Monday, June 27, 2005
Fear & Loathing In Clovis, New Mexico; Politicos Are Targets Of Frustration, Fury, Retribution & Recrimination; Your Blog On The BRAC; It Ain't Pretty
Sens. Domenici & Bingaman
It was all love and cuddles among New Mexico's political elite in Clovis Friday as they made their case before the commission that has targeted Cannon Air Force Base for closure, a move that Rep. Tom Udall says could cost upwards of 7,000 jobs and a $200 million annual drain on the area economy. In other words, Clovis as we know it would cease to exist and the eastern New Mexican economy would be thrown into a depression. The politicos can act lovey-dovey but the Alligators are loose and on the attack. And why not? This is as real as politics gets-- jobs, future lives on the line. The Gators and others watching the Clovis situation are sparing no one.
"How did it get this far? How come neither (Senators) Domenici or Bingaman prepared the state for a loss of this magnitude? They are quick to brag during their campaigns about all the money they bring home, but now we face the biggest single federal cutback in state history. They have wasted precious resources arguing endlessly each year over an energy bill that never passes and that no one here gives a damn about. All the while they ignored Cannon," anguished one native Alligator.
And this from a Capitol Hill insider:
"Why isn't one of New Mexico's senators on the Armed Services Committee? Didn't Bingaman used to be? For them, it's all about the Energy Committee and Los Alamos and Sandia. And what about (U.S. Rep.) Heather Wilson getting kicked off House Armed Services? It's not good. These panels are pipelines into the Pentagon where the Clovis decision is made. Sure, they claim BRAC has no politics, but everything does and your state was simply not positioned properly. It's time New Mexico's perpetually self-satisfied congressional delegation looks inward and figures out how things went so wrong," blasted our veteran politics watcher.
AN EGG HEAD BIAS?
As seen in this e-mail, a Clovis disaster also has the potential to divide the state. "New Mexico's congressional delegation is obsessed with Los Alamos and Sandia. They love the egg heads and love to hobnob with the scientists, but when it comes to the working people, like those in Clovis, they lose interest fast. Los Alamos labs is a mess, yet they continue to kiss their asses and protect them. It would be nice if they had done the same for the people in Clovis," slammed our emailer.
And then there's the political angle put to us from Clovis. "President Bush won New Mexico because he had landslides in conservative, rural areas like Clovis. And what do we get for it? The destruction of our town? If it happens you are going to see a lot of folks never again vote for a Republican for president and you're also going to see many of us vote against Domenici and Bingaman too."
Ironically, Dem Rep. Tom Udall, who represents Clovis, escapes the deepest anger, perhaps because he has done the least gloating about his ability to bring home the pork, but Domenici, Bingaman, Wilson and Pearce are wide open.
"Heather did work to stall the process that may cost Clovis its existence, but if people lose their jobs they are eventually going to take it out on the politicians. They did when Walker Air Force Base closed in the 60's in Roswell. I don't think it will be any different this time," commented an insider who attended Friday's Clovis BRAC hearing.
"They say they've taken the politics out of the base closings but it's small states like New Mexico and South Dakota getting screwed. It sickens me to hear New Mexico's senators defend this process as fair. What's so fair about us losing a huge air base while they vote to piss away $500 billion on a war in Iraq? We can afford that but we can't afford an air base in Clovis?" queried our BRAC berator.
MY BOTTOM LINES
When you turn power over to the unelected bureaucracy strange things happen. Perhaps in the future our representatives in Washington will not be so willing. After all, small states like ours need to work all the political angles to keep the big states at bay.
While the behind the scenes rhetoric now directed at our reps may seem harsh, it's nothing compared to the human suffering that may be inflicted on a salt-of-the-earth community like Clovis, New Mexico. One can only hope the sound and fury heard today is premature and Cannon is spared the executioner's axe.
Keep the politics coming. Email your comments and news, or whatever else is on your mind. There's a link at the top of this page. I look forward to hearing from you. Back at you tomorrow.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
Not for reproduction without permission of the author