As a native Arizonan, or Zonie as some of us are called, I’ve tweeted and blogged about some unique Arizona issues. Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer again, some more stuff on Joe Arpaio, you get the idea. What hasn’t been getting much play in the Main Stream Media (who continue to say Arizona is still solidly Red) is that Arizona Senator Jon Kyl retires from the Senate in January and his seat is open. You know who Jon Kyl is. He was the one who so confidently said in the Well of the Senate in April 2011 while debating funding for Planned Parenthood that “Well over 90% of Planned Parenthood funding goes towards abortions” and when confronted with the facts (something most GOP Representatives really hate) that it’s actually around 3% (see chart below). To which a spokesman for Jon Kyl said it “was not intended to be meant as a factual statement.” Well of course not, the only facts you can lay on Republicans these days is that nothing they say or do is factual. But I promise you, that’s another rant.
It wouldn’t be so bad if that one line was the only example of Jon Kyl’s disconnection from reality and the facts. Like most right-wing nut jobs Arizona elects to County, State and National Office, Kyl has been obsessed with the evils of immigration, the evils of any sort of compromise, the evils of negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for best price of drugs for Seniors on Medicare Part D, (that he left unfunded and allowed for the infamous Donut Hole for Seniors that is only now being eliminated thanks to ObamaCare) and most recently has said that President Obama should be impeached over his handling of immigration law. He’s upset that the Supreme Court ruled most of SB1070 as Unconstitutional and that as a result the Justice Department would suspend the 287(g) program that allowed I.C.E. to deputize local law enforcement to handle immigration matters, and that he would suspend deportation of “Dream Act” children who did not come to this country on their own and only know this country. He feels that a President who ignores certain aspects of a law should be impeached. However, he supports a Maricopa County Sheriff who only enforces laws against low-end, low-risk offenders while ignoring 40,000 plus felony warrants or investigation of sexual assaults against minority children. (My Arpaio slam for this post). It’s nice to know that Kyl fully supports Joe Arpaio as he did Ben Quayle who got his ass kicked in our primary here.
So in January, Jon Kyl, the man who slept through civics and law during law school at the University of Arizona will be gone. The money says that he will be replaced by Congressman Jeff Flake who just finished up a bloody primary battle with fellow conservative Will Cardon. Both were trying to out conservative each other while also claiming the other was too liberal. It was nasty and got almost no attention outside of Arizona. What also doesn’t get attention in nationally is that Jeff Flake does in fact has a Democratic challenger. His name is Richard Carmona. In my humble opinion, this man can easily take Kyl’s seat and help the Democrats not only keep the Senate, but expand their control. So who are these two candidates?
Flake was born in Snowflake, Arizona, the son of Nerita (née Hock) and Dean Maeser Flake. His birth town was named in part for his great-great-grandfather, Mormon pioneer William J. Flake. Flake was educated at Brigham Young University and was a Mormon missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to South Africa in the early 1980s. He worked in the public affairs sector after college and served as Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Namibia and Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute before entering the House of Representatives for Congressional District 6 in 2001. He lobbied against economic sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid regime in the 1980s.
He ran saying he would serve no more than three terms but changed his mind saying it was a mistake to term-limit himself and is currently serving his 6th term. In his favor, he doesn’t bring “pork barrel” projects back to his district. He’s always won because the Democrats never placed anyone in opposition to him. He only had one real battle against a Libertarian candidate. In Arizona, the Democratic Party tends to be stingy and weak-willed in placing viable candidates up against entrenched and wealthy Republican candidates. He is true to his “fiscal conservative” views being one of the few GOP House members to vote against spending bills submitted by the Republicans that added to the National Debt to include TARP. Actually, he sounds pretty good. However, he also opposes all tax increases and votes for additional tax cuts for the wealthy and does little to cut spending already in place. He holds true to Grover Norquist’s attempt to starve the federal government out of existence so the rich can be richer and everyone else can fend for themselves.
On immigration, Flake does go against the Party hardliners (to include Kyl) by supporting immigration reform to allow a path to citizenship and a watered down version of the Dream Act. However, in foreign policy, he supported going into Iraq, he just voted against paying for it. He voted against troop surges in Afghanistan. He’s for lifting the Cuban economic embargo and is for renewal of the Patriot Act.
