Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Closest We'll Get To A Cardon/Flake Debate

On July 30th, AZ Central held an online "debate" between US Senate candidates Jeff Flake and Wil Cardon.  Despite numerous attempts by the Cardon campaign to initiate a face-to-face debate with Flake, sadly, it appears this is the best we're going to get from a wanna-be "representative of the people".

Some of Flake's brief answers are very telling.  Our comments will be in red.

Question:  Why do you want to be a US Senator?
Cardon:  Issues are jobs, economy.  My skill set fits better.  AZ needs people who are consistent.
Flake:  Because I think government is too big.  My record backs that up.

Question:  Lot of ads on TV.  Cardon- your ads emphasize job creation.  What's difference between your experience and Flake's?
Cardon:  I'm not going to Senate to mimic McCain/Kyl.  Going to replace them.  Businessmen have real-world experience making  payroll.
Flake:  Experience does matter.  Lot of times I don't vote with biz cmty.  Difference pro-biz and pro-free enterprise.
Question: Cardon- How do Subway hirings square with stance on immigration?  What would resolve status quo with illegal immigration?
Cardon:  Theoretical answers don't work.  Increase border patrol, then troops at border.  Finish building the fence.
Question: Cardon- Does a fence solve everything?
Cardon:  Fence doesn't solve everything, but starting point.  Also need to enforce laws on businesses.
Flake:  ICE docs indicated Subway employees were illegal. 
Cardon:  Company I have a 2% stake in was fined for incomplete paperwork.  Flake has not been in private sector for at least a decade.
Flake:  I've been in private sector longer than in government.  Had to work hard without inherited wealth.  (According to Flake's bio, he began his career working for a public affairs firm in Washington DC in 1987 before moving to Namibia to be the Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy.  Then in 1992, Flake moved to Arizona where he was named Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute.  Who knew working in a public affairs firm in DC, living in Namibia and directing the Goldwater Institute would be considered the "private sector".  So his "private sector" experience was 13 years.  He's been in Congress for 12.  And is Flake actually slamming wealth?)
Question: Flake- Why did you change your position on immigration?
Flake:  Worked long time on comprehensive immigration solution.  "It is a dead end" until we get better border security.  (See the numerous entries we've done on Flake's evolving comprehensive immigration stance.)

Question: Flake- How do you define better border security?
Flake:  Yuma sector has operational border security: so if cross, have reasonable expectation of catching them.  It's a precise definition.  (Sounds like he must know Rep. Russ Jones.  Jones said the same thing when he explained his vote on SB1070.   We also broke down the issues with the Yuma sector.)

Question:  Assume we get that level of border security, what should we do then?
Flake:  Bigger problem - once catch ppl, what do with them?  Logjam is in federal court system.  Must deal with that, and w/real worker needs.  After secure border, need a more robust guest worker program.  I like the Strive Act.  It's not amnesty.  (Still admitting he likes the STRIVE Act?  The one he partnered with radical Luis Gutierrez?  Still more concerned about finding jobs for those here illegally than fixing the 9% unemployment rate of LEGAL citizens?)
Question:  Border is secure, what do we do now?
Cardon:  Need to fix legal system, so don't have to wait a decade to become a citizen.  Private sector can do it much cheaper than gov't.  Private sector could admin legal immigration system.  Most people overstay their visas.  They should check in.

(Flake doesn't respond.)
 Question:  What about the people who are already here illegally?
Cardon:  Until you control border and can inventory how many illegals are here, can't address a solution.
Flake:   That's a dodge answer.  We need to think about what you do w/ppl already here.  (What happened to securing the border?)
Cardon:  A dodge is being in Congress 12 years and not doing anything about the problem. (BINGO!)
Question: Cardon- Why continue to work with Flake if so upset that he broke the term limit pledge?
Flake:  Re term limits:  I didn't take pledge with intention of abandoning it.  (Bull.  You used it to get elected and hoped three terms later that people would either forget or feel like we NEEDED you so badly that you just HAD to keep running.)

