Monday, January 08, 2007
Heather Shows "Some Leg" On Iraq; More To Come? Plus: Latest On Big Bill Prez Run & Diane D's Guv Plans, Also: NM GOP Action; All On Your Monday Blog
ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson delivered an erudite and informed narrative on the no-end-in-sight-Iraq war Friday, further separating herself from the President's unpopular polices, but not addressing how long our troops should stay in Iraq. (She is against the Bush troop "surge".)
"She showed some leg, but maybe not enough," is how one political wag summed up the speech given at the National Press Club in D.C. The speech followed a late December visit Wilson made to Baghdad. (The complete speech is here)
Re-elected by the slimmest of margins, (less than 900 votes), Heather seemed to initially balk at moving further toward the anti-war column, calling the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report as naive and simplistic." She took some hits for that, but reality is setting in and additional statements that move Wilson closer to the Dems should be anticipated, barring a miraculous turnaround in the prosecution of the nearly four year old war which has claimed over 3,000 American lives.
The reason is simple. Elections matter. Her supporters believe the '06 campaign was somewhat of a fluke, that if there was no Iraq war she would have won handily and if there is no Iraq as an issue in '08 she returns to her traditional winning margins. But if Iraq is on the table, they expect another cliffhanger endangering her seat in the House, or her chances for the U.S. Senate if Senator Domenici does not make the race and she is the GOP nominee.
Wilson can no longer afford to ignore the strong anti-war opposition, expressed in the ABQ district Election Day, opposition that continues to build here across party lines. The pragmatic speech in which she rejects the neoconservative dream of bringing democracy to the conflict torn country and instead urging a focus on more realistic goals is the first step. Expect to see some more "leg" as the weeks go by.
WE'RE GETTING CLOSER
Now just days before Big Bill is expected to become the first serious contender for a major party presidential nomination in state history. How's he doing? Here is the latest from Washington Post blogger Chris Cizilla who is closely tracking the action:
"The New Mexico governor has been laying low of late, but his political aides have made clear that he absolutely continues to plan to run for the Democratic nomination...Richardson seems likely to paint himself as the only Western candidate--a region where Democrats have made considerable gains on the state and federal level over the past few elections. As we've said before, Richardson has the deepest and broadest resume of any candidate in the field and also a relentless energy that should translate well into the glaring national media spotlight. We still don't see how he makes the leap to challenge the big 3 candidates on the Democratic side, but he is as well-positioned as any candidate to move up if any of the big boys (and girl) stumble."
AND HOW ABOUT DI?
Meanwhile, NM Lieutenant Guv Diane Denish is having none of that traditional coyness that candidates employ when several years way from their next political campaign. Denish tells the ABQ Trib: "I am going to run (for Governor) in 2010, God willing and barring anything that would prevent me."
The straightforward pronouncement nearly four years before the next election may serve to limit her challengers in the Dem Guv primary. They know they will have to be well-financed and have some name ID built up to make any kind serious challenge. And if Big Bill is out of here and in a Dem national administration in 2009, all bets are off. Denish would be named Governor and would be the heavy betting favorite to take the Dem Guv primary, perhaps with little opposition.
Denish has an advantage over possible contender ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez who is a man in search of something to run for. He cannot fully commit to the Dem Guv run until he sees what happens with Big Bill, giving Denish the chance to line up firm commitments of support now, not two years from now.
As for the money, that shouldn't be problem for Denish who has personal wealth she can call on if things get tight, and she has already proven herself to be a formidable fundraiser, banking over a million bucks in her Light Guv re-elect. Marty can raise money too, but most of it from developers in the ABQ area. Will they care as much if he gives up city hall, which directly impacts them, for the more lofty air of the Fourth Floor of the Roundhouse? Stay tuned.
Over in GOP country, the distrust and paranoia continue, with foes of GOP Chair Allen Weh dismissing the departure of GOP executive director Marta Kramer as a cynical ploy designed to win votes for Weh's re-election as party chairman this May.
"I think they got rid of her because they think that will take the heat off of getting rid of Weh. We all know that they plan on bringing her back. " Wrote one disgruntled R.
Weh tells me he has launched a national search for a new ED, posting it with the Republican National Committee, but his opponents are still warning that they fear a Kramer clone for ED who, along with Weh, will hire the same consultants, employ the same slash and burn campaign tactics and keep what little power the party has amassed with a select group. But Weh insisted to me recently he will give out-of-state candidates a fair shake. "Frankly, there are not that many individuals within the state that have the skills for the job," he declared.
One job the state party will give to an in-state individual is that of PR flack. Weh said "there is plenty of talent" in that area in the state and he expects to hire someone soon to replace Jonah Cohen who held the job during the election, but left GOP headquarters along with Kramer. Time to polish up your resume.
Have some political news? Comments? Send them along from the mail link at the top of the page. I always enjoy hearing from you.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
Not for reproduction without permission of the author