Friday, July 14, 2006

CD 8 Talking and Talking and Talking The Talk

The dust-up between Giffords and Weiss at yesterday’s Nucleus Club debate came as a surprise to some, not the least of whom was Patty’s recently hired communications guy who was actually heard to blurt out his surprise that Giffords had defended herself.

What did they expect? Weiss has been piously proclaiming the wickedness of support from special interests and implying that was a brush with which she wasn’t tarred.

Well, you all already know she’s accepted money from these special interests:

United Transportation Union Political Action Committee (utu pac)
American Psychiatric Association Political Action Committee

Add to those:

The CEO of Aetna, our largest HMO provider. (John W. Rowe)
The CEO of JDS Pharmaceuticals, (Phillip Satow)

The Data Port has also learned that she approached the Pfizer PAC for support but was turned down; and finally she asked for (and received…her legal entitlement) a delay in filing the complete financial disclosure required by the House Ethics Committee. We don’t yet know where her personal financial interests may lie.

My guess is that the Weiss holier than thou game is over.

………………………………………………

And a good thing, too, as Francine Shacter observed. (We should all be grateful for Francine, who is acting as the Party’s gad fly.) Francine reminded the gathered throng that we should be careful in our campaigning lest we elect a candidate who is ‘damaged goods’ as the result of primary warfare.

Shacter also offered a perceptive analysis of the Bush regime that went beyond all our particular criticisms to the heart of the damage that Bush has done to the American political system. The government has broken the basic social compact between the government and the governed, which is embodied in the sense of mutual responsibility for the general welfare. When the government treats its critics as traitors the system is on the verge of collapse.

……………………………………………..

I was pleased to hear Jeff Latas, who was at his angry man best in the finest tradition of Harry Truman. It’s easy to see why “charismatic” is the adjective used by his supporters to describe him.

Latas pledged to fight oil interests and refused to accept campaign contributions from them. So far none have been offered, but if he wins the primary I hope he takes anything that’s offered. He’s going to need the money and I think he’s quite capable of taking it and still making independent decisions.

……………………………………………….


All the candidates were asked to pledge their support for the winner of the primary. All said they would. Can’t wait to see if they do.

36 comments:

Andrew Myers said...

Let's set the record straight.

I was not surprised that Gabby defended herself, but I was surprised that she attacked Patty in the manner she did.

My only surprise about the defense of the Wal-Mart vote was that it was so poor. If her only objection to the bill was the fact that there was not an adequate enforcement provision, she should have proposed an amendment. Given her position as the swing vote on the bill, it certainly would have passed. Either she did not approve of the legislation for other reasons, or there were some circumstances that precluded her from offering an amendment. I would like to hear what those were.

On to Gabby's attacks, which Art has fleshed out nicely on his site. That was some quick research on his part.

1.) PAC money.

Patty does not criticize Gabby for her receipt of funds from Political Action Committees such as organized labor and other organizations that she supports ideologically DURING HER FEDERAL CAMPAIGN. Donations from these types of groups are necessary to win elections under our current federal system.

However, Patty's position has always been that clean elections are preferable and that she would run clean at the earliest opportunity. Our campaign's criticism is for Gabby shunning the Clean Elections system in her legislative runs. The greatest measure of support for a cause is participation, and obviously the Clean Elections system would not survive if all candidates subscribed to Gabby's "fine for them but not for me" philosophy of support.

2.) John W. Rowe

John Rowe donated to Patty's campaign as an individual with full knowledge of her support of universal, single-payer healthcare. Rowe will be leaving Aetna -- and reportedly the industry -- in November, so Patty will never be in a position where Rowe's personal donation to her campaign could in any way affect her legislative decisions.

As a side note, Rowe was hailed by Business Week for turning a struggling healthcare firm into the "most physician-friendly insurance company in the nation."

3.) Phillip Satow

Phillip Satow is a long-time personal friend of Patty and her husband, Dr. Alan Gelenberg. Following Dr. Satow's son's tragic suicide -- he was a U of A student -- Dr. Gelenberg helped Dr. Satow found the Jed Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on strengthening the mental health safety net for college students. The website is at www.jedfoundation.org.

When Dr. Satow learned that Patty was running for Congress, because of their close personal friendship and Patty's commitment to mental health, he sent in a check. It had absolutely nothing to do with his company.

JDS Pharmaceuticals is a recently created start-up firm that only markets one drug, an anti-depressant that perhaps could have prevented Jed's tragic suicide... not exactly Big Pharma.

