A Tale of Two Press Releases

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Blog for Arizona receives numerous press releases from campaigns and organizations. Most are fundraising pleas that we will not publish. We exercise discretion with the other press releases we decide to post. I generally look for substantive releases over puffery. Substance over style. Keep this in mind.

Which brings me to two press releases Blog for Arizona received on Monday. As readers know, U.S. Senate candidate Rodney Glassman has been under fire recently for not agreeing to a series of debates with his primary opponents. It is now one week and counting, and still no announcement from the Glassman campaign that he has agreed to debate.

Instead, Blog for Arizona received this "puffery" press release from the Glassman campaign — flag pins and yet another damn silly contest! WTF!

Rodney Glassman: Putting Arizona First

PHOENIX, Ariz. — U.S. Senate candidate Rodney Glassman announced today that he will be adding an Arizona flag pin to his lapel, right next to his American flag pin, as a symbol of his dedication and commitment to the people of Arizona first.

"I respect and appreciate McCain's service to his country, but Arizona needs a U.S. Senator who is committed to Arizona," said Glassman. "Arizona needs someone willing to compete with other U.S. Senators to stop sending our tax dollars to other states and start bringing some of our money back home. Arizona needs a U.S. Senator who calls Arizona home and puts Arizona first."

"In 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted Old Glory as the official flag of the United States. I celebrate our country every day by wearing the American flag pin. Starting today, I will also wear the Arizona flag as a symbol of my dedication to Arizona first," said Glassman.

The Glassman campaign also announced Monday an "Arizonans for Glassman" photo contest. Supporters will download an official Glassman for Arizona sign and take a photo of the sign somewhere in Arizona . The top photos will be used in campaign marketing. The contest will last through July 4, and the First Place winner will get a Flip camera. Second place is a dinner for two in Tucson or Flagstaff with Rodney Glassman and a special guest, and third place is a Rodney Glassman for U.S. Senate Supporter Pack.

Supporters of Rodney Glassman for U.S. Senate can enter the contest at http://www.rodneyglassman.com/puttingazfirst

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Now compare this "puffery" press release to the press release below that we received from candidate for U.S. Senate John Dougherty. Now this is the kind of substantive press release I tend to consider posting. (Helpful Hint: Too long, shorter releases.)

Want to slash federal spending?
Start with cutting the military's bloated budget

Statement from John Dougherty for U.S. Senate

June 14, 2010

A bipartisan Congressional report released Friday outlines a plan for cutting defense spending by nearly $1 trillion — approximately 10 percent of the projected budget — over 10 years without threatening national security or reducing funds for ongoing wars.

The Sustainable Defense Task Force is offering cost-cutting proposals covering the full range of Pentagon expenditures: procurement, research and development, personnel, operations and maintenance, and infrastructure.  For details, visit http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/294024-1&showFullAbstract=1.

"I support the bi-partisan task force's cost-cutting recommendations, particularly regarding a new array of expensive weapons systems that are prone to failure and huge cost overruns," Arizona Democratic Senate candidate John Dougherty said. "Reducing unnecessary military spending is a crucial step in cutting the nation's unsustainable budget deficit."

Dougherty said that he supports quick and orderly draw down of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, while ensuring security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Massive spending for those wars — estimated at $1 million per soldier per year — is not even included in the annual Pentagon budget, though both are adding significantly to the U.S. deficit.

The Sustainable Defense Task Force was formed in response to a request from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), working in cooperation with Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), to study how the defense budget could be trimmed to stem runaway deficits, without compromising the essential security of the United States.

"Our military must be strong and capable," Dougherty said. "But it must also be efficient and used as a means to strengthen our economy rather than weaken it by adding unnecessary debt to the deficit."

Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independentreports the proposed "cuts are supposed to come across the board, from nuclear forces, missile defense and space programs (nearly $200 billion saved over 10 years); big service priorities like the Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-X refueling tanker, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and the Osprey helicopter (nearly $90 billion saved over 10 years); getting rid of two Air Force tactical fighter wings and cutting the Navy to 230 ships (nearly $167 billion saved over 10 years); reforming DOD's increasingly expensive health care system (nearly $50 billion saved over 10 years); and many, many other canceled, delayed or reformed programs. You can read the full (PDF) report here." [no link]

In a separate report released earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office found that the Defense Logistics Agency had no use for parts worth $7.1 billion, more than half of the $13.7 billion in equipment stacked in Defense Department warehouses on average from 2006 to 2008.

