Thursday, July 19, 2007
Udall Takes Hit For Vote Cutting Los Alamos; Statewide Ambition Iced? Plus: Pete's War Switch: Dems Call Him Out, And: The Latest On The Foley Follies
The congressman who represents Los Alamos Labs voting to cut the budget there by hundreds of millions of dollars? Who would have thunk? The bizarre development occurred this week as Dem US Rep. Tom Udall went along with House Dem leaders and voted for major Los Alamos and Sandia Labs budget cuts that, if finally enacted, would mean job losses for several thousand New Mexicans.
Udall has been in a political plight all year over Los Alamos. He agrees with his fellow Democrats that the labs mission should be switched to focus on renewable energy instead of developing nukes, but in June he proposed an amendment, soundly defeated, that would have spared the Labs some of the cuts. Now he has voted for them. The budget slash is not going to survive in the Senate, but that didn't stop the NM GOP from moving like cheetahs and pouncing.
"Thousands of New Mexicans could lose their jobs because of Udall’s ineffectiveness...and due to his blind allegiance to the misplaced priorities of Democrats in Congress. He has placed ideas about renewable energy ahead...of national security, and most importantly, ahead of the well-being of the people of northern and central New Mexico.”
GOP ABQ Rep. Heather Wilson piled on, describing herself as "stunned" over Udall's vote. Both Udall and Wilson have been mentioned a possible future US senate candidates. Insider R's were boldy predicting that Udall's Los Alamos vote could doom his statewide ambitions, if he has any.
Udall will pick up support in the environmental community for his vote, but he already has them. The vote made him look especially vulnerable because he was named in December to the powerful House Appropriations Committee with the expectation the position would mean more federal largess for the state, not less. Now, the R's will ask what NM is getting from the new Democratic controlled Congress.
It can be argued that through incompetent administration Los Alamos brought about many of its political problems and that the switch in mission for the Labs is necessary to protect them for the future. In that light, Udall can spin his vote as forward-thinking. But for now when you look up "political pickle" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Tom Udall next to it.
While the R's were trying to score points against Udall, the D's were trying to turn the tables and taking jabs at NM GOP US Senator Pete Domenici who made big news recently by announcing he had switched his position on the Iraq war and no longer supports the Bush approach. But Pete won't vote for a timetable for withdrawing troops, like the one that was before the Senate in that all night session Tuesday. That led to this blast from state Dems.
"Pete's vote today is inconsistent with the will of his constituents. Pete's position allows President Bush to pursue his failed Iraq policy with no oversight or accountability, and it stands in stark contrast to the politically-convenient, election-year conversion suggested by his rhetoric during a recent media blitz. "
Domenici, up for re-election next year, has to be hoping for a long-term political pay off for his Iraq switch because so far it has gotten him nothing but grief from supporters of the war as well as opponents.
CONSPIRACY DU JOUR
With a warning to ABQ Journal blogger/reporter Bruce Daniels who has dubbed us "genetically conspiratorial" to close his eyes before reading further, we herewith present our latest favorite political conspiracy theory.
Newly minted ABQ Dem congressional candidate Bryon Paez is actually a stalking horse for ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez! You see, Bryon is president of the lobbying-consulting group Butch Maki and Associates whose "Victory Group" has as a client Mayor Chavez who is exploring a run for the 2010 Democratic Guv nomination. Bryon, who worked on Chavez's 2001 mayoral campaign, was persuaded to get in the race by Chavez, who would inherit the Bernalillo county organization that Paez would build in his congressional run and later use it for his bid for governor.
See, there's nothing a good conspiracy can't explain.
Maybe we should open up a Roswell bureau just to blog the antics of GOP State Rep. Dan Foley. KRQE-TV's Larry Barker has the latest on the infamous "Foley Flyover." Barker reports the incident has now has cost a top NM military official a big promotion.
And then there's the word that Foley's Roswell trial on disorderly conduct charges, including spitting on a cop, will be delayed at his request. Delaying the trial means it will occur that much closer to the June 2008 primary and be more fresh in voters' memory banks. Foley appears vulnerable to a challenger, but the House Minority Whip is lucking out. So far, No one has announced a bid.
WHERE THE VOTES ARE
Big Bill continues to carve out a strong ant-war stance. Here's his latest TV urging Congress to withdraw all the troops. The Guv seems to be where most Democratic primary voters are at and where his competitors will soon go.
Send your news and comments via the email link at the top of the page, and thanks for tuning in today.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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