Don Bivens, the $160,000 Man, Slimes Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona

Former Arizona Democratic Party Chair Don Bivens will not go gently into that good night, like he should.

Rather, Bivens seems hell-bent on an ugly contest in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate this year. 

Already, he's going negative on former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, the guy President Barack Obama and many Arizona Dems want to head off against a GOPer (likely, U.S. Congressman Jeff Flake) in the fall. 

The Sierra Vista Herald reports that Bivens dissed Carmona during a local meet-and-greet as a Johnny-come-lately Democrat and as "a person who has no real desire to serve."

Ex-squeeze me? Dandy Don Bivens, a hella-wealthy law partner with the big-shot firm of Snell & Wilmer, would be lucky to have a fraction of Carmona's record of public service. 

Let's see, aside from Carmona's four years as Surgeon General, Carmona served his country nobly during the Vietnam War as a Green Beret. 

He was awarded two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars during his stint in the Special Forces. 

And, if you ask me, Bivens owes Carmona an apology for the inaccurate insult, in no small part because of those medals.

Moreover, from 1986 on Carmona was a doctor with the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the head of their SWAT team, earning him praise from Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and an award as one of the nation's "top cops" from the National Association of Police Organizations.

So how can Bivens say that Carmona has "no real desire to serve"? That statement is as dumb as Rush Limbaugh's sexist comments about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke.

Amazingly, Bivens continues to try to paint himself as a man of the people.

Check this passage in the Herald story:

"When [Bivens] was a teenager, gasoline was a little less than 37 cents a gallon for full service and he was one of the employees providing the full service. Bivens, who was born in New Mexico where he developed his middle class credentials, said, `I came from a background of hard work.'"

Um, Bivens' dad was a doctor. He may have pumped gas for beer money, but this guy never endured poverty. Bivens even attended Yale University for his undergraduate degree, for cryin' out loud.

These days, as a Snell & Wilmer partner, Bivens is loaded. So much so, he was able to lend $160,000 of his own money to his U.S. Senate campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Carmona, no child of privilege, was raised in Harlem in a poor Puerto Rican household, and actually endured homelessness as a kid. The fact that he overcame his impoverished background to become the 17th U.S. Surgeon General is a great American story.

Which is one reason Democrats recruited him to run. Another was Carmona's service in law enforcement and the U.S. military. That service will help Carmona garner Independent and Republican votes in the general election.

There's real enthusiasm about Carmona's run, enthusiasm that Bivens cannot scare up. And a poll done late last year showed Carmona within four points of GOPer Flake. Bivens was 10 points behind the Republican golden boy with the toothy grin.

Bivens was not a good leader of the state party when he had that job, and I'm hardly a fan. But I would have some respect for him if he pulled out now and began campaigning for Carmona. That would show self-sacrifice and party loyalty. 

If he doesn't, well, you can be assured he will lose in the primary and head back to his cushy, lucrative job at Snell & Wilmer. Maybe then he'll stick to what he knows best: a white collar, an office with a view, and a three hour lunch whenever he wants to take it.

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