"The waste of taxpayer dollars is unbelievable," said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent and Senate Budget Committee member who requested the study.

Unfortunately, many political observers predict the task force recommendations to slash wasteful military expenditures will never be enacted because too many members of Congress work to protect military spending in their home states.

"Unnecessary spending on duplicative and wasteful defense programs is the biggest pork barrel in the federal budget," Dougherty said.

"I will focus on slashing spending on unnecessary federal programs across the board, including the defense sector which has grown rapidly over the last decade and now exceeds $1 trillion annually," the former investigative journalist said.

The defense task force report states the bulk of savings could come from rolling back the size of the U.S. military over the next decade as the United States withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"No other nation or likely combination of nations comes close to matching U.S. conventional forces," the task force said. "Our options in this area seek to match conventional force capabilities more closely with the actual requirements of defense and deterrence."

The task force stated that reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal to 1,000 warheads, on 160 Minuteman missiles and seven Ohio-class submarines would save the country $113 billion by 2020. The United States currently has 5,113 nuclear weapons in its stockpile, including 2,468 operational warheads.

Including the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. defense budget for fiscal 2011 is $708 billion, up from $691 billion this year. When other defense-related costs — such as aiding domestic counter-terrorism operations and providing veterans' health care — are added, defense costs this year exceed $1 trillion.

U.S. military spending outpaces annual outlays by China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France, plus the next 10 nations combined.

"As a U.S. senator, I would see that we stop wasteful spending," Dougherty said. "The defense budget is riddled with waste and duplication, and that amounts to a rip-off of the taxpayers."

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Now before any of you claim that I am supporting one senate candidate over another, I am not. I have heard each of the four candidates speak and I have had a chance to speak with each of the candidates. My evaluation is that all four candidates have unique strengths, and each have substantial weaknesses. Let's just say there is substantial room for growth and improvement.

That being said, there is a general unease among Democrats around the state from whom I have heard regarding the Glassman campaign. They are tired of the silly contests and singalongs and they want to hear more substantive positions on the big issues of the day that confront this country. The best way to demonstrate that Rodney has command of the facts and the substantive issues is to debate his primary opponents. Seize this opportunity to shine in the spotlight.

If not, I have the Sue Lowden chicken video remix in the que and ready to go. Don't make me do it. Do the right thing and agree to a series of debates.

0 responses to “A Tale of Two Press Releases

  1. I know you believe the old line that “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me just as long as they spell my name right.” The quotation, widely cited in public relations and advertising books, reflects the now out-dated but once-popular notion that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. I disagree. As I told Francine, once the political opinion makers dismiss you as a lightweight, you’re done. It’s time for Rodney to get serious and substantive.

  2. Francine, dear heart, you may not see what Rodney is doing as amateurish or silly, but the political media does. The Arizona Guardian, the Phoenix New Times, the Tucson Weekly, and political blogs have all mocked him for this press release, and the Arizona Guardian wrote that they are “really starting to think that there’s no way in Hades that Rodney Glassman’s got the political savvy to win the Democratic nomination…” When the political opinion makers dismiss you as a lightweight, you’re done.

    There is nothing I have seen or heard from Rodney’s primary opponents to suggest that the debates are for the purpose of “dogpile on Rodney” with a bunch of “I gotcha” moments as you fear. I believe there is a genuine desire for a thoughtful discussion of substantive issues, something Rodney has been studiously avoiding so far (I have heard him speak several times now). A Democratic primary debate will not be the reason why McCain defeats his Democratic opponent, and you know it. The power of incumbency and the shameless McMedia, as well as an underfunded Democratic opponent, will have more to do with the outcome than any primary debate.

    By the way, I loved your campaign. You were thoughtful and good humored, you had some of the best quotes of the campaign. There is much our candidates could learn from you. And I applaud your sense of honor and graciousness to support the voters’ choice in the primary. You are a shining example of how candidates should behave, and all too often do not.

  3. Bruce, you greatly underestimate the voters of this state. It is never a good idea to dismiss them as morons.

  4. Francine Shacter

    The other candidates should thank Rodney for bringing attention to the election. We vote – we wouldn’t not vote – “we” who vote are not in the majority – take a look at the data. What Rodney is doing will benefit whoever wins, if they play this right and not like an “I gotcha!” You have to get a lot of people interested in voting and believing that through their vote, they can affect their own future. Take a look at the data: number of people eligible to vote and the number of people who actually DO register AND – most important – vote; how many people don’t even register because they have no confidence (belief?) that their vote will make things better for them.

