Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Big Bill & Mayor Marty Eye Latest Jobs Numbers, Plus: Part III Of Our Great Debate Over The "Greatest" NM U.S. Senator 

That most sensitive of economic barometers, the jobless rate, is signaling good news for incumbent NM politicos. The unemployment rate, according to the NM Labor Dep't, plunged to 5.2% in January, giving Big Bill an argument that his policies have helped the state economically. In the Big Duke City, the unemployment rate has slipped below 5%, say the labor experts, putting it at 4.9%. These numbers, if they hold, will give headaches to potential opponents of Big Bill next year and to challengers of ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez this year. Voters can forgive a lot of sins when there's a jingle in their pocket.


Albert Fall
Sometimes its the passions of the past that generate the most heat around here. Take my "debate" over who is the "greatest" U.S. Senator to serve New Mexico since statehood in 1912. I chose Dennis Chavez, but many readers had their own ideas. Among them was District Judge John Pope who e-mails in from Los Lunas that he thinks one of NM's first Senators, Republican Albert Fall, deserves to be named, if not the greatest Senator, at least the "most significant."

"He pioneered Republican privatization of public resources in the Tea Pot Dome scandal. The scandal led to a break-in of Senator LaFollette's senate office; shades of Watergate. It also led to the Supreme Court case that established the right of Congress to compel testimony, which set the precedent of Congress being able to subpoena executive branch documents. Recognizing his notoriety was after his service in the Senate, I still believe he deserves to be recognized in that pantheon of Senatorial heroes,"opined the colorful Pope known for his gift of gab on the speaking circuit.


I do think the judge has a bit of his tongue in the cheek on this one, but he makes a good argument that Fall was one of the most significant political characters in our state's fabled history. But, as Pope noted, his big impact came after serving in the senate from 1912-1921. That leads us back to Dennis Chavez who picked up the vote of native New Mexican and veteran ABQ South Valley politico Andrew Leo Lopez: "Because he did so much with so little Chávez was our greatest senator. His range of interests and the results he germinated make him the little big man of New Mexico bar none. Anderson was very good, but not great and sullied his reputation by staying well into senility." Lopez argued.

We may never settle this, but its notable that our little state has produced so many characters worth caring about so many years after they danced on the brightly lit stage of La Politica.

Your emails on all aspects of NM politics, past and present, are always welcome. You can remain anonymous or shout it out with name attached. Just let me know and, as always, thanks for tuning in.

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