Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

November 25, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Cronkite-Eight Poll

  |   Video
  • Find out how Arizonans feel about the results of the presidential election, why they voted the way they did, and what they think the GOP should do to revive itself nationally. Cronkite/Eight Poll Director Dr. Bruce Merrill and Associate Director Dr. Tara Blanc analyze the results of their latest poll.
Guests:
  • Jeff Flake - Arizona Congressman
  • Dr. Bruce Merrill - Cronkite-Eight Poll Director
Category: Cronkite-Eight Poll

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Congressman Jeff Flake is set to return to another term in the House of Representatives in a very different environment. He's going to talk about it. We'll find out why Arizona voters made the choices they did. Results of the latest Cronkite Cronkite-Eight poll. That's next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Welcome to "Horizon." Senator John McCain says he will seek a fifth term in the U.S. senate. That election is in 2010. He also told reporters that he looks back on his presidential campaign with pride. He also said he believes Governor Napolitano is highly qualified to be head of Homeland Security. She is expected to be nominated for the post next week.

Ted Simons:
Mayor of Phoenix said today his city will be cutting 1200 positions this fiscal year. Phil Gordon says it's part of an effort to cut the budget by $250 million. The plan also calls for development of new revenue sources and a request for state and federal funding for local public works projects.

Ted Simons:
When he returns to Washington in January, Jeff Flake will be one of just three Republican congressmen in the Arizona delegation. He will be in a significant minority in Congress as a whole. Congressman Flake just won a fifth term to represent the 6th district and joins us tonight on "Horizon." Good to see you.

Jeff Flake:
Thanks for having me on.

Ted Simons:
You have written that G.O.P. is in a deep political wilderness. What happened?

Jeff Flake:
Well, I think we stopped acting like Republicans quite a while ago. First article of faith for Republicans has always been limited government, economic freedom. I don't think we have acted much like Republicans for several years now. I think the voters, if they want bigger government they know where to go. If they want Republican Party back as it was, the party of fiscal discipline, I think they showed us the door.

Ted Simons:
Did it seem to you the voters maybe at this point in history do want bigger government?

Jeff Flake:
Well, I sure hope not. I think people will be uncomfortable with the level of government they are going to get in the next few years. Certainly with the bailout and with other bailouts to come. There's going to be more government, more deeply inserted into the private sector than people are comfortable with, I believe.

Ted Simons:
Why do you think the Republicans did so well in Arizona or at least as well as they did as opposed to national results?

Jeff Flake:
I think here in Arizona a couple things. John McCain helped having him on the ticket helped Republicans in Arizona. Also I think in Arizona people recognize that the Republicans here in the state have done better in terms of staying true to fiscal discipline than the national Republicans. I think that's why we have done poorly nationwide, but here I think fiscal discipline is still the order for Republicans. That's good.

Ted Simons:
Back in Washington do you see the G.O.P. as an obstructionist party? Do you see the G.O.P. as fighting what is presented? As you say, is big government or is it a thing where you work with the president for -- how does the party stand?

Jeff Flake:
I think we work with the president where it makes sense and certainly oppose vigorously when it doesn't. That's what an opposition party should do. I hope that we do it well. We haven't been this deep in the minority. We have been in the minority in Congress for two years but certainly not this deep. But if we offer good alternatives and explain again why we have better answers we'll be okay.

Ted Simons:
There seems to be a thought again regarding limited government. Is there a confusion among some regarding the G.O.P. between limited government and neutered government?

Jeff Flake:
Well, it's not just that we haven't been very good at keeping government growth under control. We have not been very competent at it either. For when you look at examples like the war, certainly we haven't done that well there. We haven't done well with Katrina. Other national disasters. Simply running deficits that pile on to the national debt, our entitlements are in huge trouble. On several levels we just haven't comported ourselves very well.

Ted Simons:
On a national scale, is the G.O.P. as some suggest too beholden to the religious right?


Jeff Flake:
Well, I think that at the national level, our main focus should be limited government, economic freedom. Some of the social issues are fought out at the state level. That's where a lot of them belong. I think people when they look at the national Republicans wonder why we sometimes engage in these battles at the national level had when they really don't apply to us as much. Take for example the Terri Schiavo case. That was one where we Republicans preached the principle of federalism yet on that we said, well, we're going to intervene because we thought that would be a good wedge issue. Oftentimes social issues at the national level are used as wedge issues and I think that we would be better served if certainly we start with limited government, economic freedom. Traditional values, strong defense. Those are part as well that we need to lead with limited government.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned wedge issues. There are again critics of the party, everyone is a critic of the party nationally because it didn't do all that well. They are trying to figure out why and how to change. Does the concept of exacerbating or just using these wedge issues, is that something that the G.O.P. went too far on?

