Friday, September 19, 2008

Governor eyeing a Rally?

Like a bad penny, the discussions about the failure of the transportation initiative and the state-trust land initiative keep turning up. In this fairly quiet time following the Primary Election, there hasn't been much to talk about. However, it looks like Governor Napolitano is looking for ways to rally.

She is going to join Obama in Florida to campaign for him. This will help get her back in the news, especially with her cheerleaders since they are all breathlessly announcing that Obama is "back on message."

She was also recently named New Dem of the Week by the Democratic Leadership Council. This type of positive attention will help her get past the failures of late and help bolster her position against the impending budget issues that are heading her way in the wake of sagging revenues.

Finally, she is taking aim at Prop 101, the so-called "Medical Choice" initiative. The initiative is considered to be confusing by some and it now is raising questions about if it has the potential of hurting the healthcare options for the poor. On the surface, she sounds like she is fighting choice, but the devil, they say, is in the details. If Napolitano can stick to arguing about the unitended consequences of this initiative and stay away from the socialized medicine aspect, she may have found a way to be relevant in this election.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Is Napolitano losing her mojo?

Even the Arizona Republic is starting to wonder what is going on with Governor Janet Napolitano. In an out of character review, the oft-fawning paper questions if Napolitano's powers are waning in the wake of failed initiative efforts and departing staff positions. Will she return her focus to the state with the Presidential contest is over?

One of the most interesting points from this article is the notion that for the first six years, the Governor, while doing very little, has been able to gather the perception of a juggernaut. She won on all-day kindergarden and well... that is about it. CPS is still a mess and the surplus that she bragged about gathering is now dust in the wind from a controversial budget that depends on borrowing and lottery winnings to make ends meet.

Some have argued that the key to her "dominance" was doing very little, making calculated moves with incremental success. It was enough success to get re-elected by wide margins. However, now in her second term, her team is trying to do more to leave a legacy and implement their agenda. Meanwhile, the Democrats are also depending on her cache to help sweep more Dems into office this cycle.

Basically, its her show, she's the star, and the world is waiting on her to get things done. The first test - the ballot initiatives - was a miserable defeat. It was the Governor's plan, executed by the Governor's people and a combination of strategic errors and inexperience doomed both.

Next up, the Novemer election. Assuming Tim Nelson wins the Primary today, he'll become the symbol of the Governor's influence on candidate races. Clearly, Nelson is her pick and he is even on record claiming that her name is what is helping him raise the big money. We'll see if he is able to topple Andrew Thomas.