He’s Pro-Life and though he voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he also wants a constitutional ban on Gay Marriage. He tends to be schizophrenic regarding privacy rights in our country.
So why would this make Jeff Flake weak? Well though he’s very much in bed with the mainstream right wind GOP Tea Party on key issues of No taxes, No spending, No abortions and No Gay marriage, he’s also for immigration reform, normalizing relations with Cuba, he’s for some Gay rights (just not marriage). As mentioned above, he does tend to get schizophrenic on Core Conservative views. This is why he was bloodied up in the primary against Will Cardon. Though Cardon is a moron in every sense of the word, he laid some good punches on Flake.
So now let’s examine Flake’s Democratic opponent, Richard Carmona.
Richard Carmona is the former Surgeon General under George W. Bush from 2002 through 2006.
Carmona was born in New York City and raised in Harlem. After dropping out of High School at age 16, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. While enlisted, he received his GED and joined the Army Special Forces and became a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran, and began his career in medicine as a Special Forces medic. He was awarded the Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star, Presidential Unit Citation, as well as several meritorious duty award, commendations, citations and ribbons.
After leaving active duty, Carmona attended community college where he earned his associate of arts degree in nursing. In 1977, he graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, with a bachelor of science degree; in 1979, he received his medical degree from UCSF, where he was awarded the prestigious gold-headed cane as the top graduate. In 1998, he earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Arizona.
He worked for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office in Tucson since 1986. He eventually worked his way up to deputy sheriff. He served as medical director of the county’s police and fire departments. He was a peace officer leader of the SWAT division, with expertise in special operations and emergency preparedness, including weapons of mass destruction.
In 1999, he confronted a mentally ill person who was assaulting someone else at a car accident. After the person would not step out of his car, he shot at Carmona, grazing his head, and the Deputy Sheriff shot back seven times, killing him. The deceased was an ex-convict who had shot and killed his own father that day. In 2000, he was honored at the National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award ceremony.
On July 10, 2007, Carmona, along with former Surgeons General C. Everett Koop and David Satcher, testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about political and ideological interference with the Surgeon General’s mission. Carmona accused the Bush Administration of preventing him from speaking out on certain public health issues such as embryonic stem cell research, global climate change, emergency contraception, and abstinence-only sex education, where the Administration’s political stance conflicted with scientific and medical opinion.
Carmona also testified that the Bush Administration had attempted for years to “water down” his report on the dangers of secondhand smoke and pressured him not to testify in the tobacco industry’s racketeering trial: “Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried.” According to Carmona, he was even ordered not to attend the Special Olympics because the event was sponsored by the Kennedy family, and was told to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. The Washington Post subsequently identified William R. Steiger as the Bush Administration official who had blocked release of Carmona’s report on global health because it conflicted with the Administration’s political priorities.
Reuters reported that Carmona’s predecessors as Surgeon General had acknowledged the high level of political interference he experienced, saying: “We have never seen it as partisan, as malicious, as vindictive, as mean-spirited as it is today, and you clearly have worse than anyone’s had.”
Carmona has been endorsed by Veteran Groups, Fraternal Order of Police, AFL-CIO, and most recently by Joanne Goldwater, Barry Goldwater’s eldest daughter. Carmona has asked Flake to disavow outside money in this campaign in keeping with Jeff’s rhetoric, but to date, no response. Carmona and Flake in a recent poll were tied. Flake is at best a flakey conservative with the hardliner’s in Arizona due to the revelations of his stance on immigration. Carmona is a decorated war veteran, law-enforcement officer and former Federal Official under a Republican President. His resume is somewhat stronger than that of Flakes. The two have yet to debate, but the day is coming. Considering the growing dissatisfaction with the GOP by women and Hispanics across the country, but particularly in Arizona, Carmona stands a good chance of winning. Maybe after that, the Main Stream Media will pay us some attention for something other than nut jobs like Brewer, Arpaio, and Kyl.
Keep you fingers crossed and if you’re a Zonie like me, you know what you need to do.