Thursday, April 13, 2006

Az CD 8- From The Comment Stream

I have brought up the following comments on the CD 8 race from the end of a long series of comments as worthy of note:

Have you noticed that she (Giffords) has what NO ONE ELSE in the race has - a progressive voting record?

Consider that she won an award for being the main sponsor of the mental health parity bill in 2004 - this was a goal of the late, great Senator Paul Wellstone.

She has voted to expand access to health care for kids and the working poor.

She had a 100% voting record from the League of Conservation Voters - a pro-environmental group.

She got a bill passed to get developers to put gray-water systems into new houses, allowing those houses to REUSE water.

She worked with neighborhood activists in Tucson to take on the billboard industry.

These are just a few of the things she's done in her FIVE YEARS in the State Legislature. And she did this before the other candidates even got involved in politics.

Isn't this the stuff we're all fighting for?

Posted by Deaniac to The Data Port at 4/12/2006 07:42:26 PM


Geo said...

Thank you for this post.

I think it's often easy for people who are on the sidelines like us (well, some of us more on the sidelines than others) to downplay sound experience and demonstrated success when it comes to elections.

Why is this? I think basically because there are a lot of intangibles that go into the "gut" feelings we often have to support one candidate or another. And these gut feelings aren't always reasonable.

I've seen this happen with people who lionize candidates because of some sense of affinity - because they're a veteran, they're "resolute", they talk about their religion or their family or whatever - without regard to the person's actual wisdom in judgment and putative ability to govern. Charisma and image thus often overcome sound policy awareness and demonstrated ability in government, which is unfortunate.

It seems to me that there are good things to say about a number of the candidates running in AZ-8. But none of them have Giffords' proven track record of sound judgment in championing progressive issues as an elected representative. In a rational assessment of candidates' fitness for office - one not based upon charisma, image or tangentially related life experience - Giffords reasonably tops the list.

As much as Latas and Weiss may strike folks as generally sound candidates (and I think they are), neither of them have the track record of proven governance that Giffords has. Yes, you could argue that Latas' being a veteran is a positive thing (and it is) or that Weiss' experience as a journalist and involvement in community development could be helpful and indicative of her skill as a possible US Representative (and it probably is, to a degree), but those are extrapolations of competence at governing in a representative public office, while Giffords has actually done it, and well.

And there's a pretty big difference, really.

Geo said...

By way of proof, it's hard to overlook Giffords' resume.

Kralmajales said...
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Working Joe said...

My issue with Giffords is she had no experience going into the House and no work experience other than what her Daddy gave her. One summer at PWH doesn’t count. It looks like her entire work and political career was about connections and not actually doing work. How can she relate to a blue-collar person like me? I don't hear that from her in the forums or when I talk to her personally. She seemed reluctant to even shake my hand because I had oil under the fingernails, this from a woman who was the CEO of a tire company. You would think she would be used to people like me and not look down on us. I don't think she really gets what a small business owner or blue-collar worker has to go through. She has thrown us a few bones in the Legislature which might make some small biz organizations happy, but most of us aren't political types and just want someone who will go to Congress and start putting our hard earned money back into our own pockets in the form of services, benefits and/or tax cuts.

Working Joe said...

See Geo, I disagree with the experience thing. I think she is the weakest. She had no experience going into her political career, it was all about connections. Latas and Weiss have more than Giffords ever did. And with the experience she supposedly gained with 5 years in the legislature, why can't she take a stand on any issue then? Why is it so hard for her to say she has a plan, either supports X or Y? She is trying too hard to play to the middle like all the cowardly Democrats tend to do. Guess what? I AM the middle, and I can't stand that political manuvering and pandering. I have learned my lesson with politicians like that. To me, progressive is not liberal, it is visionary and having conviction. I am more fiscally conservative than liberals but I don't like the way conservatives give all our money to the big companies and take away our social programs either. A progressive puts people first and institutions second. Ms. Giffords didn't think the Iraq war was a bad idea when I talked to her. Why doesn't she just flip the bird to the Veterans while she is at it?
Her only position was that we were 'fighting it with the wrong strategy'. With everything we now know, I couldn't help thinking she is either totally nuts, out of touch, or so afraid to take a stand she doesn't deserve my vote. She has no conviction, and none of her supporters have been able to show anything to the contrary. I notice none of you ever talk about the issues and her stances. I assume that is because she doesn't stand anywhere. She is another John Kerry and will suffer the same fate. She needs to spend a few years actually struggling, working for a living then she might have a greater respect for what it is actually like for the rest of us instead of being handed everything on a silver platter and just talking about something to impress people of which she has no real life understanding. She is in her mid 30s. Most men and women I know have a good 15 years of solid work experience by then.

