Arizona: The national GOP in microcosm

posted at 12:35 pm on May 31, 2007 by Bryan

The illegal immigration fight is tearing the Arizona Republican Party apart, to the point that its members and staff wonder if it can even compete.

And this is Arizona we’re talking about. A red state with two GOP senators. The state that gave us Barry Goldwater. And Republicans wonder if their infighting renders them hapless.

Arizona’s junior senator involved himself in negotiations for a compromise bill on immigration, saying that with Democrats holding the majority he’d rather improve the bill than sit on the sidelines.

[State GOP chairman Randy] Pullen publicized the concerns about Kyl, in response, he said, to a flood of calls and letters from angry Republicans.

His critical remarks drew the attention of the national media, and by Wednesday he was playing hardball with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. On the Fox News Channel, anchor Brit Hume declared: “That battle in the Senate over immigration legislation seems mild compared to the fight in Arizona between state GOP conservatives and Arizona’s two Republican senators.”
The entire episode has cemented the fears — and hopes — about what a Pullen reign would bring. Supporters say he’s standing up to the Washington elite and energizing the party base. Critics says he’s further dividing a troubled party — and in the national spotlight.

I don’t know Randy Pullen so for all I know he could be an abrasive sort, but he didn’t start this fight. His state’s senators landed on the wrong side of this fight from the point of view of the majority of Arizona Republicans. To be sure, there are Arizonas who support the Bush-Kennedy bill (Jon Kyl and John McCain, to name two) but most don’t. That’s how the national party is too–elected officials generally going against the expressed wishes of the majority of the rockiest part of the party’s base. They’re taking a hammer to that base by smearing it as a bunch of bigots and rubes, and the base is going to fracture and split as a result. It’s a recipe for disaster in Arizona, and it’s a recipe for disaster nationally.

I’m not saying anything here that most of our readers don’t already know, but I do know that we have readers in the White House and in Congress. I hope they’re watching what’s happening to the AZ GOP, and realize that smearing the base while pushing legislation that the base despises could very well destroy the party as we know it. I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see the next opinion polls put the president’s approval rating at 20% or less, which would be yet another historic low. Maybe he’s fine with that. But we need a party after he’s gone, and at the rate things are going we might not. He wants a legacy, and he’ll leave one alright: A permanent Democrat majority.


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Thank you Allah, this needs to be said, and said often, and you said it well on top of all that.

Bad Candy on May 31, 2007 at 12:39 PM

Bryan, sorry, forgot to check the tag…dammit.

Bad Candy on May 31, 2007 at 12:39 PM

Nicely said, Bryan. This thing really makes no sense.

Slublog on May 31, 2007 at 12:41 PM

I think it’s important to remember that while the elites may have the money from lobbiest we, the base, still have the power with our votes! It is imperative that we turn out in droves in the primaries and expunge the Lindsey Graham’s, Mitch McConnel’s, and John McCain’s out of our party. Hopefully, we can get some true conservatives to run against them by pressuring our state parties!

SouthernGent on May 31, 2007 at 12:44 PM

If I hear the phrases “come out of the shadows” or “comprehensive immigration bill” one more time I am going to puke.
Let me make this simple for the folks inside the Beltway who seemed to have had every bit of common sense sucked out of them when they crossed through whatever force field it is that circles the national capital.
There is an old saying about eating an elephant is done one bite at a time or the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Let take that one step, that one bite and see how to proceed after that. Seal the damn border, reverse the flow or at least get it to a zero gain and then and only then move on to addressing what to do with the illegals in the country.
They have drafted a 1000 page bill that could be pared down to about a page or a page and a half with about 5 paragraphs.
But alas as my senators have told me more then once, this is not an amnesty bill. I just hope they publish the Hispanic version so that we don’t have to explain it to them.

LakeRuins on May 31, 2007 at 12:51 PM

Yep, Bush is working on his legacy… the death of the Republican Party, and birth of some other dominant Party.

The Slavery issue killed the Whigs, will immigration kill the GOP?

Romeo13 on May 31, 2007 at 12:52 PM

My Senior Senator AND the President are calling me uninformed, uncaring and a racist. And they wonder why I can’t support either any more.

And John Kyl waded into the swamp and now wonders why he’s surrounded by alligators.

