Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Big Bill: Movin' It To The Center, Plus: More Inside Info From The Innards Of The State Senate, And: Senator Pete Says No Time For The Pain
It hasn't taken Big Bill very long to figure out where he thinks his Dem Party should go in the wake of the devastating loss to Bush. The Guv was making the national and local media rounds Monday touting his proposed legislation that would have the state pay for $250,000 worth of life insurance for the nearly 4,000 active members of the NM National Guard. No other state provides such a benefit and the Big Guy is getting some good national press on the measure, including a mention Sunday from Andrea Mitchell on NBC's "Meet The Press."
It's all part of the positioning for 2008 of course. And the Big Fella's supportive move of the military is not lost on those conservative Dems who abandoned the party in droves last year Some will call it pandering. Others will call it leadership pointing out that Big Bill at least has a compass and a road map to lead Dems out of their wilderness.
INSIDE THE SENATE
Top level Republicans are reacting to our Friday report detailing how the State Senate Dems will bust the coalition of R's and D's in the senate by giving wavering Dems plum committee posts. They see Big Bill's fingerprints all over the deal (which was apparently solidified at a Senate Dem caucus meeting this weekend).
Here's how one of those R's analyzed the new line-up in a late-night e-mail: "The interesting point is that while trying to give the possible malcontents something, he had to leave out many competent Senators who have been there for a while especially from up north. They might feel more responsibility about representing their constituents than representing Big Bill. Those that sold their souls for a committee chairmanship will now be obliged to answer to Bill. If they stick with the coalition the Dems will still be in control--committees will be proportional. Republicans will probably only get a couple of vice-chairs out of the deal--But maintaining the Senate's integrity will be the main thing."
Maintaining integrity is a great goal, but maintaining power is the first order of business. On that, Big Bill and the Dems are leaving the Senate R's in the dust, and the coalition too.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S. Senate Pete Domenici is saying he is rested and ready. This in the wake of continued speculation about the health of the 72 year old and whether he has the stamina to chair the Energy Committee. Pete will be 73 in May. He says new arthritis treatments have helped him and he is not in chronic pain. His late campaign foray into Indian country on behalf of Bush hurt Kerry here and in turn Big Bill. That also had to ease his pain.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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