With last week’s presidential debate in our rearview mirror and the primary just a day away, here are a few thoughts on the day’s political scene.
What a great night for Arizona to take its turn in the spotlight on the national political stage. Gov. Jan Brewer deserves applause for her work behind the scenes with Republican Party leaders to ensure that Arizona landed the debate.
And it was a very good night for Mesa Mayor Scott Smith who got a chance to show off his city’s gleaming arts center, making for a great picture before a national TV audience. Mesa is a city on the rise thanks in no small part to Mayor Smith’s leadership, vision and something that’s underused in politics, a good sense of humor.
The cherry on top was the new TV ad jointly produced by the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Office of Tourism touting Arizona as a great place to do business. The ACA is garnering attention from inquiring companies across the country and I’m confident the new marketing effort will generate even more phone calls and Web hits.
The day of the debate I had the opportunity to be a guest on a Midwest radio show that was looking at our state’s political environment and what we could expect from the debate and Tuesday’ s vote.
I predicted that following the debate, the political landscape could look very different if Rick Santorum delivered a strong performance and solidified himself as the true Mitt Romney alternative for the sizable portion of the GOP electorate that is less than thrilled about the prospects of Gov. Romney as the party’s nominee.
The possibilities were endless, from Santorum winning the nomination, to a brokered convention, to a new face throwing the whole nominate upside down.
Well, post-debate the world does not look very different. The former Pennsylvania senator fumbled his chance to win over the on-the-fence voters in the last debate before Super Tuesday as he struggled to reconcile his conservative rhetoric with a voting record that wasn’t always National Review cover material. Gov. Romney was his usual steady self, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich turned in a good performance but nothing that is likely to change the outcome of tomorrow’s vote. I was happy to see a strong, negative reaction from the audience during Rep. Ron Paul’s disturbing comments on national defense. Besides the fact that Rep. Paul’s philosophy would be harmful to national security interests and America’s position on a global stage, his policies, if carried to fruition, would also be harmful to Arizona’s well-established defense and aerospace industry.
With Gov. Brewer’s endorsement in hand, it looks like Gov. Romney has wrapped up a win in Arizona.
While listening to Sen. Santorum’s explanation of his full-throated endorsement of former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, I was reminded of the old political adage, “When you’re explaining, you’re losing.”
There are some times in politics when you just have to take your lumps and admit that you were on the wrong side of an issue.
Is anybody really surprised by the rise in gas prices?
The Obama administration’s rejection of the transcontinental Keystone XL oil pipeline is not going to do anything to lower U.S. fuel prices, nor is it going to wean our nation off of oil from less-than-friendly countries.
As the Washington Post pointed out last month, the president’s own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness cited regulatory hurdles as reasons for the country’s inability to develop new energy projects and modernize our energy infrastructure.
In the Council’s year-end report, the Council members write, ““[W]e should allow more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands,” and urges that we “move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
An unwillingness to develop new energy infrastructure or drill in potentially oil rich areas means more of the same, which is more pain at the pump over the long term.
Despite the fact that the U.S. in 2011 became a net exporter of petroleum products like diesel fuel, heating oil, and gasoline for the first time since 1949, the U.S. remains the largest importer of crude oil in the world. Even in the absence of an “all of the above” strategy on energy, the share of domestic consumption from imported petroleum fell to 49 percent in 2010, compared to 60 percent in 2005. An aggressive energy policy that promotes exploration projects like those in North Dakota, where the unemployment rate in December was 3.3 percent, could further accelerate these gains, increase our energy independence, and create jobs.
Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry