One of the weirdest moments of the recent Arizona Republican Party reorganization meeting came when a little old lady rose to address her fellow GOPers from a mic on the floor of the Camelback High School auditorium. On the agenda was a resolution on school vouchers, an issue that seemingly had nothing to do with the issue of immigration.

"We ought to do something about school vouchers not going to illegal aliens," croaked the blue-hair, noting that Catholic parochial schools were the biggest sinners in her eyes. "I know that a lot of money [from vouchers] has gone to illegal alien children."

Above: Paul Eckerstrom, the AZ Dems' new chairman. Below: Randy Pullen scores a second term as the state's top GOPer.
Stephen Lemons
Above: Paul Eckerstrom, the AZ Dems' new chairman. Below: Randy Pullen scores a second term as the state's top GOPer.

In the confusion that followed during the debate on the voucher resolution, Grandma Moses' suggestion was forgotten, seen as a non sequitur, even by those in agreement. The more progressive tuskers rolled their eyes at her comments. But such moderates — a dirty word among the Republican faithful — were generally in the minority.

Indeed, the rank and file of the Arizona branch of Abraham Lincoln's party remains firmly in the grip of a pathological fear of Mexicans. That's one of the main reasons Randy Pullen beat back challenger Lisa James, despite her stack of endorsements from party leaders like state House Speaker Kirk Adams, state Senate President Bob Burns, state Treasurer Dean Martin, and Congressman Jeff Flake.

Young and smart, with a proven track record as a fundraiser and organizer, particularly in her role as executive director of President George Bush's 2004 Arizona re-election effort, James seemed poised to take the mantle from Pullen, whose tenure has been filled with missteps, ideological preening, and a lack of serious fundraising.

In fact, the largest campaign contribution of the most-recent election cycle — $105K from MCSO Captain Joel Fox — is still the subject of controversy and investigation. Many believe, despite Pullen's repeated denials, that the money was illegally earmarked for a slimy campaign ad against Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 2008 rival, Dan Saban, one that charged Saban with masturbating while on duty.

At the meeting, many GOPers — Treasurer Martin, for instance — seemed disgusted by the mere mention of the ad. When this wacky warbler asked Martin early on why he was supporting James over Pullen, Martin let fly.

"Let's just say the party will be much better off when I don't have to turn off the TV or the radio because there's a GOP ad with sexually explicit language in it," he said.

Ice-cold as an undertaker, Pullen later defended the ad to this clucker, claiming it was the turning point in the Saban-Arpaio match-up.

"I spent $65,000 on an ad that ended Saban's run for sheriff," crowed Pullen. "It was like a nuclear bomb and destroyed any chance Saban had."

As for the ongoing fallout from the Fox contribution, Pullen insisted that "nothing will come of it." After all, he gave back the money, so what's the big deal?

But neither the Saban ad nor the Fox scandal ended up as deciding factors in the race for chairman. Rather, it was Pullen's proud nativism and his deft smear of James as being pro-amnesty. Where James preached party unity and inclusiveness, Pullen had no problem breaking Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment by speaking ill of another pachyderm.

"When our U.S. Senate Republican leadership decided it was time to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, hereby giving amnesty to 15 or 20 million illegal aliens in our country," he reminded during his re-election speech, "I said: 'No.'

"I stood up and was counted," said Pullen, later asking, "Where was my opponent? She was praising our congressional leadership for supporting amnesty."

The crowd booed, a sign that what former Republican County Attorney Rick Romley has termed "the new McCarthyism," regarding immigration, is still in full force.

Not surprisingly, after breaking into smaller groups, GOPers then cast their ballots in favor of Pullen, 521 to 474. That's a substantial margin, compared to the last time James and Pullen went toe-to-toe, when Pullen eked out a victory by a mere four votes.

After her defeat, James acknowledged that Pullen had effectively torpedoed her in his address.