Jeff Flake:
Yes. Certainly. Immigration is another one. If you look at the 2006 elections where we did poorly and lost the majority, most of the money that was spent by the national republicans, N.R.C. and congressional races, not just most of it, about 85\% of it was spent on immigration ads trying to paint the other party as soft on immigration and us as tough guys. It a may play well to one segment of the population, but a small segment. A lot of people are simply turned off by that.

Ted Simons:
Back to what we were talking about, immigration falls into that as well, do you see a different dynamic in the G.O.P. regarding ideology and pragmatism?

Jeff Flake:
I think we have to be seen as the optimistic party. Those who have done well in national office are those who look forward with faith in the future. If all we're doing is acting like the world is ending tomorrow for this reason or that we're not going to do well. That doesn't do us well. We have great reason to be optimistic. When you're at the bottom there's only one way to go. But it's not just that. We have better solutions. Time-honored, time-tested solutions. Limited government, economic freedom. If we can truly live by those principles, not just preach them, we will do better.

Ted Simons:
What you were saying, some say the Republican Party has turned itself into an angry party, a negative party as you're alluding to. How did that happen?



Jeff Flake:
I don't know. I think you look at one race here or there and it might work to paint an opponent as soft on this or soft on that. And you think, well, that worked there, so we're going to do it across the country. It simply doesn't work for very long. You may have isolated success with it but over all it's a bad formula. I think the more we engage in that, the worse we'll do.

Ted Simons:
Releasing the Cronkite-Eight Poll this evening. One of the questions that was asked in the poll, a sneak preview of the results, why voters thought that the Republicans fared poorly nationally. As we see on the screen here the Bush administration out there with a pretty healthy lead. Your thoughts on an administration obviously lame duck now, the party as it were is over, but your thoughts on the Bush administration.

Jeff Flake:
Well, for those of us who believe in limited government it wasn't a very good time the last eight years. We have grown government in just about every way you measure it. Not just even if you take the war out, you take homeland security out, terrorism, we still have grown the party far beyond -- I'm sorry, the government far beyond what we as Republicans believe, and the war certainly has been a tough thing to carry as well. When wars go bad and take longer than they should, it's not good for the party in power. So I think for a number of reasons it's been difficult for Republicans. Certainly having the president in the White House didn't help us much in this race.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the economy. You voted against the bailouts if I remember correctly. Now we have yet another lending program announced today. $800 billion. Your thoughts in general on how Washington is approaching this economic crisis.

Jeff Flake:
Well, I have thought when we were approached with the original bailout plan, that was about three bailout plans ago, we thought that as a lot of Republicans in the House thought there are things that we should do. We should raise the FDIC insurance, do measures to increase confidence, but as far as the bailouts themselves, I think a lot of us knew that this program that they came up with in just a few days would likely change and go far beyond its original scope, and it did. Now we're looking at government being deeply inserted into banking industry and now maybe the auto industry and several other industries to come. So I just don't think that's the way to go. If we want to have long, sustained growth, then that happens with private sector initiative, not with government.

Ted Simons:
Yet if the private sector falls the way it seems to have in this particular instance in terms of financial institutions, the conventional wisdom of what's going around now, too big to fail argument says you simply can't allow these things, all of these things to fail because the recovery time would be brutal and much longer than it would be without some government interaction.

Jeff Flake:
Certainly. I don't think any of us were arguing we should have no interaction at all. Some of the things we could do to increase confidence with FDIC, put a plan in place where Wall Street could finance a lot of its own bailout was through insurance. That does put taxpayers on the hook for more if things don't improve, but it doesn't insert government so deeply into the private sector like with the current bailout. That's going to have long term complications. I can just tell you in Congress we don't let loose of power easily. If we can enact social policy through our -- our role in the banking industry, then you'll see what happened in Freddy and Fanny look small in terms of government doing damage in the economy. So I think that we are going down a path that is leading in a dangerous direction.

Ted Simons:
I can't let you get out of this interview without mentioning ea marks. If earmarks help Arizona, help your district and help Arizona as a whole, even though you're against the process, even though you're against the notion of a -- the principle of it, if it helps the state is it not a good thing?

