Greasing the Way for Goddard

"I had rather be a dog than the prime minister of a country where the only things the inhabitants can be serious about are football and refreshments." --George Bernard Shaw

The real political infighting never changes. We never learn about the brutal behind-the-scenes business until too late.

But this time it's different. Insiders loyal to Governor Rose Mofford are talking. Outraged by the high-pressure tactics of Terry and Sam Goddard, they are telling what happened now.

A few days before the governor announced her decision not to run, Mofford met with the father-and-son team in her office. It was the second meeting the trio had held. The topic of discussion was the same both times: Sam and the son of Sam wanted Mofford to step aside.

Sam Goddard and Mofford have known each other more than thirty years. Mofford still defers to him because she remembers when he was governor and she was a loyal Democratic follower employed far down in the ranks of state workers.

"Rose, you must make your decision now," Sam told her. "You have got to drop out for the good of the party. Our polls show that if you run for governor, you can't win. We must retain this office. You owe it to everyone to step down." Mofford didn't believe Goddard at first.

"But why is it that my own polls show I can win?" Mofford asked.
"Your polls are wrong," Sam Goddard said. "Rose, a lot of people around the state like you, but you can't win." "And who runs for governor if I step aside?" Mofford asked.

Sam Goddard hesitated.
"Terry's ready. And the party leaders agree Terry can win." There was an awkward silence in the room. Mofford's lips quivered.

"I'll let you know soon, Sam. And now, will both of you please excuse me? I've things to do." Sam Goddard, the ex-governor, and his son, the mayor of Phoenix, left the governor's office.

Later that day, several of Mofford's assistants noted that the governor seemed to be fighting to hold back tears.

One of Mofford's assistants figured out what had happened even before being told. "Those two greedy sons of bitches," the assistant says. "They weren't going to let anything stand in the way of moving Terry Goddard to the ninth floor, were they?" Nothing strange about this story. The real world works this way.

I went down to the city council chambers to watch Terry Goddard quit as Phoenix mayor and announce he'd run for governor.

"When I ran for mayor last year," Goddard said, with strained sincerity, "I never imagined Governor Mofford wouldn't run for re-election. I know her change of plans didn't come easy . . . " Terry Goddard managed to say these last words with a straight face.

Of course he knew Mofford's decision to drop out didn't come easy. Hadn't he taken part in the arm-twisting sessions where he and his father muscled the old governor aside? The Goddards have decided it is time for Arizona to have another Goddard in the governor's chair.

The timing of young Goddard's announcement was crucial. There were rumblings that Carolyn Warner, a Democratic candidate in the last election, wanted to make another run at the governor's chair. So Goddard had to announce before Warner could get back into the state from vacation. It was imperative for them to beat Warner to the punch.

The tactical reasoning was sound. If Terry Goddard's own announcement played strongly enough in the media, perhaps Warner might even be bluffed out of the Democratic primary.

There were a dozen television cameras set up in front of the podium when Goddard arrived to much applause from his City Hall followers.

All the usual Terry Goddard-Bruce Babbitt sycophants were fussing about the hall. They're fascinating to observe. They are smug, arrogant, narcissistic and, above all, overconfident. This is a group of people who clearly believes they were born to run things.

Burton Barr, the perennial fixer, who has become Goddard's chief adviser, wasn't present. But that's not surprising. He may not even surface during the rest of the campaign. Rest assured, however, that Barr is a prominent member of the team.

Bruce Babbitt, he of the grandly nonchalant manner, was also not in the hall. He is too much the grand seigneur of Arizona politics to lower himself to appear at such a gathering.

But the Goddard-Babbitt alliance was publicly affirmed several days later when it was announced that Babbitt's wife, Hattie, will run Terry's campaign.

Do you think that it would be impossible for Barr and Babbitt to work together because they are from different sides of the political spectrum? They can. Even when Babbitt was governor and Barr speaker of the house, Barr served as godfather to one of Babbitt's sons.