"We have some very divided folks in our party on how they feel about [immigration]," she observed. "They're going to have to find some common ground because, unfortunately, the folks that are going to be deciding that now are in charge at the federal level."

Pullen's side also employed some classic Richard Nixon-esque rat-fucking techniques, such as adding an insert to each Republican's packet stating that James had been "endorsed" by New Times, even though that was patently false.

Though this cardinal's colleague Sarah Fenske interviewed James for a blog item, and The Bird's online doppelganger, Feathered Bastard, labeled Pullen (accurately) as being from "the wacky hillbilly wing of the party," New Times didn't endorse either candidate. New Times almost never endorses candidates, giving us the freedom to ream 'em all at a later date.

Wing-nutty GOP activist (and friend to The Bird) Bob Haran approached this avian as the meeting was breaking up and said, "You know what this means? This means the Arizona Republican Party cannot be bought."

Haran was referring to the financial influence of what he sees as the pro-illegal-alien faction of the party. But this beak-bearer sees it differently.

"Nah, Bob," he cracked. "This just means you hillbillies won."


From Camelback High's modest digs, The Bird hopped in his fabulous Thunderbird, and raced down to the Wyndham Hotel, where a revolution was taking place in the venue's tony ballroom. It was a revolution in which the Democratic Party threw off the losing shackles of ex-Governor Janet Napolitano's leadership, gave Chairman Don Bivens a friendly boot, and installed firebrand Tucson Dem Paul Eckerstrom as the donkeys' new jockey.

Not only was this revolution not televised, in the words of Gil Scott Heron, it was totally unexpected. Even to this talon-bearer, who's written incessantly about the Dems' needing to adopt new leadership and a new strategy heading into the darkness of far-right Republican dominance of Arizona.

The Bird had pecked at this problem after the debacle of the 2008 local elections, in which the Dems ended up losing seats in the state Legislature, bucking a national trend that elevated Barack Obama to the presidency. AZ Dems under Bivens, and his second-in-command, executive director Maria Weeg, squandered the momentum, as well as a million-dollar-plus lead in fundraising over GOPers.

The Bird urged Bivens to whack Weeg as a statement that the mistakes of 2008 wouldn't be repeated. These mistakes included not assisting Dan Saban and not focusing all the Dems' resources on Nappy's buddies, like Tim Nelson, who was vying for Death Star commander Andrew Thomas' position as county attorney. The Bird wanted Nelson to win, of course, but he also wanted the Dems to take the state House, as had been promised by Bivens.

The Dems' fat wallets aside, they didn't go for broke with a 30-legislative district strategy mirroring the winning 50-state strategy of ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean. The state leadership cherry-picked faves and ignored many Dems who were putting their fannies on the line to challenge entrenched Repubs.

Yet, the day before the Dems state party meeting, it looked as though Bivens would be re-elected sans opposition, though many party activists were dissatisfied, disillusioned, and damn angry over the fact that the state GOP was in control and looking to eviscerate education funding. The only name that had been floated earlier was former Pima County Chair Eckerstrom. But the month before, Eckerstrom had told this winged terror he wasn't planning on challenging Bivens, because his home was in Tucson, where he works for the Pima County Public Defender's Office, and he didn't want to move to party headquarters in Maricopa County.

Several politicos and activists encouraged Eckerstrom to run, including Dan O'Neal, head of the Arizona chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America, and Todd Landfried, host of Nova M's tres lefty Desert Politics radio show. New Corporation Commission member Sandra Kennedy, also urged him to go for it.

Eckerstrom, upset over GOP-proposed budget cuts and the Republicans' laying the blame for the budget mess at the Dems' door, announced his candidacy that a.m. He later informed this egret that he didn't think he would win.

Careful what you wish for. Though Bivens had been nominated by none other than Attorney General Terry Goddard, Bivens went down in flames, 324 to 255. The audience rose, cheering in response, and Bivens graciously gave away his seat to the incoming chairman.

