Monday, May 16, 2005
Clovis, NM: Born 1906, Died 2006?, The Politics Of The Bases; NM's Leaders Scramble, Plus: A Blog "Fix" On Route 66, Your Monday Blog Starts Now
The first thought that popped into my mind upon hearing the news that the Pentagon was targeting Cannon Air Force base at Clovis for closure was: "I wonder what Domenici is thinking? Does he have a plan to stop this?" You see, I'm from a generation of New Mexicans where such things don't happen. We add military jobs, not see them eliminated. This is New Mexico, maybe the only state that gets more dollars back from the feds than it gives up in taxes. And this is home to that legend of pork, GOP senior Senator Pete Domenici who has brought more money in here than the budget of some good-sized nations. But it appears our worst fears will soon be realized, not even our Father Protector, Saint Pete, may be able to spare us the loss of up to 4000 jobs dependent on Cannon and perhaps also the loss of Clovis as a viable city.
Behind the scenes Friday there was some tepid fingerpointing at our congressional delegation. "They should have had the mission of Cannon redefined. You could see this coming," carped one Alligator. But, for the most part, the Clovis closure had folks focused on what could be done to avert the disaster. Sadly, it seemed, not much. Big Bill immediately began to manage expectations about getting Cannon removed from he hit list saying it would be an "uphill" battle. He was right to do so as the delegation had given no inkling that this might be coming. People affected were shocked.
ALL FOR ONE, FOR NOW
The closure announcement also brought about one of those rare days in New Mexico politics when the governor and the delegation appear as one. Domenici and Bingaman, veterans of decades of power politics, Rep's Wilson and Pearce, both veterans of the military, Rep. Udall, of the famous family, who represents stricken Clovis and, of course, Big Bill, whose stature seems diminished when he deals with the routine, but rises when confronted with the stuff that really matters. It might not be wise for any individual member to get out front too much in the effort to spare Cannon. If it succeeds, there will be plenty of credit to go around. If it doesn't, the high-profile politico could take a hit.
Pete Domenici does not want the shuttering of Cannon to be part of his legacy, and neither do the rest of the state's leaders, but it may be inevitable. The challenge for them, if the fight is indeed lost, is to find other uses for the base and temper the emotional and economic suffering that thousands of our fellow New Mexicans now face.
SHERMAN'S LAST STAND
The politicians were quick to slap themselves on the back when they learned that ABQ's Kirtland Air Force Base, unlike Cannon, was not going to be shuttered but would actually add a couple of hundred jobs. But civilians like Sherman McCorkle deserve a good deal of credit. He helped pull it out in 1995, when KAFB was threatened with closure and has stayed on it all these years.
Big Bill kicked Sherman off the panel dealing with the issue, but saw the error of has ways and was wise to reinstate the former banker. McCorkle has been mentioned as a possible candidate for public office, but has never bit. He and the others on the Kirtland Partnership Committee panel deserve a pat on the back.
GET YOUR FIX ON ROUTE 66
The new trend in the blogging world is to bring a bunch of bloggers together and have them write on the same site. That trend has now come to our Enchanted Land. Duke City Fix features bloggers focusing on different aspects of ABQ life, including, on occasion, politics. I like the sense of community and personal connection blogging provides us in this disconnected age, especially in a transient city like ABQ. Duke City Fix and other blogs are popping up to fill the void.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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