Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 11, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Political Dominos


  • The outcome of the presidential election will determine if political dominoes start falling in Arizona. Two of the states top elected officials, Senator John McCain and Governor Janet Napolitano are clearly in play. If McCain wins the presidency, Napolitano will have to appoint his Senate replacement. If Obama wins the presidency, Napolitano could leave her office to join his administration. Stan Barnes, president of Copper State Consulting Group and Bob Grossfeld, president of the Media Guys, Inc., will sort through the potential domino effects.
Guests:
  • Stan Barnes - President Copper State Consulting Group
  • Bob Grossfeld - President ,The Media Guys
Category: Elections

View Transcript
>>Ted Simons:
The presidential race, whatever the outcome, may have a domino effect on elected offices in Arizona. It's nothing new to the state. As David Majure reports, Arizona is quite used to playing the game of political dominoes.

>>David Majure:
The game's pretty simple. Knock one elected official out of office and watch the political dominoes fall into place.

>>John McCain:
I'm a Republican.

>>David Majure:
For instance, if Senator John McCain wins the presidency, Arizona will need a new U-S Senator. State law says the governor must appoint someone from the same political party as McCain to complete his term. Who she chooses influences how far the dominoes fall.

>>David Majure:
Now, if Senator Barack Obama becomes president, there's speculation that one of his key supporters, Governor Janet Napolitano, might join his administration. In Arizona, when a governor leaves office early the Secretary of State takes over. That means a Republican, Jan Brewer, would replace Democrat Napolitano if the governor leaves office before the end of her term. This is the game of political dominoes that in recent decades Arizona's become pretty good at. In the 70s, President Jimmy Carter named Arizona Governor Raul Castro ambassador to Argentina. When Castro left office, then Secretary of State Wesley Bolen became governor. When Bolen died in office, Attorney General Bruce Babbitt was next in line to take the state's top job. In the 80s when go Evan Mecham was impeached, long time Secretary of State Rose Mofford became head of state. In the 90s -- Secretary of State Jane Hull became the last domino to fall into the role of chief competitive. How the chief executive.

>>David Majure:
How the dominoes fall is anybody's guess but game will definitely be fun to watch.

>>Ted Simons:
Joining me to talk about the presidential race and how it might impact our state is Stan Barnes, president of Copper State Consulting Group, and Bob Grossfeld, president of the media guys.

>>Ted Simons:
Thank you both for joining us here on Horizon. Bob, we'll start with you. And we'll start with you even though we're starting with McCain, okay? Because the idea of McCain winning, I want to get all of this figured out. There are a lot of dominoes here. There's a lot of ifs and maybes. If McCain wins the presidency, who gets the senate seat?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
Well, let's back it up a little bit. If McCain decides that he follows in the pattern of Bob Dole and resigns his seat, it's basically the same kind of procedure. And that could happen much earlier. And I think given his age that might be a possibility. And in that situation, the constitution is pretty darn clear, as the governor appoints somebody of that party.

>>Stan Barnes:
Wait a minute. Did Bob just say given his age he might resign? I don't know how that is possibly connected, but you get an insight into the Democratic campaign playbook. He's an old man. He can't win. He needs to resign office because he can't even stay in office. You know, I think he's going to stay there. There's no reason to resign. I don't have any insight but I don't think he's going to resign. Should he win, the governor does appoint someone. Has to be a Republican. My guess is -- it could be yours truly. Highly likely not to happen that way. But I'm thinking for the governor it's dicey. Because she's widely thought of as wanting to run for that same seat. And she can't appoint a do nothing or bad person or someone that everybody boos. She has to appoint a republican that's respectful and will represent the state of Arizona. So it's kind of a hot potato for the governor should she get to make that appointment.

>>Ted Simons:
Let's say she doesn't. Senator McCain becomes president McCain. Senator McCain's seat opens up. Is it just a virtual stampede?

>>Stan Barnes:
I'll know for sure that first two guys headed to that door are Congressman John Shadegg and Congressman Jeff Flake. As a matter of fact, I happen to live in Congressman Flake's district and his fundraising letters now reference he's thinking about the U-S Senate race. So behind the scenes there's already an elbowing and a game going on about who gets to play.

