Friday, November 21, 2008

New Mexico Asks: Where's The Change? Clinton Invasion Raises Question, Plus: Latest On Bill's Chances For D.C. Gig 

Where are the mavericks? That's the question as the traditional honeymoon for a president-elect evaporates along with billions in assets in crashing world stock markets and what appears will be millions of jobs. Is Barack Obama giving those over 40,000 supporters who flooded onto Johnson field at the University of New Mexico in late October for the largest political rally in state history what they hoped for? Well, he's not even president yet. But does his "all-Clinton, all-the-time" approach in his first wave of major appointments seems way out of sync with his mantra for "change" that catapulted him to a New Mexico and national landslide?

The world has changed, sternly and irrevocably since Bill Clinton was President It was one reason his wife was rejected for the presidency. Obama's NM supporters have been quiet thus far on the reappearance of the same old wine in a brand new bottle. If the president-elect insists on the same old faces, his backers can only hope they come with new ideas. That's what they voted for.


Obama's fascination with all things Clinton is not going to help Big Bill vacate the Governor's Mansion. If Hillary is Secretary of State, a major ambassadorial position for our Guv may be more doubtful because of the enmity caused with his old bosses by his primary endorsement of Obama. In other words, he can drop the Chinese language lessons. But don't believe the press spin that Richardson wouldn't love being head man in the country that is setting the tone for the 21st century. What, a foreign policy junkie doesn't want to help change the world!? Of course,Mrs. Big Bill may not take as kindly to such a far away posting.

Richardson is now being mentioned for Commerce Secretary, perhaps a reach because of the economic calamity and Bill's lack of economic experience. Still, Obama will want to appoint a Hispanic to a major cabinet post and the Commerce rumor is getting stronger with the Washington Post now pushing it. The Guv could have to adjust his expectations. If Obama comes with an offer for Secretary of Interior, it may be the last and best offer. If he can't swallow hard and take it, Bill can look forward to playing power games with State Rep. Lucky Varela and the other Santa Fe Alligators for a couple of more years. For the first time in recent months, my sources are starting to talk out loud about that possibility, but most, if not all, see him getting out of here.

Big Bill says he has the best job in the world. Will that be put to the test? We await Obama's move. (Do you wonder if ABQ Mayor Marty might have a chance at something if Hillary gets Sec. of State? He was one of her early supporters.)


Readers hit the e-mail box with updates on the plunging and startling stock price of NM based First State Bancorp. FSNM closed Thursday at $1.75 a share and is now valued at just $35 million. The bank issued assurances weeks ago that it was in good shape. What are they saying now? Stay tuned.


Hey, layoffs and hiring freezes in the state all over the place, home values plummeting and people can't afford to retire because the markets have gone into the cellar. So what to do? Why, let's raise taxes on the working man!


There will be a book on the life and times of NM GOP US Senator Pete Domenici. That word from former Governor Garrey Carruthers. We wondered aloud about that Thursday while blogging that the Yates oil company out of Artesia is donating $500,000 to the Domenici institute that is begin set up on the campus of New Mexico State in Cruces where Carruthers is dean of the college of business. He says:

We are firming up the plans for the first of two or three books on the good Senator that will be published by the Domenici Institute.

A good book will cover not only Pete's many wins, but also the legislative and political setbacks of his career. We hope that's what we get.


After longtime Alaska GOP Senator Ted Stevens, 85, gave his swan song on the Senate floor, NM's Pete declared:

"More than anyone else, you have taught me the meaning of representing my state."

He means the part about bringing the pork home, not using oil company money to fix up your Alaska house, right? Stevens lost his bid for an eight term after his felony convictions


There was not much summer reading around here, considering the epic of political events and the nonstop blogging they entailed. That means we were unable to give you a review of Santa Fe writer David Roybal's enjoyable biography of longtime NM politico Fabian Chavez. We even interviewed David via e-mail in preparation for a review. Suffice it to say, if you are interested in state politics this tale takes you through much of post WWII New Mexican politics in the footsteps of former State Senator Chavez. It's a fun read and a nice gift for that political junkie on your Xmas list.

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I'm Joe Monahan, coming to you from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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