjoyable movie along the line of the first National Treasure flick and “Night at the Museum.” I really hope these movie spark interest in real history because they have very little of that quality in them.

Look: 8.5

Story: 5

Acting: 7

Goal: 9

Intangibles: 7

Overall: 7

CRITIQUE & REVIEW: Daniel Day-Lewis Retires Best Oscar Award for Best Actor with "There Will Be Blood" Performance

Oscar contender “There Will Be Blood” is a very good movie with an outstanding lead actor performance by Daniel Day-Lewis that probably should be placed in the top 10 of all time. The movie does rank that high. It is plodding, in a good way, and despite the title, is not a start-to-finish gorefest. Though there is blood. You learn a lot about the era and the early oil industry. Definitely see this movie on DVD if you missed it in the theaters.

Look: 9

Story: 8

Acting: 10

Goal: 9

Intangibles: 7

Overall: 8