>>Ted Simons:
Do you think McCain, regardless of his age, would retire?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
I think he might.

>>Ted Simons:
Really?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
I think he might. And if only because, as you watch him on the campaign trail, he doesn't appear to be the same John McCain that we've seen out here over the years.

>>Ted Simons:
In What sense?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
I think it's taken a toll. And look, it would be easy to do a cheap shot about his age. But it's something that you can see especially when he's doing speeches. That's a hard road, a hard road to go down.

>>Ted Simons:
Could that not also be Senator John McCain, who's always the underdog, who's always fighting to get on top, is all of a sudden on top and has to change his tune a little bit?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
Yes. And that may be part of the problem. Because it's clear toll me, at least, doing media work, that the media consultant types have gotten a hold of him and they're trying to take what is -- I mean, it's not a square peg. I don't even know what shape he is in his maverickness. But they're trying to shove it into this mold of what they think a Republican Presidential candidate ought to look like. And I think it's becoming more and more noticeable. It's just not a good fit.

>>Stan Barnes:
I don't agree with a single word he's saying. And I like being on the show with Bob, because what rides was I just on. I think john McCain is obviously doing well. He's won his party's nomination. And he's polling nationally in a dead heat with a guy the media just loves to death, in spite of the politics of that. And so I think he's doing great. The John McCain that Bob described was describes more accurately to the mad summer last summer when he was carrying his own bags on Southwest Airlines. That cathartic thing emerged John McCain playing his natural self and that's why he's the nominee.

>>Ted Simons:
Let's go back to the dominoes and john McCain wins the presidency. Who here in Arizona in Republican circles goes back to Washington with him?

>>Stan Barnes:
Well, I mean, there's a laundry list, a very wonderful, capable and most important loyal people to John McCain. In politics, loyalty is the number one coin of the realm. And in John McCain's world that's a very important coin. So you can bet the people that have been a part of his senate life, that are now in the consulting world or even in the current senate staff will find a way to go, should they care to -- I mean, after all, if you live in Arizona you have a good life, maybe you don't want to go. But you get to work for the president at some important level maybe you do want to go. So that's a fun parlor game that everybody does with a smile on their face at republican cocktail parties because it's just so rare that we ever get to talk about this.

>>Ted Simons:
The biggest name would be Jon Kyl. And yet if Kyl goes back to Washington with him now you have two open senate seats.

>>Stan Barnes:
I'm not understanding what you're saying. I think Jon Kyl will stay in the United States senate where he's a very valuable, influential man. You're thinking he's going to do something in the cabinet, perhaps.

>>Ted Simons:
Yes.

>>Stan Barnes:
He is qualified for anything including the Supreme Court, the attorney general spot, you name it. But he also is a powerful U-S Senator and would be the senior senator from Arizona. And I'm just going to guess, knowing no insight that he'd want to stay there. I'd want him to stay there because we need him in Arizona.

>>Ted Simons:
Bob, guys like, I don't know, Stan Barnes, would he have a shot back in Washington if McCain wins?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
Let me put it this way.

>>Stan Barnes:
I'm interested in this.

>>Bob Grossfeld:
Within the political consulting, public affairs, lobbying world, those of us who aren't going to go back under any circumstances are sitting going, please, one of you win quick. Because a lot of you are going to be out of contention. And it will make business easier around here. And I'm sure Mr. Barnes here could probably rattle off a whole number of his competitors that he'd love to see getting gigs in Washington. And by the way, there are enormous numbers of jobs. Don't focus on the Cabinet. That's, you know -- there are thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs.

>>Stan Barnes:
Just the undersecretaries alone are a lot of jobs. But that's part of the domino theory you're talking about is that there will be a vacuum happen in the Arizona political operative world should John McCain win, or should Governor Napolitano go to Washington for whatever reason.

>>Ted Simons:
And we're going to get to that one in a second. But if John McCain was to win and a vacuum occurs, does it take with it some folks who might be running for governor? Some folks who might be running for senate? Some pretty big names around here? Or do they kind of wait and play their cards later?

>>Stan Barnes:
No. I think the latter. I think if you're the ambitious one who wants to hold the big chair with the title, then you don't go back to Washington unless you can script the jump from there back home. And because now you've got new moxie somehow from having been in the white house. But I believe it impacts what you're saying by removing some of the politics sent into Washington and there'll be kind of a fresh air in Arizona that's left over.

