Tonight I heard an ad by Jon Kyl's campaign. The ad is interesting in that it attacks Jim Pederson for attacking Kyl.
So what was the attack? Pederson went on the air a couple of weeks ago with a series of positive ads, introducing himself to the voters. The only time I've even heard an ad mention anything about Kyl was one of the ads in which Pederson quotes John McCain (Kyl's fellow Arizona Republican in the Senate) in which he criticizes Kyl's plan for illegal immigration as 'fantasy.' (I'm inclined to agree; the Kyl-Cornin bill specifies that undocumented immigrants should go home and apply legally. The law already says that, so it is simply a waste of paper which accomplishes nothing.) That's it. That's the closest I've heard to an attack on Kyl.
Pederson's tagline ("He'll be nobody's Senator but ours") could be construed as a swipe at Kyl, but only by guilty parties. Pederson is pointing out that as a self made millionaire with a net worth of anywhere from $50 million to $200 million (depending on whose estimate you look at), he certainly doesn't want to go to Washington to get rich, and will be immune to the kind of big money influence peddling and lobbying scandals that we have seen abounding in Washington (Pederson has elected to accept a lot of small individual donations, but is matching the large amounts that Kyl has been raising from big money interests out of his own pocket-- so that he won't 'owe' anyone if he gets elected). In contrast, Kyl has been a Senator for twelve years, was a Congressman before that, was a lobbyist before that, was a congressional staffer before that, and before that, his father was a Congressman. So Pederson is contrasting his own background of having never run for or worked in public office (other than party chair) against Kyl's having never done anything else in his life.
But overall, Pederson's ads are positive, focused on him and not his opponent.
So why is Kyl claiming that Pederson is running an attack campaign? It's just not been true so far, with very little criticism and that being pretty mild stuff.
Well, I know why. I've known why since the day in January (or was it December) when I got a call from a 'pollster' who asked for me by name (that should have been a tip-off right there). Apparently they like to call Democratic activists (my county chair and former chair have gotten the same kinds of calls) by misidentifying themselves as 'pollsters' and then asking questions designed to try and get an expression of doubt (i.e. 'would you be more likely or less likely to vote for Jim Pederson if you knew...') I guess they figure that if they can get us to defect on a point, then it would be devastating in an ad aimed at the general public. Apparently, having twelve years in the Senate and very little in the way of actual accomplishments to show for it, Jon Kyl has concluded that the only way to win this race is if he can make Jim Pederson the issue, so he plans to smear Pederson anyway he can. Of course, he has to begin with the obligatory 'he attacked me first ad' (probably what I saw tonight) so he won't look as bad when he starts throwing the real mud.
In fact, as I write this, I just heard another Kyl ad. He criticizes Pederson for supporting the 1986 immigration act. Kyl focuses on one aspect of the ad-- the fact that it provided amnesty for immigrants then in the country illegally. His ad forgets to mention that it also provided enforcement mechanisms. True, they have not been enforced. And during all the time that they have not been enforced-- Jon Kyl has been in Congress (either the house or the Senate). For twelve of the twenty years it has not been enforced, Republicans have been in control of the executive branch, and also for most of the twenty years they have been in control of both the House and the Senate. And Jon Kyl has been part of the Senate for every day since the GOP took control after the 1994 elections. So if the act has failed, then it is hardly the fault of Jim Pederson, who has been working in the private sector, but Jon Kyl can be faulted because he certainly was in a position of responsibility. Also, that 1986 act was pushed by the President at the time-- Ronald Reagan. So, you now have a conservative Republican who has been in Washington the whole time, attacking a moderate Democrat for praising a Reagan initiative because the government in Washington failed to carry out the enforcement part of the bill, something that Kyl was in a position where he could have done something about, but did not. He must not be upset that no one learns history anymore, in fact he's counting on it.
All I have to say is this: Jon Kyl has been in or around Congress his entire adult life (and a good part of his juvenile life as well). He's had decades to fix the problems. If they haven't been fixed, then maybe it's time we get someone with 'zero experience' in Washington (quoting another Kyl ad) to go in and take a look at things from another angle.