Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Martinez Flirts with National Stage, But Not much Love In Return Yet, Plus: Tom Udall: Very Liberal And Very Unopposed, And: Even More Tuesday La Politica  

You Know Who
Governor Martinez's national political ambitions--and she seems to have some--have yet to catch fire. Her speech at last year's GOP national convention gave her a pop, but since then she has been outflanked by Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio who is now seen as the leading Hispanic hope for the GOP in 2016. That leaves Susana somewhat out in the cold.

The NYT came with a piece on the Guv this week. It did not signal any star quality that needs to be watched in the political salons of New York and DC:

Despite polls suggesting that most New Mexicans support ending driving privileges for illegal immigrants, the issue is sure to fuel debate as Ms. Martinez travels around the country. The question, however, is whether it will matter more to Latinos than her record on job creation and education, or whether it is her personality and personal history that will shape their opinions. 

The Martinez uplifting personal message has been digested. It's the turn on policy toward the center when dealing with Hispanic issues that is awaited--here and across America. On that, she seems content to let Rubio lead. that means she'll get a lot of speaking engagements to talk about her biography, but not much attention as a potential national politician.

Here's some Alligator analysis that came in on the NYT piece on Susana:

It seems amazing that they devoted about one paragraph to the economic issue. Is really her whole administration about driver's licenses and promoting 3rd graders? That's it? I think the article is lacking because it is just so hard to make sense of what's she's doing and hard to make it into a story.

I guess the story is that this is a hard, tough prosecutor that refuses to budge on her priorities but her priorities are so small and narrow.  I don't see how you extrapolate from that a Latino agenda that can work nationally that she will sell to the GOP.


By sticking her toes again in the national political waters, the Guv opens herself up to closer examination by the critics. Among them is blog reader Kathryn Carroll who again raises the question of why we see Martinez giving some national press interviews, but not taking the tough questions in the national TV spotlight:

You reported that the Governor was in Washington this past weekend for the National Governors Association Annual Meetings.So my question is - If she is the rising star and the "go-to Hispanic" of the Republican party, and immigration reform is now front and center on the national level, how come she was not among the numerous governors who headlined the Sunday morning talk shows?

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was invited and appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation"., but maybe her publicist has better connections in Washington than Susana's?  Or, perhaps she wasn't invited because she is viewed as not having much to say about any subject? Just wondering?

Martinez is indeed fighting a meme in national circles that she has a Sarah Palin problem--not up to snuff on the key issues and unable to articulate them without stepping into a puddle. Another factor is her 2014 Guv re-election. Playing too prominent a role nationally can cause resentment among the locals so keep her out there---but low key.

Watching the Governor we conclude that there continues to be a fear of a major misstep if she is projected into primetime. Her confidence has grown in the over two years she has governed New Mexico, but her grasp of policy and politics still seems guided and guarded. In other words, she is still being heavily handled. And not badly. But...

That might have not been as a big deal if there had not been a Palin. But there was and is and that puts pressure on Martinez and other potential national contenders to step up or step out.


Sen. Tom Udall
No surprise here. Political numbers guru Nate Silver blogs in the NYT that Dem US Senator Tom Udall starts his '14 re-elect drive in the driver's seat:

The disappointing performance of former  Representative Heather Wilson,  the Republican candidate in New Mexico’s  open-seat Senate election  last year, suggests that Republicans have  little upside against the  reasonably popular Democratic incumbent, Tom  Udall.

And another not too surprising development--it turns out that Udall is tied for the honor--or dishonor--depending on how you see it---of being the most liberal US Senator:

In the National Journal  2012 ratings, Udall has a 90.7 percent  composite liberal score, tying  him with Sen. Richard Blumenthal of  Connecticut as the most liberal member of the Senate last year.  Yet the  liberal label will likely have little effect on Udall’s  reelection bid  next year. He is one of the most secure incumbents in the  country,  something he owes not just to his first-term record or his  well-known  name in Western politics, but to a changing New Mexico that  now rests  solidly in the Democratic column.

It's interesting how analysts say New Mexico has now become safe for the Dems when it comes to the presidency and the congressional offices. Yet we are not seeing that in Santa Fe where the Democratic Party remains divided in both the Senate and House over what direction to take. It all goes back to turnout. Dems still live in fear of low turnout elections where the R's can beat them. The answer, of course, is to increase turnout of their voters. Instead, the legislative leadership takes baby steps toward a more Dem agenda, fearing they will lose seats if they go any further.

Fear of low turnout rather than moving to take full advantage of the state's readily evident shift to the center/left is the motivator of the Dems in Santa Fe.


Reader Phillip Leckman writes:

Regarding the notion that the restored college requirement for APD is scaring off potential recruits, I would think the ongoing DOJ investigation, the numerous highly publicized examples of violent and improper conduct by current officers, and the numerous and repeated criticisms of Chief Schultz would do a lot more to deter high-quality recruits than any classroom requirements


We butchered our first draft of the Monday blog when we examined this year's races for ABQ City Council (ten lashes with a wet noodle for us). We corrected it, but it was so screwed up that we are again running the corrected version today.

Besides having Dem Klarissa Pena running in the wrong district, we also misspelled the name of new GOP Councilor Roxanna Meyers. In any event, one of the knowledgeable political operatives put the council puzzle back together for us--and you:

Roxanne Meyers is in District 2 and Dem Councilor Ike Benton will be challenging her (he currently represents District 3, but because of redistricting he now lives in District 2). Klarissa Pena lives on the West Side and will be running in District 3. It's an open seat.

Odd districts are1, 3, 5, 7, 9 are up for election this year as well as District 2, as you pointed out, because Debbie O'Malley moved to the Commission and Roxanne is a Berry appointee.

In District 7. Republican Michael Cook is unlikely to run . Ken Sanchez (Dist 1) is weighing a run for Mayor or Council, Dan Lewis (Dist 5) and Don Harris (Dist 9) will run for re-election. Dem wins in Dist 1, 2, 3, and potentially 7 would shift the Council majority to the Democrats--5-4. 

Thanks again for that.

We really have to work to get our interest level up in the '13 council races. Why? Our interest---and that of the public has flagged in the wake of a council that has been perhaps the most disengaged since we began covering them in 1974.

An explosive news backdrop of the worst city economic plunge in generations and an historic federal government investigation of the ABQ police department goes uncommented on by virtually all nine members of the panel. They just don't seem to be there. 

If there was ever a time for new faces and fresh ideas and more aggressive personalities on the ABQ City Council that time is now.


A reader writes of ABQ Dem State Rep and House Education Chairwoman Mimi Stewart:

I read our article praising Mimi Stewart's passion. As a taxpayer, I am more interested in honesty, wisdom, and justice than passion. Joseph Stalin had a lot of passion. Democrats like Stewart have become purchasers of votes. They purchase votes by confiscating taxes from the producer minority and spending the taxes in a manner that gives potential voters unearned benefits paid for by the producer taxpayers. The Democrats and unions are a perfect example...

Okay, but Stewart is no Stalin, described by historians as one of the most murderous dictators in history. But she does try to kill a lot of the Guv's legislation.

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