Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oh Vernon... (again) UPDATED 6:10pm 10-7-12

The Republican coward hoping to fool enough voters in Arizona's new Ninth Congressional District to get elected next month has repeatedly both claimed to his followers that he wants to appear together and debate openly with his Democratic opponent Kyrsten Sinema AND refused to accept NUMEROUS invitations from media and local nonprofit organizations to facilitate such events.

Because Parker's campaign is opaque (the opposite of transparent), I am unable to verify my hunch, but it looks like the former mayor of Paradise Valley has received coaching from disgraced former Arizona governor Fife Symington. Direct, personal, intense coaching. The only direct connection, with as little time to dig into the situation as I have, I've found is that Parker and Symington are Facebook friends.

Here's what Symington advertises that he can do for conservative candidates:

Two days of four-hour sessions, one on one training, in theater, live on camera. Fife will immerse you in a realistic environment more challenging than you have ever experienced.
He will focus on providing you with the best answers to the worst questions. At the end of the sessions there is literally no question that you cannot answer effectively even when faced by the most difficult negative media interviews.
Fife specializes in moderate to conservative political messaging, media training, and media positioning. He prepares you to defend yourself, your beliefs and your company in the give and take realm in the American business and political arena. We pride ourselves in giving our clients the ability to handle any type of media question successfully and to develop effective offensive strategies. (emphasis mine)

You may recall that Symington first won the election to become governor of Arizona in 1991. A great deal of his electoral success depended on hiding the fact that his business acumen (and success) was largely an illusion. An illusion that he fought long and hard to maintain. In front of cameras, Symington has been the picture of composure. Since he always plays his cards close to the vest, he was often reluctant to candidly, directly answer questions.

Notice, in the video (above), Channel 12 political reporter Brahm Resnik points out the contradiction when Parker claims not to know that his campaign has turned down that station's invitation to debate Sinema.

This squares with what Republican US Senate candidate Jeff Flake has been doing (trying to duck debates, but has since reportedly agreed to three such forums with Democrat Richard Carmona) and with Republican Presidential nominee Willard Romney's very aggressive strategy of lying boldly and repeatedly anytime a camera or microphone is aimed in his direction.

It should be no mystery to any observer that Republicans in the current political cycle have aggressively responded -- with accusatory tone and language -- to any and all difficult questions from broadcast and print journalists.

Locally, the most obvious perpetrator of this strategy is current Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Andy Tobin. Anytime anyone publishes anything Tobin finds the least bit uncomfortable, he accuses them of lying. His September 22 exchange (on Twitter) with Capitol Media Services own Howie Fischer is informative. Tobin:
So now media is the worlds watch dogs. What would we do without all that false reporting and news creation. (incorrect punctuation in the original)
And the public should just trust what politicians try to spoon feed them? Arizona is better off because of media watchdogs.
To sum it all up, Vernon Parker is -- undoubtedly -- executing a widely accepted Republican strategy to obfuscate and prevaricate in hopes that he can fool enough swing voters into believing the nonsense that right wing pols have been feeding the public for more than forty years.


You and I have been rendered subservient to the corporate plutocracy in America by way of euphemism* and misdirection.

*Some euphemisms intend to amuse, while others intend to give positive appearances to negative events or even mislead entirely.


Is this the kind of thing Vernon learns from people like Fife Symington?

Flip flop, flip flop.


  1. I've been following the congressional race in New Mexico CD1 race, which is very similar to the AZ09 race. Dem Michelle Lujan Grisham beat two strong primary challengers to face Republican nominee Janice Arnold-Jones. This district is fairly evenly matched, with a slight advantage to Dem registration and, like AZ CD9, it represents the only real competitive race in the state. Tonight, the two candidates held their 6th debate with 3 still to go. This is the normal course for non-incumbent candidates in a competitive congressional race, lots of debates, candidate forums and opportunities for the voters to compare the two. In dramatic contrast, there have been zero debates in AZ CD1 and there apparently will not be any, all because Vernon Parker has refused debate offers from Sinema and various news organizations. Zero debates. There is only one reason a relatively unknown candidate in a close race would categorically refuse the customary opportunities for public debates-- he is a pragmatic coward. He is afraid that all the far-right positions he has taken to pander to the most extreme elements of the AZ Republican party in the primary (and in the 2010 losing effort) will not go over well with reasonable moderate and progressive voters. He wanted that extremist vote so badly that he actually lied about being endorsed by the "AZ Tea Party" in 2010 in print ads mailed to voters. (He admitted it was untrue but said it was too late to correct it.) Most importantly, he hopes to avoid anyone asking him about, or bringing up critically, the fact that he was terminated by the SBA for lying on his application and in his appeal and because of his poor business ethics. He has largely been able to avoid talking about this scandal thus far. His only chance is to sticking to friendly crowds and appearing for a few minutes in front of local journos. He has made the cynical calculation that, although he is losing to Sinema 4-5 points in the polls, he is better off letting outside SuperPACs spend lavishly on ads to smear his opponent and to try to save his bacon than to appear before a general audience and risk being unmasked as a fraudster and a zealot. It reminds me of the old adage that it is better to remain silent and have some think you're a fool than to debate your opponent and remove all doubt.

  2. One correction to Greg Jones' comment above, when he references "zero debates in AZ CD1..." I believe he meant "AZ CD9."

  3. Good catch. I need an editor for my posts.