Posted by: Donna
Kirkpatrick has always seemed the even-tempered embodiment of rural Arizona, someone who lived the life and talked the talk. So, it was jarring to see her unbounded contempt for opponent Jonathan Paton.
She accused him of dissembling and pandering, attacks that executed with finesse would have been acceptable in a heated campaign. But the slashing nature of her put-downs only framed Paton’s cool composure.
He calmly defended his record and made his most difficult case that someone who was only recently an outsider could represent the district and its concerns. Kirkpatrick called him a carpetbagger. Paton responded that the district already knows Kirkpatrick and wants him. To back that up, Paton touted his endorsements from mayors and council members throughout the district, from places like Marana, Taylor, Show Low, Safford and Globe.
Clutch those pearls, AZ Republic ed board! They were flouncing themselves hard upon the fainting couches over former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick having the temerity to challenge her opponent Jonathan Paton in the most unladylike and uncivil manner at their recent endorsement board. It must have been so troubling to them! Of course, mightn’t Kirkpatrick’s charges of Paton dissembling and pandering and carpetbagging have some, you know, merit? Who the hell knows! Paton performed well, you guys. Give that Jonathan Paton a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in an Endorsement Interview! Hand that fine young actor a Congressional seat because, after all, isn’t that one hour that he pretended to be a gentleman before the theater critics all that matters?
The editors were so busy huffing smelling salts over Ann Kirkpatrick’s alleged lack of decorum that they forgot to include much policy detail in their endorsement piece. With all the attacks on abortion and contraception access coming from the Republicans this past year it would have been nice to know where the candidates stood on those things. I’m told by the campaign that the issue of reproductive rights did come up and after much hemming and hawing Paton admitted he is pretty strongly anti-choice. That would have been good to know! Instead, we know this:
Asked what she learned from losing her congressional seat in 2010, Kirkpatrick whiffed. The 62-year-old Flagstaff Democrat said she lost because Republicans were winning just about everything that cycle. That left Paton to fill in the blanks, and he did, arguing that her votes on the Obama health-care overhaul and economic stimulus sent her packing.
Were the editors asleep in 2010? That’s a reasonable possibility, considering the Republic’s shoddy and shameful coverage of SB1070 and the campaign season. And did they ask Paton why he thought he lost his primary to the likes of Jesse Kelly that year? Of course not. The editors have filled in their own blanks on that, describing Paton as an “establishment” Republican. You are supposed to read this as “moderate”, even though Paton had a very conservative voting record in the legislature, is endorsed by extreme right wing groups, and would most likely join the Tea Party caucus if he got elected.
This whole thing has the very strong whiff of sexism about it. They wasted what should have been a substantive endorsement column scolding a woman for not being deferential enough to a man two decades her junior. A man who has been lying like a rug throughout the campaign.
And all you Dems reading this who are still ticked about about Obama’s subdued performance at last week’s Presidential debate should take note of how any Democrats who show gumption are often fiercely attacked for it.
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