Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Change Noted In Tone Of Senate Powerhouses Smith And Papen and Memories Of Seven Foot Pickett 

Papen & Smith
There's been a marked change in tone in recent weeks from Democratic State Senate powerhouses John Arthur Smith and Mary Kay Papen when it comes to the Martinez administration. One of the Alligators puts it this way:

I wonder if John Arthur and Mary Kay are rethinking their strategy of playing kissy-face with Governor Martinez over these last 5 years. Seems like it's really paying off for them. Not.

What Senate Finance Committee Chair Smith and Senate President Pro Tem Papen are hearing are the footsteps of the Governor's political machine. After five years of playing--as our Gator puts it--"kissy face" the pair seems to be absorbing the lesson House Democrats learned the hard way--no matter how they try to compromise or placate the machine, it will not take the target off their backs.

Smith and Papen are not in any apparent danger of losing their seats in the '16 election when all 42 Senators are up for election, but if the Senate were taken over by the R's--as the House was in '14--Smith and Papen would be relegated to the sidelines. There's nothing like the threat of losing their relevancy to galvanize a politician.

Why it took so long for Smith and Papen to realize what's going on is another story. But Smith's stubbornness with Martinez over a possible special legislative session and Papen's aggressive critique of the administration's behavioral health polices signal that kissy face politics has seen its peak.


We've noted that NM is being counted as safely in the Dem column for the '16 presidential race but we will see contenders come here looking for cash, if not votes. On June 3 Hillary Clinton will be in ABQ for a $2,700 a head fund-raiser at the home of Ed Romero, who served as ambassador to Spain under Bill Clinton. If you raise $27,000 for Hillary you get to go to a separate event and become part of the "Hillstarters." How's that for a thrill? On the GOP side,  Republican Carly Fiorina, a  '16 GOP hopeful and former CEO for Hewlett-Packard, will headline a NM GOP dinner  May 30.


We were surprised that a number of readers remember "Seven Foot Pickett," the NM politico active in the 50's and who we recalled on last Friday's blog. Dan Lewis of Cerrillos sent us this photo he snapped of the big fella back in the day:

Joe, this is from 1956 NM Boys Nation at NM Military Institute in Roswell. It's Seven Foot Pickett with a shorter Boys Nation staffer who is standing on a cone. Sorry the bottom third of photo was double exposed-- old 35mm Kodak with manual advance.

Vetearn NM political observer Carroll Caggle offers this story:

Joe, Maurice Trimmer, who served as press secretary to Governor Jack Campbell, told of a time when Seven-foot Pickett was running for re-election but could not make it to a parade in Tucumcari, so he asked Trimmer if he might drive his (Pickett’s) car in the parade – all adorned with banners and “Seven-foot” regalia and posters.

Trimmer agreed --- but found when he got into the car that the seat had been permanently readjusted and bolted down far, far away from the steering wheel, and lowered, to accommodate the candidate’s tall frame. Trimmer was forced to sit far back, and down, to the point where he could barely reach the steering wheel with his fingertips, and his head was just barely visible above the door frame. As he drove through Tucumcari, he would reach his hand up and wave at the crowds on the sidewalk, who could see only a hand and a tiny part of the top of Trimmer’s head.

The folks on the sidewalks gamely, but wanly, waved back, doubtless wondering what had happened to the towering, gangling frame of Seven-foot Pickett.

That's a great yarn Carroll. Thanks for sharing.

Jerome Block in Santa Fe writes:

Hey, Joe: My dad, Johnny Block, served with Ingram Pickett in the 1950's. I remember visiting with him many times when I was a kid. In case you didn't know, he was a member of the famous "Keystone Cops" back in the early days of movie making.

And one more Seven Foot Picket memory from reader John Ingram:

Joe, As a grade-schooler growing up in Portales, I well remember this popular politician not because of his height, but because of his name. At one time, I even had one of his campaign "rulers" as portrayed in the photo on your blog. Thanks for the memories!


Wall Gordon, who we quoted on the blog this week, works for the Edgwood Independent newspaper, not the East Mountain Telegraph. That paper no longer exists. . . . Reader Ellen Wedum writes; "Joe, Jeffery Baker spoke on the blog  of "several hundred" prisoners at Guantanamo. As of 1-15-2015, there were only 122, and 56 of those have been cleared for release.

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