>>Ted Simons:
If McCain loses, does he run again for Senate?

>>Stan Barnes:
No one really knows except John McCain himself. My own speculation is he probably will. Because he will be a powerful man and a powerful job. And it's not like he's going to go out and write a book and try to exploit it. I think he's where he belongs.

>>Ted Simons:
All right. If Senator Obama should win the presidency, where does Governor Janet Napolitano fit in that dynamic?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
Well, right now she's obviously a favorite of Senator Obama. They speak often. And the company line, if you will, coming out of the ninth floor, is that the governor made a commitment to the state. She has a lot of items on her agenda, including getting both the Transportation Initiative passed and finally getting State Trust Land Reform passed. And I think at this point you kind of take her at her word that she made a commitment and she's going to stay as governor.

>>Ted Simons:
That said, what would she be best qualified for in an Obama Administration?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
I think it goes without question; this may be the one thing Stan does agree with. I think clearly Attorney General, clearly whatever Homeland Security is called in an Obama administration. Because I suspect the Homeland Monitor is going to go out the door.

>>Stan Barnes:
I think it's going to be called the negotiate with terrorists department, I think. Is that fair? No?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
Well, I don't know. The Bush White House has been doing negotiations with people they thought --

>>Ted Simons:
We're getting off track.

>>Ted Simons:
When did I lose control of all this?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
When you brought us on.

>>Ted Simons:
Back to the governor and any shot in an Obama Administration. Let's admit that a vice-presidential position is a bit absurd and it's a real long shot. Let's just play. Let's say she is on the ticket. Does Arizona go to an Obama against a John McCain if Napolitano is on that ticket?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
Well, let's set aside the governor just for a moment. Because I don't think you have to go that far to get a sense of what the Obama campaign believes. They believe that Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada are all in play and are all winnable. And you're going to see Obama in Arizona, which I think conventional wisdom would say, oh, no, why bother?

>>Ted Simons:
Would that make sense that Obama would then come out somewhat early and say, I can see Governor Napolitano in a position as Attorney General or in some other aspect of my Cabinet? Would he say something like, that knowing that he might get a bump in some of these four corner states?

>>Stan Barnes:
I think he'll do whatever he needs to do. I kind of agree with Bob. The Obama campaign thinks some of the western states, particularly New Mexico and Colorado, which went the other way last time, could be theirs. But Arizona going for Obama with John McCain has won all these elections is right there in the center, right in the spectrum? No way. I don't think they'll waste their money. It's ludicrous to think the governor would be number two because she's in John McCain's state. And there's already a powerful woman that would take the job named Hillary Clinton. I don't imagine that scenario.

>>Ted Simons:
You mention homeland security. Difficult to imagine that a governor with the power that she has and the future that she has either in the senate or perhaps somewhere else in an administration of a future president, would take homeland security?

>>Stan Barnes:
Yeah. Actually I have the same problem you do, trying to get into our governor's sensible shoes and think, what would I do if I were the governor? And I think being the governor is the best job in the world, really. And to leave that you'd have to be some Lifetime Achievement Award. And Attorney General of the United States would I think rank in that. The Homeland Security thing is a no win political deal. Because you only win if nothing happens. Even then you don't get the medal for having nothing bad happen to the country. So I don't think she'll go for that. I think she'll take Attorney General or nothing is my opinion.

>>Ted Simons:
Will she take nothing, knowing that if she leaves, Arizona has Governor Jan Brewer?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
I think that's a big part of any equation she's thinking about. There's no love loss between them. And I suspect that in terms of statewide Democrats looking at; don't leave us with Mrs. Brewer in charge that would be a very, very difficult one for her to navigate.

>>Ted Simons:
Any other Democrats in an Obama Administration from Arizona?

>>Bob Grossfeld:
I would think so. There are people here who, for instance, have white house experience, going back to when gas was below $4 a gallon. Fred Duvall was a very, very high-placed person in the administration. Chuck Blanchard and a number of others. So yeah, it's very, very possible.

>>Ted Simons:
All right. We'll stop it right there. Gentlemen, great discussion. Thanks for joining us.

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