Thursday, April 12, 2007

Big Bill At His Best; Korea Trip Is Success; Will His Prez Bid Get A Bounce? Plus: Don I-Mess & The NM Connection 

It was Big Bill at his best, but will it give him a badly need bounce for his Prez campaign? It can't hurt, and surely the New Mexico Governor now has to be the first name on any short list to become Secretary of State if a Dem wins the White House in '08. His breakthrough trip to North Korea may not be a "bread and butter" issue that grabs the blue collars by the collar, but the threat of nuclear war isn't exactly a yawner either. For political purposes, right now all voters are not the concern. The hyper-attentive Dem voters of New Hampshire and Iowa, charged with weeding out the hopefuls in the first round of early primary contests, are surely paying attention. A bounce in the polls? At least a modest one, even if it is not permanent.

There are problems surrounding the Richardson candidacy which we blogged about his week, but for the moment they are washed away by his significant diplomatic achievement and the way he conducted himself as an official emissary of the USA. It's pretty heady stuff and to be dismissed by his presidential foes at their own peril.

Richardson also recently freed a stranded journalist in the Darfur region and now has followed up with the release of the remains of American soldiers from the Korean War and reinforced the agreement that North Korea shut down a nuclear plant. This is good news for America. If it turns out to be good news politically for Bill Richardson, so be it. Have a cigar, Guv. You done good. But before you light up, there's this little problem in Iraq, are you available...?


The implosion of radio shock jock Don Imus is nothing for Governor Big Bill to cry in his beer over. The 66 year old Imus has derided the NM Governor as a "fat sissy" and told the state's chief executive, in Spanish, and on the air, to "kiss his ass" when he recently criticized Big Bill for not helping to build a community center in Ribera, NM. Imus has a ranch near there that he uses for his charity which serves children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. MSNBC has permanently canceled the simulcast of the Imus radio program which has been suspended for two weeks by CBS Radio.

Imus has since patched things up with Bill over the community center. He faces a two week suspension for racist comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. He called them "nappy headed hos." With comments like that, Imus could use a few friends, especially ones like Big Bill who is a leading Hispanic political figure. Credit NM columnist Ned Cantwell, among others, with calling Imus on the carpet when he went berserk on the Governor. In retrospect, I was behind the curve on that one.

It's too bad Imus's mental breakdown did not come earlier. The Guv and the Legislature agreed to put up $600,000 for the community center, in part, to shut up Imus. As others have written, why should New Mexicans be bullied by a wealthy New Yorker who could well afford to build that center himself?

Richardson has not yet said whether he will again appear on the now disgraced Imus show. One hopes he does not let the Rutgers comments go unanswered. After the ass-kicking he received from Imus no one would fault Bill if he doesn't turn the other "cheek"--and tell Imus "bese mi asno."

Here's a candid shot of NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici courtesy of the New York Times that captures a mood you don't see everyday. Pete vows to seek re-election next year in the face of a political firestorm over his role in the firing of NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. The Senator turns 75 in May.

Pete, like Big Bill has been a regular on the Imus radio show. Will he continue to appear in light of the Imus racial rant which Pete calls "reprehensible?" It's hard to figure from this interview the ABQ Journal's Coleman did with Pete spokesman Chris Gallegos: "
...If Imus lands back in front of the microphone after his two-week suspension, Gallegos said Domenici will likely find himself back on the show at some point." He will treat Imus invitations as he has in the past," which means he'll accept them, Gallegos said.

So Domenici "will likely" find himself on the show or he will definitely accept the invitations? Which is it? Will it be deeply disappointing to many Hispanic and African-American New Mexicans if Domenici and Richardson continue to appear on Imus radio? Are the political egos so big that they can't draw a line when it screams to be drawn? We're just asking.


Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Steve Gallegos has landed work at the ABQ offices of the Mid Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) courtesy of politico Lawrence Rael. (MRCOG manages the NM Rail Runner, among other things.) Every time we mention Gallegos' name there is an Alligator uprising. Yes, he has another government job, Gators. Gallegos, 54, told us he is working on regional jail issues for MRCOG. He ran unsuccessfully last year for a seat on the Public Regulation Commission...Meanwhile, Julie Heinrich, wife of probable ABQ Dem congressional contender and ABQ City Councilor Martin Heinrich, reminds us that she no longer works for the city of Albuquerque as we blogged Wednesday, but is still in government as a project manager for the aforementioned MRCOG. Heinrich will leave his state job as natural resources trustee if he gets in the congressional race. Will Julie support him while he runs? Will Martin pay her back? Could Steve Gallegos give them a loan? Maybe economic secretary Rick Homans needs to solve this matter...

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