Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Arizona Republic's McDucey endorsement -- totally meaningless

So, today (Friday), the Arizona Republic made the totally predictable and predicted proclamation that it has endorsed Scrooge McDucey for governor.

While I saw this coming and alluded to it in two recent posts, I apparently did not spell it out in black and white. Nevertheless, this only cements the downfall of the institution of the Republic as a meaningful voice in Arizona.

In character with the editorials the Gannett property has set forth over the last six months, there is ZERO substance or valid argument in the case the Republic makes about this race.
We thought we were beyond the pain. Beyond the shock of losing a full third of the previous year's revenue, as Arizona did in 2010. Beyond those desperate scrambles to plug holes: Selling off state buildings. Raising the sales tax. Sweeping state agencies. Downsizing. Cutting. Struggling not to lose ground.
We thought we were past all that. But we're not. An exceedingly slow recovery and the lingering effects of the recession have opened an estimated $520 million deficit for this fiscal year, and a $1 billion shortfall for fiscal 2016.
Once again, Arizona faces a struggle to make ends meet.
Once again, we face daunting challenges — not just in mopping up the red ink, but in setting the state on a course of real economic recovery. Arizona needs leadership that can guide the state through the difficult terrain of budget deficits while helping foster real, lasting economic growth.
The best candidate for the job facing Arizona's next governor is Republican Doug Ducey.
The next statement should have been something to the effect of "here's why we think he's qualified." But it was not.

Instead, we got this,
Ducey's business acumen is well known. In 12 years with Cold Stone Creamery, Ducey and his business partner expanded the franchise from a single Arizona storefront to an international operation with more than 1,400 franchises and $500 million in annual revenues. He has a keen understanding of how to set out a plan for growth — and the determination to stick to it.
Ducey's business acumen is well known? Really? He claims to have business acumen. He does have tens of millions of dollars. But the Arizona Republic knows how McDucey came to have that fortune.

McDucey persistently claims to have gotten rich (build a worldwide brand) without government help. The evidence shows that claim to be patently false. The Republic knows it.

What value did McDucey's business acumen produce for Arizona, America and the entire world? Have we heard about any good works, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or Warren Buffett have either contributed to or provided the vision and resources to make happen? Please, tell me if I have missed something along those lines?

Instead, American taxpayers subsidized McDucey's scam to sell franchises of his brand that provides ZERO benefit other than promoting sugar addiction. What impact has McDucey had on for jobs for Arizonans? Well, reports show that somewhere between 29 and 43 percent of the franchises McDucey sold to government backed entrepreneurs went belly up. That leaves a HUGE hole in the economy.

And the jobs? Teenagers and college students working part-time hours earning minimum wage?

For Arizona to repeat the mistakes of history from 20-years ago (Symington), and for the Republic to tell voters to make those mistakes, is unfathomable. The concept of a newspaper is to gather historical information in real time and to develop WISDOM by learning from the mistakes.

The Arizona Republic's executive management has betrayed the interests of the community that pays for its existence, doing so by deliberately turning a blind eye to the entire decade of the 1990s, to the record of Symington and before him, Mecham.

They go on,
Just as impressive has been Ducey's carefully planned and organized march toward the Arizona Governor's Office. In the four years since he was elected state treasurer, Ducey has constructed a campaign operation that left nothing to chance.
He studied the office, seeking out and learning from conservative-minded governors and other leaders, such as retired U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, about what it means — and what it takes — to guide a ship of state in troubled economic times.
He speaks of the need to streamline an executive branch that sprawls across an organizational chart. He promises to be a vigorous and visible salesman for the state, speaking the language of CEOs.
Which "ship of state" has Jon Kyl ever steered? Who are the "conservative-minded governors" McDucey  has sought out to learn from? Scott Walker and Sam Brownback? Ohhhh, PUH-leeze.

How exactly does building a campaign operation that functionally deceives the electorate at every turn, on every uncomfortable question from reporters and citizens, demonstrate fitness for holding that office? Shall we even discuss McDucey's pre-election disclosure of how he will justify abusing his office? "Strategic agility." That sounds like something he came up with from a Bullshit Generator. What it really means is that he reserves the right to do the exact opposite of what he promises.

That the Republic even dares to write the words, "He speaks of the need to streamline an executive branch that sprawls across an organizational chart," shows contempt for the historical record of the 1990s when the Symington administration wreaked havoc on Arizona. Fife's entire administration was geared to doing that exact same thing. Fife called it Project SLIM. Capitol reporter Howie Fischer wrote about Symington's accounting firm, then one of the Big 6, Coopers & Lybrand,
Coopers seperately admitted in the federal settlement that [John] Yeoman [a senior partner in its Phoenix office] lied to a federal grand jury investigating Project SLIM.
That grand jury indicted [Symington aide George] Leckie and Yeoman, charging Leckie with furnishing insider information to Yeoman. Based on that information, the indictment states, Coopers reduced its bid by $400,000 and got the $1.5 million contract.
Now, with enough red flags already brazenly obvious about McDucey's business experience, tell us, Arizona Republic editorial board, how exactly do you think McDucey can undertake a remake of Project SLIM and actually accomplish anything positive for Arizonans -- or do it without committing just as many violations of the public trust as Symington?