Is the Republican party in trouble in Arizona? Oh yeah – I think it’s dead already, but it just doesn’t know it yet (or refuses to admit it).

Unless Fred! runs, it will be a long time for I vote for a Republican again. Well, maybe, if a true conservative runs (John Kyl? Heh, that’s working out well). I’m not saying I will vote dhimmicrat – I couldn’t in all good conscience do that – but I will either not vote for anyone, or vote for a good alternative.

I will vote for JD Hayworth if he decides to run for Governor of our fine state – Janet Reno Napalitano needs to go, NOW.

Time for an ‘American Independent Conservative’ party?

Timothy S. Carlson on May 31, 2007 at 1:01 PM

Watching Elephants turn into Mice right eyes….eeeek!

soulsirkus on May 31, 2007 at 1:05 PM

Time for an ‘American Independent Conservative’ party?

Time for something … what we got ain’t doing the tricck.

darwin on May 31, 2007 at 1:06 PM

These arguments are good for the Republican party, guys. Having them in public like this is good, too. The winning ideas become the platform of the party. It’s beautiful and free-markety. We could be like the dems who broach no debate whatsoever about their sacred tenets. Keep the debate coming.

jdpaz on May 31, 2007 at 1:19 PM

Sickening. Earlier, I sent Kyl an e-mail begging him not to sponser this amnesty bill and then another e-mail after the legislation was introducted telling him he would be responsible for the destruction of the Republican Party as well as the U.S. that we know and love. I also told him he should become a Dem as he could then kiss Ted Kennedy’s sorry behind every day.

Of course, I received no response to either e-mail. Kyl has received many thousands like mine but obviously prefers the company of Kennedy and the adulation of the mainstream media to fellow conservatives.

ptolemy on May 31, 2007 at 1:20 PM

We need to make a clear list of all Republicans who are in support of this Amnesty and expose them every day right up to election day. It needs to be organized, clear, simple and widespread. The next voting booth I go into, I’m going to step in with this issue right at the top of the list as the #1 priority. Any elected official who is supporting the President on this is by definition, anti-Constitutional, anti law enforcement, anti national soverienty, anti national security, and anti American. That is one hell of a justifiable litmus test for our elected officials.

Zetterson on May 31, 2007 at 1:21 PM

Reminds me of an old Teddy Roosevelt quote…

“Don’t hit at all if you can help it; don’t hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep.”

wccawa on May 31, 2007 at 1:22 PM

But we need a party after he’s gone, and at the rate things are going we might not. He wants a legacy, and he’ll leave one alright: A permanent Democrat majority.

Not so sure about that Bryan. Conservatives use the primarys to cleanse the party, ask Tom Osbourne. We will be okay. The next election cycle, a cleansin’s a comin’. From the local to the federal level. It will send the message loud and clear. A recall election or two could be on the horizon.

I do not think Democratic voters will be savvy enough to get their pro-amnesty candidates out before the general. Those candidates will be especially vulnerable.

We can come out of this without imploding.

Theworldisnotenough on May 31, 2007 at 1:26 PM

These arguments are good for the Republican party, guys. Having them in public like this is good, too. The winning ideas become the platform of the party. It’s beautiful and free-markety. We could be like the dems who broach no debate whatsoever about their sacred tenets. Keep the debate coming.

jdpaz on May 31, 2007 at 1:19 PM

jdpaz, ordinarily I would agree with you but through deceiptful talking points and lies the open borders crowd is not allowing us to have a real debate. I wrote the following in an earlier thread:

They just spout off one deceitful talking point after another each one being a bigger insult to my intelligence then the last. It is obvious they don’t want to enforce the law and they don’t care what we think nor do they respect us enough to explain to us why they really believe what they believe. If they came out and made a case for the open borders/anti law enforcement policy that they endorse and explain to us honestly why they believe what they believe then at least I could respectfully disagree. Or perhaps their position had merit and we just haven’t heard the case for it yet. But, regardless, right now they are robbing us from knowing why they think what they do. They are talking past us not to us. They are treating us like children, an unimportant element of the decision making process. They are saying “because I said so now go to your room.” If they refuse to tell us the truth about why it is that they think what they do then I can only conclude that their motives are less then admirable. I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot trust these people like Chertoff and Bush. That is worse then simply disagreeing with them.

