Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Arizona's new Ninth Congressional District -- Dem primary

Readers who are friends of mine on Facebook already know that my Facebook page was censored Thursday evening, apparently by someone(s) flagging a link I posted there as either being spam or abusive. The censored link was to an story about Andrei Cherny's campaign tactics. I also mentioned my disappointment with an email he sent out that day attacking his CD9 Democratic primary opponent Kyrsten Sinema.

After I posted the link (the first time), Andrei asked me, in a facebook chat, what I objected to in the email. I told him. He took exception, played the victim and very shortly thereafter, my facebook page was censored.

That is VERY serious stuff.

Anyway, I called Andrei on the phone, left a voice mail message actually, asking him to call me. He returned my call and further played the victim AS WELL AS claiming that he has NO CONTROL over what his "thousands" of followers do.

Having seen people's facebook profiles having been hacked into, I've reported actual spam posts before. Reflecting back on those times, I recall that Facebook does ask if the flagged post is abusive and if it is about (the person flagging the post). So, Andrei's claim of ignorance of the situation rings overwhelmingly hollow.

Anyway, on Friday, rather than apologize to anyone, Andrei's campaign sent an email out under Terry Goddard's name.

Regular readers will recall that I called out Kyrsten back in January when she resigned from the senate. At that time, she expressed some things about the process to replace her that I found troubling. I believe she made a mistake then. But I do not believe her mistake revealed a character deficiency.

However, the way Andrei has handled this situation leaves a very different impression on me.

It's understandable that Goddard would want to be helpful, but I am not convinced that email will get the job done. Goddard said,
Obviously, Andrei and Kyrsten disagree, and national security is an issue that matters both in November and in Congress. It doesn’t mean Kyrsten is unpatriotic or a bad person. But it does mean her position is outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party and not in sync with Arizona’s Ninth District. 
Had THIS been Andrei's initial statement on that particular apparent policy disagreement, I would be completely fine with it. Well, almost completely. It's still marginally questionable for Goddard to claim that Kyrsten's position is "not in sync with Arizona's Ninth District."

Instead, THIS was damage control for Andrei and his campaign, which messed up REALLY bad.

Here's how Andrei's first email (from Thursday) opened:
Yesterday, the respected Washington publication The Hill examined Kyrsten Sinema's highly troubling national security record. Kyrsten Sinema's own words demonstrate that she opposed a military response to hunt down Osama bin Laden, which puts far outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
WTF does that even mean? First off, to my knowledge, Kyrsten Sinema has never either served in any office or job whereby she would have developed anything resembling a "highly troubling national security record." That's something one might expect to be claimed about a former National Security Advisor who failed to protect the United States from a terrorist attack. You know, like Condoleezza Rice, who was National Security Advisor to George W Bush during the time leading up to September 11, 2001.

So, who in their right mind could even come close to considering Andrei's statement anything BUT hyperbole and distortion?

Cherny's Thursday email included several other insinuations apparently intended to make people overlook the fact that Sinema is an extremely thoughtful and intelligent individual and was a hard working member of the Arizona Legislature. Of course, she also did have real policy disputes with Democrats at times. But I will not get into those right now.

Responding to Cherny's Thursday email, Sam Coppersmith, a former Congressman and chair of Sinema's campaign sent out an email saying (in part):
Incredibly, it’s 2012, and Andrei Cherny is attacking Kyrsten Sinema for opposing George W. Bush's wars. I’ve heard of triangulation, but that’s ridiculous. Is his name Andrei Cherny—or Dick Cheney?
Actually, Cherny's email sounded to me more like something Karl Rove would concoct.

Anyway, the story on azcentral recounts Andrei's campaign, as a 26-year old, for a seat in the California Assembly. That history is very pertinent to today's situation. The distortion he put forth the other day about Sinema is very much the same kind of thing reported about his campaign ten years ago.


Cherny drew criticism or lost endorsements from a host of Democratic leaders, including the National Organization for Women's local chapter, former Assembly speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, then-Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, Los Angeles Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman and three Democratic assemblymen.
Levine and others complained the mailers were misleading since he was rated pro-choice by several groups and did not work for the assemblyman during the contraception vote.
Critics blasted the mailers' racial undertones. Among the critics was Mike Shimpock, a Los Angeles-area campaign consultant who worked for an assemblyman who endorsed Levine because of the mailers' "blatant race-baiting and patently false accusations." (emphasis in the original)

Cherny told Republic reporter Rebekah Sanders that the claims made about him by those critics in California were untrue. Which is the same thing he says about criticism leveled at him today. However, the Cherny's protestations then apparently did not sway the people who withdrew endorsements, financial backing and support. And apparently, he did not persuade enough voters.

My concern in this situation is that Andrei Cherny takes as a personal attack any criticism leveled at him but when he is criticizing his opponents, it's completely justified, if only in his mind. Thin skin on a politician is usually quite unbecoming.

For the moment, I will refrain from expounding on what numerous people saw as a questionable tactics back in January 2011 when Cherny entered the race to become chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party. But that may warrant further discussion depending on how things move from here.


  1. Excellent column, Steve. People need to know about the horrid dysfunction and dirty pool in the Democratic Party.

  2. I was feeling pretty torn about this district because I've liked (and worked with) Kyrsten Sinema, and I've appreciated that all three of these Democratic candidates (Cherny, Sinema, and Shapira) have some excellent policy decisions that I support. Well, my decision got a lot easier this week. As smart, policy-wise, as Andrei is (and I count his Democracy Journal as a really excellent publication), this was a shallow move.Thin-skinned is exactly right, Steve.

  3. Excellent, if troubling, account. I like my Dems with sharp elbows and thick skins. Andrei seems to fail on that latter count. I hope David gets rocking soon...

  4. Neither Andrei Cherny nor Terry Goddard actually lives in AZ09, even though Andrei is now running in that district; they both live in AZ07. I look forward to each of them walking in 100 degree heat from his house to the nearest AZ09 precinct and then learning from voters there exactly what sort of position is in fact in sync with AZ09. Andrei? Terry? *crickets*

  5. Cherney's comment is disconcerting. One should hope that a man educated at Annapolis and Harvard would have the intelligence to avoid such unethical behaviour. Very sad, the current state of Arizona politics.