Jeff Flake:
I think -- let's take the highway bill. That's where most earmarks are that come back to Arizona. Whether or not I get an earmark in the highway bill the money comes to Arizona. That's the dirty little secret those that are getting the earmarks don't want you to know. It comes to Arizona Department of Transportation, it just doesn't come where I direct it to go. Other people make the decision rather than me. So a lot of people claiming credits for earmarks are basically taking money that would have come here anyway. But over all, earmarks have the contemporary practice of earmarking, the biggest detriment is not the waste of money in earmarks and some are a huge waste of money. Bridge to nowhere, hippy hall of fame, whatever else, but when we're earmarking 1 or 2\% of the budget we're not keeping our eye on the other 98\%. The appropriations committee which used to be the bullwark against frivolous or overspending has become what Jack Abramoff called a favor factory. That's not far off the mark. Unless we get away from what earmarks have become we will continue to run huge deficits and big debt.

Ted Simons:
Those who say you're not working as hard as you could to get some of that money back into Arizona by way of earmarks or whatever, you're saying that money comes to Arizona nonetheless?

Jeff Flake:
Within the highway bill. If it's a high priority project, which about 95\% of them are, the money comes here regardless. We're going to be doing another highway bill in about a year and a half. Arizona gets ripped off with the formula. We only get 90.5 cents on the dollar for what we pay in, that much comes back. We had better stand up as a delegation with other donor states that give more than they get back and demand that we get a greater share of the formula or we are really going to get shorted in the next round. The way that the other states, the ones that take money in, the way they get around that is offer a few earmarks and so a lot of members of Congress will sell their states short by hundreds of millions of dollars or tens of millions of dollars just in exchange for a measly earmark for $250,000. That's not a good trade.

Ted Simons:
Interesting. Congressman, always a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us on Horizon.

Jeff Flake:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
If you'd like to see the interview again you can do so on our Web site. Here's how. When you're finished watching tonight's "Horizon," don't forget to check our Web site for many extras. Click on the word "Horizon" under the public affairs section. That will take you to the "Horizon" homepage. You can access many features to help you become better informed. The first you may notice is video of the previous night's show. Click on the play button to hear the latest segments from our program. For previous segments click on archives above the video box. Once you select a show you'll have access to a summary of topics. A guest list, transcript and video. Back on "Horizon's" homepage you can see what's coming up on "Horizon." If you'd like to be alerted, you can sign up for an R.S.S. feed. Maybe you'd like a podcast. That's also available on our homepage. Check out the latest Cronkite-Eight poll or order a DVD of the show. "Horizon" educates viewers beyond the scope of the program. There are hundreds of incredible sites gathered by "Horizon" producers. "Horizon" is especially known for political coverage. We provide links for you to contact lawmakers. The homepage is a full service Web site for those who want to keep up with what's happening in Arizona.

There was a considerable anti-Obama vote among those voting for John McCain here in Arizona. Also, Arizona voters were evenly split on whether or not Sarah Palin was a good choice as a running mate for Senator McCain. Those are just two of the results of the latest Cronkite-Eight poll. The poll was conducted November 20 through 24 by KAET-TV and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5\%. Here to talk about the results of the latest Cronkite-Eight poll is its director and social director. Thank you both for joining us.

Bruce Merrill:
Good to be here.

Ted Simons:
Let's get right to it. The first question asked was who did you vote for in the presidential election, and the numbers afterwards, everyone was pretty much owning up to what they did.



Bruce Merrill:
They did. 98\% of the people told us they actually voted in the race, which was a little high. When we asked who they voted for it came out almost identical to what actually happened.

Ted Simons:
No surprise there.

Tara Blanc:
Not at all.

Ted Simons:
Let's go to our next panel. That would be asking why did you vote for John McCain rather than Barack Obama. This one I found kind of interesting. This is one of those I'm against the other guy as much if not more so than for this guy.

Bruce Merrill:
Yeah, I think if you add all of the positives together, however, there's no question that Senator McCain is a favorite son, was seen as a very experienced, competent candidate, a man with a lot of experience. Very patriotic. A man that had strong moral convictions and conservative values. That's very important in Arizona. However, the single most important reason people gave for voting the way they did for McCain was they were actually voting against Obama. There was a lot of concern about Obama. Part of that was brought on by the type of campaign that McCain ran. Trying to convince people that he palled around with terrorists or that maybe he was a closet Muslim or maybe couldn't be trusted, didn't have experience. So Obama wasn't well known when the campaign started and I think there was a lot of concern about him.

Ted Simons:
Was it the kind of thing you saw around the country as well or did folks in other places say, he may pal around with terrorists but we still got to make a change here?

Bruce Merrill:
What we find in Arizona tends to be pretty much with what we find in the country.

Ted Simons:
Didn't see much of a change as far as that is concerned. Around the country you saw a fear factor regarding Obama?

