Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A Sign Of The Times From Farmington, Plus: Big Bill Becomes The Teacher's Pet As He Comes With Cash, And: What's On Mary Herrera's Laptop?
Posted here today is truly "a sign of the times." This pic was snapped by one of our readers near Farmington and flatly declares that Election Day is the day to "take out the trash."
The anti-incumbent mood is especially prevalent among Republicans and in rural areas of the state--like the Four Corners where this billboard stands.
What's interesting about New Mexico is that despite signs such as these there are no candidates running anywhere under the umbrella of the Tea Party.
Conservatives here are upset with the big spending in Washington, but how upset can you get when you work for one of the big federally funded military bases? Or you're in private business and get large government contracts?
That's the paradox for many New Mexico conservatives, isn't it?
The Journal's Thom Cole likens Big Bill to Santa Claus, seeing how he is handing out millions in federal stimulus funds to his favorite people and projects. If that's so, the Guv has just put under the Christmas tree one of the biggest political gifts possible for state Democrats. Here it is:
Governor Richardson announced he is committing $2.5 million in Recovery Act funds to New Mexico teachers and other public school employees to help pay for rising health insurance premiums and for professional development...
The award provides $2 million to offset insurance premiums, and is expected to benefit about 33,400 teachers and school employees across the state. The funds will reduce premiums by an average of 2% for the 2010-11 school year...
So what you have here is basically a two percent pay hike for those thousands of teachers who Bill and the Dems hope will fondly remember them come Election Day.
BUT WHERE'S DI?
A reader wonders how Bill's largesse is playing out in the race for Governor and with Dem nominee and Lt. Governor Diane Denish in particular:
What's curious to me is that no one seems to be discussing (so far) is why on earth the Guv is not involving Denish in his latest distribution of stimulus funds. Seems like she could really use the help burnishing her credentials and allows her to show leadership. After all, if she wins the "New Mexico went for the GOP because of Richardson" argument is dead and just maybe his legacy can be brought back from the brink.
Di would no doubt like to go before the TV cameras with Bill and pass out those plump Federal checks, but it's a double-edged sword. She is trying to shed the baggage she picked up from him over eight years. She doesn't need any more photos of herself embracing the Guv with Republican video appears at the ready to take advantage.
HOW LAME IS THIS LAME DUCK?
Meanwhile, another reader makers a point about Bill being a lame-duck. Maybe not so much, they argue:
Maybe he isn’t your ordinary lame duck if he still has the ability to appropriate money to programs and projects, and at the same time, the Legislature gave up its power to make further spending cuts, which the Governor is now doing.
In the meantime, the Governor was able to save public schools from the cuts, at least until federal money makes it to the schools. It seems like the Governor is still in the driver’s seat, as much as some in the media wishes he was a lame duck.
Wikpedia defines a political lame duck this way:
A lame duck is an elected official who is approaching the end of his or her tenure, and especially an official whose successor has already been elected.
We've often referred to Big Bill as a lame duck, but we've also pointed out he can still have influence on this election. The money for teachers is a prime example. And we also blogged of that meeting of regional governors he will host next month in Santa Fe which could also help him mend his image and that of the Dems.
Bill's legacy and Denish's fate seem entwined. If she succeeds him as Governor he may be more likely to be vindicated in the eyes of history. If she isn't, his tenure could come under harsher scrutiny from the next generation.
Di is back on the attack against Susana, wasting no time cutting a radio ad scoring the Dona Ana County district attorney for the no-bid office supply contract she awarded one of her top employees as well as her awarding of federal border security funds for employee bonuses. Both were newspaper stories that stung the GOP Guv contender. You can hear the ad here.
Diane Denish is looking out for New Mexico’s budget. And our families.
While Susana Martinez is just another typical politician looking out for herself. She’s not on our side AND not the change we need.
Denish and Martinez have both stayed away from negative TV attacks in recent days, apparently because campaign polling is showing that voters are turned off when it hits. But hit again it will. For now, lower key radio is the preferred Denish method for trying to raise the negatives of her formidable foe.
We are getting this from one our reliable Santa Fe Alligators. It shows that the hard feelings between GOP Guv primary contender Allen Weh and winner Susana Martinez are still raw:
The State Republican Party submitted a public-records request to the Department of Finance & Administration for all of the records they previously turned over to Allen Weh and related to expenditures made by Lt. Governor Denish. The GOP had copies of Weh’s requests to DFA, but not any of the records.
As you may recall, Weh filed a lawsuit over the records and his people eventually inspected all of the responsive records that DFA had, even after the primary election was over. I don’t know the status of the lawsuit. But I thought it was interesting that the state GOP had to request the records itself. Obviously, Weh isn’t sharing any of the information he got.
No, Allen isn't sharing with GOP Chairman Yates and company. Not only because Susana nuked the snot out of him with those immigration TV spots, but also because Yates attacked the TV ads Weh ran against Susana.
As we blogged recently, Weh has not formally endorsed Martinez for Governor.
With this latest news on the state records, no one is holding their breath waiting on Weh to have a change of heart.
Martinez isn't the only prominent R getting stood up these days. ABQ Mayor RJ Berry had an awkward moment last week when the firefighters he wanted to honor for outstanding job performance failed to show up at the news conference.
The firefighters and the mayor have tangled over pay cuts he has instituted. The firemen say the mayor went too far, that he should have used furloughs, not pay cuts, to save money. Their sentiment was shared by their Democratic allies in the Legislature. Twenty-five of them penned this letter to Berry.
When the mayor was a little boy did he dream, like so many other boys, of becoming a fireman when he grew up? Well, maybe a volunteer fireman.
THE GAMES BEGIN
The negative stuff is almost like Saturday morning cartoons these days. Take, for example, the web site--AskPearceWhy.com. It has a goofy picture of Steve Pearce, the GOP candidate running against southern Dem Congressman Harry Teague, and accuses him of being a dastardly political character. They have a form where you can fill out and ask Steve why he is such a bad fella. We wouldn't bet on getting too many responses back from his campaign.
Alright, everybody. All aboard the Black Helicopters because now it's time for the bizarre story of Secretary of State Mary Herrera's laptop and whether it was infected with porn viruses. Conspiracy? Electioneering? Only the Illuminati really know...
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2010
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