Geo said...


I think I understand where you're coming from. As someone from a family of farmers, who has never really had a leg up in business or society from my parents, I sometimes find myself feeling resentful toward people whose family connections landed them nicer social situations than I have been able to carve out by my own hard work.

I can even find myself ascribing uncharitable attributes to people who have had it "better" than me, in this regard, or interpreting their actions through the grid of my consciousness of our different social positions. But before God, I have to acknowledge that its not a very constructive attitude on my part, and when I recognize myself succumbing to it, I try to be draconian in weeding it out of my thinking.

Your comment is a good example of what I was talking about in my earlier comment. You make many assertions about what kind of person Giffords is, based upon your gut feelings about her, and based less reflectively of what good she has clearly done in office.

In doing so, you've insinuated extremely unflattering things about her. You've suggested that she doesn't respect veterans, that she puts institutions before people, that she's spoiled and not a hard worker, she has no vision or conviction, that "she is either totally nuts, out of touch, or so afraid to take a stand she doesn't deserve my vote", she looks down on people like you, she is just talking to impress and has no understanding of life.

To be honest, this kind of heaping on of insult and ascription of bad faith is, in my life experience, more likely to be resulting from a visceral reaction against someone, rather than a rational disagreement with their specific views.

Regarding the rational side of it, I do wonder if what you're getting at could be framed thus:

"Giffords has more experience and a proven track record as an elected official than the other candidates, true. Nevertheless, I am SO dissatisfied with the KIND of successes she's had and my sense of her as a human being that I believe that another candidate, even one who doesn't have a scrutinizable track record as an elected official at all, is more likely to do a better job."

Is that fair representation of what you're saying? Not to put words in your mouth, of course. I know gut feelings are always going to be part of evaluating candidates. But I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from on a rational basis, which I find more constructive.

desertfox said...

Working Joe,

Giffords was 26 when she was working at Pricewatershouse. Her family called her back to Tucson because the business was failing. She could have said no. She started out changing tires.(Hardly the work of a rich little princess.) She then moved on to sales. Later, her family made her CEO when her father's health worsened. I'm sure she had other plans for her life...and could be very successful doing something else now. But she put her dreams on hold to help her family. I don't necessarily think that was handed to her on a plate. That's called being a good daughter.

Geo said...

Thank you, CHG, for those insights. It does help and illustrate the need to put one's feelings and impressions in context with the actual truth.

Knowing this about her also makes me appreciate Giffords even more.

vetdem said...

Working Joe sounds interstingly like Jeff Latas.

SonoranDesertRat said...

To me, a lot of this seems to go back to a discussion from earlier - namely, that Giffords is the one who is most qualified for Congress because of her experience as a state senator. (In other words, she has earned the right becasue she's already an elected official.) That, in my opinion, is flat out wrong.
Even though the financial realities of campaigns have screwed things up quite a bit, the fact is still that this is "the people's legislature." That's part of the American dream - anyone who meets the constitutional requirements can serve in Congress if they can manage to get elected there. One thing I have not heard about the other candidates is that they are not qualified. Political novices, yes, But that isn't the same as not being qualified. Let me ask you this - had Kolbe not dropped out, would you have declined to support Jeff, or Francine, or any other Dem that got into the race? (Gabby would not have gotten in this race if Kolbe was going to run for re-election. It was the open seat that drew her into the race, pure and simple.) Why not wait around and find out where the candidates stand on the issues, rather than take the easy way out and say "this one's got a voting record; I don't need to check any other candidate out"? There are other forms of life experience that matter to me.