Zetterson on May 31, 2007 at 1:27 PM

ptolemy
Kyl was a Democrat before he became a Republican. Now it looks like he wants to go back.

LakeRuins on May 31, 2007 at 1:35 PM

Sen. Kyl & Sen. McCain have no idea what is going on in AZ! The crime involving illegals is out of control & the media won’t report it. Homeland Security just did a big fake ID ring bust – they stated it was for criminals to get SS, Driver’s licenses and Permanent Resdience cards – they couldn’t bring themselves to say it was also for illegals to have false ID’s. My husband is in law enforcement (Violent Crimes) I can’t begin to tell you what he’s been dealing with! Kyl & McCain are not listening to the people who voted to put them in office, as well as many other Republicans across the Country. I’ve written the AZ Rep office, Kyl & McCain many times stating my firm stance against this Amnesty bill & any Amnesty bill. What is so hard about enforcing our laws on the books now? I guess they think, as well as Bush, that we are so stupid that new laws will make a difference. As a conservative the Republican party is leaving us just as the Dems left the conservatives with Clinton. Sorry for the ramble – just extremely frustrated with our Republican officials.

Kat13 on May 31, 2007 at 1:50 PM

Zetterson,

Theworldisnotenough, and jdpaz are right, the Republican party is not going to implode, explode or fragment. What is going to happen is that the next couple of election cycles are going to be a monumental bloodletting. Considering the percentage of the Democratic party that hates this bill nearly as much as the conservatives in the Republican party and for nearly the exact same reasons I will be rather surprised if the Democratic party doesn’t experience a similar bloodbath.

doriangrey on May 31, 2007 at 1:59 PM

Zetterson on May 31, 2007 at 1:27 PM

I agree to a point with you. The amnesty side is being all shady and possibly dishonest with us—but the public isn’t buying it. Our message is resonating with the voting public — on both sides of the aisle. This debate is good regardless of the tactics being used. The winner of the debate is determined in the voting booth.

jdpaz on May 31, 2007 at 1:59 PM

The only break I see is between some officials and the base. The base is the party. Some RINOs are gonna be homeless, but I think the party as a whole comes out stronger and more focused.
If the past 6 years has shown us anything, its that we need a purge of the RINOs. They’re the ones who have held back the conservative agenda. They’re the ones who cave to the libs. They’re the ones who made the Republicans look ineffective, and they’re the ones driving the base away. Its time to get rid of them.

Iblis on May 31, 2007 at 2:05 PM

doriangrey on May 31, 2007 at 1:59 PM

Spoken like a true Whig…

Fully 1/3 of the American Electorate defines themselves as independant… Why? Party leadership in both parties are only interested in perpetuating power, not whats good for the people.

Both the President, and Congress have extremely low approval numbers.

Fact is, the parties are now part of the problem, not part of the solution. They have forgoten where their power derives from… They seem to believe that Business, Media, and other politicians are the real power in America, when it all truly stems from the VOTER.

Romeo13 on May 31, 2007 at 2:06 PM

Romeo13,

Spoken like a true Whig…

I would appreciate it if you would explain that one.

Fact is, the parties are now part of the problem, not part of the solution.

You mistakenly equate elected officials with the parties, the elected officials are not the parties, they are the representatives of the parties. They soon cease to be representatives when they cease to represent the will of those that elected them in the first place.

They have forgoten where their power derives from

Yes they have, however as I and many others suspect and are suggesting they are about to get an enormously rude wake up call on just that point.

doriangrey on May 31, 2007 at 2:25 PM

They saw JD Hayworth get his clock cleaned in 2006 for being on the right side of the issue.

Kyl and McCain think they will ride the illegal immigrant vote to victory. They may be right in the short term, but will be dooming the country as it goes the way of California.

The legal immigrants I know (Mexican and others) are outraged at the bill.

Valiant on May 31, 2007 at 2:33 PM

I remember reading Vox’s website some years back and he claimed that George W. Bush would cause more damage to the GOP than Clinton or the Democrats ever could. Little did I suspect at the time how prescient he was.

