The following is the GabbyWatch.com exclusive interview with Arizona Republican National Committeman Bruce Ash and his thoughts on who is the real Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
You are currently the Arizona Republican National Committeeman and a resident of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, correct?
As Arizona’s Republican National Committeeman, what is your biggest frustration with Gabrielle Giffords representing Arizona in Washington?
She doesn’t represent Arizona. She doesn’t represent the people or values of the 8th District. She has consistently voted against the interests of her district. She has voted to strip the rights of workers. She has voted to increase taxes. She has voted against funding our troops and supports a withdraw from Iraq. She’s reckless with her earmark projects and is disingenuous about it. All-in-all, she’s doing exactly what she accused the GOP in the last Congress of doing.
As a resident of CD8, what is your biggest frustration with Giffords representing you?
I’m embarrassed by her. She is inconsistent in her thinking, and has been since she was in the state legislature. She doesn’t know all the facts and parts about policy like a good member of Congress should. She is simply a superficial thinker.
When she’s in public, she comes across as immature. I was recently at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for an appreciation dinner for troops who had just returned from the Middle-East and two of the speakers were Gabby and State Representative Jonathan Paton. Paton has just come back from a 6 month tour of Iraq and gave a great speech. Ten minutes later Gabby spoke and proceeded to giggle about her experiences on the House Armed Services Committee. Chairman Skelton had placed Gabby in the front row of the committee, and because of that she said it was fun being there because she sits close enough to hand a general a breath mint.
She is an embarrassment. She is doing damage to Arizona with the way she votes. Luckily the Senate hasn’t passed many of the bills the House has and the President has promised vetoes on a number of those bills should they ever make it to his desk. In short, she consistently votes against the wishes of her constituents.
When Gabby ran for Congress last fall she claimed to be a moderate and a fiscal conservative. Since becoming a Congresswoman she has been accepted into the Blue Dog Coalition. Do you find any of this hypocritical?
Yes. She’s not a Blue Dog. Anyone who votes for tax increases and is as reckless and disingenuous about earmarks as she is can’t call themselves a fiscal conservative. I find it really interesting too how she has only been in the House for a couple of months, yet sought membership into the group so quickly.
How is it, do you believe, that Gabby can be a part of a group that claims to be fiscally conservative and independent from the Democratic party line thinking, yet step-in line with Nancy Pelosi 94% of the time?
She can’t. That’s impossible. But it is her system of public relations support that lets her do that. Whenever she comes to the district, she’ll only talk in generalities, and never the specifics, and a lot of the time she’ll defer questions to her staff. When she’s in Tucson or when her press machine is working, she looks like she is fighting for Arizona. But when she goes back to DC it’s a different story. When she votes with the party leadership, she’s breaking all of the promises she has made to the people of Arizona.
Do you think that it is fair to say that Gabby is better suited for a Blue Lemming Coalition rather than the Blue Dog Coalition?
If there was such a coalition, I’d be the first one to pay for her admission into it.
What do you think were Gabby’s reasons for voting for HR 800, a bill that torpedoed the democratic process in worker unions, when Arizona is a right-to-work state?
The Lord only knows. She has received money and support from Big Labor and continues to do so. When she was in the state legislature, she often listened to the last person that whispered in her ear. Meaning that her votes are based on where the money comes from and not on a philosophy or belief in what is right. When she announced the way she voted on H.R. 800, she spun it to make it look like she is helping the American workers. Yet the vote is a contrary to Arizona’s values and law.
This is exactly the reason why Arizonan’s need to look out for a Democratic takeover of any of the houses at the state legislature. Because the first thing they would do as the majority party would be to strip Arizona of its right-to-work status. The Big Labor people would be all over it. Not to mention that we currently have a Governor that would sign such a bill in a heart beat.
Gabby didn’t do Arizonans any favors by voting for the resolution.
What do you think about Gabby still claiming to be a fiscal conservative after requesting over $327 million in pork, compared to Raul Grijalva’s $178 million?
Well she initially refused to disclose her earmarks, but finally did when the Arizona Daily Star, myself, and a number of other people called her out on it. When she did release the information, she put a lot of spin to it. For example, her $200 million earmark for the Javelin Missile System was her way of showing she fights for National Defense. Yet she was still low-key about it all because she was afraid that this project would cause her base to turn on her.
