Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Blog Goes East And South: To Clovis For A Cannon Check-Up; To The South For A Young Dem Chat, Welcome Back To Ground Zero For New Mexico Politics 

The initial shock has worn off in Clovis, NM where Cannon Air Force Base has been targeted for closure. Now the aftershocks are kicking in. Locals are noting that 85% of the bases designated to be shut down in the past have indeed shut down. The NM Congressional delegation continues a sunny disposition on on the matter, but the odds are the odds. Here's the latest from the city at risk.

The one and only time a base was shut down in our Enchanted Land was back in 1968 and it came with a political cost as explained by Larry Morgan, chief of staff to the late Dem Rep. Harold Runnels of the southern district.

"It was the closure of Roswell's Walker AFB Base that was frequently cited by the "political experts" as bringing the end of former Congressman E. S. Johnny Walker's political career in 1968 when Ed Foreman utilized the closure of Walker and the issue Gun Control to a one-half percent election victory," recalled Larry.

If Cannon goes under it is unlikely there will be a political price to pay by any single member of our delegation today because, as Larry, notes: "It was Congress itself which created the current BRAC process specifically to 'take politics out of the BRAC process' by eliminating themselves from having any direct role in the selection procedures."

Still, some Dems are saying if there's any political impact of a Cannon closure it could benefit the D's. "This is happening under a Republican administration. Clovis is conservative and votes Republican, but an economic calamity like this could change that. Yeah, it could, but if they shut down Cannon will there be any voters left to fight over?

Jeff Steinborn
I've been on the young Dem beat this week and have some more for you. I lost most of my notes form a phone conversation I had with Jeff Steinborn recently, but the 35 year old Las Cruces native was clear enough that I remember the highlights. First, he has won the chairmanship of the Dona Ana County Democratic Party and is pleased to be back in the game. This after unsuccessful bids for the Dem nomination for the Pearce congressional seat and the NM Legislature. "I won't seek the Pearce seat next year,'”he told me. But he did not rule out a future run for political office. Both his losses were low-profile enough that he will live to fight another day.

Steinborn's father is a former Las Cruces mayor and big real estate player but Steinborn the younger is committed to the world of La Politica. As pressure builds for the Dems to do something, do anything, abut the mess in Iraq, Steinborn opines that young Dems are not up in arms over the war because, unlike Vietnam, there is no draft. But Steinborn and his youthful colleagues may want to start thinking about what is going to get them in power on the national stage. Their elders have lost all three branches of government to the R's. That's not much of a legacy to build upon.

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