Physics Geek on May 31, 2007 at 3:00 PM

[State GOP chairman and future Senator Randy] Pullen publicized the concerns about Kyl, in response, he said, to a flood of calls and letters from angry Republicans.

Corrected.

Bill C on May 31, 2007 at 3:01 PM

1st let me state some facts before I get burnt to a crisp here.

I am overwhelmingly opposed to the Amnesty bill! I have written my 3 (OK) members in Congress and have received emails back stating their opposition to the bill also. All 3 have stated that they can not vote for a bill that includes amnesty.

I am strongly in favor of the WOT! I support the troops and their mission. I say we turn’em loose, no holds barred, let them figure out the best method in removing the enemy not the politicians in DC.

Now, several on this blog have complained that members of Congress are ignoring their base, be it Dem or Rep, concerning the Amnesty bill. They are lobbying against the wishes of their constituents, AZ being an excellent case in point. Some have even cited polls stating the overwhelming opposition to this bill. Many are ready to vote out the traitors. But when you use the same logic on the WOT, we call it standing up for what’s best for the country. Poll after poll state the general publics dislike for the WOT and the need to withdraw our troops from both theatre’s of operation. I realize that one can not trust these polls conducted by the MSM, but weren’t both done by the MSM?

I put this out here for discussion purposes.

bubbadog89 on May 31, 2007 at 3:27 PM

doriangrey on May 31, 2007 at 2:25 PM

Doh… History lesson time.. The Whigs were a dominant party in American Politics until just before the Civil War, when they were replaced by the Republican Party. They declined dramaticly when the party leadership split with their base on the Slavery quesiton.

I’m sure the Whig’s left at the end believed they could never be replaced either.

Fact is, from where I’m sitting, the Governing boards of both parties are made up of fat cat profesional politicians. They have rigged the system against any sereious challenge from the outside, whether grass roots or a third party.

May work short term…. but with the Repub major players splitting from the base… they are in trouble. Just as the Whig’s were in the 1850′s.

Romeo13 on May 31, 2007 at 3:38 PM

FYI – Daily occurence in Phoenix and surrounding cities: Just came across the radio – Police called to drop house where there was just a shooting. An illegal escaped and called police – illegals in house witness the beating and shooting including women and children. Nothing new here! Just like the freeway shootings where the Coyotoes steal each others human cargo with no regard to human life. Of course ICE will be on the way to deport – yea right!

Kat13 on May 31, 2007 at 3:39 PM

Fully 1/3 of the American Electorate defines themselves as independant… Why?

They want to sound nuanced and be pandered to. It’s an excuse for not having thought deeply about anything. A goodly portion of people are self-centered and vote their own short-term self-interests.

jdpaz on May 31, 2007 at 3:43 PM

I think it’s important to remember that while the elites may have the money from lobbiest we, the base, still have the power with our votes! It is imperative that we turn out in droves in the primaries and expunge the Lindsey Graham’s, Mitch McConnel’s, and John McCain’s out of our party. Hopefully, we can get some true conservatives to run against them by pressuring our state parties!

SouthernGent on May 31, 2007 at 12:44 PM

Worth repeating, 1000x over.

we, the base, still have the power with our votes! It is imperative that we turn out in droves in the primaries and expunge the Lindsey Graham’s, Mitch McConnel’s, and John McCain’s out of our party.

we, the base, still have the power with our votes! It is imperative that we turn out in droves in the primaries and expunge the Lindsey Graham’s, Mitch McConnel’s, and John McCain’s out of our party.

we, the base, still have the power with our votes! It is imperative that we turn out in droves in the primaries and expunge the Lindsey Graham’s, Mitch McConnel’s, and John McCain’s out of our party.

we, the base, still have the power with our votes! It is imperative that we turn out in droves in the primaries and expunge the Lindsey Graham’s, Mitch McConnel’s, and John McCain’s out of our party.

(ok I’ll stop here, but you readers get the picture).

thirteen28 on May 31, 2007 at 4:08 PM

They saw JD Hayworth get his clock cleaned in 2006 for being on the right side of the issue.

….

Valiant on May 31, 2007 at 2:33 PM

If I remember correctly JD Hayworth’s opponent was on the same side of the immigration issue as he was, so if they think that’s why he lost, they are badly misreading the results.

They should look at last year’s race for Duke Cunningham’s former seat – Brian Bilbray, a republican won that race even with a cloud hanging over the party due to Cunningham’s legal trouble. His opponent, Frances Busby, was basically in favor of amnesty, and that was the issue upon which the election turned in Bilbray’s favor.

Come to think of it, how many congress critters did win last year by running on a pro-amnesty platform? Anyone?

thirteen28 on May 31, 2007 at 4:19 PM

Romeo13,

Doh… History lesson time..

On the contrary no history lesson required. I am fully aware of whom the Whigs were and what happened to them. Perhaps you are the one requiring a history lesson.

when they were replaced by the Republican Party.

The Base of the Whig party defected to the Republican party, they were not replaced by the republican party.

I’m sure the Whig’s left at the end believed they could never be replaced either.

Would those be the ones that became the Republican Party, or the ones that quit the party?

Fact is, from where I’m sitting, the Governing boards of both parties are made up of fat cat profesional politicians.

You get no argument from me on that one.

May work short term…. but with the Repub major players splitting from the base… they are in trouble. Just as the Whig’s were in the 1850’s.

Again you mischaracterize what happened to the Whig Party, the disagreement in the Whig Party caused the majority of Elected Whig officials to quit politics all together, those that did remain suddenly found themselves with out an electorate. The situation in the Republican Party today isn’t that similar. It is slightly similar in that a noticeable percentage of the electorate are threatening to leave the party, but the party leadership isn’t throwing in the towel and quitting.

Our elected officials do so at the electorate’s discretion, not their own as quite a few discovered in 2006. Up until now members of the republican electorate have elected to display their displeasure for their incumbent officials by not bothering to show up and vote for them. Up until now members of the republican electorate have been disgusted with their incumbent officials, now we are getting down right pissed off at them.

When you are simply disgusted with your incumbent officials you either don’t bother to show up, or you leave the party. When you are really pissed off you vote the bastards out of office and vote in someone who will act on the will of their constitutes. It’s known as a bloodletting, it’s happened before and its going to happen again.

doriangrey on May 31, 2007 at 4:20 PM

This is the time to hit these clowns during the primaries. Dump any person who supports Amnesty, be they Republican or Democrat.

Entrenched incumbents feel impervious to the voters, if a handful of them start losing during their primaries, the others might get the clue.

thegreatsatan on May 31, 2007 at 4:47 PM

The time for political human sacrifice is now!

thegreatsatan on May 31, 2007 at 4:48 PM

doriangrey on May 31, 2007 at 4:20 PM

Point being that the Whigs who were loosing members and the electorate TRIED to keep the party going, and I will bet that they made the exact same types of arguements some are making here… we have to stay together because otherwise those other guys will win it all… all the time… only WE will represent your point of view… even though we are ticking you off on a MAJOR issue.

But hmm… amazingly, another group stepped into the power vacuum… and it was the Republican party.

Political parties are not either immortal, or omnipotent. When they loose track of what the base wants, in a major way, on a major issue, and are ALREADY on the loosing side of the election cycle, then maybe its time to replace the leadership.

There are two ways to do that, internally, or start over. Ahhh… but the system is rigged by profesional politicians and the money machine. They have NO interest in change… it will have to be forced.

Its appareant by the FACT that last election, many Repubs, and independants in the past who voted for them, stayed home, but the Oliagarchs who run the Repubs didn’t get the messege, because they are dis’n their base AGAIN.

Fool me once… shame on you… fool me twice… shame on me…

Romeo13 on May 31, 2007 at 5:54 PM

I don’t know Randy Pullen so for all I know he could be an abrasive sort, but he didn’t start this fight.

I met him before. He is very nice and has a reputation among Democrats and Republicans in AZ for being nice.

As someone in AZ, I left the GOP and I will take my family with me. I know the GOP in DC acts like I won’t, but I swear I will.

The GOP is digging it’s own grave and they are ignoring the tombstone in front of the hole.

Tim Burton on May 31, 2007 at 6:01 PM

Can we just let Bush, mcCain, Spector, and Ted Kennedy have the GOP, and we all go get our own party going?

paulsur on May 31, 2007 at 6:28 PM

Fully 1/3 of the American Electorate defines themselves as independant… Why?

