Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Blogging Three Big B's: Bingaman Hits Bankruptcy Bump, Bush Heads To NM, And Big Bill And The Legislative End Game, Plus: Being Julia 

Senator Jeff
Liberal Dems are writhing in anguish after the U.S. Senate passed a tougher bankruptcy bill and one of their own, Dem NM Sen. Jeff Bingaman, is being caught up in the catcalls going around the blogosphere. Bingaman was one of 19 D's to vote for the tougher bill which was attacked in part by opponents claiming it did not protect people who had to file for bankruptcy because of medical bills. Despite that flaw and others, Bingaman and the other D's voted for it and it passed 74-25. House approval is a no-brainer.

But liberals here let Jeff know that they are not happy with his vote. They claimed his position on the Senate Finance Committee has made him an easy target for bankers' campaign contributions and thus his vote for the tough bankruptcy bill. Bingaman supporters scoffed at that pointing out that the R's control the U.S. Senate. "We have to stop finger-pointing and get down to business and realize many of the things we may not like are going to happen. If Bingaman votes against every R sponsored bill, how is he going to get any of his stuff through for New Mexico?" argued one Dem pragmatist, who also said the bankruptcy bill has safeguards to protect the poor.

Still, with Bingaman launching his 06' campaign the criticism from some core supporters stung. "Why aren't they attacking Bush and his Social Security plan?" grumbled Jeff's ally.


Well, New Mexicans will get a chance to grumble about Bush and his Social Security plan, but probably not to his face, even though the Prez will be in ABQ next Tuesday to tout his plan which has not exactly set the grassroots on fire. If it plays out like elsewhere only an invited crowd will be on hand, making sure Bush is not embarrassed by embarrassing questions. Politicos here are keeping a close eye on ABQ Congresswoman Heather Wilson and what role, if any, she plays in the Prez's visit. She has been on the fence on the reform plan and could use the occasion to jump off. But don't count on it.


Big Bill will get some cover on his Administration's flubbed effort to launch a pre-kindergarten program. The state budget on his desk includes about $5 million for pre-k but not permanent funding. It's not much, but he is not shut out. The pre-k flub also takes a bite out of the political capital of Light Guv Denish, who may have bitten at this one too soon.

How abut the Guv's tax cuts? He will probably get something, but not the whole $30 million enchilada, say my Roundhouse sources. And he may end up raising the oil tax to finance this latest round. At this point, my sources cautiously predict no Special Session. The longer the Legislature is in session the lower Big Bill's polling numbers go down as he takes on the personality of a browbeater to get what he wants. Why so persistent on the tax cuts? "He wants to bury his conservative opposition in the 06' election. He can run the table on them if he steals this issue decisively," offered up an Alligator whose tough hide gives him the credentials to comment on our beloved La Politica.


Here's a bright lady who has bit into the apple and become a noted NM political junkie. Julia Goldberg is editor of the venerable Santa Fe Reporter. You can't get much of the paper on the net, but her blog is just as good.


Yesterday, I blogged of Congresswoman Wilson: "She is against letting "individuals" invest their Social Security money in the stock market, but refuses to say whether the "government" should be allowed to do that for them." I should have said she is against the "government" investing Social Security money in the stock market. She refuses to say whether she would vote to allow individuals to do so. Now, we're all clear, aren't we?

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