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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Susana Shreds Olive Branch From ABQ Chamber Prez In Latest PAC Piece, Plus: Rove Visit Examined, And: Obama: Did He Miss His Chance? 

Martinez & Cole
The old saying has it that no good deed goes unpunished and that appears to be the case with Terri Cole, longtime president of the ABQ Chamber of Commerce, a group which counts hundreds of GOP heavyweights in its ranks. She extended an olive branch to Governor Martinez, only to have it torn to shreds by the most recent mailing from SusanaPAC--Martinez's political action committee.

On July 22, Cole gave a conciliatory statement over Martinez's veto of an increase in unemployment taxes after initially questioning the action:

Cole...said such an increase would devastate businesses struggling because of the weak economy."We are confident that this administration is laser focused on this issue. They don't want an increase in rates to the business community any more than we do," Cole said in an interview.

That wasn't enough to satisfy Susana and company. Their mailer came with this blast:

While the President of the ABQ Chamber of Commerce is pushing the tax increase, most business leaders, including the ABQ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, support Governor Martinez's veto...

Cole has been associated with the chamber for over 30 years and its president since 1983. Like many such groups, the Chamber has had trouble retaining and recruiting members in the rocky economy but Cole has held on to the support of her board of directors.

Insiders say the Cole-Martinez relationship was on the rocks early because of her past support of policies of Dem Governor Big Bill. It only got worse because of bad blood between Cole and Martinez political consultant Jay McCleskey whose firm produced the PAC piece.

The unemployment fund tax increase was taken to the Supreme Court. They kicked it back to the Legislature which will take up the issue at the September special session. Many businesses supported the increase Martinez vetoed because they feared higher federal rates would kick in.

If the fund faces less pressure because of fewer unemployment claims, Martinez's veto will look sound. But there is much uncertainty over the fund balances going forward.

More interesting than the mud wrestling over this complicated issue is the need felt by Susana to take to the woodshed the president of the city's major business group who had been making friendly overtures. That sure doesn't sound like "Susana's softer touch" that the national media was recently shopping.

Nope, this is a hardball administration led by a hardball political consultant with a sitting Governor hanging on his every word. Don't say we didn't tell you.

ROVE VISIT

The ultimate hardball consultant is the GOP's Karl Rove who mastered and promulgated the tactics we are seeing put to use in the new administration. The former top adviser to Bush is not a popular figure outside of GOP circles, but that isn't stopping Heather Wilson from bringing him in for a $1,000 fund-raiser tomorrow night. The invitation lists lawyer-lobbyist Mickey Barnett as a co-host. He goes way back with Rove and has been associated with the hardball wing of the state GOP that forced Ramsay Gorham out as state chair back in 2003/'04. Former NM GOP chairman Allen Weh, who succeeded Gorham and who became ensnared with Rove in the US attorney scandal, is a notable Wilson supporter not listed as a Rove co-host. Wilson herself escaped from the scandal with bruises and scratches, but no fatal wounds.

As for Rove, he will be long remembered for the US attorney controversy, but New Mexico politicos will also always recall the formidable 2004 re-election campaign he ran for President Bush. He had the President visit Hobbs for their first presidential visit ever. Bush also stopped in Farmington as Rove worked a rural over urban strategy that drew accolades and led to the defeat here of Dem John Kerry.

REMOVING BLOCK


First the news. This is the first step toward impeaching wayward Dem Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, Jr.:

House Minority Leader Tom Taylor sent a letter to Speaker of the House Ben Lujan to appoint a special, bipartisan, committee to convene during the upcoming legislative session in September to review the allegations surrounding Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, Jr.


“We have a serious situation that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later,” stated Minority Floor Leader Tom Taylor.


Here's how it works. If the state House approves articles of impeachment against Block it is not necessary that he be found guilty at a Senate trial in order to be temporarily removed from the commission. According to the state Constitution (Article IV, Section 36) as soon as a vote of impeachment is approved and he is notified, Block must give up his office pending the outcome of a Senate trial.

The Alligator betting line on Block being impeached at the special session of the Legislature in September? There is no line out because the odds are so prohibitive in favor of impeachment if it comes to that. However, there are odds on Block resigning before the Legislature gets to him. It's 60-40 that Block will get out before he is forced to faced the Legislature's music. Democrats across the board have called on the northern NM commissioner to throw in the towel.

ALLIGATOR ADVICE


The gators cooling themselves at Tingley Beach this week are advising the Guv to start collecting resumes for the Block PRC commission seat. They say a northern Hispanic Republican would be a good option for her.

THE SHRINKING METRO

This is not the kind of news that makes your day as mayor of ABQ very pleasant:

Albuquerque is near the bottom of America's metropolitan areas in terms of employment strength, according to national rankings issued on Monday. The Duke City is No. 82 out of 100 ranked cities, with a five-year private job growth rate of -8.99 percent.

So what are we doing about this worst economic record of the last 60 years?

WHAT WENT WRONG?

Let's stray over to the national scene where the compelling story for many is over how Obama has lot his mojo. How did it happen and why--why did Obama blink?

..When faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public--a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far....

But the arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise. It does not bend when 400 people control more of the wealth than 150 million of their fellow Americans. It does not bend when the average middle-class family has seen its income stagnate over the last 30 years while the richest 1 percent has seen its income rise astronomically. It does not bend when we cut the fixed incomes of our parents and grandparents so hedge fund managers can keep their 15 percent tax rates. It does not bend when only one side in negotiations between workers and their bosses is allowed representation. And it does not bend when, as political scientists have shown, it is not public opinion but the opinions of the wealthy that predict the votes of the Senate. The arc of history can bend only so far before it breaks...

From Drew Westen, a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.”

YOUTH SPEAKS OUT

From the Young Dems:

On August 10, members of Young Democrats of New Mexico and Democratic Party of Bernalillo County will set-up non-partisan voter registration tables at selected APS high schools in order to register students who will be eighteen years old on or before Election Day 2012. “Registering young people is essential to building and maintaining a healthy democracy. My team will be there to help,” stated YDNM President Benai Padilla.

Young voters have been voting in increasing numbers in recent elections. There was a 103% increase in young voter turnout in 2008 relative to 2004 during the primary elections for President. Youth voter turnout for the 2008 election was 51%, a 11% increase from the year 2000....


THE BOTTOM LINES

From Jay Leno:

"The big weekend movie opening is 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes.' Pretty amazing story. Not only do the apes take over, they actually do a better job with the debt crisis than Congress. Fascinating story."

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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