Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Shame on you, Mayor Marty

I am delighted that Bill Richardson managed to make his endorsement of Barack Obama significant. It would probably have been easier to stay out, or to stay on the Clintons' road to nowhere, but the governor's statements and his timing have deserved at least as much attention as he has gotten.

I'm not so delighted with the position of Martin Chavez, mayor of Albuquerque. I had always heard that Chavez was the consummate machine politician, but I thought he was a guy who understood perceptions. And here's the perception that he is currently emitting like a whiff of garbage in the sweet spring air: Politics is not about honesty, or governing, or competence, or who can do the best job under unforseen circumstances. No, Martin Chavez has made it clear that politics is all about who owes favors to whom, and which voters belong in which pockets.

Don't get me wrong. Chavez has every right to choose his own candidate and to defend that choice in whatever manner he pleases. In addition, we all know that the "scratch my back" strategy is common in politics and always has been. But I am sad to see him behave and speak with so little dignity.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Shades of Natalee Holloway

Last night I watched the local ten-o'clock news. Now I remember why I don't usually do that. It's not -- or not only -- because I prefer the "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" reruns on My-50 TV.

The NBC affiliate here, KOB-TV, has good, intelligent-sounding anchorpeople, and they do a reasonable job most of the time covering local news. But with all the national and international news available, they think what will interest us most are stories about two missing white girls from Georgia?

The stories, which KOB did as a single item, seem to have only a superficial relation to each other. The police in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Auburn, Alabama, have released little information and have given no reason to link the two events.

The story is uninteresting to start with, and raises a serious question. Have there been no murders, mysteries or disappearances in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona or Utah? Do we really have to go all the way to Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina to find crimes worth reporting on? I realize both of these victims are pretty white college girls, but does that make them more interesting than people with tragedies closer to home?

All I can say is, somebody with pretty weird judgment must be calling the shots at KOB.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Clinton-Obama? Obama-Clinton? I don't think so.

I still believe Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee. There aren't many people left in these United States who can be convinced that he is both a Muslim and a member of a Black-power Christian church. I'm also willing to admit that I don't have a clue what makes most voters -- especially Democrats -- choose the way they do.

There is one thing that would really upset me, if the Democrats didn't nominate Obama. That would be for him to accept the role of vice president to Hillary Clinton or any other candidate. If the professional politicians haven't grasped this yet, I'm here to remind them: Vice president is a dead end job, and its main requirement is a career killer.

The requirement I'm talking about is the necessity to put aside one's own methods, values and ideals and adopt those of the person at the top of the ticket. Once a politician has done that, it's over. Ask George H.W. Bush, who once upon a time called Reagan's economic plan "Voodoo economics." Ask Al Gore, who was unable to inherit the discredited presidency from his egotistical predecessor. By the way, I don't fault Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton for wanting to do things their own way. That's part of what it means to be president. You have to have a robust ego to get through an election, let alone to govern this huge and almost unmanageable polity.

I seem to remember, years ago before I was old enough to vote, that vice president was the job used to prepare the next president. It isn't like that any more. The vice president has to swallow so much of his (or her) own good sense, has to be such an extreme team player, that they effectively disappear as a separate option. It isn't as if Bill Clinton -- or Michelle Obama or Cindy McCain, for that matter -- is planning to back off and let the president take advice from an outsider, a former political opponent. If Hillary Clinton has accomplished nothing else, she has strengthened the advisory role of the first spouse.

Mike Huckabee could be vice president. He has said himself that he has nothing better to do. Mitt Romney might have the time. But for anyone who has a good job already, whether Governor of New Mexico or senator from Delaware, Illinois or New York, I would say don't do it. If you still long for a role in the executive branch of the federal government, hold out for a cabinet post.


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