Tara Blanc:
Oh, yeah. Again, as Bruce said, in Arizona we find among voters here it's very similar to what you'd find across the country. As Bruce mentioned earlier, the campaign that McCain ran did have some effect in terms of making people fearful and uncertain about who Obama is and what he might do once he came into office. It was effective. What's interesting as Bruce was talking about earlier, he pointed out that if you look at the environment right now in which we have a lame duck president who is hugely unpopular, the financial meltdown, all these things that have been happening, if you look at how well John McCain did, not only took Arizona but how well he did nationally, you have to look at who McCain is and the kind of campaign he ran. It was effective.

Ted Simons:
Next question for those who voted for Obama, why did you choose Obama rather than McCain?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, this was a campaign basically presented between an older, conservative, experienced candidate and a young, dynamic, energetic candidate that was all about change and the future where McCain I think represented for many people the present and past. Obama represented the present and the future.

Ted Simons:
Interesting. As far as when voters made up their minds, this -- is this unusual to have so many people toward the end saying, I think I have already figured this one out?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, not really. The implications are very interesting, however. A fair number of people, about a third of the people, 54\%, said they knew all along right from the beginning which means that the campaigns have a smaller group of people to actually influence and we spend so much money and yet half the people pretty much knew where they were going to vote all along. Very few people voted late in this campaign.

Ted Simons:
A lot of preaching to the converted then I would imagine.

Bruce Merrill:
I think a lot of it, Ted, was we found in all our polls from the beginning the electorate was from the beginning very polarized. They either liked McCain or didn't like him. They either liked Obama or they didn't.

Ted Simons:
What about Sarah Palin? That was something that a lot of post mortems on the campaign and the election said she was a polarizing factor. What about in Arizona?

Tara Blanc:
In Arizona people were evenly split on whether she was a good or bad choice for McCain. The other thing that's interesting, if you look at the reasons why people said they voted for McCain or Obama, when Palin is mentioned it's almost evenly split. If they voted for McCain because of Palin or for Obama against Palin, the numbers were about equal. In Arizona people were split right down the middle. There's no strong consensus about whether she was good or bad for the campaign.

Bruce Merrill:
I do think, though, there was an indication in our post election poll if it hurt him even a little bit in Arizona and it clearly hurt him nationwide it was that Sarah Palin was not as well respected by independents as bi-partisans. Senator McCain needed those independents to have any chance to win.

Ted Simons:
Let's go to job performance. I think this also was factor nationwide. In Arizona it's interesting McCain did very well, the G.O.P. did very well. If you look at the job performance for President Bush, not so good.

Tara Blanc:
That's been pretty consistent with our polls nationwide. His job approval rating has been low for a long time. It's interesting that on the national level you see the president with low approval ratings but at home our elected officials have much higher ratings, so it's interesting to see how perhaps what's going on nationally with the economy and the wars and all kinds of things that impacted how people view the Bush administration, they don't blame people at home for some of the problems.

Ted Simons:
If we look at the numbers for Governor Napolitano, they are pretty doggone good.

Bruce Merrill:
Governor Napolitano has always polled well in Arizona ever since she has been in office. Somewhere between the high 60s to the low 80s. She's getting still an 80\% performance rating, so she will leave Arizona probably in a week or so being well thought of by the electorate.

When she does leave there will be a Governor Jan Brewer. I know you asked about that. A lot of folks not that familiar with her.

Tara Blanc:
57\% of the people we talked to did not feel they knew enough about her to rate her job performance. Among people that did feel that they could rate her, she got a pretty high percentage of people who approve of the job she's doing, but the Secretary of State is really a low profile job. It's very important administratively and procedurally, but Jan Brewer doesn't do a lot of things, call press conferences, being high profiled in media stories, so people aren't really familiar with her. What's going to be interesting, coming out of the chute when she becomes governor, that's going to really set people's impressions of her. She has an opportunity right now to really create a positive or favorable impression with voters, but it's going to happen pretty fast.

Ted Simons:
Good stuff. Thank you for joining us.


Bruce Merrill:
Thank you.

Tara Blanc:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Tomorrow, students have their say about keeping up with rising cost of a college education. Next month the Board of Regents will set new tuition rates for state universities. I'll speak with a member of the board tomorrow at 7:00 on "Horizon." On Thursday we are preempted for Thanksgiving. Friday we're back with another special edition of "Horizon." We go to this week's ceremony for the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. You have a great evening.

Captioning performed by LNS captioning www.lnscaptioning.com.

Ted Simons:
"Horizon" made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you. "Horizon" is the source for in-depth reporting and discussion about local Arizona issues. Each week night Ted Simons offers civil discourse with panelists there to educate. "Horizon" works hard to provide you with news and information that is factual, nonjudgmental, fair and balanced. Your contribution now will help assure that thoughtful public affairs programs will always have a home on Eight. Thank you.