"I feel a little bit like Robert Redford in The Candidate," joked Eckerstrom from the podium, "who after winning [a Senatorial campaign in the film] said, 'So what do we do now?'"

The Pima County Dem promised a "15-county" strategy, a move away from Maricopa County-centric politics (he doesn't plan to move to Phoenix from Tucson, he told this tweeter), and a unified party message in 2010.

Regarding Weeg, and whether she will get the ax, Eckerstrom stated that he was going through an "evaluative process" and hadn't decided yet. As for why he won, he opined that his fellow Dems were ready for a more aggressive tact.

"I think people were looking for the party to take more leadership in issues dealing with the budget," he said. "And quit having the Republicans blame us for the budget deficit they created with 20 years of tax cuts."

The party's direction was off in the last election, he noted. Dems wanted a change. As far as doing fundraising from Tucson instead of the capital, Eckerstrom didn't see that as a problem.

"I believe if we give people something to vote for, then we'll do well in fundraising," he asserted.

Hopefully Eckerstrom's election means the D's will get scrappier, ornerier even. They'll need to, if they plan to head off the trunk-swingers in 2010.


The Bird had such a blast covering both state reorganization meetings on the same day that he wishes he could do it every weekend. One contrast between the two mini-conventions, each required by state law, was that the Dems either dressed like they were going to a cocktail party or to a backyard barbecue. The Republicans, on the other hand, always dress like they're going to Sunday school, in strictly off-the-rack attire.

This partisan pelican often lights into GOPers, but he'll give 'em one thing: They know how to take a joke. Pullen had read a blog post by The Bird's online cousin, Feathered Bastard, who referred to Pullen as "a withered old nativist prune-face." Still, the chairman didn't blow The Bird off. He answered the questions put to him, commenting sarcastically, "I can't wait to see what you write about this one."

Outside, as folks milled about, Panama-hatted political consultant Constantin Querard defended Pullen on the notorious Saban ad, arguing that it was a fair hit.

"Fair hit?" squawked this sapsucker. "Are you telling me you've never masturbated before?"

"On the government clock?" he quacked. "Is that a payroll question or a timing question?"

Nearby was Nickel Bag Joe, holding court with a Pullen sticker on his sweater, natch. Joe, whose nose could rival W.C. Fields' in bulbousness these days, played at dodging this dove, then relented. The Bird asked our clownish top constable when the next anti-immigrant sweep was coming.

"I heard you almost got arrested in the last one," Arpaio said, avoiding the question. "Heard you were interfering with some of my deputies."

"Last time I checked, Joe, it wasn't against the law to observe cops out in the open," this sparrow spat. "And, by the way, why do they have to wear ski masks to pull people on traffic violations?"

"That's so you don't take their picture," he winked.

The Bird asked how Arpaio's G. Gordon Liddy, Captain Joel Fox, was going to come up with $315K if he ends up getting fined for the illegal contribution to the state GOP. Did the sheriff have a slush fund? Maybe some pink underwear money?

"Aw, I don't know anything about that," he waved, walking away.

"Gee, Joe, you might have to sell one of those secret plots of land you own. You know, one of the ones [former New Times columnist] John Dougherty wrote about way back?"

"Now you're getting personal, Bird," he warned, waving his finger, shuffling off.

Later, this pelican got to shake hands with Pinal County Sheriff and Republican Paul Babeu, who single-handedly ended Redflex's radar tyranny in his county, and GOP Representative Sam Crump, whose bill to end photo enforcement is chugging through the Legislature.

Also on hand was Candy Thomas' slithery Gollum-like aide Barnett Lotstein, spying for his master, no doubt (though he claimed not to be). On the other end of the food chain, this avian got to hobnob with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, a classy, thoughtful fellow who aims to take on Candy when they both run for the AG's office in 2010.

Sleepy-eyed Congressman Trent Franks made the scene, too, though he remained neutral on the James/Pullen bout. Even Governor Jan Brewer showed up briefly, albeit too briefly for The Bird to lob any queries her way.