The next thing the Republic's endorsement proclamation does is bullshit its readers about McDucey, who's counts as one of his chief advisors the chief instigator of SB1062 (Cathi Herrod). They claim Scrooge would not even think of signing a new version of the dreaded Dominionist legislation. The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming.

But most significantly, the Republic makes the completely unsubstantiated claim that Scrooge McDucey, because he's been a CEO, can automatically draw lots of jobs to our state.

Wake up Arizona Republic, you cannot kickstart the Arizona economy by imposing austerity measures on the people. It is simply impossible from the standpoint of the science of economics.

My friend Barbara sums it up quite well with this,
Doug Ducey has never held legislative office never made a controversial issue decision or ever had to cast a single tough vote or made any policy decisions. No record and has less creds to be AZ governor than Obama had to be elected President.

We must not elect another Republican to be chief executive of Arizona government anytime in the near future.

Further, in order to keep a sane perspective on the 2014 election, we would do well to recognize that for which ever party, whichever candidate, the Arizona Republic's endorsements are completely without merit and most definitely lacking any substance whatsoever.


  1. I stand by this comment and more. He's the breed of a snake oil salesman Doug Ducey has never held legislative office never made a controversial issue decision or ever had to cast a single tough vote or made any policy decisions. No record and has less creds to be AZ governor than Obama had to be elected President.

  2. The State of Arizona has looming deficits, caused by the tax cutting of the last 14 years, and the Arizona Republic believes that the income tax cutting dreams of Mr. Doucey are going to magically reverse the deficits?

  3. And just days after their endorsement, Ducey pulls back on his rock solid promise to wipe out the State Income Tax. In fact, unbelievably, in the debate where he did that he denied anyone "was ever talking about doing away with it" when the tax elimination plan is written on his own campaign web site! It's inconceivable that the Republic has not taken back their endorsement on this wishy washy BS alone which should be enough for any sane logical person to realize Ducey has not a clue what he is doing or how to properly run a state with the budget issues looming here. Respected economists have called his income tax phase out a virtual suicide because Arizona simply has no other tax revenue source as do the other states that are able to get along with income tax - how difficult is that fact to understand?

    Furthermore Ducey refuses to reveal pertinent personal financial facts related to his actual net worth and income as well as the details of the difficult and twisty sale of ColdStone. If he really wanted to seal his "reputation" as a top businessman, he would reveal how and to what extent he actually did achieve "success" in that sale i.e. the financial detail. But instead, he refuses to disclose what should be a saving grace according to his hype. What does that say? Something to hide, most likely.

    It is scary actually that the Republic chose to completely overlook the fact that the acumen Ducey has claimed as a jobs creator really boils down to a few hundred or thousand minimum wage jobs and NOT any of the kinds of middle class jobs Arizona actually needs in order to pump up the economy. What the hell is this editorial board thinking? I know there are a few minds schooled in economics there, how do they overlook this, once again, obvious fact?

    When I saw the Republic's endorsement, I could not help seeing in my mind's eye a picture of Rob Robb, Doug MacEachern and perhaps Robert Ledger all hunched around the keyboard while throwing daggers at any of the other Editorial staff who dared to come close to make any points against dear little Dougie Ducey. You know, like spoiled snotty frat boys with misplaced allegiance pledged to the bitter end. Surely that little gaggle must run the roost there as even with their paper's own copious reporting on some of the very real pitfalls and pratfalls Ducey has going against him, they failed to take any of them into consideration.

    Honestly, this endorsement was one of the most shocking things I've seen from the Republic in awhile. I had been heartened over the past few years with many editorials on environmental and societal issues where it appeared some logical thinking and independent thought was driving the position bank to solid opinions. This endorsement though, puts the Republic back on a par with Fox News in my view, completely obliterating any kindred feelings I was beginning to have about my hometown paper. I don't do well being "connected" to illogical frat boys swayed by repetitive baloney PR and especially not those who apparently do not give a damn that the very good of our state hangs in the balance and could be influenced by their crass stupidity.

    1. Kathleen,

      Lots of people have tried to figure out why the Republic would make such an absurd endorsement. What you imagine is as plausible as any. My guess is that the word came down from on high -- maybe from Gannett Corporate HQ -- about what the endorsement needed to be. Why would they do that? Again, I can only guess but sinister influences (the Kochs, for example) may either buy off or somehow leverage fear (make threats) to "motivate" the minions.