The "woe is me" wing of the GOP should note those reports of their demise were a tad premature.
Pundits telling us the future is with Democrats based on youth and ethnicity ignore that the young grow up and ethnic minorities, even when artificially compressed into plantation districts by hack leaders, ultimately act in their own self interest, move away and follow the Irish, the Italians and others into the American mainstream.
Republicans concerned about youth should check the inordinately large batch of talent seeking local office. Here in District 26 note Terry Proud, a young mother of two planning to make this district solid GOP in 2010. She's bright, articulate, attractive and has a better grasp of issues than some already there.
In Congressional District Seven, Ruth McClung, 27, is about to save the GOP from the embarrassment of again nominating racist pariah Joe Sweeney. McClung has a unique approach based on the cliche "it doesn't take a rocket scientist." As an employee of Raytheon who works on rocket design, she is a rocket scientist.
Republicans should be embarrassed with Sweeney as a nominee, but incumbent CD7 Congressman Raul Grijalva should notice that a political derelict publicly repudiated by leaders in his own party got 36 percent of the vote against him in a heavy Democrat year.
The big GOP talent show is in CD 8, held by pastel-dog Democrat Gabby Giffords. Four Republicans are running there.
Tom Carlson and Andy Goss are so far the weakest. Neither has noticed a weekly newspaper in the northern portion of the district with a columnist who writes about this stuff who also hosts a radio talk show.
Carlson served as an Army Reserve officer in Kuwait. Goss is from Sierra Vista and is an Iraqi Army veteran. Their websites are http://carlsonforcongress.com">carlsonforcongress.com and gossforcongress.com.
It's hard to avoid Brian Miller and Jesse Kelly both at GOP and other events. They're young, attractive, articulate, intelligent conservatives who would give Gabby a real brawl that her glass jaw can't handle after her Cap and Trade and ObamaCare votes. Both Kelly and Miller have attracted national attention and, like army vet Goss, are under-40 combat veterans of the Middle East.
Edge for now is with Kelly, who has collected both the most endorsements and the most money. Kelly served as a Marine infantryman, Miller as an A-10 pilot and instructor. Websites are: http://votejessekelly.com">votejessekelly.com and http://brianmillerforcongress.com">brianmillerforcongress.com.
The usual backroom GOP suspects have noticed Gabby's vulnerable, and impressed with incumbent state legislators, are pushing State Sen. Jonathan Paton. They tried this in 2006 with State Rep. Steve Huffman, who lost the primary to former State Rep. Randy Graf, who was promptly shivved by them for being "too conservative." (When you hear that, read "too uncontrollable".)
In 2008 they muscled everybody out for State Senate President Tim Bee, someone everybody liked, raised him plenty of money but forced him into a mush-mouthed campaign. He was beaten as big as Graf.
Political street talk has Paton running as a "moderate." If so, he'll lose the GOP Primary to either Miller or Kelly, maybe both. The 2008 election moved America just far enough left for more people to find out what that really means. Voters are fed up with party hacks.
Paton's six months in Iraq as an intel officer is a higher qualification than being a state senator, but any attempt to shove him onto GOP voters here will be met with overwhelming resistance.
Something more relevant than ephemeral youth votes. All five GOP candidates in CD 8 wore a uniform, two more than ran for President (McCain, Hunter, Paul) . Good trend.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.