Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The New Reality: Outgoing GOP Leader Gentry: "No Problem Supporting Pro-Business Democrats" Plus: A Final Round On The Chamber And Crime And A Fake News Bust On Us 

Outgoing state House Minority Leader Nate Gentry, chased out of a re-election bid by an ABQ NE Heights district that has become increasingly competitive, has joined the chorus of Alligators and Wall-Leaners who believe New Mexico is returning to a time when the Democrats so dominated that the party's conservative wing basically substituted for a moribund Republican Party. Says Gentry in his swan song:

I have no problem supporting pro-business Democrats. I think it's very unlikely that there's ever going to be a Republican majority in the Senate. And I think it's going to be a real challenge, given the national climate, to get a majority in the House of Representatives. So, if the alternative is a fringe progressive, I think it makes sense to support the moderate Democrat.

Some frank comments there but based in a reality that is already taking shape. It includes the recent election of Dem Mayors Keller and Webber, Dem Heinrich's noncompetitive US Senate race, the easy D lay up for the ABQ congressional seat, the retake of the state House by the Dems and a Governor's race that leans decidedly Dem.

That has the minority leader conceding that the GOP will be reduced to being a player in moderating the Democratic Party, not beating it.

Why after such outsized GOP success--a two term Republican Governor, a takeover of the state House for two years and the election of a secretary of state and land commissioner--did it come to this?

Gentry started in politics at the knee of Senator Pete Domenici who made famous "moderate Republicanism" in the state, but the party has since gone into a hard right ideological corner that has boxed them in here. And the usual exhaustion with a two term governor has not helped.

The great political success of Gov. Martinez and Gentry was to capture the Tea Party energy as well as disgust with incumbent Democrats and give the R's those many aforementioned victories. Their great failure was their inability to moderate policy or pass consequential legislation to keep more of the state in toss-up territory. Now the bill is due but Martinez and Gentry won't be around to pay it.


Let's go one more round on the ABQ Chamber of Commerce and its role in turning around the crime wave. Retired APD Sergeant Dan Klein was taken to task for suggesting that the Chamber needed to come up with job creating ideas and also retire its longtime chief executive, if the business community truly wants to help end this crime wave. Klein's critics argued the Chamber is useless in that regard, citing its past record and ideological bent. Klein responds:

I agree with what everyone is saying, but I know that Chambers of Commerce can work to make communities more economically vibrant. Two years ago when I wrote for the ABQ Free Press I contacted over two dozen chambers of commerce. They all worked with their communities to make their cities better places to live. Only one of the cities, Salt Lake City, had a chamber president who had served longer than 5 years. All the rest of the chambers (El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, Denver etc) purposely changed leadership every three to five years. Their reasoning was that it kept the chamber working with new people and new ideas. It certainly seems to be working as those cities, working with politicians and business leaders, are doing great.

So I get it that people here know that the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce is a poorly led and poorly managed organization. But they need to understand that this should be the reason for a dramatic change in leadership. Not ignoring the Chamber, but getting fresh faces and ideas into the leadership position at the Chamber so they can help the new mayor create a viable economic plan for Albuquerque.


Reader Tom Miles and I are busted. That Tuesday submission he sent in that we labeled some of the "best" political spin ever was actually fake news that has been circulating for a number of years. A bunch of readers chuckled at our Fake News mishap over Senator Harry Reid and how he supposedly had a horse thief as a long ago relative. Maybe I should spend more time on Facebook to track all the fake news. In any event, we corrected the blog but kept the story up because the spin is so delicious. Also, the photo with the fake news story is of the hanging of infamous NM outlaw Black Jack Ketchum, not of Reid's nonexistent relative.

As for Tom Miles, he writes:

My apologies, Joe. Never intended to hang you out like this. I usually check Snopes for wild ones like these but sure missed on this one.

Step up, Tom. You're first to feel the pain of 20 lashes with a wet noodle for your egregious error and I'm right behind you. Ouch!

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