Friday, January 05, 2007

Power To The Pelosi; D.C.'s Dramatic Day; Bingaman & Udall Take Capitol Reins For NM, Plus: First Alligator Error of '07, And: Readers Write 

Speaker Pelosi & Udalls
Those fun luvin' Dems are back. That new political reality hit home Thursday as Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as the first female U.S. House Speaker in history and the first Democratic one since 1994. Joining Speaker Nancy on Capitol Hill and grinning ear to ear while taking fresh oaths of office were New Mexican Democrats Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall. And why not? Bingaman in the Senate and Udall in the House have gritted their teeth all through the Bush the Younger years, fretting over the Iraq war they were among the first to oppose.

Moments after he took the oath for a fifth two year term, I exchanged thoughts with northern NM's Udall who was in a bouncy mood and also not shy in sending a message on America's # 1 issue.

"We will push even harder for a phased redeployment of our troops in Iraq. I do not support additional troops. It will discourage the Iraqi's from solving the conflict." Offered Udall just prior to a mock swearing in ceremony with Speaker Pelosi and pictured on today's blog.

Udall did not want to go where we may be going--eventually cutting off funds for this unpopular and no-end-in-sight war. But there was a new firmness to his tone now that he is in the majority and freshly named to the powerful House Appropriations Committee and three of its subcommittees.

He said "the President will be in trouble" if he ignores the majority in Congress. While Udall admitted the President could veto any measure passed by Congress to directly end the war, he seemed to think the Congress will get the upper hand if, as he expects, it eventually adopts benchmarks for the redeployment being pushed by Rep. Murtha.


Udall, 59, was pumped, having just received his three subcommittee assignments on House Appropriations. One of them is health, education and labor; another is Interior which will no doubt please his father, former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. In fact, the only damper on Udall's day was his worry over his father's recovery at a Santa Fe hospital from a broken leg he recently suffered from a fall.

"He's working hard at his recovery," Udall said of his father, now a legend in the national environmental community.

While Udall was trying out his new power handshake, ABQ GOP Heather Wilson had a look of chagrin as she was captured on television sitting with former GOP Speaker Denny Hastert and watching her political nightmare unfold before her eyes as Pelosi became second in line to succession to the presidency. This, the woman who befriended Patricia Madrid, who in turn is the woman who almost cost Heather her House seat in November. Heather can't expect any mercy, only that the pain won't be too great.


Maybe the Alligator who told me NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh was on Bob Clark's ABQ KKOB-AM radio morning show and had flatly declared he was seeking another term as party chair was feeling the after effects of too much Christmas egg nog. Not that Weh, 64, isn't very likely to go for another term in May; he confirmed to me Thursday that he indeed is a very likely contender--it's just that he has never met or been on Clark's radio program and had not made a flat re-election declaration!

Our Gator (for our new friends, that's what we call our veteran political sources) swore he heard Weh on the airwaves make the declaration and being a reliable source we have come to trust, we repeated his incorrect report. I have banned this erring creature from the blog for 30 days and administered to myself the usual ten lashes with a wet noodle. The only one happy about this is radio's Clark who gets another batch of free publicity. Send a check Bob.


One of our readers claims sexism reared its ugly head on your blog Wednesday when we covered the selection of the new Bernalillo county clerk. Helen of Santa Fe put it this way:

"Buenos dias Joe. I am compelled to complain about your describing the constant conflict between Secretary of State Vigil-Giron and SOS-Elect Herrera as 'hair pulling.' That is soooo old school journalism and sexism. I didn't read about the hair pulling between (State) Representative Martinez and Speaker Lujan, whose fine heads of silver hair would have been rich with journalistic imagery."

Well said Helen. And while we are proud of being "Old School," we may have not made the grade on that one...

Reader Steven Rogers had a bone to pick with our Thursday blog dealing with the re-election plans of GOP chairman Allen Weh

"I have no problem admitting that the Republicans took a beating this past election. That said, I think you could give some deserved adulation for holding on to such positions as Heather Wilson's seat and Land Commissioner. In the wake of defeats nationwide, the fact that CD1 still belongs to a Republican is a credit to the Republicans..Let's not run too far away from the pack Monahan."

Point taken Steven, but I think "adulation" is pretty strong stuff, especially applied to politicos. As for running "too far away from the pack," you can count on that continuing. We're an independent type by nature.

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