The Arizona Republic jumps the shark today with a cynical endorsement of Doug Ducey for governor


jumping-the-sharkThe sole reason for The Arizona Republic fka The Arizona Republican  to exist is to promote Republicans for office.

Specifically, moderate Republican establishment candidates who have the Arizona Chamber of Commerce seal of approval (got to keep those advertisers happy).

Which is why The Republic has been a cheerleader for Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, whom The Republic views as the perfect moderate Republican establishment candidate for governor. I have to concede that after watching and reading about the GOP Clown Car Primary for Governor: putting the ‘goober’ in gubernatorial debates, Scott Smith is the only GOP candidate in the GOP field who is rational, reasonable, and appears somewhat sane.

So one would expect the editors of The Republic to take a principled stand on their convictions and to stand by their boy who meets their criteria for being a moderate Republican establishment candidate, with an endorsement that goes something like this:

One of those candidates, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, lines up with our values more squarely than do the other five candidates seeking to carry the GOP banner into the general election campaign against Democrat Fred DuVal. Smith also did a spectacular job leading Mesa from being an after thought to a city brimming with excitement about its future. He would be a fine Arizona governor.

Yeah, funny thing — this is actually from The Republic endorsement today, but it was not an endorsement for Scott Smith. Whaaa?

KochClownsThat’s right. The Republic — OK, mostly columnist Laurie Roberts — which has been using its pages to rail against the corrupting influence of “dark money” in this year’s campaign, cynically endorsed the one GOP candidate for governor who has been the biggest beneficiary of “dark money” in the governor’s race. Doug Ducey: the candidate from the Kochtopus. This guy has the campaign money laundering bag man for the “Kochtopus,” Sean Noble, on speed dial. “No, there’s no campaign coordination going on here.” Riiiight.

The Republic endorsement simply glosses over Ducey’s dicey pals. Doug Ducey: Best Republican for Arizona governor.

This comes after Laurie Roberts  just praised Democratic candidate for Governor Fred DuVal  for this: Fred DuVal issues dark money challenge:

Democrat Fred DuVal today issued a challenge to his Republican opponents in the race to see who will be Arizona’s next governor.

In a nutshell, it’s this: Just say no to dark money.

“People deserve openness and transparency, they have a right to know who’s paying to influence their vote,” he said, in a statement. “The growth of anonymous, ‘Dark Money’ groups is bad for Arizona. We don’t know who is paying for these ads. There’s no transparency. We need sunlight, and until we get it, the women and men who want to lead Arizona should stand up and say No More Secretly Funded Attack Ads.

“Here’s my offer: if Doug Ducey, Scott Smith, Christine Jones, Ken Bennett, and Barry Hess will join me, I’ll reject any and all support from ‘Dark Money’ groups. If they run ads to support me, I will call on them to stop. If they run them anyway, I will give to charity the same amount of money used to support me or attack my opponent. “

Of course, that’s an easy pledge to make because the chance of that happening is about the same as the chance that you’ll need to wear a sweater today in Phoenix.

Unless DuVal is willing to make good on his pledge anyway, that is. (And wouldn’t that send a strong signal about who is committed to transparancy and who is not?)

In all, more than a million dollars has been spent to date on dark money in the governor’s race – most of it revolving around Doug Ducey and Christine Jones.

Who, you might ask, so badly wants one of the two of them to be governor that they would kick in copious amounts of campaign cash to make it so?

See, that’s the problem. We don’t know.

Still, credit goes to DuVal for making the attempt.

Funny thing — The Republic’s endorsement of Doug Ducey today fails to even mention this “dark money” corruption swirling around his campaign. Someone may want to do a welfare check on Laurie Roberts to make sure that she is not bound and gagged and being held prisoner somewhere in the dark recesses of The Republic.

As you all know from the fight over the Religious Bigotry bill earlier this year, SB 1062, Doug Ducey is also the candidate from the Center for Arizona Policy, hence the “Cathi’s Clown” moniker he has earned.  Cathi Herrod is a principal adviser to his campaign, and no doubt would be a principal adviser in the governor’s office should Arizonans be foolish enough to elect him governor.

Cathi Herrod has already vowed to file another Religious Bigotry bill in January, so I am wondering how the Republican establishment, i.e., the business community and Chambers of Commerce that demanded Governor Brewer veto SB 1062, feel about The Republic endorsing the one candidate who was open to Cathi Herrod’s bill before it became radioactive. The business community does not want to revisit this divisive legislation, yet The Republic endorsed the one GOP candidate for governor who said he is open to revisiting Cathi Herrod’s bill.

Screenshot from 2014-02-24 12:09:11

What are some of the other “highlights” The Republic sites for their inexplicable endorsement?

Ducey has done a fine job of directing the state’s investment division and handling the state’s finances. But he has done more. In 2012, he led the successful effort to stop Proposition 204, a clumsy and misguided effort to make permanent a 1-cent sales tax enacted during the Great Recession.

Uh-huh. The editors do know that Arizona is facing a budget shortfall from a structural revenue deficit due to misguided tax cuts, and having to pay back the money the legislature swept from public education in recent years as a result of a lawsuit? I know I read about it in The Republic (do the editors read their own newspaper?) That one-cent sales tax, though a regressive tax, would have at least alleviated some of the cuts to public education in recent years.

Ducey’s top agenda item is reforming Arizona’s maddeningly complex tax code, a mission that would do much to improve the state’s economic fortunes.

Wait, hold on, Doug Ducey has proposed eliminating the state income tax. Ariz. governor hopefuls talk income tax : Doug Ducey: “As governor, I will submit legislation to reduce taxes every year, with the eventual goal of pushing the income tax rates – both personal as well as corporate – as close to zero as possible.” The GOP Clown Car Primary for Governor – Issue: Income Taxes. So are the editors saying they actually support this damn fool idea?

Income tax is nearly half of Arizona’s tax revenue base, and the only thing Ducey has proposed to replace this lost tax revenue is unicorns and rainbows — more blind faith in supply-side “trickle down” GOP economics that put Arizona  in its fiscal crisis in the first place. Leading AZ GOP Governor Candidates Want to Eliminate State Income Tax, and Why That’s a Terrible Idea.

Regarding education, Ducey’s goals are to get more money into the classroom and to expand and enhance education options for parents.

First, you can’t “get more money into the classroom” at the same time you are eliminating half of your tax revenue base. Second, Cathi Herrod wants a voucher system to use public money to fund private and parochial schools in order to destroy public “socialized” education. Remember, Herrod is a principal adviser to Ducey.

The role of states like Arizona in implementing Obamacare remains very much a live issue in the courts.

This is true, and Ducey is on the opposite side of Gov. Jan Brewer in supporting Medicaid expansion. “After hesitating to take a stance on Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion, Ducey took a hard line against it.” Ducey pitch to voters: ‘Conservative ice-cream guy’. The Republic editorialized in favor of Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid expansion, which makes their endorsement of Ducey an odd choice indeed.

Finally, The Republic gives up the game that Ducey’s hard-line border security ads are anything more than pandering to the GOP crazy base in a GOP primary:

Much has been made of Ducey’s primary campaign, which largely tilts at familiar federal windmills. Ducey ads feature red-meat GOP opposition to Obamacare and assuring voters of his commitment to border security.

Pishaw! Ducey isn’t going to do anything about border security, he is just playing the rubes for votes in a GOP primary.

The editors of The Republic are a truly cynical lot, without any moral principles or convictions. They should just get out of the endorsement business if they are not going to take it seriously.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. It’s pretty easy to agree with most of what you say but please stop saying “moderate” when describing any Republican candidate. None of them are!

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