Thursday, August 09, 2007

You've Got Mail

Tucson, Arizona. Anyone paying attention to the press and local politics knows that Arizona Daily Star reporter Daniel Scarpinato is not a big Giffords fan. I have no particular issue with Daniel and have praised some of his political pieces, but make no mistake, count on Daniel to shed light on our Congresswoman in a less than flattering angle when given the opportunity.

Whether it’s the August 2006 ad watch that caused a ruckus or misquoting her as saying she never left Phoenix while in the state legislature (right), for reasons unknown, he can hardly be considered neutral on this particular subject. He wrote an article yesterday painting Giffords’ mailing of postcards and questionnaires to constituents, a common practice, in a less than flattering light, suggesting such activity might be "free publicity."

Jim Kolbe regularly sent out questionnaires and other literature. I remember receiving them and filling them out. I considered it part of his job. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve received material from McCain. I have no complaints about either. I do not recall any articles in the paper suggesting Kolbe was using them for "free publicity."

(Congressman Ed Pastor) The practice of franking goes back to the 1700’s and was recognized as a way for elected officials to communicate with the people they represent. Was the practice abused in the past? Absolutely. Apparently a congressman used a franking tag to send his horse to Nebraska. As a result of past hanky panky, heated criticism led to strict standards and approval by a commission overseeing and approving all mailings, and their quantities are rather severely limited (three a year, I think). More information than you could want is at the link.

(Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords) Frankly, I think Daniel is off on this one, making a story out of a non-story. The dollars involved are trivial (less than $100 grand). Lord Cheney sucks this from the country in two minutes to pay his pals in Iraq, and that’s before we get into the billions we funnel to big pharmaceutical, big oil, and big HMO.But, like the August ad watch, Daniel has tossed sparks into the blogosphere, so we have Kelly at AZ 8th and Thinkright and a bonehead at another blog going all foam mouthed. Whatever.

I like most of the articles Daniel writes and read them regularly, but when it comes to Congresswoman Giffords, take what he writes with a grain of salt, and when the blogs itching to Giffonate launch their salvos, do a reality check.

She spent a modest amount to communicate with the people she represents. Do your own research. It's a non-story.


Anonymous dustin said...

I voted for giffords. I don't have anything personal for/against either candidate that was running really. Graf just did not strike me as very reasonable. I'm not party affiliated, so I did not pay attention to the primaries. I think the real test is going to be in 08, when the voters in CD8 have had a chance to review her voting record, and assess how well they have been represented. It doesn't much matter to me anymore though, as I just moved and now live in CD7

8/09/2007 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Matt. The story is mudslinging. That he would hit her for the longstanding tradition of "franking" privileges...and not all others who use it or have used it is clearly more an attack than it is a reasonable criticism of franking itself. There is plenty one can say about franking and its ability to benefit an incumbent. The literature on American politics is littered with it, but to single her out and not others is clearly bias.

8/09/2007 11:48 AM  
Anonymous dustin said...

I for got to add to my above comment that I don't understand why she is so (seemingly) disliked.

8/09/2007 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel is a non-reporter. I need to remain anonymous due to my current job and my former employment at 4850 S. Park. For the most part, the Star is hiring young, inexperienced people who tremble in their boots and will succumb to whatever hairbrained idea the editors come up with, just to hang on to their jobs. It's a sorry situation. The editors are the evil ones down there.

8/09/2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...


Thanks. That's a perspective I hadn't considered. I find it interesting that some in town think the Star is left biased. If you are willing, I would love to hear your thoughts on the assertion.

8/09/2007 8:36 PM  

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