Her other pork projects such as those for solar energy and water canals are a waste of tax-payer dollars.
When Gabby returned from a trip to Iraq with Senator Kyl, she said in an interview that she would never vote to cut funding from our troops, yet went right the other way and voted in favor of HR 1591, the Democrats “slow bleed bill.” What do you think attributed to her lying about her stance on Iraq and support for our troops?
She says a lot of stuff in the press that throw people off track. Because when she returns to Washington she’ll vote with the party leadership and vote the wrong way. I have a close relationship with people that were on that trip to Iraq and they told me that she spent no time talking to military leaders in Iraq about policy or status on the ground. She had already made up her mind on Iraq before she got there. They told me she spent more time messing around and telling stories and learned nothing substantive out of the trip about what needs to be done to ensure success in Iraq. She was more interested in the second leg of the trip when they went to Israel.
Senator Kyl sponsored her on that trip because he wanted to mentor her. But Kyl told me that he was very disappointed with her and what she did on the trip and it was clear that she had made up her mind before ever going.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has been quoted as saying of Gabrielle “I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the first or second female president of the United States.” Do you think the Democratic Party is grooming her for more powerful positions?
It’s possible. But the whole notion of her being primed for national leadership is laughable. She has a superficial knowledge of the issues and is absolutely not ready for a higher role. Under no circumstances would she be a viable candidate for national office.
Reich too has been a tool of Big Labor for years. Him saying this about Giffords is all a part of the circle of her being buddy-buddy with labor bosses. I find it interesting though that she does have such a good relationship with Big Labor. When she took over her family’s business she treated her employees with utter contempt. When she sold the business, she cut the legs off of every staff member who had been loyal to her family for years. She left them in the cold. She had an absolute disregard for her family’s business. If people actually knew the way she ran her business they wouldn’t like it. But then again, it’s all about the money with her.
In your opinion what is the worst thing that Giffords has done since being elected to Congress?
The thing that will have the longest lasting effect will be her complicity with the Democratic leadership over sacrificing U.S. interests in the Middle-East, Iraq specifically. She has clearly shown a lack of support for our armed forces.
If we leave Iraq, and we haven’t got the job done, we’ll have to go back. No one else in the world is capable of doing so, except for the United States. If we have to go back, things are going to be far worse. If the U.S. is perceived to be the loser, it’ll be because of Congress. This Congress has decided that they hate President Bush so much, that they are willing to perform something like a coup d’état and micromanage this war. If that happens, there is absolutely no good outcome from that scenario.
Having said that, we have made plenty of mistakes in Iraq. It’s a war, it happens. But it’s not the job of Congress to micromanage the Commander-in-Chief. Their micromanagement of this war is going to be one of her lasting negative contributions.
What is the GOP doing to increase its efforts of taking back the seat that Jim Kolbe had held for so many years?
It is going to take a number of different levels to do so. Number one, in Legislative District 26, which is part of Gabby’s district, there is going to be an intense voter registration movement to register Republicans. Number two, the GOP is going to field candidates in every legislative race so that every Democrat is going to be challenged. We’re going to have outstanding candidates to represent the GOP in these various contests. If we have that much going on, its going to make things difficult for Gabby because the Democrats will be hit hard everywhere in her district.
It’s unbelievable too that we went from Jim Kolbe to Gabrielle Giffords. Kolbe was not a politician, he was a statesman. He truly represented Arizona and his district. He was knowledgeable of the issues and got the job done. He understood economics. He was a Cold-Warrior and later a fierce opponent of Islamic Jihadism. He understood the Middle-East, he got the picture. We’ve gone from Jim Kolbe to Gabrielle Giffords. It’s inconceivable.
What have you been doing both as a resident of CD8 and as the Republican National Committeeman to shed light on the real Gabby Giffords?
I have been doing radio editorials in Tucson and Southern Arizona for almost two years. I’ve written a number of pieces regarding Gabby’s votes and positions, will continue to do so.
Who do you think is the best person to take on Gabby in 2008?
I think Tim Bee will be the nominee. He is a compelling candidate against Giffords. A lot of races though will depend on who is GOP nominee for President and Vice President. If we field a strong ticket for the top national office, Bee can easily take the seat in District 8. Bee would run a strong, clean campaign, and it will greatly contrast himself from Giffords and her voting record.