Rep. Jeff Flake


  • Congressman Jeff Flake of the 6th District joins us to talk about the election, a lame duck session of Congress, and the struggles his Republican party is having, as we head into an Obama presidency.
Guests:
  • Jeff Flake - Arizona Congressman
  • Dr. Bruce Merrill - Cronkite-Eight Poll Director


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Congressman Jeff Flake is set to return to another term in the House of Representatives in a very different environment. He's going to talk about it. We'll find out why Arizona voters made the choices they did. Results of the latest Cronkite Cronkite-Eight poll. That's next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Welcome to "Horizon." Senator John McCain says he will seek a fifth term in the U.S. senate. That election is in 2010. He also told reporters that he looks back on his presidential campaign with pride. He also said he believes Governor Napolitano is highly qualified to be head of Homeland Security. She is expected to be nominated for the post next week.

Ted Simons:
Mayor of Phoenix said today his city will be cutting 1200 positions this fiscal year. Phil Gordon says it's part of an effort to cut the budget by $250 million. The plan also calls for development of new revenue sources and a request for state and federal funding for local public works projects.

Ted Simons:
When he returns to Washington in January, Jeff Flake will be one of just three Republican congressmen in the Arizona delegation. He will be in a significant minority in Congress as a whole. Congressman Flake just won a fifth term to represent the 6th district and joins us tonight on "Horizon." Good to see you.

Jeff Flake:
Thanks for having me on.

Ted Simons:
You have written that G.O.P. is in a deep political wilderness. What happened?

Jeff Flake:
Well, I think we stopped acting like Republicans quite a while ago. First article of faith for Republicans has always been limited government, economic freedom. I don't think we have acted much like Republicans for several years now. I think the voters, if they want bigger government they know where to go. If they want Republican Party back as it was, the party of fiscal discipline, I think they showed us the door.

Ted Simons:
Did it seem to you the voters maybe at this point in history do want bigger government?

Jeff Flake:
Well, I sure hope not. I think people will be uncomfortable with the level of government they are going to get in the next few years. Certainly with the bailout and with other bailouts to come. There's going to be more government, more deeply inserted into the private sector than people are comfortable with, I believe.

Ted Simons:
Why do you think the Republicans did so well in Arizona or at least as well as they did as opposed to national results?

Jeff Flake:
I think here in Arizona a couple things. John McCain helped having him on the ticket helped Republicans in Arizona. Also I think in Arizona people recognize that the Republicans here in the state have done better in terms of staying true to fiscal discipline than the national Republicans. I think that's why we have done poorly nationwide, but here I think fiscal discipline is still the order for Republicans. That's good.

Ted Simons:
Back in Washington do you see the G.O.P. as an obstructionist party? Do you see the G.O.P. as fighting what is presented? As you say, is big government or is it a thing where you work with the president for -- how does the party stand?

Jeff Flake:
I think we work with the president where it makes sense and certainly oppose vigorously when it doesn't. That's what an opposition party should do. I hope that we do it well. We haven't been this deep in the minority. We have been in the minority in Congress for two years but certainly not this deep. But if we offer good alternatives and explain again why we have better answers we'll be okay.

Ted Simons:
There seems to be a thought again regarding limited government. Is there a confusion among some regarding the G.O.P. between limited government and neutered government?

Jeff Flake:
Well, it's not just that we haven't been very good at keeping government growth under control. We have not been very competent at it either. For when you look at examples like the war, certainly we haven't done that well there. We haven't done well with Katrina. Other national disasters. Simply running deficits that pile on to the national debt, our entitlements are in huge trouble. On several levels we just haven't comported ourselves very well.

Ted Simons:
On a national scale, is the G.O.P. as some suggest too beholden to the religious right?


Jeff Flake:
Well, I think that at the national level, our main focus should be limited government, economic freedom. Some of the social issues are fought out at the state level. That's where a lot of them belong. I think people when they look at the national Republicans wonder why we sometimes engage in these battles at the national level had when they really don't apply to us as much. Take for example the Terri Schiavo case. That was one where we Republicans preached the principle of federalism yet on that we said, well, we're going to intervene because we thought that would be a good wedge issue. Oftentimes social issues at the national level are used as wedge issues and I think that we would be better served if certainly we start with limited government, economic freedom. Traditional values, strong defense. Those are part as well that we need to lead with limited government.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned wedge issues. There are again critics of the party, everyone is a critic of the party nationally because it didn't do all that well. They are trying to figure out why and how to change. Does the concept of exacerbating or just using these wedge issues, is that something that the G.O.P. went too far on?

