Thursday, November 02, 2006



I was pretty surprised today-- in the pleasantest of ways-- to notice that Larry Sabato was predicting that Democrat Harry Mitchell would beat right wing maniac J.D. Hayworth, a virulent anti-semite/anti-immigrant/anti-... well anti-everything. Except he's not anti-Tom Tancredo; loves Tancredo. So I called one of my pals at the ole D-Trip and asked if they could hook me up for a quick interview with Harry. And you know how the DCCC will do anything I want.

I just got off the phone with Harry Mitchell; what a decent guy! He didn't come across as the kind of fire-eating, Bush impeaching revenge seeker I'm usually drawn to. He just seemed like the kind of guy that wants to get on making peoples' lives better and solving problems across ideological barriers. That's probably because he was the mayor of Tempe where he had to work with all kinds of folks to get real day to day problems solved. I like the idea of some people who think that way in Congress. And so does the Arizona Republic. They always endorse Republicans and they've always endorsed Hayworth. Until last week.

The endorsement was stunning and sent shockwaves through the district, not just because they endorsed Mitchell and not even because of how enthusiastically they endorsed him. They tore Hayworth apart. "Mitchell Over the Bully" was the title. And it got better from there.

The biggest problem in Congress is extreme partisanship, and Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., is among Capitol Hill's worst offenders.

Hayworth always has been an enthusiast for rough-and-tumble politics.

And there's a place for that. The outraged-partisan routine works pretty well on Sean Hannity's radio show or the Fox News Channel, where Hayworth often does yeoman's work blasting anybody who doesn't agree with him. It works poorly, though, in discussions or debates - forums in which even small measures of civility can go a long way.

And that scalding approach doesn't help get anything done.

It is high time to hit this matter squarely: J. D. Hayworth is a bully. He may not yet have reached the point where you can't take him anywhere, but you certainly can't take him to a calm, civil discussion.

The Arizona Republic has recommended Hayworth's election each of the past six times he has run for Congress. In those editorials, we noted his characteristic bluster and needlessly confrontational attitude but also praised his strong work ethic and dedication to serving his district's constituents.

Not this time. This time, we're going to recommend his opponent, Harry Mitchell.

And that was only a third of the editorial. In the biggest and most important newspaper in this affluent, highly educated, moderate district in the Phoenix suburbs. People read in this district. And now they've read about what a dedicated public servant Harry Mitchell has been and they've seen the contrast with "Hayworth's bombastic rhetoric and obnoxious behavior... The 5th Congressional District needs a bridge-builder, not a bomb-thrower."

When I asked Harry what he's hearing from the voters when he's out campaigning-- what their biggest concern is-- it was a different answer than what I've been hearing from most candidates (i.e.- gas prices, health care prices, jobs, Iraq). Harry says stem cell research comes up an awful lot. And that's a good thing for him-- and very bad for Mr. Rubber Stamp Hayworth. Most members of Congress and most people in Arizona favor stem cell research. Hayworth voted against it. It's a big issue. Harry did a real good ad that makes the point. Take a look:

Stem cell research is important to all of us, not just the folks in Missouri. Harry thinks we owe it to ourselves to go forward with research. "Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to do to do incredible things, and improve the lives of so many people. And this Congress, and particularly my opponent has told those who suffer from Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease that they should have no hope. That’s wrong. He’s taken an extreme view. I believe that investing in this type of research should be a top priority for the next Congress.”


At 9:51 AM, Blogger Zappatero said...

something about those "Fifth" districts..heh.


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