Question:  What's the problem with Dodd-Frank?
Cardon:  It's Obamacare for business

(Flake didn't answer.)

Question:  What's your first step in reforming onerous regulatory environment?
Cardon:  Listen to ppl with real-world experience.  Review every regulation and have up, down vote on every one.  We also can reform onerous regulations with sunset requirements.

(Again, Flake didn't answer.)

Question:  Both of you oppose Affordable Healthcare Act.  How do you realistically deconstruct it?
Cardon:  Intro incentives to get preventive care, for docs to offer effective medical care.  That includes tort reform.
Flake:  Obamacare will be repealed or fall of its own weight.  The faster we can repeal, the better.

Question:  What about more popular measures of Affordable Healthcare Act?  Would you repeal ban on preexisting conditions, etc?
Flake:  No, those measures must go.
Cardon:  Affordable Healthcare Act will fall on its own weight.  Allow private market solution.  More choice if keep market free.  15/100 Senators have been in business before.  Ppl outside of real world can't solve real-world problems.

Question: Cardon- You said you want to replace McCain/Kyl.  Outside immigration, what are your disagreements w/ them?
Cardon: Disagree with McCain/Kyl bailouts, TARP.  I disagree with their results.   Ppl should be judged by results.  McCain/Kyl not focused on AZ issues.  But I'm not trying to get in an argument with them.  Want to replace every career politician.

Question: Why do you think you can do a good job in Senate with no political experience?
Cardon:  Can do job w/out political experience because lawmakers haven't been doing a good job.  I'm not bound by their paradigms.
Flake:  I've been criticized for not signing letter to advocate for Boeing.   Not job of Senator to be chief marketer for state.  Job of US Senator isn't to pick favorites but to offer favorable environment for biz.  (It's not the job of a Senator to advocate for businesses in our state?) 
Cardon:  A Senator's primary responsibility is to citizens.  Should call co's to lobby for relocation.

Question:  One of Flake's criticisms is unwillingness to advocate for AZ biz.  Will you continue that posture?
Flake:  Specific biz hurt have been by transportation inequities.  Problem was earmarks.  All we need now is conducive regulatory environment.

Question:  Cardon- You disagree with that.  So where do you draw the line?
Cardon:  Take Kyl's approach: once $ is appropriated, you fight for money for your state.

Question:  What say to general election audience about why you should be elected?
Cardon: Vote for me b/c we need people in Congress with different way of thinking.  Biz experience is necessary.
Flake:  Send someone to Senate who has record of standing up to important issues, incl debt/deficit.  I've shown ability to be effective. (By "important issues" he means partnering with leftists on Comprehensive Immigration Reform bills)

Question:  Both- With 20% of the GDP being spent on healthcare-what can be done that improves quality and cost?
Flake:  First, give individuals the same benefits corporations currently enjoy, to be able to purchase health care with pre-tax dollars.  Second, force insurance companies to compete across state lines.  Third, make it easier to create Health Savings Accounts.  That's a good start.
Cardon:  Our health care system is broken.  We need to start with tort reform and by inserting market reforms into the health care system.  Allow doctors to practice the most effective medicine not have the requirements of government dictate care.  Allow insurance companies to compete across state lines.

Question:  Considering the burden of our National Debt, and considering the traditional Republican praise of personal responsibility, why aren't Republicans calling for surcharge on income taxes to pay down the debt instead of tax cuts which drive the country into a deeper hole?
Flake:  We'll never solve our fiscal crisis by assuming that individuals are taxed too little.  Rather, government is spending too much.  We need economic growth, and that won't come by raising taxes.
Cardon:  Why have career politicians allowed us to come this far.  There is a simple rule in the real world.  "Spend less than you take in."  Let's start with that and then let's cause the private sector to grow.  That is the way out of this fiscal crises.