They want to sound nuanced and be pandered to. It’s an excuse for not having thought deeply about anything. A goodly portion of people are self-centered and vote their own short-term self-interests.

jdpaz on May 31, 2007 at 3:43 PM

I consider that quite an offensive statement. I was in the USN during the Clinton years of “do more with less” but still managed to find myself voting democrat a few times after some deep thought.

Please explain your rude comment towards Independants, sir (or ma’am).

American_Jihadist on May 31, 2007 at 9:14 PM

They saw JD Hayworth get his clock cleaned in 2006 for being on the right side of the issue.

Kyl and McCain think they will ride the illegal immigrant vote to victory. They may be right in the short term, but will be dooming the country as it goes the way of California.

The legal immigrants I know (Mexican and others) are outraged at the bill.

Valiant on May 31, 2007 at 2:33 PM

He didn’t get his clock cleaned. He lost by less than 1%.

Also, his district was re-drawn and they brought many more Democrat voters (At least one full Indian reservation maybe two were placed in his district) and the GOP didn’t help him much with the added weight of a larger percentage of Democrat voters.

Finally, the guy he lost too, ran as being MUCH MUCH more conservative on immigration that JD. Heck, Mitchell implied that JD was working for illegal amnesty.

So your point is all screwy in the most basic, therefore you conclusion is wrong.

McCain was pro-Amnesty pre-06. Kyl ran as being anti-illegal and that he was going to finish the fence and enforce the law.

Tim Burton on June 1, 2007 at 3:44 AM

Oh and McCain only is re-elected because no one seriously runs against him in the Primary In fact, I don’t think he has had a challenger in the primary in the last couple of elections, because AZ wanted party unity.

In the general, many GOP members like my family just don’t vote when the choice is him or a Democrat, it is that just most everyone who votes goes for the status quo….McCain.

Tim Burton on June 1, 2007 at 3:47 AM

Please explain your rude comment towards Independants, sir (or ma’am).

American_Jihadist on May 31, 2007 at 9:14 PM

It was not meant by any stretch to be an exhaustive list of the reasons that folks call themselves “Independent”. The previous commenter, that I was commenting on, gave one reason why there are so many Independents.

Party leadership in both parties are only interested in perpetuating power, not whats good for the people.

I was merely adding some more reasons why some people call themselves Independents.

For every American_Jihadist (I) there’s at least one Paris Hilton (I). Didn’t mean for that to be an indictment of every single (I) in America.

jdpaz on June 1, 2007 at 10:42 AM

What El Presidente Bush will do with this shamnesty bill is relegate the GOP to permanent minority party status, if it exists at all.

You really think all those illegal aliens are coming here to vote Republican? Apparently Karl Rove, the Master of the 2006 Disaster, does. Then explain why Ted “The Swimmer” Kennedy is smiling. The Senator from Chappaquiddick knows the illegal vote will eventually break 3 to 1 for the Dhimmicrats.

Expect to see Democrat majorities in both Houses of Congress and Democrat presidents as far as the eye can see if the shamnesty bill becomes law.

And it will. It’s already on the fast-track, being written even while being voted on in secret. They don’t want us to know what’s in it … or not in it.

pdigaudio on June 1, 2007 at 1:19 PM

Forecasting the death of the party is a bit off the mark… it will only die if the grassroots gives up and stops fighting, and I can tell you one thing, that isn’t about to happen.

Unfortunately bloggers (for the most part) aren’t a ‘plugged in’ part of party politics. How many are elected GOP reps at the bottom of the UNPAID local party? Virtually none. How many attend monthly local party meetings. None. How many actually go to their own state party conventions. Damned few.

How many are out there attempting to become part of the national party in their own state? I know of none.

Hence, I can bring a little light to the subject… the GOP is GROWING across the country because of the RINO’S in the party now – growing with enraged new members getting on board to fight the hoard of ‘moderates’ that have invaded the party. The GOP isn’t dead, or dying, by a long shot… and if you are really angry about what is going on, I advise you to get in your car, turn the ignition key and head for the nearest GOP local district meeting happening a few blocks or perhaps a few miles from you – and don’t stop going to those meetings, get off your duff and join the real battle.

Ron C – CA GOP

Ron C on June 1, 2007 at 5:03 PM