Thursday, June 22, 2006

The First Week: Dendahl Feeds The Pack; We're Stuffed, Plus: More On The Media Feast, And: Abandon Shipley? 

"That Boy"
I feel like a pig at a buffet, and I blame it on John Dendahl. He is already overfeeding us. Being the political junkies we are we can't get up from the table. Well, this was a special week and we will eventually turn to other affairs of La Politica, but let's indulge ourselves one more trip to the groaning table set so temptingly by the new GOP Guv candidate and finish the week with a flourish.

On Monday, the newly christened Guv nominee hit with his first zinger of the work week, taking to the talk radio airwaves and slamming NM Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim as "that boy." The outspoken ex-GOP party chair had been asked to react to Wertheim's charges that he was "out of the mainstream" and an advocate for drug legalization. Dendahl was not taking the bait and told ABQ's KAGM-106.3 FM he doesn't have to answer charges from "that boy." And he didn't.

Later, "That Boy," the 38 year old Wertheim, called the 67 year old Dendahl's statement "hilarious" and demanded that Dendahl come up "with one positive idea."

Wertheim and Dendahl both grew up in Santa Fe and their families are acquainted, but this campaign is going to put their neighborliness to the test, along with a bunch of other character traits.

And the talk feast continued over at 770 KKOB-AM radio as GOP Chair Allen Weh told listeners they can expect "a more mature Dendahl," leaving the audience to wonder if Dendahl, one of the state's foremost slash and burn artists, can really rein himself in. (If he does, what the heck will we write about?)

From Washington, NM Senator Pete Domenici pronounced Dendahl, "a breath of fresh air" who will unite Republicans. Fresh air? One supposes that if you are are breathing that polluted Potomac stuff, fresh is a relative term.

It wasn't so fresh to Dendahl's longtime rival, 76 year old former GOP NM Guv Dave Cargo, (1967-70) who immediately broke ranks and pronounced Dendahl the "most divisive" candidate the party could have chosen. Then he followed up with this blog missile:

"Joe, I am forming a small group. It's called 'Republicans for John Dendahl.' I don't think it will grow very much," quipped Dave, one of the few who can hold his own with John in the quotable quotes department.

And the e-mail brought this early reaction for Big Bill. "Dendahl is going to make Richardson spend so much time in this state, he'll have to get a New Mexico drivers license." And maybe even obey the speeding laws?


Wednesday the Dendahl arrows were aimed at the Fourth Floor and gubernatorial press aide Pahl Shipley who blasted Dendahl Saturday upon learning of his appointment to replace J.R. Damron by the NM GOP Central Committee. In return, Dendahl dashed off a letter to Big Bill inquiring about the "conduct of state employees" and demanding that their activities be confined to "bona fide" state business.

He may score on that one as it is now common practice for government types to move over to the campaign once the battle begins. Big Bill chief of staff Dave Contarino announced earlier this year that he would remain chief, but also serve as the Guv's campaign chair, a decision that lasted all of a day. Expect something similar for Shipley soon. If not, you may see him wandering around the capitol with a muzzle.


Media matters were also in the sights of the state GOP Wednesday as it delivered a tongue-lashing to New Mexico media outlets accusing them of "bias" and "name-calling" in their coverage of the Dendahl bid. Strangely, the party attacked the ABQ Journal which the Dems have complained is doing a story a week on how Big Bill's campaign contributions may be influencing public policy.

The GOP objected to the Journal calling John "a pit bull" (we thought he would be honored) and wondered if the paper would ever call John Wertheim a "liberal pit bull."

Wertheim, you are nothing but a liberal pit bull. There, somebody said it. Now stop the presses.

They also scored KOB-TV for a "blatantly loaded" description of the Dendahl candidacy and said the ABQ Tribune was an "echo chamber" for the Democratic Party.

Your beloved blog (thank you very much) also made the honor roll and was dubbed "Richardson's Blog." (Hey, Bill where's my check and my big state job??) We also took a lashing for describing Big Bad John as a "sacrificial wolf."

We differ with the description of us, of course, and see ourselves as the piano player in the whorehouse. We don't care about your politics, we just aim to keep the joint jumping.

Well, blasting the media and the blogs is not going to hurt in getting aboard the Dendahl bandwagon all those R's so upset with him after years of intra-party strife. There's nothing like a common enemy to bring the pack together.

In a final thought, Jonah Cohen, the PR flack for the party, complained that all the media he scorched are full of "double standards" and "sanctimony."

Jonah, you should see what we're like when we don't get fed.


By weeks end the ink-stained wretches, the TV talking heads, the radio gabbers and the bloggers were wondering if they should break with tradition and form a “Committee to Keep the Campaign Going." In the event that Dendahl sags in the polls we would each be required to donate a thousand bucks to keep him afloat. After the first week the idea is spreading like wildfire.

Thanks for tuning in. See ya' later Gators.

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