4.) Pfizer

When Pfizer learned through Patty's husband that she was running for Congress, they asked her to contact their PAC. As a professional courtesy, Patty placed the call.

In the opening moments of their conversation, it was made perfectly clear that this was a pay-for-play situation, and that they expected Patty's vote in exchange for their contribution, particualarly on issues related to Medicare Part D. Patty was disgusted and ended the conversation. She has not contacted a pharma PAC since.

As a note, Patty has a great narrative on Pfizer that she often shares, so this is no secret. I'd tell it here, but it's a bit too long.

5.) Personal financial disclosure

Due to technical issues, Patty requested -- as Art noted -- an extension on her personal disclosure statement. This was granted until July 15. The statement was mailed on June 20 and Patty received a confirmation from the House of Representatives on July 7. This is a complete non-issue, and could have been avoided if Gabby had done due diligence before making baseless attacks.

In closing, the Weiss campaign is committed to being open and honest with voters. We will answer any questions about our contributors or any other issue of record with complete candor.

I hope the Giffords campaign will make a similar pledge. The voters of Congressional District 8 deserve nothing less.

Thank you all for your involvement and passion for Democratic politics. I look forward to working with all of you at the conclusion of the primary.

Andrew Myers
Communications Director
Patty Weiss for Congress

Blue in AZ said...

Great post, Andrew. Thanks.

sotto voce said...

Art, I'm normally pretty soft spoken, but I have to speak up as I take great exception to your patronizing comment about Shacter. She is much more than the party's gad fly.

She was in fact the only one calling for solutions to problems and for bringing people together -- not only Democratic people but Republican people -- to solve the country's problems. She is spot on in pointing out the way the current regime has destroyed the trust between the people and government.

I thought Shacter was really on her game last night. Very strong. You might be supporting someone else, but I think she deserves a lot more credit for her performance last night.

This is not a pretty comparison but Latas reminds me of Katherine Harris. Like Harris, Latas gets hot under the collar and doesn't have the ability to edit what he says on the fly. As Shacter rightly pointed out, Latas' statement of bravado of sticking his finger in Rove's chest will do little to advance the agenda of the people of CD8 and America.

As for taking contributions, I noticed that Shacter mentioned she has chosen to run a very frugal primary campaign.

For me, Shacter is the only candidate who understands the problems of this country and who has a proven ability to solve problems. She said we should send a problem solver to Congress and I think she’s the right one to do it!

Art Jacobson said...

Dear Sotto Voce,

I thought I was paying Francine an enormous compliment. The most famous gad fly of them all was Socrates, who described himself as just such a stinging insect, whose job it was to prod the sluggish Athenian moral sense.

I thought her comment about "damaged goods" was a wise piece of political advice and I thought she surely put her finger on the real crime of the Bush regime: Breaking the implied contract of trust between government and the governed.

Shacter is a woman of value to all of us, for her wit, wisdom, and good humour. I regret that my post gave anyone the idea that I didn't hold her in the highest regard.

Art

cactuswren said...

Art,

I agree with you about the wisdom of Shacter's comment on sending damaged goods into the general election. All the candidates should watch out for this.

This is a nuance, but I thought it was interesting. Shacter called for the five candidates at the Nucleus club last night to agree to endorse in the general which ever (whomever?) of the five of them emerges from the primary. Did you notice that?

It makes clear that they wouldn't endorse Johnson, whom some fear is some sort of Rove plant. I personally find that whole line of thinking just too wildly paranoid to be believed, but it certainly put Jeff Latas on the spot as he has been reluctant to say he'd back the winner of the Democratic primary.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that was my take.

Blue in AZ said...

Jeff Latas was phenomenal last night. He was above the fray as Gabby went negative.

x4mr said...

Andrew Myers,

Welcome to The Data Port, and thanks for your comments. What did it feel like writing those remarks? What were the sensations as you sought to explain how what was perfectly legit is being twisted into something malevolent?

You got to have a couple bites of what folks like Roger and Art have been eating for awhile.

How did it taste?

Andrew Myers said...

x4mr,

While I was disappointed in the manner this topic was broached at the forum last night, I have no problem explaining any concerns that voters may have about our campaign.

It's very easy to explain a situation when all you have to do is tell the truth.

Thank you for your concern and your gracious welcome.

Andrew

sirocco said...

Mr. Meyers,

I too would like to thank you for taking the time to post in this thread. It's a very informative, and in some ways brave, thing to do.

Having said that, I have a couple questions:

1. You state Patty has no problem accepting PAC money for a Federal campaign, and point out it's essentially necessary given our current system.

