Big dogs recruited to join the fight
Today’s daily newspaper’s Political Insider column includes this bit of inside politics: Scroll down to the item titled, Honey, the governor‘s on the phone….detailing the territorial wars between the elected District 11 conservative precinct committeemen and the liberal element misrepresenting itself by use of the genuine sounding name Grassroots Arizona.
Last week brought an intensification to the conflict with a national figure entering the fray. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, recorded a 30-second auto-dialer message that went to 5,000 district homes. An additional 5,000 households are expected to receive the call Monday, the day before the primary election.
In the eye of this storm, along with the longstanding PCs whom the McCain surrogates want to oust, are party stalwarts, Maricopa County Chairman, Tom Husband and the District 11 Chairman Rob Haney. Refreshingly, neither of these men shrink from calling out the elephant in the room when need be.
Grassroots Arizona PAC already has flooded the district with mailers advocating on behalf of its slate of recruited and often unsuspecting PC candidates. Not all of their recruits were pleased with the inclusion on their suspect list. Former Sen. Tom Smith strongly denounced their practices at the August district meeting.
There is no doubt that this effort came directly from the McCain campaign. Haley Barbour is too high in the upper echelon of the GOP to accommodate low level PC requests.
Tom Husband, the Maricopa County Chairman, who resides in the district and is in the crosshairs of the Grassroots PAC, wryly noted, “I’m flattered. I’ve never had anyone that politically important pay so much attention to me before.”
John McCain also lives in the district and has been embarrassed in the past when the elected precinct committeemen objected to his liberal policies on various issues, most significantly the Comprehensive Immigration Reform/ Amnesty bill. Big money interests in the state that benefit from taxpayer subsidized low cost illegal labor seized the opportunity to silence the voices of the opposition.
As a presidential candidate, John McCain wants to ensure that a repeat of such displeasure with his policies doesn’t re-erupt. The means being employed by his surrogates is to shut down the conservative leadership within the party.