The Dems' wingding was more wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. But this avian did pal around a bit with former county attorney hopeful Gerald Richard, now with the AG's office, and Jeff Farias, whose indie online talk show continues to be popular with local liberals.

As mentioned, the Jackie Brown of Zona politics, Corporation Commish Sandra Kennedy was in the house, looking magnificent as always. And before Bivens went down for the count, the outrageous oriole chatted with executive director Weeg, who admitted that there had been "talks" between Bivens and her as to whether she'd be staying on. Weeg was literally biting her nails as the vote took place. And as soon as Eckerstrom took his seat as the new chair, she was up on the dais, whispering into his ear at length.

Thing is, if Bivens had cut her loose before the meeting, there probably would've been no challenge to begin with. That Weeg's got glue on her heels! Or wears the right perfume. Or something.

Show Pages
My Voice Nation Help

Karmas a bitch. Pullen and his crowd are riding high now. But theyre doing so with an appeal to fear and bigotry. Long term theyre bound to lose.

Dennis Gilman
Dennis Gilman

Welcome Eckerstrom, Good ridence Bivens and shame on the Republicans and Napolitano!

The Az GOP will do to Arizona what the Bush Administration did to our Nation: Cut taxes on the wealthy, govern in a partisan exclusive fashion, destroy the economy and hand it over to the Dem's in 2006 to clean up.

They already chose to ignore the voices of school teachers, ministers, community organizers, students and fiscally conservative Republicans. Instead, this GOP caters to gun touting Nativist extremists following Joe Arpaio and Russell Pearce like the cult followers of Jim Jones. The only differance is they already drank the Koolaid. It must shock National politico's when our State GOP looks at Kyle and McCain as not conservative enough for their own party. Is it any wonder why Huffington Post and the New York Times are linking to Phoenix New Times Articles in their Editorials?

Just what is the GOP's vision for the future of Arizona? A military State where anyone can be harassed because of the color of their skin, jailed for opposing the County Attorney or Sheriff? Excuse me. We are already there. ( MCSA 8, New Times Editors and ACLU Lawyers all have been arrested for nothing more then exercising their 4th Amendment rights). This is indeed the new age of McCarthyism for any moderate and sensible republican that continues to support this party.

They've already promised money to fund more Mexican Hunting Sweeps for Arpaio and his thugs while cutting education, jobs and needed Health programs. Napolitano didn't just desert us, she is selling our failed immigration policies to the Nation. Since our Employer Sanctions Law went into effect over a year ago, not one employer has been convicted. Is that really a model for the Nation? 287 (g) has been a moral failure and has not made us safer or reduced crime. It is nothing more then an attack on the poor and has created a situation where we have 1000's of U.S. born children watch as mom or dad are taken away. It has legalized racial profiling and our Sheriff encourages every one to join in by promoting his Mexican Hunting Hot-Line on our County Vans. Communities are being destroyed. Families live in fear. They may have one family member unable to become a citizen due to the unfair process which targets the poor. Mexico's poor are the one's that have suffered most due to NAFTA. Many had little choice but to migrate or starve. They built this city and are a major reason for its beauty and culture we've all enjoyed. Our years of economic growth would not have been possible without them. Now we show our thanks by promoting Apartheid in Maricopa County. History will look down on this dark period. Without humanity, justice and dignity for all, economic recovery will never happen. True recovery requires balance.

Real immigration solutions require Amnesty. It's not a 4 letter word. We've tried the police state model and it has only helped destroy our economic and moral fiber. We need to stop listening to the fear mongering of racist Nativists that have the ear of the GOP. When all are allowed (and required) to come out from the shadows without retribution, we can solve this issue in a humane manor Martin Luther King and Barry Goldwater would both be proud of. This is the only sensable way to eliminate possable criminals hiding here and will stop victimizing good people trying to share in the American dream. But human rights are no longer important to a political system that caters to Joe Arpaio and Russell Pearce or the Arizona State Legislature. Unfortunately, they are of no concern to Janet Napolitano either.

