Monday, October 15, 2012

Strange Bedfellows: Obama & Martinez Used Against Dem House Hopeful, Plus: The Potty Mouths Of La Politica; First Gardner Now Houston Fouls The Air, And: The Bear Market; Still Here & Still Covered Here, Also: GOP's George Buffett Called By Death 

Talk about politicians making for strange bedfellows. Take a gander at these mail pieces (click to enlarge). Governor Martinez and President Obama are portrayed as being on the same political page and being used to slam a Democratic legislative candidate.

They hit on ABQ Dem State Rep. candidate Emily Kane from the now ubiquitous Reform NM Now PAC run by the Guv's political adviser.

In a departure from the usual Reform bash and burn formula, this one attempts to be clever and scores Kane, an ABQ firefighter, for not opposing the practice of "social promotion" and says "Obama's administration and Governor Martinez stand united on this issue.."

Martinez is supporting a measure that would require a certain level of reading proficiency from third graders before they are allowed do to advance to the next grade. Despite having the support of 75% of voters polled in a recent newspaper survey, the Guv has been unable to get the Legislature to put a bill on her desk.

Kane is in a tight contest for the NE Heights seat being vacated by Dem Bill O'Neill. She is opposed by Republican attorney Chris Saucedo, chairman of the board of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

And all you hard core Republicans, don't worry too much about Susana embracing Obama in this lit piece. Today she's campaigning for Romney in Texas.


You can continue to color New Mexico deep blue as the latest ABQ Journal poll shows the Prez sporting a 10 point lead over Mitt. It's 49 to 39, with former NM GOP Governor and 2102 Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson coming in with 6%.

The Alligators put this race away months ago for Obama, but have been monitoring the airwaves for signs of life from either presidential camp--just in case. The airwaves remain dark.

As for Johnson, the Gators set the "over-under" on his Election Night performance here at 5% way back when he was polling in the double-digits. Personally, we'd take the under.

The state's newspapers are starting their traditional round of election endorsements and Obama picks up the Las Cruces Sun-News in Dona Ana County. The paper opined in Sunday's edition:

We believe the country has turned the corner and is heading in the right direction under Obama. Given the intentional vagueness of his proposals and his many reversals on core positions, we're not sure which direction Romney would lead us.

Obama's statewide win here will be built on the same blocks as his '08 victory. He will have landslides or near landslides in the big cities---ABQ, Las Cruces and Santa Fe and score another major win in the Spanish North. Will Obama reach the 56.9% mark he registered in his '08 win? That's unlikely because of the presence of Johnson on the ballot and also because he is not quite as strong with the New Mexican public as he was four years ago.


One hesitates whenever the urge comes to write the political obituary of Heather Wilson, especially as she faces a foe in Dem Martin Heinrich who is less experienced than her. But the latest ABQ Journal polling numbers put Heather at death's door. There's just no other way to see it. She trails by nine points--48 to 39--with conservative independent candidate Jon Barrie getting 4%. Among Democrats it is ugly for the former ABQ GOP congresswoman. She loses them 75 to 10. No wonder she is up with a new TV spot featuring all Democratic women. But she is also losing independents 49 to 36.

Wilson did her best to try to pry the ball from Heinrich's hands in their first TV debate last week, but he held on tight. She has a couple of more TV debates to finally shake up this race which has been about as exciting as a Saturday night in Clayton.

The polls are not saying much that they haven't been saying for months--the campaign is all on the shoulders of Heinrich. If he can get through the final weeks without a major error, he is going to assume the Senate seat occupied by Jeff Bingaman since 1983. That's enough to make any young politician nervous, but is it enough for him to make a major gaffe? So far, it isn't.


Keith Gardner
Sheriff Houston
Keith Gardner has company. It's foul-mouthed Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston. Just like Guv Martinez Chief of Staff Gardner, the Republican lawman has been caught on audio tape tossing around obscenities (and insults) like a frat boy who hit the beer keg one too many times.

In calling a female employee "a fat slob" and several other women in the Sheriff's office, "whores" did Houston commit political self-destruction? Women are already protesting outside his office.

Ironically, both Gardner and Houston are conservative "family values Republicans," identified with religious movements that look especially askance at potty mouths. Gardner is a Mormon who in a leaked tape calls Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings "a cocksucker" and Houston has long been associated with ABQ's fundamentalist Legacy Church. He even took heat for holding cadet graduation classes at the church.

Despite the widespread belief among the Santa Fe political class that Gardner's usefulness to Martinez in dealing with the Legislature is over, she says he is going nowhere.

