Friday, April 15, 2016

Martinez In Manhattan: A New York Crowd Is A Tough Crowd  

(Coleman, ABQ Journal)
Gov. Martinez was thrust into the middle of the most contentious battle for a Republican presidential nomination in decades last night as she keynoted the annual New York GOP Gala in Midtown Manhattan with all three presidential hopefuls in attendance. No one expected her to again take sides in that epic battle (previously she endorsed Marco Rubio) and she didn't. (Speech is here.)

She called her appearance "a pinch me" moment for a "little girl'" from Las Cruces. But, according to reporters and others in the hotel ballroom, the 800 in attendance were feeling more numbed than pinched by her speech. They loudly chatted over her as she delivered her standard talk that detailed her path to becoming the nation's first Hispanic female governor.

New Yorkers are a notoriously tough crowd and it just wasn't Martinez they marginalized. Senator Cruz bombed and John Kasich also had a hard time holding the crowd. Native New Yorker Donald Trump, of course, stole the show.

What struck this longtime observer of the governor was how, after so many years in office, she again offered up a speech that was heavy on her personal biography. It was a reminder that in terms of national politics Martinez is a GOP symbol and never did expand beyond that role. The entertaining speculation about her someday being a national political star is Republican tokenism. Martinez delivered a cautious speech that was sure to make no news--the opposite of what an ambitious power player would have done at that moment.

Knowing your own limitations can be said to be a sign of political maturity. The self-described "little girl from Las Cruces" seemed to be fully aware of hers as she carefully read her well-honed lines and made her exit.

Martinez's post-gubernatorial national future remains promising from a commercial standpoint. Giving speeches and serving on boards of directors still await, as long as she can get through the remaining years of her term without a major explosion. It's all about dodging bullets now. Last night in New York the crowd knew that, so they chatted away as she spoke, aware that they were not going to miss a thing.


Here's some reaction to Martinez's speech as seen on Twitter.

WaPo national political correspondent @PhilipRucker:

The chatter is becoming CHATTER. Dinner guests are loudly talking over Martinez keynote speech.

NYT political correspondent Jonathan Martin:

Majority of NY GOP dinner attendees now ignoring Susana Martinez, talking so loudly over her that people are tapping glasses to hush.

Dinner attendee ‏@VaughnHillyard

. .  .This crowd seems like it could care less that Susana Martinez -- the Governor of New Mexico -- is speaking. Chattering all around.

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