I like Grant Woods, the former Arizona Attorney General and sometimes radio host. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’s got a great sense of humor and he plays softball.
And I’m glad he’s a Republican. I don’t want to see him kicked out of the Party.
I guess that’s why it’s so disappointing to read his conclusions in this piece in Sunday’s Republic.
He’s right about a couple of things — there are too many people in our Party who lack civility and who are too busy attacking each other to advance the basic principles of the Party. And he’s right that freedom is the core principle of our Party.
But conservatives maximize freedom in ways that Grant Woods never would, with his support for expanding the size and scope of government in many areas. The “Mainstream Arizona” group he formed was essentially a pro-government spending and regulation organization, which undermines individual freedom.
His analysis of what our Party needs to win elections is just as flawed. Just two years earlier, in a different election cycle, the Arizona Republic depicted Grant Woods and me facing off in a boxing match for control of the direction of the Party. In that election, in virtually every primary race, conservatives I supported knocked out liberals and moderates that he supported, and then went on to win the general election.
If the problem in our Party is that too many conservatives won’t support moderate nominees, how is it that Grant Woods committed his support to Janet Napolitano for re-election long before he knew who was even going to run in the Republican primary?
How can he credibly argue that conservatives need to support more liberal candidates, when he refuses to support conservatives? Especially when conservatives are the ones representing the official positions of the Republican Party platform?
No one who has looked at my race objectively would make the argument that I lost because I’m too conservative. My views were indistinguishable from those of Sen. Jon Kyl, who won re-election by 9 points in a bad year nationally for Republicans.
But Sen. Kyl has years of incumbency and name ID, and was unhindered by Clean Elections and therefore able to spend $12 million.
In my race, Janet Napolitano had incumbency, name ID and millions of dollars of support from the mainstream media in trying to present herself as — a conservative.
How does Grant Woods explain a pro-life conservative Republican defeating a moderate businessman Democrat in the Senate race, if it is true that in Arizona pro-life conservative Republicans can’t win a statewide election?
In the Senate race, both sides had enough money to get their message out, and the conservative Republican won.
Interestingly, he says we need to return to the principles of Barry Goldwater. But his analysis of what’s wrong with the Republican Party today is nearly identical to what the liberal Rockefeller Republicans said after Barry Goldwater was slaughtered in the presidential race in 1964 — that the Republican Party had gone too far to the right.
By the end of the column, one thing becomes very clear — the only Republican politician in Arizona who meets Grant Woods’ definition as the potentially perfect candidate with the “right” position on every issue is … Grant Woods.