Jeff Flake:
Yes. Certainly. Immigration is another one. If you look at the 2006 elections where we did poorly and lost the majority, most of the money that was spent by the national republicans, N.R.C. and congressional races, not just most of it, about 85\% of it was spent on immigration ads trying to paint the other party as soft on immigration and us as tough guys. It a may play well to one segment of the population, but a small segment. A lot of people are simply turned off by that.

Ted Simons:
Back to what we were talking about, immigration falls into that as well, do you see a different dynamic in the G.O.P. regarding ideology and pragmatism?

Jeff Flake:
I think we have to be seen as the optimistic party. Those who have done well in national office are those who look forward with faith in the future. If all we're doing is acting like the world is ending tomorrow for this reason or that we're not going to do well. That doesn't do us well. We have great reason to be optimistic. When you're at the bottom there's only one way to go. But it's not just that. We have better solutions. Time-honored, time-tested solutions. Limited government, economic freedom. If we can truly live by those principles, not just preach them, we will do better.

Ted Simons:
What you were saying, some say the Republican Party has turned itself into an angry party, a negative party as you're alluding to. How did that happen?



Jeff Flake:
I don't know. I think you look at one race here or there and it might work to paint an opponent as soft on this or soft on that. And you think, well, that worked there, so we're going to do it across the country. It simply doesn't work for very long. You may have isolated success with it but over all it's a bad formula. I think the more we engage in that, the worse we'll do.

Ted Simons:
Releasing the Cronkite-Eight Poll this evening. One of the questions that was asked in the poll, a sneak preview of the results, why voters thought that the Republicans fared poorly nationally. As we see on the screen here the Bush administration out there with a pretty healthy lead. Your thoughts on an administration obviously lame duck now, the party as it were is over, but your thoughts on the Bush administration.

Jeff Flake:
Well, for those of us who believe in limited government it wasn't a very good time the last eight years. We have grown government in just about every way you measure it. Not just even if you take the war out, you take homeland security out, terrorism, we still have grown the party far beyond -- I'm sorry, the government far beyond what we as Republicans believe, and the war certainly has been a tough thing to carry as well. When wars go bad and take longer than they should, it's not good for the party in power. So I think for a number of reasons it's been difficult for Republicans. Certainly having the president in the White House didn't help us much in this race.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the economy. You voted against the bailouts if I remember correctly. Now we have yet another lending program announced today. $800 billion. Your thoughts in general on how Washington is approaching this economic crisis.

Jeff Flake:
Well, I have thought when we were approached with the original bailout plan, that was about three bailout plans ago, we thought that as a lot of Republicans in the House thought there are things that we should do. We should raise the FDIC insurance, do measures to increase confidence, but as far as the bailouts themselves, I think a lot of us knew that this program that they came up with in just a few days would likely change and go far beyond its original scope, and it did. Now we're looking at government being deeply inserted into banking industry and now maybe the auto industry and several other industries to come. So I just don't think that's the way to go. If we want to have long, sustained growth, then that happens with private sector initiative, not with government.

Ted Simons:
Yet if the private sector falls the way it seems to have in this particular instance in terms of financial institutions, the conventional wisdom of what's going around now, too big to fail argument says you simply can't allow these things, all of these things to fail because the recovery time would be brutal and much longer than it would be without some government interaction.

Jeff Flake:
Certainly. I don't think any of us were arguing we should have no interaction at all. Some of the things we could do to increase confidence with FDIC, put a plan in place where Wall Street could finance a lot of its own bailout was through insurance. That does put taxpayers on the hook for more if things don't improve, but it doesn't insert government so deeply into the private sector like with the current bailout. That's going to have long term complications. I can just tell you in Congress we don't let loose of power easily. If we can enact social policy through our -- our role in the banking industry, then you'll see what happened in Freddy and Fanny look small in terms of government doing damage in the economy. So I think that we are going down a path that is leading in a dangerous direction.

Ted Simons:
I can't let you get out of this interview without mentioning ea marks. If earmarks help Arizona, help your district and help Arizona as a whole, even though you're against the process, even though you're against the notion of a -- the principle of it, if it helps the state is it not a good thing?

Jeff Flake:
I think -- let's take the highway bill. That's where most earmarks are that come back to Arizona. Whether or not I get an earmark in the highway bill the money comes to Arizona. That's the dirty little secret those that are getting the earmarks don't want you to know. It comes to Arizona Department of Transportation, it just doesn't come where I direct it to go. Other people make the decision rather than me. So a lot of people claiming credits for earmarks are basically taking money that would have come here anyway. But over all, earmarks have the contemporary practice of earmarking, the biggest detriment is not the waste of money in earmarks and some are a huge waste of money. Bridge to nowhere, hippy hall of fame, whatever else, but when we're earmarking 1 or 2\% of the budget we're not keeping our eye on the other 98\%. The appropriations committee which used to be the bullwark against frivolous or overspending has become what Jack Abramoff called a favor factory. That's not far off the mark. Unless we get away from what earmarks have become we will continue to run huge deficits and big debt.

