Inauspicious beginning of Robert Graham’s second term at helm of AZ GOP
The annual Statutory Meeting of the State Committee of the Arizona Republican Party was the site of another in the continued rejections of John McCain, as nearly 800 elected statewide delegates, carrying 435 proxies, expressed their displeasure with Arizona’s U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. The duo made a grossly miscalculated judgment call by even turning onto the property where the Saturday meeting was held.
McCain was introduced by Rev. C. T. Wright, a man of the cloth obviously selected to keep the crowd in check. But even the emotive pastor wasn’t enough to tame the ire of the crowd at seeing the man they censured just last year for a litany of grievances, including a “record [which] has been disastrous and harmful to Arizona and the United States.”
Of interest to seasoned politicos was the set-up involved in springing the duplicitous pair on the delegates who were sent out to lunch wagons on the grounds as the hall was cleared to spirit the unpopular senators in. Among the supporting cast was a Vietnamese entourage, some dressed in fatigues, waving their native flags. There was even a Vietnamese beauty queen resplendent in a long white gown with a shoulder-to-waist ribbon sash.
Judging by the boos, backs turned to the speaker, and people leaving the auditorium during his address, McCain’s choreographed purge of conservatives from the party ranks wasn’t as successful as he had envisioned.
Robert Graham’s pedantic lecture on civility fell on deaf ears as he chastised the McCain-weary delegates. This appalling ruse was put in place by AZ GOP Chairman Graham, who can no longer deny his close association with Team McCain. Had he foisted the “surprise” of McCain and Flake on the delegates before the ballots were voted, his slate likely would have failed.
Graham’s wily timing saved his Chairmanship and the 1st Vice Chairman post for Paralee Schneider; Secretary, Linda White; and Treasurer, Jonathan Lines. Conservatives held the 2nd Vice Chairmanship with the election of Gabby Saucedo Mercer.
These anti-McCain buttons, badges and lapel stickers were in high demand at the state GOP convention. The badges with “Deport McCain 2 Manchuria,” refer to the 1959 novel and followup movie, “The Manchurian Candidate,” about a former POW from a prominent family who was brainwashed by his Communist captors.