Having said that, it remains true Patty has accepted PAC money, and likely will accept more, particularly if she wins the primary.

A purist might argue Patty has her first chance to run a "clean" campaign now, and has chosen not too. Now, I am fully in favor of pragmatism, but isn't this an example of essentially saying one thing and doing another?

2. Drug companies, right now, are making perhaps the most obscene profits in the country. They spend huge sums of money on lobbyists (lobbying mostly conservative lesgislators).

Despite this, Patty has solicited funding from at least one company (Pfizer) and received funding from several prominent individuals associated with the industry. What, exactly, are the major drug company initiatives which Patty supports ideologically? Are you saying Patty is ideologically aligned with drug manufacturers and distributors?

3, You note Mr. Rowe and Mr. Satow made their contributions to Weiss as individuals, not as representatives of their respective companies. I have no doubt this is true. Why does similar reasoning not apply to Mr. Wilson's contributions to previous
Giffords campaigns?

I'd like to thank you again for taking the time to post, and look forward to any response you may be able to provide.

sirocco said...

As an aside, Francine seems like she would be great to hang out with for a few hours over a soda or two, or beer if you prefer.

She attends drinking liberally sessions, correct?

Andrew Myers said...

Sirocco,

Thanks for your response. I'll answer your questions as best I can.

1.)PAC money

I agree with every word of what you said, except the very end. I do not believe Patty is saying one thing and doing another. As you point out, a "purist" might make that argument, but I do not feel it is a valid one.

And assuming you support Giffords, Latas or Weiss, all of whom (I believe) have signed the Voters First pledge advocating federal clean elections and have solicited PAC contributions, then you see the flaws in this argument as well.

2.)Pfizer and pharma

Please see my answer on Pfizer above.

3.)Rip Wilson

I have no idea what personal releationship exists between Gabby and Rip Wilson. I also do not know the circumstances surrounding those contributions. To my knowledge, she hasn't said.

An important note: the Weiss campaign has made no statements referring in any way to Rip Wilson.

On a personal note, do you attend Drinking Liberally often? I've gone before and I always like to meet local activists in person. Drop me a line if you're planning on attending.

Andrew

x4mr said...

It's very easy to explain a situation when all you have to do is tell the truth.

Have you read the threads of the CD 8 election associated blogs over the past couple months?

Do you have any idea how "all you have to do is tell the truth" lands in the world of those who have seen the truth get told over and over and over, rigorous facts and figures with dates, names, and quotes, and seen it make no difference at all in certain conversations, like pearls before swine?

Seriously, I mean no disrespect, and in case you are a new enough arrival, I have already voiced my full support of Patty if she prevails on 9/12. I hope you can understand the emotion behind my earlier post, and my reaction to your thinking your facts will somehow "part the waters" when many facts posted previously were wasted on deaf ears.

anonymous said...

It was Gabby's own financial disclosures that first mentioned the memorable Rip Wilson.

It would have been better for this election cycle if Gabby had immunized her future with $5 contributions.

This is a fact, rigorous enough to show that there is a huge gulf between the philosophies of those who make their careers depending on special interest money and favors, and those who would rather depend on grassroots or public financing.

Gabby prefers the special interest lobbyists of the very folks who endorse her to the common man's $5 donation.

Gabby prefers technocratic alibis regarding SB1065 and the economic loss of millions of health care dollars that this bill would have reimbursed the state.

Gabby will be remembered not for SB1065 but for her ability to court special interests and then deliver on key votes.

She understands how Washington works. This is her biggest problem and her legacy.

AZYouLikeIt said...

I've gotta say, my first reaction to Andrew's reply was "Oh, snap!"

My second reaction was one of respect. Here's someone who takes accusations and carefully responds point-by-point, until the original accusations appear essentially baseless. My respect for Patty's campaign (and, by extension, Patty) has gone up after reading Andrew's reply.

If Gabby's campaign were that straightforward in responding to accusations, she'd be campaigning instead of backpedaling and justifying herself all the time.

As has been pointed out several times, Gabby's justification for killing SB1065 just doesn't hold water. If there wasn't an enforcement mechanism, why didn't she write an amendment to the bill to add one? She was the swing vote on the committee -- it's not like the Democrats would have voted against it.

I wish Gabby (or someone officially with the campaign) would do what Andrew Myers just did. Come here and answer the criticism point by point.

Straight talk goes a long way to quieting your detractors. The storm over clean elections is still brewing because Gabby's campaign isn't talking straight yet.

Kralmajales said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
anonymous said...

Gabby is linked to Rip Wilson and Roger Kralmajales.

Patty is not.

