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Monday, August 29, 2011

Throwing Obama Overboard? Pollster Says Some Dems Could Do It, Plus: NM Jobs Crisis But Still Few Ideas, And: The Case Of The Aspiring Alligator 

We received two jolts in our recent sit-down with a leading DC pollster. One from the caffeine and one from her prediction that she would not be surprised to soon see Democratic congressional candidates begin to throw Obama overboard as they scramble for position in the 2012 cycle.

Celinda Lake, longtime DC polling guru and one of the national Democrats leading strategists, said the president's willingness to put Social Security and Medicare on the table in recent deficit reduction was a stunner because her polling and that of others demonstrate that those are cornerstones of Democratic strength. Weakened in any way and the house could come tumbling down.

We have yet to hear any of the NM Dem congressional candidates yell "man overboard" when it comes to Obama, but if the sea waters get any rougher for them, Lake says it's only a mater of time.

Lake is consulting this cycle for former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez who is one of three Dems seeking the ABQ congressional nominating. She was in town to keynote an event for Emerge NM,
part of a national movement to increase representation of women in elected office.

She doesn't poll Republicans but Lake had some thoughts on Governor Martinez--the state's first female Governor. She gave her kudos for holding above 50% approval in a tough environment, but she said the administration's obsession with the repeal of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants is a "deflector."

"She will eventually have to come with an economic plan. If she doesn't, it will catch up with her," the pollster opined.

An interesting side note: Lake said the public is tougher on female Governors when it comes to grading them on how they handle the economy. She said the bar is higher for Susana on this key issue because of stereotypes in the electorate that hold that men are better suited to create jobs and spark economic development. She says Martinez will need strong surrogates to back her--if and when she does come with something more substantial.

ON THE SCENE


We met up with Lake in the lobby of the historic Hotel Andaluz. That's the old Albuquerque Hilton built in 1939 that has been impressively restored and is on the national landmark list. There is a cool rooftop lounge that draws the crowds. We noticed the other day that the "new" Hilton built in the early 70's at University and Menaul has been turned into a Crowne Plaza Hotel. That means the Hilton banner does not grace the city for the first time since Conrad Hilton--born and raised in San Antonio, NM- built what today is Hotel Andaluz. It seems like a loss...

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

Jobs is becoming a four letter dirty word for the politicians around here. For three years we've been bleeding jobs, but the leadership classes pretend not to notice. However, he everyday working man and woman does, The latest:

The NM unemployment rate declined for the fifth straight month, from 6.8 percent in June to 6.7 percent in July, but the department said the improvement “resulted from workers leaving the labor force, not an increase in employment.”

July 2011 employment in the Albuquerque metropolitan statistical area was 366,800, down 0.6 percent from 369,000 jobs in July 2010. Area employment is 27,200 jobs below its peak level in July 2008, according to the department.


The economy around here is like riding a stationary bicycle--and that's on a good day. Otherwise, it's like a car wreck where everyone stands around and looks, but no one calls an ambulance. Where are the ideas?

BUILDING SOMETHING

We haven't heard much from our congressional delegation on getting the NM Spaceport moving, but Senator Jeff Bingaman has come with this:

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority has been awarded a grant worth nearly $250,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration. The funding will be used to help acquire a so-called roll-back integration building that can be used to prepare space vehicles for vertical launches at Spaceport America, the world's first built-from-scratch launch station for sending people and payloads into space...

Bingaman says the investment in Spaceport America is also an investment in the local economy. Whey can't he and Governor Susana have a news conference down there and say that together? She's missing a huge opportunity.

GAY WAY

According to the census, New Mexico is quite a gay place:

New Mexico had 9.8 same-sex couples per 1,000 households, making it one of the gayest states, behind Vermont with 10.9, Massachusetts with 10.2, California with 9.98, and Oregon with 9.9. Rhode Island, where lawmakers failed to pass a marriage equality bill this year but did approve civil unions, had 8.9 gay couples per 1,000 households. The largest concentrations of gay couples in New Mexico were in the Albuquerque–Santa Fe area...

That's probably another reason Dem US Senate candidates Martin Heinrich and Hector Balderas came out early---for gay marriage, that is.

SPECIAL PREP

There's more of these going on as the September 6 special legislative session for redistricting rapidly approaches:

State Senator Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) and State Representative Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) have scheduled two neighborhood meetings with residents of their districts. The first will be Tuesday August 30th at the Hondo Fire Station at the intersection of Old Las Vegas Highway and Highway 285 near the Eldorado exit from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. The second will be Thursday September 1st from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center in the Lamy/Peralta Rooms.

BREAKING NEWS!

Southern conservative GOP Congressman Steve Pearce supports a government program. No, this is not parody. He actually said of the Las Cruces postal facility closing:

I opposed this move from the beginning. New Mexico cannot afford the lost jobs and delayed mail that will likely come as a result of this move....The job loss alone will have a damaging economic impact that far outweighs any potential savings. It is unacceptable that the Postal Service has failed to take responsible measures to save money, and is now trying to pay for these failures on the backs of New Mexico’s businesses.”

Well, does that mean government "create jobs," Steve? Just asking.

ASPIRING ALLIGATOR

On Friday we put up the needed credentials to be called a "Senior Alligator" and one of the requirements--that you be 45 years of age--did not settle well with this reader:

I'm 36 this September yet I have been involved in politics since I was nine. My math says I have more then "two decades" of political experience. I also believe I've helped out more then a couple of times on your blog and election night radio. Not that I care to be labeled a " Senior Alligator" I'm just concerned you may be alienating some from your labeling....

Only 36 and wanting to be a Senior Alligator? How's that for chutzpah? Senior Gators have ties older than that! We forgot to mention that a preference--but not a requirement for Senior status is having at least once run for political office.

Well, one supposes youth must be served. Petitions to change the Senior Alligator requirement will be accepted at three designated Moradas in Mora County and--if you can find it---Bill Richardson's secret Santa Fe hideaway.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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