Thursday, February 21, 2013
Pete's Deceit: What If We Knew Then What We Know Now, Plus: Mimi In The Mainstream Or Not, And: APD Cowboy Culture Strikes Again
We know now that Domenici dodged a bazooka-sized bullet that year and maybe New Mexico did as well. He went on to have the longest-ever New Mexico US Senate career, bringing literally billions of dollars and thousands of jobs into the state. And if Anaya went on to the Senate he would never have run for Governor and won election in '82.
We covered the '78 race and always remembered it as the year of the state's first $1 million campaign. Now we'll always remember it for what we didn't know at the time.
Domenici was first elected in '72 and was finishing up that first term in August 1978 when his illegitimate son--Adam--was born to Michelle Laxalt, the then 24 year daughter of Nevada GOP Senator Paul Laxalt. Pete was 46. 1978 was his last serious campaign. He cleaned the clock in '84, '90, '96 and 2002.
He decided not to run in 2008. He said it was for medical reasons but he was under fire from the Senate Ethics Committee at the time for the US attorney scandal. And then there was the still-secret baby bombshell. Did it weigh on him when deciding whether to make another run?
And then there was 1988. Domenici was under serious consideration to become the vice-presidential running mate of the first Republican President Bush. Did the Laxalt affair head that off?
Domenici's sexual escapades now belong to history. But we know with certainty that his delay in reporting the truth of his life made possible one of the most consequential political lives in state history.
The revelation that Domenici's illicit fatherhood was covered up for nearly 35 years was nearly as surprising as the revelation itself.
It reminded us of how former House Speaker Ben Lujan was able to keep his cancer diagnosis under wraps for several years--despite the millions of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts out there.
Domenici, now 80 and frail, came clean over his long ago transgression when it was about to break in the news. But it bothered a number of readers that in the apology for this errant ways, Domenici called the child he fathered "the son" not "my son." It seemed icy to them.
One of our longtime Dem readers--a Senior Alligator--took a poke at Pete for his behavior and also said they had an idea why the story was about to go public:
This was a Washington lobbyist protecting herself, her US Senator father and her lover--also a US Senator. The kid spends a life without a dad or even knowing who the dad is. The only Republican value in this story is that they didn't believe in contraceptives. Remember: Integrity is what you do when no one is looking. (And FYI: The person who was threatening to leak the story and and working to do it was a member of Pete's family) Chew on that one.
That Gator also included the name of the family member who they believe was about to go public on Pete. We won't release it but we'll consider this informed speculation. We note that that no news organization or blog has come forth to say it was about to break the story and had forced Domenici's hand.
Of course, it was the hypocrisy angle that hurt Domenici the most in the aftermath of the initial reports even as many expressed apathy or sympathy for his plight. To the email:
What is galling to me is not so much that the Senator had the affair and child but that he then sat in judgment of then President Clinton for the same behavior. To vote for impeachment, knowing his child was walking the planet at the same time falls into the same category of hypocrisy as three times married Gingrich voting for the Defense of Marriage Act. It is not just Republicans, hello John Edwards, but the brazen moral attitude to judge others is the ultimate act of dishonesty.
Republican and longtime newsman Gerges Scott told us that the Domenici shocker was "only a 24 hour story." He's right, but Domenici is more worried about 24 years from now and his legacy. His place in state history has been unquestioned. His moral leadership through the Character Counts program and his recitation of "family values" over the years now put a tarnish on St. Pete's halo (St. Pete being the political nickname former NM journalist Kate Nelson gave to Pete a couple of decades ago because of his extreme popularity here).
No matter the disappointment in Domenici's personal failings, he will always be viewed as a political leader who preserved and enhanced the lives of New Mexicans by his unflinching devotion to bringing the bacon home. Domenici presided over our salad days. How they and he seem so long ago.
There's always a place for the jokesters when weird news hits. The Alligators have us covered:
Joe, I guess that rumor about Heather Wilson being Pete's daughter got mixed up. Now we know the real story.
Joe, I guess this takes Pete out of the race for the papacy.
Joe, heere's a headline for the blog:
"Pete The Cheat" or "Pete's Peter Principle Revealed."
Well, all in good fun there. And get ready for more because the question in politics is always: "Who's Next?"
MAINSTREAM OR NOT?
A number of Republicans howled over that, including frequent blog critic and Downs at ABQ head Darren White. He pointed out that an ABQ Journal poll last September showed 75% of the state's voters are in favor of the Governor's social promotion bill that Stewart, chair of the House Education Committee, was instrumental in killing this week.
Point taken, but in actual election results in Bernalillo County it is hard to argue that ABQ has not turned to more liberal politics as represented by Stewart. The bill calling for holding back third graders is a simple solution that appeals to voters across the board and isn't really any evidence that there is not a progressive/liberal tilt to the county. Ditto for the emotional wedge issue of driver;s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Stewart's overall politics are more in the mainstream in her home county now because of a number of reasons. For example:
The minimum wage increase passed overwhelmingly in November with 66% of ABQ voters approving. Not even close. In 2005, city voters narrowly rejected an increase in the minimum wage. Granted, the turnout in an general election like 2012 draws more Democrats than in the low turnout '05 election, but the huge swing over this issue indicates the trend.
Obama carried BernCo with 56% of the vote. Not as much as '08 but not even a competitive race for the Republicans. Dem Michelle Lujan Grisham hit nearly 60% of the vote in her '12 congressional race--a near landslide. The list gs on..
So how do Republicans manage to control the ABQ City Council and the Mayor's office for the first time in decades? Low turnout.
The blue voters that make up the majority of the city must come out to vote. Republicans and more conservative independents are reliable voters. When the Dems stay home, they represent a larger portion of the electorate. City elections don't even attract 40% of the voters anymore, leaving the GOP able to capitalize and win with conservative/moderate platforms. No so in general elections.
The lesson in all of this is that if the Dems want to take back the mayor's office, they can't split their votes among multiple candidates and they must boost turnout among Democrats.
The fatal officer-involved shooting of an Iraq War veteran in 2010 violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, according to a ruling by state District Judge Shannon Bacon. . .There could be a settlement or the case could go to trial.
And one of our readers come with this take on this latest example of how the wheels have come off APD:
Albuquerque paid out $44,000,000 in the last 4 years in lawsuits. This one is going to cost us big time. Will anyone at APD ever be held responsible for our money? As a citizen I would like someone in charge at APD held accountable for not being good stewards of our money. It will not happen until Mayor Berry is out of office.
Unfortunately, the hits keep coming. Here's more from APD Commander William Roseman:
...APD needs at least 200 to 300 more officers to fill the needs of the entire department. But with only a dozen or so people signing up to serve, they just don't have enough bodies.
And the reader commentary:
. . . .Here you have APD admitting they are 300 officers below strength. Why? Because of a failed recruiting change that Berry and Schultz implemented as a knee jerk reaction. This will only get worse so long as we continue to require college hours or military service. APD needs to go back to the old standards, we are losing out on too many good applicants.
Thanks for that. You're right. College courses alone won't do it. You need a positive and ethics-driven culture. And it isn't going to be easy to attract cops to a department that is under federal investigation.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2013
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