Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 14, 2008

Host: Ted Simons

One on One

  • Bob Grossfeld of The Media Guys and Doug Cole of Arizona Highground debate the issues in the state Legislature.
  • Doug Cole - Arizona Highground
  • Bob Grossfield - President, The Media Guys

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Now for the regular Monday feature focusing on issues of concern with the state legislature and upcoming elections. Two political types go one-on-one, Bob Grossfield, the President of Media Guys, Inc., goes head to head with Doug Cole, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for High Ground.

Bob Grossfield:
Doug, it appears that marriage is going to be on the ballot again in Arizona. We may not be able to escape it. There will be one that says, yeah, it's anybody you want it to be. And there may be another one that says, no, no, marriage is just one man, one woman, but apparently no limitation on how many times you can do that.

Doug Cole:
Bob, you're right. This issue is turning out to be the perennial issue in modern Arizona politics. Seems like every two years we get a state trust land initiative on the ballot, and now it looks like we're going to get another definition of marriage on the ballot. If you remember, back in 2006 it went down in defeat. There were many prominent people supporting it and a lot of prominent people on the other side. It's a hot topic down at the legislature.

Bob Grossfield:
I think the question is, have they removed the part that just was overreaching, that said, well, not just marriage but anybody, and make it more palatable.

Doug Cole:
The strike everything amendment that went through the house judiciary committee last week to a Senator Ron Gould bill actually did that. The union between a man and a woman is what is recognized in the state of Arizona, and that's it. None of the other partner benefits or anything else is in that ballot.

Bob Grossfield:
Maybe we can get the full cost of the weddings at least made deductible or a tax credit or something.

Doug Cole:
Exactly. What else is interesting, another item working through the legislature is also seeming to be a perennial, always talked about in the legislature. And that is doing away with Arizona's judicial merit selection system.

Bob Grossfield:
Isn't that just a way of saying, instead of doing away with the merit system, it's a way of politicizing the judiciary?

Doug Cole:
For full disclosure to you and the viewers watching, I sit on the Maricopa County Trial Court Commission. And we're the commission here in Maricopa County that makes -- we interview candidates and make our recommendation to the governor. The governor ultimately makes the selection. This system was passed by the voters back in 1972. It's been tweaked by the voters over the years or looked at by many across the country and around the world as having a very, very fine system. Judges are selected on merit.

Bob Grossfield:
What problem are these folks trying to solve?

Doug Cole:
I think what we heard when it was debated in the legislature over the last number of weeks is judges need to be accountable to the people. Bob, I don't want a judge accountable to the people. I want a judge accountable to the constitution and the laws of this state. The people that are accountable to the people are legislators and the governor. The judicial branch needs to be above politics. They need to be interpreting the constitution and interpreting the laws of the state.

Bob Grossfield:
And applying them.

Doug Cole:
They should not be making laws from the bench. And I think if judges are elected here in Maricopa County and Pima County, its going to be such a popular race on sound bites that it's going to push the legislature more towards the bench because of campaign promises.

Bob Grossfield: It's going to make them accountable not to the people and the constitution, but to those that helped get them elected.

Doug Cole:

Bob Grossfield:
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with Stan Barnes and he was talking about the McCain effect.

Doug Cole:
I have more hair than Stan Barnes.

Bob Grossfield:
To your credit. And the premise was, with McCain at the top of the ticket in Arizona, it's going to be a grand day for republicans in the state. But then I started looking up some other things and it appears as if -- and it's confirmed by the federal elections commission -- that the real McCain effect may be that his campaign is just sopping up all of the available money from republican donors in this state, because according to the F.E.C., when you look at the relative cash on hand and the contributions going to democrats running for congress, versus those republican, it's like suddenly your team is not doing very well.

Doug Cole:
This has been an evolution. We've seen our party struggle year after year, and hopefully we're at the bottom now. Hopefully with McCain's candidacy, we're going to turn the party around. It was republicans who could count on a few phone calls, the money was there. Well, the table's kind of flipped a little bit here. As a republican operative in this state, I think having John McCain at the top of the ticket -- and yeah, we have worked very, very hard to get donors for the campaign here in Arizona, because his opponents look here to try and embarrass him.

Bob Grossfield:
Here it is April, almost may. With a lot of these congressional campaigns, if they're not up and really running hard in the next six to eight weeks --

Doug Cole:
And we're seeing that. C.D.1, Ken Bennett.

Bob Grossfield:
And Kirkpatrick is wiping them all out.

Doug Cole:
And watch out for Howard.

Bob Grossfield:
That's about all the time we've got time for.

Doug Cole:
Great, Bob, good to see you, too.

Bob Grossfield:
Take care.

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