Kralmajales said...
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SonoranDesertRat said...

You point out that being an outsider does not necessarily make someone the most qualified, and that's true. However, already having held elected office does not make someone the most qualified either. As I said, there are many forms of life experience that matter as much or more than legislative experience. I don't support someone because they've already been elected. I instead support people that I feel will support the interests of the district and the country in the best manner. Just being a member of the club does not make you the best qualified. But that's what you are insinuating.
By the way, as for Gabby's network - she has had several years to build this network. Latas and Weiss are starting from scratch.
Oh, and as for the union endorsements - no unions have interviewed Latas. You'd think they'd at least want to talk to someone who grew up in a union house before giving their endorsment. I see that the UTU at least did some checking around, as they have given Weiss some money.

Kralmajales said...
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SonoranDesertRat said...

Imagine what kind of network Patty Weiss would have if she had been in office for the last five years. Her fundraising has impressed me, considering that she's started from scratch, and I'm making the assumption that she had to really work to get this kind of funding.

You're mixing things up a little down there. Patty Weiss does indeed say her name recognition is an asset to her campaign. That's not experience as you're comparing it to Gabby; it's recognition. She is perfectly right in saying that it's a campaign asset, as long as she does not state it as a qualification. I'm not going to vote for Patty based on the fact that I've seen her on TV ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. (Make no mistake, however - there are plenty of people who will vote for her just on that.) I want to instead see where she stands on the issues, and how strong she's willing to stand for what she believes.

And I'll reiterate that I don't believe political experience makes someone more qualified than another to hold an office such as Representative. Gabby will use her experience as a campaign asset. But it's not a qualification. It's all about issues, knowledge, and conviction. I've been very impressed with what I have seen from Latas. I don't know what to make of Weiss yet, although a read on her website shows that she's ready to do battle. Gabby will have to earn it as much as the other candidates. If she's more qualified simply because she's got experience, then that is nothing but politics as usual. And that makes me extremely nervous, especially with all that has gone down in Congress and the White House the past several years. Politics as usual has not served us well at all.

Working Joe said...

Geo, good input. I don't agree with all you characterize about me, but I validate what you say and I think your intentions are good. Curly girl, she was made CEO after 4 months. In no universe would that happen if the owner wasn't her father. She only worked at PWH for a summer, and her job was a low level one. I don't resent all successful people, I have many friends and relatives very successful. I resent not earning it.

I may not be a CEO, but know many of them. Many corrupt, some very honest.

You still haven't made an argument that she has valid work experience but since I came across overly harsh on my earlier posts, I will let it slide.

I am not Jeff Latas. My name really is Joe. I have met Mr. Latas and he does rate first with me because he is also a working man.

Now I really must go. Happy Easter. Joe

Kralmajales said...
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anonymous said...

Giffords is a Republican!
Once a Republican, always a Republican.

vetdem said...

That's ridiculous.

anonymous said...

Eat crow, stay thin.

vetdem said...

That's not very nice. But I didn't expect much.

anonymous said...

One thing Gabby is not... is a Republican.

If she wins the primary, she'll win the progressives.

She's been so hyped that only the insiders know her real numbers.

They are not hot, in neither the primary nor the general election.

Gabby has made some near fatal errors and these defensive posts point to the worst problems- her lack of recognition and her centrist policies that favor business over individuals and families.

If she had to raise a baby on less than minimum wage, she would change.

But then, we would never know her as poor people can not afford to run for Congress.

Emersome Biggums said...

Funny that in Art's diary, he mentions that Giffords is the only one with a "progressive record." Sorry, not seeing that in her record, and yes I have the record now.

Seems that Latas is the only one in this race with a progressive record. DFA and PDA, not a bad record, real endorsements that were competitive.