Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Arizona Primary -- DuVal accepts Democratic Nomination for Governor

Okay dear friends, it's time for Fred to sharpen his sword. He's been working on stump speeches for the last two years. He's smart and he's smooth. But what exactly is he going to do to win the votes of Democratic voters, Independent voters and Republican voters?

Here's a first look, from last Tuesday when he accepted the Democratic nomination.

My impressions and reflections:

"Our children have suffered from massive cuts to our schools."

So? What are YOU going to do about it? The only concrete step I heard in this speech is that Fred will veto any and every bill calling for cuts to education. That's fine. But the message is dramatically limited. It's pretty much a passive, let the legislature do what they will, but I'll only let it go so far.

What are you going to do, Fred, about the massive hole that's already there? So big is that hole that a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has declared the legislature has to come up with more than $300 million additional for K-12 education NOW.

That's a HUGE hole in your message, Fred. The people in the room you delivered that speech to aren't going to be enough, on their own, to win the election. They are going to need you to go BOLD or you will end up going home. And going bold in this case is going to take finding a message that will resonate with multi-partisan individuals and groups of voters.

"We've got vanishing jobs and a state budget that has been balanced on the backs of our kids."

True enough. But WTF are YOU going to DO about it?

"Our political system is drowning in ethical failures and dirty politics; scandals where our elected representatives are involved in paybacks and insider deals that are damaging our state." 

To that, the average voter is first going to say, "Huh?" Then, "so what?" Sure, you've got an idea for that one, convene a committee. Come on Fred. You can do better than that.

"Arizona's future can be so bright. We have something so special here, a pioneer culture, a winning streak of betting big on our dreams..." taken alone, the only people that will find that meaningful are those already deeply involved in politics and paying attention to current affairs. Translate that into something that makes sense to the more than a million voters you will need to draw to the polls to win. In 2010, more than 938K voters chose Brewer.

"So, here's what I am going to do. We're going to stop fighting and start fixing Arizona for Arizona families." 

At best, Fred, that's cryptic. BUT think about what you said. "Here's what I am going to do..." Then you did NOT say what YOU were going to do. You said "WE are going to stop fighting..." That's like telling someone to stop thinking about apple pie and ice cream.

"I am a problem solver." GOOD. Here's your major problem. You have not said one concrete thing that you will do for Arizona families. Solve THAT problem, damn it.

"I will work with everyone. I will work with Republicans. I will work with Independents. I will..." [even] work with Democrats, if by some miracle they emerge from obscurity at the Capitol. Oh, wait, that last part I read between the lines. 

FRED, here's a problem of your own making that you need to solve. Stop acting like Democrats are the problem. Inspire loyal Democratic activists and voters. Inspire them to talk with their Independent and Republican family members and co-workers. Instill in them a sense of confidence in you and in themselves. SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, Fred, or you won't get the chance to solve any problems stemming from legislation put forth by the 52nd Legislature or problems with running any executive branch agency.

Fred, you next said, "Honesty matters." That is why I'm writing this blog post. Because your advisors either don't know or haven't been willing to show you the honest truth about your messaging. This wasn't the first problem message. And if you don't SOLVE this problem... 

Fred, you need to shake things up on your campaign team. By the way, I'm not looking for a job. But you need to rid your team of "yes men" and get some people that can figure out how to craft the messaging that's going to resonate with voters.

So far, you have not gotten the job done and neither have your advisers.  If you can't surround yourself with advisers NOW who know how to cut through the bullshit, how do you expect voters to have enough confidence that you will be able to effectively cut through the bureaucratic BS that dominates government agencies in general?

"Transparency matters. I will always tell you the truth about our education system. I will tell you the truth about our budget situation. I will tell you the truth about the difficult choices we must make to move Arizona forward..."

Before it gets to that place, Fred, you've got to tell yourself the truth about your campaign. Solve those problems or you won't get the opportunity to solve the big problems facing Arizona.

So, I get it. You're interested in job creation, education and cleaning up our government. But other than reaching out to Republicans and Independents, and as an afterthought, Democrats too, what CONCRETE ideas or steps are you going to implement that will energize voters to even go to the polls, let alone vote for you and other problem solvers up and down the ballot?

I can't say this enough times or in enough ways. This speech barely inspired the loyalists you had in the room with you on Primary Election Night. How are you going to inspire anyone else?

The ONLY concrete step I heard in the first two and a half minutes of that speech is that you intend to have a Republican administration... you know, you emphasized wanting Republicans and Independents in your administration. Democrats were only an afterthought. Not that there's anything wrong with that, right?

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.

Jay Lawrence, is a Republican former radio talk show host. Last week, in a four way contested primary, he won a seat in the Arizona House from LD23 (Scottsdale). He consistently spoke with conviction in multiple campaign events and forums about the need to increase K-12 education funding. He had (has) a concrete idea on how to accomplish the feat. Simply consolidate school districts to eliminate duplication of administrative effort and take advantage of economies of scale.

Never mind that this idea has been tried many times before to no avail. But it was a concrete idea that he simply repeated and repeated. Even after people explained how and why it has never been accomplished before. Never mind that he was unable to provide any analysis of projected cost savings. He articulated his vision for how to get legislative agreement to implement it even though what he said reflected naivete on how the legislature works. But the idea RESONATED. Now, he's Representative-elect Lawrence.

Because the stakes are much higher for the governor's race than they are for one seat in the legislature, you will not be able to get away with hare-brained ideas. But you still will have to have concrete ideas that resonate with voters.

In a post on your campaign website titled "New Poll findings show Fred DuVal in STRONG position to win," your campaign manager said,
People are looking for a leader who can bring Arizona together and improve our economy, and Fred’s action-oriented, moderate leadership fits the bill perfectly.
The problem is, the only actions you've suggested you'd take are to bring Republicans into your administration. Oh, and about those "poll findings," pollsters don't vote and neither do the percentages they report to the people who pay them to do the research.

By the way, the 1980s are long gone. Many of the people you need to vote for you weren't even born when Bruce Babbitt was governor. How do you expect them to relate to your experience in that administration?

Fred, if you don't solve the problem of your weak messaging, Ducey -- as bad as we know that he is -- will eat you alive.

Oh, and if anyone wonders why I'm posting this instead of telling the DuVal campaign privately, it's because I already tried that and not only has there been no change of direction, but they have refused to even acknowledge my messages.

So, Fred, show us you can solve these campaign problems. Show us what YOU mean by "action-oriented." Show us transparency.

If you won't do it now, too few people are going to believe you when you promise to do it after the election.


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