Question:  What are your positions on the future of both the unmanned and manned space programs?
Flake:  I think that government needs to partner with the private sector more than it has done in the past regarding space programs.  This will make these programs more affordable and effective.
Cardon:  We have grave problems right now with the economy, a lack of jobs, an un-secure border and many others.  I believe the space program is important but is not the focus we need to take right now.  Otherwise,  there may not be a space program in the future at all. 
Question:  What's your stance on medical marijuana?
Flake:  I'm not a fan, myself. (How about answering the question and not whether you would personally use it?)
Cardon:  I oppose the legalization of marijuana.  Those needs can be provided through different delivery systems.  The FDA and government is the problem to many of the woes of drug approvals.

Question: Flake- Why aren't you a fan of medical marijuana?

Flake: I just don't want to go down that road.  (Why won't you tell us your opinion on the legalization of medical marijuana?)

Question:  What would EACH of you say is the biggest DIFFERENCE in your  political views with Jon Kyl?
Flake:  I'm a big fan of Senator Kyl.  But one difference is that I believe that Americans should be allowed to trade and travel with Cuba, he doesn't. (Still a dictator sympathizer?)
Cardon:  I disagree with his choice for the US Senate in this race.  I believe that the old guard and career politicians are not the solutions going forward.  I am not running for the endorsements of John McCain or Jon Kyl.  We need to enter a new era where statesman and problem solvers represent us, not people who have been in government the longest.   As Reagan said, "Government is not the solution.  Government is the problem."
Question:  Why do you both feel it's necessary to attack each other rather than spending the time talking about issues?
Flake:  I'd certainly rather talk about issues, but this is a campaign and you have to draw a contrast between yourself and your opponent.
Cardon:  If you look at each of my ads they have discussed immigration, conflicts of interest with lobbyists and spending tax payer dollars and higher energy taxes.  I have told Jeff that I will remove all ads and political material using his name if he will do the same and ask the Washington special interest groups spending millions to act accordingly.  I am hopeful he will agree.  I certainly want to change the discussion to issues and not name calling.

Question:  Would you consider running for a second term if you were elected?
Flake:  Sure. (And another.. and another.. and another...)
Cardon:  That would depend on the job I did.  I would judge that by the results not the rhetoric.

Question:  How do you feel about Sheriff Joe Arpaio?
Flake:  I'm running for the Senate, and I've got enough on my plate without getting involved in other races. (Nice dodge.  Too busy to support Arpaio who is being demonized for trying to uphold our state laws...the same state Flake wants to represent in Washington, but not too busy to endorse, say, a Maricopa County Supervisor candidate like Steve Chucri?  We might also remind our readers that Jeff Flake's old staffer, Chad Heywood, is one of Kirk Adams' A-TEAM members.)
Cardon:  I believe our local law enforcement officials are doing the best they can with difficult issues unfairly burdened on them by the Federal government not doing its job.  I applaud Sheriff Joe and anyone else, including our border patrol, who fight the establishment in enforcing and helping keep "the rule of law" in our country.

Question:  What is your stand on denial of individual health insurance policies to those with pre-existing conditions?
Flake:  If individuals are allowed to access health care services only when they are sick or injured, there is no reason for anyone to have insurance.  If  insurance companies are required to accept all pre-existing conditions, insurance is no longer insurance.
Cardon:  We need to open up insurance markets for companies to compete across state lines.  We need more market reforms.  I believe with these changes and with tort reform the free market will provide answers rather than government for problems like pre-existing conditions.  I believe we should not require people to purchase a private product as a  cost of citizenship.  I would like to see those who represent us do the same.  BTW, I also believe that those in the Senate and House should live under the same laws we do.  If they pass Obamacare, they should live under Obamacare.

