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Monday, December 28, 2015

The Political Hangover From The Guv's Infamous Pizza Party Continues 

Gov. Martinez's holiday staff party that NBC's Today show quipped "turned into a political hangover" continued to make news long after the last bottle (or snowball) was thrown from the balcony of Santa Fe's Eldorado Hotel.

(Maybe the hotel should offer paid tours of the room where "it happened." How's that for New Mexico True?")

The Today Show tackled the scandal with a two minute piece (linked above) that reinforced the notion that Martinez will no longer be taken seriously on the national scene. The WaPo put the nail in the coffin with the Beltway crowd with these searing words:

. . . (Gov. Martinez) the chairman of the Republican Governors Association has become a punch line among some GOP elites in D.C. She’s gotten a reputation within corners of the consultant class as Palinesque: gaffe-prone, not intellectually curious, and not up for the rigors of a national campaign. Making it in Santa Fe is not the same as making it in Washington.

The widely-viewed video clip of Martinez dodging reporters' questions about the scandal was especially damaging. Martinez has always been protected from the media but an outright stonewall, replete with one of her security guards slamming the door in the face of a cameraman, was over-the-top. Our generation of reporters (Watergate era) would not tolerate it from a governor or anyone else. Let's see what today's bunch does about it.

The dissing of the media came after the release of those audio tapes showing her acting with the same imperious behavior toward the desk clerk at the Eldorado and Santa Fe police.

Our first take when the scandal broke was that it would cause a redefining of her persona and governorship. The coverage following that eventful night shows that indeed to be the case. Martinez is now faced with a near impossible task--getting the public to again take her seriously.

The mainstream media will hold back for a time from embracing that reality as seen in this editorial assessment:

All stumbles have consequences, but they don’t have to define a person.

But in the case of Martinez, it was not a mere stumble. It was the revelation of her true self on the tapes--her true personality--that has caused the redefinition of her before the public at large. That real personality was largely undisclosed with the aid of her effective political machine and by an overly friendly mainstream media. Now it is laid bare and there is no redefining the truth.

Of course, it was all just a little "kerfuffle" that will blow away with the winter winds according to the Martinez army. Right. And the high in ABQ today is going to be 80. . . .

The Martinez critics, many of them in hiding for five years as the Guv's machine ran riot over anyone who dared challenge it, have surfaced with a vengeance in the wake of her politically catastrophic mishap. One of them wonders:

Does Susana have a shred of moral authority left to continue pushing her dubious pet causes or explaining away her frequent out-of-state junkets and her failure to make any positive difference for NM in two terms? Does she any longer have the political capital necessary to influence local and state elections in NM with her dark money PAC?

Before the scandal all the talk was how Martinez and her allies had their sights set on turning the state Senate Republican. Now the corridor chatter is about whether the scandal could help the Dems take back the state House and maybe even pick up a seat in the Senate.

Martinez was not cut much slack over the pizza party, perhaps because the state has been on such a downward skid during her tenure.

It is this kind of previously unheard of news about New Mexico that gave Martinez little wiggle room:

New Mexico's overall population declined by 458 people from July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015, or .02 percent, the Census Bureau reported. New Mexico saw another decline in its population over the last year, according to state population estimates released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Meanwhile, in that same Census report neighboring Arizona, Utah, Texas and Colorado all ranked among the top ten fastest growing states in the USA. That's not the kind of news that has the public here cheering on partying politicians.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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