Ted Simons:
Those who say you're not working as hard as you could to get some of that money back into Arizona by way of earmarks or whatever, you're saying that money comes to Arizona nonetheless?

Jeff Flake:
Within the highway bill. If it's a high priority project, which about 95\% of them are, the money comes here regardless. We're going to be doing another highway bill in about a year and a half. Arizona gets ripped off with the formula. We only get 90.5 cents on the dollar for what we pay in, that much comes back. We had better stand up as a delegation with other donor states that give more than they get back and demand that we get a greater share of the formula or we are really going to get shorted in the next round. The way that the other states, the ones that take money in, the way they get around that is offer a few earmarks and so a lot of members of Congress will sell their states short by hundreds of millions of dollars or tens of millions of dollars just in exchange for a measly earmark for $250,000. That's not a good trade.

Ted Simons:
Interesting. Congressman, always a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us on Horizon.

Jeff Flake:
Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
If you'd like to see the interview again you can do so on our Web site. Here's how. When you're finished watching tonight's "Horizon," don't forget to check our Web site for many extras. Click on the word "Horizon" under the public affairs section. That will take you to the "Horizon" homepage. You can access many features to help you become better informed. The first you may notice is video of the previous night's show. Click on the play button to hear the latest segments from our program. For previous segments click on archives above the video box. Once you select a show you'll have access to a summary of topics. A guest list, transcript and video. Back on "Horizon's" homepage you can see what's coming up on "Horizon." If you'd like to be alerted, you can sign up for an R.S.S. feed. Maybe you'd like a podcast. That's also available on our homepage. Check out the latest Cronkite-Eight poll or order a DVD of the show. "Horizon" educates viewers beyond the scope of the program. There are hundreds of incredible sites gathered by "Horizon" producers. "Horizon" is especially known for political coverage. We provide links for you to contact lawmakers. The homepage is a full service Web site for those who want to keep up with what's happening in Arizona.

There was a considerable anti-Obama vote among those voting for John McCain here in Arizona. Also, Arizona voters were evenly split on whether or not Sarah Palin was a good choice as a running mate for Senator McCain. Those are just two of the results of the latest Cronkite-Eight poll. The poll was conducted November 20 through 24 by KAET-TV and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5\%. Here to talk about the results of the latest Cronkite-Eight poll is its director and social director. Thank you both for joining us.

Bruce Merrill:
Good to be here.

Ted Simons:
Let's get right to it. The first question asked was who did you vote for in the presidential election, and the numbers afterwards, everyone was pretty much owning up to what they did.



Bruce Merrill:
They did. 98\% of the people told us they actually voted in the race, which was a little high. When we asked who they voted for it came out almost identical to what actually happened.

Ted Simons:
No surprise there.

Tara Blanc:
Not at all.

Ted Simons:
Let's go to our next panel. That would be asking why did you vote for John McCain rather than Barack Obama. This one I found kind of interesting. This is one of those I'm against the other guy as much if not more so than for this guy.

Bruce Merrill:
Yeah, I think if you add all of the positives together, however, there's no question that Senator McCain is a favorite son, was seen as a very experienced, competent candidate, a man with a lot of experience. Very patriotic. A man that had strong moral convictions and conservative values. That's very important in Arizona. However, the single most important reason people gave for voting the way they did for McCain was they were actually voting against Obama. There was a lot of concern about Obama. Part of that was brought on by the type of campaign that McCain ran. Trying to convince people that he palled around with terrorists or that maybe he was a closet Muslim or maybe couldn't be trusted, didn't have experience. So Obama wasn't well known when the campaign started and I think there was a lot of concern about him.

Ted Simons:
Was it the kind of thing you saw around the country as well or did folks in other places say, he may pal around with terrorists but we still got to make a change here?

Bruce Merrill:
What we find in Arizona tends to be pretty much with what we find in the country.

Ted Simons:
Didn't see much of a change as far as that is concerned. Around the country you saw a fear factor regarding Obama?

