The Arizona Desert Lamp

Tim Bee at the UA

Posted in Politics by Evan Lisull on 2 September 2008

Two weeks before he is scheduled to debate Rep. Giffords in the Grand Ballroom, Tim Bee spoke today at the UA College Republicans opening meeting.

A bit of background: this is a surprising congressional race, since early on it looked like Bee was dead in the water. The first poll on CD-8, conducted June 18-22, had Giffords ahead by 24 (!) points , 58 to 32 percent, and had 92 percent name recognition. Bee released a poll around the same time, stating that the lead was instead 47-40, with thirteen percent undecided.

Currently, though, the race is categorized by the Swing State Project and the Cook Political Report as “Leaning Democratic.” Bee has called the race the “most competitive Congressional race in Arizona”; however, I would have to think that CD-1’s race is more competitive, especially as it is termed a Republican “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report. The first polls between the two should start coming out soon after the end of today’s primaries. However, he is still at a distinct money disadvantage, with only $688,000 cash on hand compared to Giffords’ $2.147 million.

Should Bee lose this election, I would argue that it comes from his shift from a top legislator (read: compromiser), who provided an essential counterbalance to Gov. Napolitano in Phoenix, to a relatively forgettable GOP talking piece.

His speaking arrangement today mostly consisted of questions from the audience; given the fact that it’s the College Republicans, it wasn’t exactly a tough crowd. When asked to name his top three issues, he listed off energy (national GOP issue), illegal immigration (state GOP issue), and earmarking (although national, it pertains on a local basis). On none of these issues did he say anything particularly distinguishing: his energy position is a carbon copy of the litany of speeches made during the Guerilla Congress his summer; his illegal immigration stance discussed the same tough-border mentality, without so much as a bone thrown to the business community. Yet most disappointing was his stance on earmarks; while decrying Giffords’ flaunting of her earmarking ways (she publishes them with pride), he promised to, “bring in projects that will help to ensure that we can defend the district.” In other words, don’t count on a Rep. Bee joining the Flake-Shadegg Earmark Moratorium bandwagon*.

The most amusing exchange occurred at the end of the questioning, with a seemingly innocuous question about wiretapping and FISA. However, a misstatement led to this little exchange with an unnamed student:

STUDENT: “Wait. Did you say that you supported FISA?”
BEE: “I believe that the FISA law that is in place should be obeyed.”
“But you are aware that the current law requires court authorization for wiretapping. Do you support this?”
“I don’t believe that that’s the case.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Bee, the student is right. From the 2008 amendments:

Subject to subparagraph (B), prior to the implementation of an authorization under subsection (a), the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence shall provide to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court a written certification and any supporting affidavit, under oath and under seal, in accordance with this subsection.

Awkwardness all around. Obviously, I prefer Bee to Giffords; but after this performance, I’m not expecting any miracles.
* — In Arizona, I have the theory that the best way to test a legislator’s position on earmarks is to ask them whether or not they would have supported the earmark for the William Rehnquist Center. Only the most dedicated fiscal conservative will have the cajones to refuse money for a building named Rehnquist.

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2 Responses

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  1. […] got turned on to this by Paul Metcalf, a student at the U of A. Check out this post on The Arizona Desert Lamp, a conservative leaning blog written by former Arizona Daily Wildcat columnist Evan Lisull. It is […]

  2. chinaman said, on 17 September 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Hi
    You shoud be the journalist with your great talent


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