Rip Wilson first appears in Gabby's financial disclosures. Gabby did the linking all by herself.

Andrew does not wiggle or blurt. He is a press secretary who writes better than the Gabby Blog squad.

That should be evident to all readers.

anonymous said...

Nice thread until Roger does the sleazy linking, the sleazy attacks, and implies that John C. Scott implied that Gabby is bought and paid for by the special interests who support her campaigns.

What we have here is a failure to communicate basic facts. If any of the Gabber Bloggers had a strategy, and a style sheet, then Gabby would not be lampooned beyond electability.

Roger needs a communications director to work it out for him.

Dogma said...

Andrew,

Welcome to this weird little world. Your explanations are quit reasonable. However, they’re not credible in the sense that Weiss supporters in blog-land spin the exact same types of innocent circumstances regarding Giffords into conspiracy theories beyond belief. When appearing on the John C. Scott show, Patty herself insinuated a connection between Giffords contributors and her votes in the State Legislature. That’s cheap and unsupported supposition, and the single event that changed my formerly ambivalent attitude regarding Patty to negative. My suspicion is that Patty will get more and more of the same types of criticisms heaped back on her if these types of tactics continue to be employed.

Of course, the real shame of these petty squabbles is that they distract voters from what should drive our primary election—The Issues.

anonymous said...

SB 1065 and its relationship to Clean Elections are issues that involve the health of the state, both morally and physically.

These are genuine issues that affect pocketbooks, family health, and real people and their representation.

This is unfortunate for Gabby Giffords that these hardbiting issues don't do justice to her feelgood campaign of planting critters in DC and turning up the heat on Congress.

uzth4s said...

Volgy did not accept PAC money - there is such a thing as a truly clean candidate...

kralmajales said...

ack...Dogma said it better than I did. I did not mean to imply that John C. made the reference to Walmart. It was done by Patty in response to a caller who brought it up.

Too early and not enough coffee.

As to this, "Gabby is linked to Rip Wilson and Roger Kralmajales."

hahahahahaha...I know you don't mean to imply that I am linked to Rip Wilson. Never met or even seen him before. As to Gabby, I know her casually and think she'd be an excellent Congresswoman. That is it.

Have a great day anon!

outlander said...

And Tom Volgy has endorsed Patty Weiss over the other candidates.

outlander said...

Roger and Rip are soul mates vying for the favor of One True Love.

And its neither truth, nor justice. But I hope its not the American Way.


Gabby is linked to Rip with checks and his gracious testimonies, and Roger is linked to Gabby with his deep insights into the world of southern Arizona politics.

Have you lived here for five years now, Roger? Or is it six years? You have more time on the ground than Francine Schacter, so maybe you know the district around River Road.

Darapti said...

"Volgy did not accept PAC money - there is such a thing as a truly clean candidate..."

And he lost. He came close, but he lost.

sirocco said...

Frankly, if I have to be linked to a Walmart lobbyist or a major executive within a pharmaceutical company ... I would take Walmart lobbyist.

Darapti said...

I agree. Sirocco.

It's easy for white collar liberals and middle class intellectuals to want to shut Walmart down. But then they can afford to shop at Macy's, Dillards and Diamonds.

Yeah, yeah, shopping at Walmart may not be in their "long term interest," but it's wear the working poor shop.

x4mr said...

In case anyone is interested,

Info on Bill Johnson.

Art Jacobson said...

x4mr...

Thanks for the link.

Art

x4mr said...

You're most welcome. A similar effort in Alabama (described at the link) actually almost won.

Obviously this guy stands no chance against the likes of Giffords or Weiss, but I think it's important for people to know this for what it is.

Dogma said...

BTW, Patty’s 2Q filing is now posted on the FEC’s website. I really had expected her to do way better than this… Certainly discredits the argument that Giffords cannot win because she needs three or four times as much money as Weiss to overcome Weiss’ name-recognition advantage. Giffords has raised nearly three times Weiss’ total contributions ($862,212 to $319,840) and has just over four times as much cash on hand ($588,210 to $144,736).

Another interesting anecdote is that individual contributions as a percentage of total receipts are almost dead even. Patty’s individual contributions amounted to 93% of her total receipts (less PAC $ and her own campaign loan against a lower total) and Gabby’s individual contributions amounted to 92% of her total receipts (more PAC $ against a much larger figure).

Money isn't everything, but it certainly is important in a political campaign!

Kralmajales said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Liza said...

Andrew Myers,
Your comments here are interesting in one respect. That is, that politicians and those who manage them think that their actions can always be "explained" and the electorate will understand and suck it up because you went to the trouble to give an explanation.