In the case of Houston, voters could mount an effort to remove him before his term ends in 2014, but the requirements for doing so are daunting. More probable is that Houston--like Gardner--limps along and leaking power as they do. Perhaps Martinez calculates that things can't get any worse for her in the Legislature and Houston figures another two years of paychecks is better than none.

Back in the day after these kind of scandals, public figures would cringe with shame, retreat to the shadows and maybe try to rehabilitate their images for a comeback. Nowadays they stay in their government bunkers and carry the stink around with them--the public be damned.


Incredibly, the bear market here continues to rage with the same intensity as the heat of the battle political campaigns, look at this:

1 in every 737 homes received a foreclosure filing in September 2012

1 in every 351 homes received a foreclosure filing in Q3 2012

Foreclosure properties: 1,223

September 2012 foreclosure filings were up 31.36 percent from a year ago

No doubt the state's anemia when it comes to creating and keeping jobs is a large part of the foreclosure equation--along with the remains of the housing bubble.

The campaign trail talk on the state's economy is very general, but the problem is complex. The left seems bereft of any significant ideas and the radical right thinks massive across the board tax cuts will pave the way for job creation.

Our prescription remains unwavering--fight with all our might in DC to keep our share of the federal pie and even add to it; tax reform that cuts the gross receipts tax and increases the low property tax rate; boost the tourism budget monetarily and creatively; pass a liability bill to protect our investment in the Spaceport and its jobs of the future; build a dental school at UNM to expand the state's professional class; pass a capital outlay bill--a big one--that is used for repairing bridges and roads and gets the construction industry moving again; send to the voters a constitutional amendment to invest a portion of the state's giant Permanent Fund in very early childhood education to break the ugly cycle of generational poverty that haunts the state and holds back the work force; spend more on drug education and intervention to make our work force more competitive...

The historic jobs bleed continues and there just doesn't seem to be much urgency about it from our political and business leaders. Where's the debate on the campaign trail? You mean driver's licenses for illegal workers is what's important?


A Senior Alligator writes of the New Mexico Spaceport:

The Spaceport is in need of Public relations, dynamics, energy, zing. Spaceport director Christine Anderson is no "ball of fire." She is a "friend" of Heather Wilson and is a retired Air Force bureaucrat.  

Christine's background is pushing paper not creating enterprise. Visit the Spaceport office in Albuquerque. It resembles Governor Martinez's office--dull, unappealing and lackluster.


The unprecedented out-in-the-open, consequences-be-damned move by a sitting Governor and her adviser Jay McCleskey to take out state Senate leaders Tim Jennings and Michael Sanchez continues unabated and the news coverage is starting to pick up.

They may be drinking Kool-Aid on the Fourth Floor if they think they can go ballistic on these guys, lose the races and face no payback. The thinking they apparently have is that the public will reward them for standing up to the Legislature and blame the lawmakers for the lack of progress. But they may be forgetting something. The public may not like the Legislature, but they also aren't that kind to losers. If Martinez loses one or both of these races the Dems will be newly empowered.


It may seem like there is no race for the southern congressional seat, given the lack of advertising, but Dem Evelyn Madrid Erhard and GOP Congressman Steve Pearce are out stumping for votes. They did their one and only TV debate recently on public station KRWG and you can see it right here.


One of La Politica's legends is gone. 83 year old George Buffett, a Republican's Republican, died over the weekend. His crusty and no-nonsense personality was on full display during his tenure as an ABQ GOP state representative from 1979 through 2002 and in his well-known and anticipated newsletter "Buffett's Bullets." It was that publication filled with his conservative wit and wisdom and frequent ribbing of the Democratic majority that made him a statewide political presence.

Buffet was a cousin of famous Omaha investor Warren Buffett. He invested with him early and was richly rewarded, but George was also one of New Mexico's most successful businessmen in his own right. Buffett's Candies on Lomas Blvd. with its iconic candy cane is a local institution, in business since 1956.

Here's a profile of Buffett from the Omaha World-Herald written in 2011.

Former NM GOP executive director Kevin Moomaw now in Austin was among the many who worked with Buffett offering a remembrance:

George was one of the must principled individuals I have ever had the pleasure to have known. He always put principal above political expediency. His insight and integrity will be missed.

Buffet had the courage of his convictions. Unlike many of today's Republicans, he took it directly to the faction of the GOP dominated by--among others--lawyer lobbyist Mickey Barnett. We blogged in June of 2004 of his stunning upset over Barnett when he ousted him as the New Mexico GOP national committeeman.

Buffett was a conservative, but not a bully and not in the game to feather his own nest but to spread his message of hard work and fiscal discipline. He did so as a curmudgeon and with a perseverance that won him admirers on both sides of the aisle. His chapter in the never-ending book of La Politica was well-earned.

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