Every election season brings complaints about "negative campaigns."

Folks having that sensitivity should check out our first one. The American Revolution was a negative campaign waged against the Brits and the Declaration of Independence was the first hit sheet, targeting George III. Quit whining; attack politics are the American way.

The GOP candidates in CD8 are currently exchanging attacks via handouts at joint appearances, principally from Jesse Kelly whomping Jonathan Paton and Paton whacking back. Paton used one I found so shaky that I verified its authenticity directly with him. He said he was responding to Kelly's hits and was tired of hearing about having been a lobbyist. Bet J.D. Hayworth is, too.

I reviewed a batch of Kelly material illustrating a series of Paton votes in the State Legislature on tort reform, school choice, the state budget, and others that Kelly claims prove Paton isn't really a conservative. While there's wiggle room on some, Kelly's point is that he is to the right of Paton. Paton's response tries to infer that he is to the right of Kelly.

The Paton camp uses five issues to prove "Jesse Kelly calls himself conservative – but he isn't telling you the entire story." Paton then proceeds not to tell you the entire story.


Kelly's family owns a large construction company that builds things like roads and bridges. Some of those projects got stimulus money. Is his family supposed to stop bidding on public works projects?

Kelly is supposedly soft on border security because he isn't ready for the use of troops. Only it's hard to call a guy soft on illegal immigration who is supported by Joe Arpaio.

Kelly "supports Washington spending" in opposing a balanced budget amendment. Balanced budget means you can spend whatever you want as long as you tax to cover it. Even Gabby is for that. Real conservatives support tax and spending limitations.

Kelly never voted in a Republican primary. True. He's the new kid. But he learns quickly because unlike Paton he has a GOP elephant on his signs. Paton has no party reference on his.

As limp as those are, I would have let this slide except for the last one.

"Says he's not a career politician but began running for office at 28 years old." Besides bordering illiteracy, this is ludicrous.

This is Kelly's first run for public office. Paton is 37 and only missed having his name on a ballot for something once in every election since 1998, having sought four different public offices beginning when he was 25.

I have nothing against career politicians. I have argued that the title covers most of the Founders to our great benefit. But I have real problems with those who use it as an epithet against someone who isn't one when they are.

What should concern Republicans wishing to defeat Giffords in November is the incompetence of a campaign that produces drivel like this. The Republican hierarchy that lost CD8 twice with tired, hack campaigns is back, with far less money than Tim Bee had two years ago, much of which is already blown on out of state consultants and staff.

These overpaid geniuses are trying to position Paton to the right of Kelly and the third choice, Brian Miller. That's like squeezing past Duncan Hunter and Rand Paul – there's no room.

Kelly and Miller sincerely represent two different wings of the Tea Party movement. Jonathan Paton is a bright, competent, reasonably conservative guy whose handlers have maneuvered into calculation over commitment and position over principle.

Even worse, they're inept.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturday 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.

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