So much for "citizen" candidates, huh? This is pure political hogwash. No one else here seems to want to say this to you because these guys dissect everything and they love explanations. However, I've yet to see one of them do an about face.

Back in the real world the average Joe Blow voter (who even bothers to vote) does not really care why your candidate accepted donations from CEO's of both an HMO and a pharmaceutical company. In fact, if the average voter even hears about it, that is likely to be all he hears.

Do you think everyone is sitting around at Starbucks under the misters discussing this stuff? Actually, they are not. What they might hear is that Giffords never ran as a clean elections candidate and that Weiss has accepted contributions from special interests. They spend zero time looking for an explanation as to why the candidate's actions were not really hypocritical.

Here's the bottom line. If you want to hawk your candidate as one who does not accept money from special interests, then don't accept money from special interests. You can try to explain it away until it snows in Del Rio, but people really don't care for one simple reason. And that is that POLITICIANS ALWAYS HAVE AN EXPLANATION. Explanations are like white noise to voters.

The same goes for Giffords and clean elections. She didn't run as a clean elections candidate and she can't explain it away. People just don't care.

Art Jacobson said...

Bravo, Liza!

And it might be to the point for us all to recall that Howard Dean turned down federal financing for his presidential run.

He said he approved of fed finance but in the real world he simply needed to raise a bigger war chest.

Did we accuse him of "hypocrisy?" No. we accused him of realism.

Best,

Art

cc burro said...

ART--

Isn't there a difference between Arizona's clean election funding system and the federal system? If someone opts out of the federal system and spends a gazillion dollars, I don't think there is any provision for those who opted into the public funding system to get more money, whereas, with the Arizona system, there is. A very important difference.

LIZA--It is too bad that more people don't care because the federal government has been severely corrupted by campaign contributions from corporate interests and the incumbents' dependency on them.

Liza said...

cc burro,
My point is that the average voter is not interested in a politician's "explanation" after he/she gets caught talking out of both sides of his/her mouth. In this case, we were talking about Weiss accepting special interest money but the "explanation" is that these were special cases and not really special interests and blah, blah, blah. This is white noise to voters. Who listens to these explanations and who cares? That's all I was saying.

I think that a lot of voters do care about the fact that special interests are bankrolling politicians and nowhere is that so obvious as in the current Bush Administration. People are concerned about it, but like everything else, they feel there is very little they can do about it. This is a representative democracy and all we have is the right to vote for representatives. Of course, with election fraud, even that is endangered.

We live in serious times, don't we?

wearetribal said...

Andrew, I have posted on this elsewhere and no one seems to be able to say anything except that what Patty says on her website is not her real position on universal health care. No one seems to know what her real position is, or why she put something else on her website.

While Patty and her supporters have been making a huge deal about their support for healthcare, via their unfair attacks on Giffords for her "Wal-Mart" vote, Patty's plan is the most regressive I have ever seen.

Here is what her website says: "America is the only industrialized nation that does not offer health care to its citizens. That’s why we need a national healthcare system. A single public insurance agency can provide basic health insurance, with premiums deducted from Social Security, paychecks or welfare. Individuals could supplement basic coverage with private insurance. And when Americans change jobs, they won’t lose coverage. Their health insurance follows them."

To avoid accusations of "selecting" portions, that is a full paragraph. Certainly fair. Now, according to this quote, the only way one can reasonably read it, retired people, people on disability, and people on welfare would start to have to pick up the costs of their health care. They do not pay it now. And most everyone with a small clue would say that they cannot.

Patty says nothing about what would happen when most or all of these people were unable to pay their premiums.

And then it seems to say that there would be health care choice for wealthy people, those who "supplement" their coverage, but not for the rest of us.

This plan of Patty's is effectively a huge cut to Social Security and welfare. Nowhere are the wealthy asked to help pay for this program. Patty goes on and on about the need to force Wal-Mart to pay...and in her own plan the only people paying more are the poorest and oldest and sickest.

I would like an explanation of what her "real" plan is, if I misunderstand it, and also why her "real" plan is not on her website. I also would like to hear how she is a viable candidate after a Republican plasters that quote all over the TV. What LIZA has described goes all the more for this. Voters will easily agree that she plans to cut welfare and Social Security drastically, and limit health care choice to the wealthy. I doubt any explanations will be of any utility.

I have tried and I just see no other way to interpret what Patty says, and no way her chances of winning realistically survive her having said it. She might as well run an add of herself screaming, "Yeaaaaargh!"