    Rodney is saying “Hey! Voting is neat! Come and participate!!! Try it – you’ll like it!” the big mistake “we” make is in thinking everyone is committed to participation – most people don’t have any conviction that voting will improve their lives.

  5. I’m going to agree with BruceJ and Francine on this one. If Glassman’s flag pins and contests do no more than get him some earned media attention — even if they call him silly — he’ll be getting that much needed name recognition. You’ll never lose an election for being a bit light hearted and silly — if you present substance as well.

    The jury is out on Glassman as it is on the other Senatorial candidates, but it’s much too early to condemn him for using some harmless gimmicks. (And by the way, I think the Arizona flag pin is an excellent gimmick. Republicans are supposed to own the flag, and he’s demonstrating that McCain may not even recognize the AZ flag if he saw it. I think that’s clever stuff, and I hope he exploits it for all it’s worth).

    That being said, I think Glassman would make a huge mistake if he didn’t agree to debates, and I think Dougherty made a smart political move by being the kingpin on the debate thing and putting Glassman in a no-win situation. I expect that there will be debates, but I’ll bet they won’t be initiated by any one candidate.

    So far as I can see, all the Dem candidates for Senate bring skills with them. The primary will test them. Whoever is left standing will be stronger for the competition. And I hope, like Francine did for Gabby, we’ll support whoever the primary winner happens to be.

  6. Francine Shacter

    Meanie, I’ll be very careful if I send you a press release that it is not puffery.

    Let me tell you what is on my mind. You correctly reminded me that in 2006, I ran for Congress. When I declared, there was an 11 term incumbent Republican and I ganbled that it would be a good year for a Democrat so I declared. Two weeks later, Kolbe, out of fear that he might be beaten by an old lady (that’s just snark) dropped out and the sluice gates opened. Gabby had the best backing and the campaign was off and running. People – the same people who had expressed a serious interest in supporting me – called and told me I had to drop out. I said all I “have to do” is die and pay my taxes. My taxes are paid and I’m not ready to die.”

    With six people running, the campaign got grim. My resolve was never to attack another Democratic candidate because the last thing I wanted was to send “damaged merchandise” into the general election. I have this same concern about the present Senatorial campaign. Nobody – NOBODY was out there running against McCain, who is considered by many to be unbeatable in Arizona, until Rodney stepped up to the bar. I believe anyone who wants to run can run – hell! I ran! but anyone who runs has to take a personal oath not to attack other candidates because sure as hell, in the general election, “they” will point out that even the Dems didn’t like this or that about the winner of the primary.

    I don’t see the things Rodney is doing as amateurish or silly. I see them as an effort to engage people who are at many different places in their political awareness. In a state where the conventional wisdom that McCain is unbeatable, it is very necessary to engage people on many different levels. A nasty scrap among the four candidates, a bunch of “I gotcha” moments will only ensure McCain’s reelection (God help us all!) and that’s what I don’t want to see.

    I suggest that each candidate figure out what will get her/him the best audience and go for it – Tell folks why you are the best, what you will do, if elected, and don’t whatever you do, send the winner into the general election with a lot of negative baggage from her/his Democratic opponents.

    As an aside, I would like to note that of all the candidates, I was the only one to go to Gabby’s office the day after the primary and say “How can I help?” Of all who ran, I am the only one still working to get her reelected – not because I agree with everything she says or does but because I believe she is light years better than any Republican running against her!

    Pfew!! Long post – but very necessary to get my point across.

  7. Rodney IS tapping into a general feeling of neglect in Az regarding McCain. His “principled” stand against pork mainly serves to get him face time on Meet The Press and such and screws us in the end, becaus ehe’s never met a defense or war appropriation he didn’t like or a tax break for corproations or the wealthy he didn’t like, so AZ gets screwed twice: we pay more in taxes and get less of it back.

    The Arizona flag would be an effective talking point. A purely policy-wonkish campaign, even though it’s correct on the intellectual merits will absolutely NEVER fly in the general election in this state, we just don’t have enough people with more than three brain cells to outvote the morons who think Rodney Peace is just a peachy guy and Joe Arpaio should be dictator for life.