Question:  How do each of you feel about the Tea Party?
Flake:  I think the major accomplishment of the Tea Party movement is that it has brought our nation's lack of fiscal responsibility to the fore.  It has been a crucial element in getting the House of Representatives to pass a responsible budget.  Now, if we can just get the Senate and President to go along...
Cardon:  I believe the Tea Party in general is on the right path.  The principles and beliefs of the Tea Party regarding less taxation, less government regulation and that we need to return to the Constitution regarding the governance of this republic are near and dear to my heart.  I think that, as the lies in the ads running against me display, saying one agrees with everyone in large organizations is problematic.  I don't support higher taxes and I don't want anything put on anyone's car.  Those are lies.

Question:  Could you each sum up your thoughts on how we can improve education (K-12 and beyond) in America?  Obviously, we have to be competitive on a global level, but how do you propose we do that?
Cardon:  Give back more authority to the local administrators of education.  Have those who work in the schools hire the teachers.  Demand merit based pay and transparency and accountability.  Demand and incentivize parents to become more involved and take more responsibility for their children's education.  In short, do the same thing with education that I believe needs to be done with most of the Federal government- namely, give control back to local levels and the people in the "real world."
 Flake:  The federal government doesn't have a good record when it comes to education reform.  States like Arizona should be allowed to move ahead with their own reforms, as they have done in the past two decades.  Charter schools have increased quality and accountability considerably.  This reform didn't come from Washington.

Question:  Which team would you cheer for:  Wildcats or Sun Devils?
Flake:  First half, ASU, second half, UofA, reverse order during the next game. (Such a politician answer.)
Cardon:  This is a brutal one.  Both of my parents were born in Tucson and my family has had four generations at the U of A.  My mother bleeds red and blue and her license plate is 31-27 (I'll let you look that one up).  I attended classes at ASU and have three siblings that went there.  I attended Stanford and played football for Bill Walsh.  I'm rooting for either team unless they are playing Stanford.

 Question:  What have you done to stop wasteful spending in Washington DC?
Flake:  For years I went to the house floor and challenged earmarks.  It didn't win me many friends (in fact it got me kicked off a committee by my own party), but in the end, sanity prevailed and the House and Senate declared an end to the practice.
Cardon:  I am fed up with professional politicians and believe we need an Arizona businessman or woman in the Senate who lives in the real world.  I have been raising a family and working in the private sector.  I have not been a career politician in Washington DC.  I have fought the fight from the private sector, but that is why I am now running.  It is time for new leadership and a new era.
Question:  What's the toughest part of campaigning?
Cardon:  Having your opponent be backed by Washington special interest groups with no ties to Arizona and spend millions of $ to attack you with lies.  Every ad they have placed has been a complete fabrication and personal attack.  It is sad to see the effects and how evil these Washington special interest groups are.  I do not want to see our next Senator be beholden to them because they spend more money ($2 out of every $3 right now) to run only negative attack ads.  I love being out on the trail and meeting people every day.  There are more positives than negatives.  I'd love to see an end to the negativity of the attack ads.
Flake:  Fundraising.  It takes money to get your message out, and it takes a lot of time to raise money.  Balancing the campaign with doing my job in Washington and trying to be a good husband and father is not an easy task.  My wife is a saint.
Question:  What are your feelings about the Dream Act and illegal immigration?
Flake:  We've got to secure our southern border before moving on to other immigration issues. (Nice dodge, again.  We'd still like to know how Flake feels about the Dream Act.)
Cardon:  I oppose the Dream Act and believe that we have to control our border.  Politicians have promised us that for years but have not delivered.  We are a compassionate nation but we are also a nation governed by the rule of law.  My football coach in high school, Jesse Parke, taught me many poems and quotes.  One of those is, "The world is not interested in the storms you've encountered but did you bring in the ship."  I'd like to see our representatives solve the problems with controlling our border so we can get the focus on fixing a broken legal immigration system.  WE are all immigrants and this country is built on legal immigration.

Some people never change. 

But, people can MAKE a change! 
No more Flakes in Washington!