Are they a concern to Obama? Only if we can make him listen to someone other then Janet Napolitano.


The racist comments here speak for themselves. Guess these are the rank and file of the Republicracker Party. Wake up, white people. Its the age Obama. Your era is over.

Johnny Newton
Johnny Newton

What a bunch of liberal hooey. Randy Pullen is a man of principle, a man with the intestinal fortitude to oppose our traitorous U.S. Senators, both of whom would sell us out to the Mexican government, and allow the armies of unbathed, disease-carrying illegals to continue to invade our sovereign soil. Because men like Pullen, Arpaio and Thomas are at work, the brown menace is ebbing, flowing back to its source like the tide. God bless all three of them. They just may be the saviors of the Republic.

Dave Sullen
Dave Sullen

Randy Pullen as chief GOP strategist and fundraiser?!!! Enjoy your 2 years in control tards. You guys lucked out this time cause the Dems wussed out. 2010 will be different and if all you guys got is hating Messicans and cutting education spending, the state GOP is DOOMED!

Former Republican
Former Republican

Pullen represents the worst of the Republican party in AZ and why Arizona regressed, while the nation moved for change going forward. The party is split and as long as the Pullen mentality reigns it does not bode well for AZ, a state sinking into a deeper hole by the day.


Big Bird, you have flown into one too many windows trying to get out of the heat.

I always enjoy a good conversation about masturbating...not sure what all the big deal is. How come the republicans don't want it on tv? Must be trying to protect something.

But the problem with Saban, dumbass, is that he couldn't wait 4 hours to be done with his shift before he ran home to shake hands with Mr. Johnson. Good heavens...was it [i]that[/i] urgent?

Maybe he was just excited to be in uniform. But I don't think he has to turn it in at the end of the shift, so maybe he could've just waited until the weekend?

What do you suppose would happen if a compadre called for urgent backup? Would the energetic Mr. Saban stop mid stroke and run out the door with a pup tent in his pants?

Then's probably small enough you wouldn't notice.

Nuthin wrong with a little self pleasure now and again...I'm sure you are quite well versed in a variety of techniques...but I'll bet you never stopped in the middle of the day to take a long lunch and rough up the usual suspect.

Nobody in the world would ever care if the guy spent every single day off from 13 years old until now in 20 hour marathon wanking sessions and then bragged about his blisters, but the guy gets so in touch with himself that he can't even wait until the end of his shift has a problem, big bird...a real problem.


Little balls... said Randy, "I have nothing more than little balls. Lisa, of course, has none, but she does have ethics, morals, and intestinal fortitude, of which I have none".

Randy Pullen is proud of himself for his crap ad on Dan Saban, huh? Dan Saban is a very good person and would have done a great job as Sheriff.

Randy Pullen can't take pride in his part to get arpaio re-elected. Time will heal this wound and Pullen will be the festered infection that is eradicated along with arpaio.

You so-called Republicans who voted for him should certainly be ashamed of yourselves.

Juan Mendacity
Juan Mendacity

The problem is that Americans get paid too much. That's why them Messicans come over here. We ought to get rid of the minimum wage law and have a maximum wage law instead. (Business owners and managers will be exempt, because they lead by excellence and need to be motivated.) Don't you folks know that the more you get paid, the higher the price of the goods you buy? Employers just add your wages to the cost of what they sell. So, instead of asking for a raise, everybody should ask for a wage cut. This will be a boon for the American consumer because then they'll be able to afford more crap from Wal-Mart at even cheaper prices. Is there a logical flaw with this argument? I don't think so. Whatever you do, don't even think of joining a union. They're pure evil. If you MUST ask for a raise, just say "pretty please" and hope for the best. If you don't have any luck, quit your job and run around to each of your employer's competitors in turn, saying pretty please to each one. Just remember that as a new employee you'll be starting out at the bottom of the ladder. Sucker.

Phoenix Concert Tickets