Tara Blanc:
Oh, yeah. Again, as Bruce said, in Arizona we find among voters here it's very similar to what you'd find across the country. As Bruce mentioned earlier, the campaign that McCain ran did have some effect in terms of making people fearful and uncertain about who Obama is and what he might do once he came into office. It was effective. What's interesting as Bruce was talking about earlier, he pointed out that if you look at the environment right now in which we have a lame duck president who is hugely unpopular, the financial meltdown, all these things that have been happening, if you look at how well John McCain did, not only took Arizona but how well he did nationally, you have to look at who McCain is and the kind of campaign he ran. It was effective.

Ted Simons:
Next question for those who voted for Obama, why did you choose Obama rather than McCain?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, this was a campaign basically presented between an older, conservative, experienced candidate and a young, dynamic, energetic candidate that was all about change and the future where McCain I think represented for many people the present and past. Obama represented the present and the future.

Ted Simons:
Interesting. As far as when voters made up their minds, this -- is this unusual to have so many people toward the end saying, I think I have already figured this one out?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, not really. The implications are very interesting, however. A fair number of people, about a third of the people, 54\%, said they knew all along right from the beginning which means that the campaigns have a smaller group of people to actually influence and we spend so much money and yet half the people pretty much knew where they were going to vote all along. Very few people voted late in this campaign.

Ted Simons:
A lot of preaching to the converted then I would imagine.

Bruce Merrill:
I think a lot of it, Ted, was we found in all our polls from the beginning the electorate was from the beginning very polarized. They either liked McCain or didn't like him. They either liked Obama or they didn't.

Ted Simons:
What about Sarah Palin? That was something that a lot of post mortems on the campaign and the election said she was a polarizing factor. What about in Arizona?

Tara Blanc:
In Arizona people were evenly split on whether she was a good or bad choice for McCain. The other thing that's interesting, if you look at the reasons why people said they voted for McCain or Obama, when Palin is mentioned it's almost evenly split. If they voted for McCain because of Palin or for Obama against Palin, the numbers were about equal. In Arizona people were split right down the middle. There's no strong consensus about whether she was good or bad for the campaign.

Bruce Merrill:
I do think, though, there was an indication in our post election poll if it hurt him even a little bit in Arizona and it clearly hurt him nationwide it was that Sarah Palin was not as well respected by independents as bi-partisans. Senator McCain needed those independents to have any chance to win.

Ted Simons:
Let's go to job performance. I think this also was factor nationwide. In Arizona it's interesting McCain did very well, the G.O.P. did very well. If you look at the job performance for President Bush, not so good.

Tara Blanc:
That's been pretty consistent with our polls nationwide. His job approval rating has been low for a long time. It's interesting that on the national level you see the president with low approval ratings but at home our elected officials have much higher ratings, so it's interesting to see how perhaps what's going on nationally with the economy and the wars and all kinds of things that impacted how people view the Bush administration, they don't blame people at home for some of the problems.

Ted Simons:
If we look at the numbers for Governor Napolitano, they are pretty doggone good.

Bruce Merrill:
Governor Napolitano has always polled well in Arizona ever since she has been in office. Somewhere between the high 60s to the low 80s. She's getting still an 80\% performance rating, so she will leave Arizona probably in a week or so being well thought of by the electorate.

When she does leave there will be a Governor Jan Brewer. I know you asked about that. A lot of folks not that familiar with her.

Tara Blanc:
57\% of the people we talked to did not feel they knew enough about her to rate her job performance. Among people that did feel that they could rate her, she got a pretty high percentage of people who approve of the job she's doing, but the Secretary of State is really a low profile job. It's very important administratively and procedurally, but Jan Brewer doesn't do a lot of things, call press conferences, being high profiled in media stories, so people aren't really familiar with her. What's going to be interesting, coming out of the chute when she becomes governor, that's going to really set people's impressions of her. She has an opportunity right now to really create a positive or favorable impression with voters, but it's going to happen pretty fast.

Ted Simons:
Good stuff. Thank you for joining us.


Bruce Merrill:
Thank you.

Tara Blanc:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Tomorrow, students have their say about keeping up with rising cost of a college education. Next month the Board of Regents will set new tuition rates for state universities. I'll speak with a member of the board tomorrow at 7:00 on "Horizon." On Thursday we are preempted for Thanksgiving. Friday we're back with another special edition of "Horizon." We go to this week's ceremony for the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. You have a great evening.

Captioning performed by LNS captioning www.lnscaptioning.com.

Ted Simons:
"Horizon" made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you. "Horizon" is the source for in-depth reporting and discussion about local Arizona issues. Each week night Ted Simons offers civil discourse with panelists there to educate. "Horizon" works hard to provide you with news and information that is factual, nonjudgmental, fair and balanced. Your contribution now will help assure that thoughtful public affairs programs will always have a home on Eight. Thank you.


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