You don’t need these folks, Silver City. Turn and run the other way, Clovis. Block the exits off of I-25, Belen.
Very possibly coming to a New Mexico town like yours: Americans for Prosperity.
The political advocacy group, supported by the super rich Koch brothers, has been active in shaping national politics, reaching into its deep pockets to promote issues and candidates.
Americans for Prosperity is credited with the 2010 Republican takeover of Congress. It is determined to squash the Affordable Care Act and institute debt limit policy.
Nothing wrong with that, you say?
There are those of us who think Big Money, liberal Big Money and conservative Big Money, its donors too often shrouded in secrecy, is the scourge of modern politics. Maybe you disagree.
But how would you feel if you were volunteering for your local city council candidate and these imposters with wads of cash came to town and started running full page ads and sending out expensive mailers to persuade the voters to defeat your guy?
That very thing happened in the city of Coralville, Iowa, population not quite 20,000. Americans for Prosperity wanted to pick Coralville’s next mayor and city council, expressing concern over the city’s debt level.
The national group has plenty hustle and muscle, inundating the community with political mailings, newspaper advertising, telephone campaigns, and neighborhood canvassing. Coralville is no exception.
A food and beverage tax in Fremont, Neb., and a tax increase in Gahanna, Ohio, were also targeted by Americans for Prosperity.
Those poor folks in little old Gahanna apparently just are not smart enough to run their own town.
Tim Phillips is the national president of Americans for Prosperity. He told the New York Times the organization could have a real effect on local races, where it does not have to deal with all the special interests.
Translation: maybe we can beat up on the small guys.
So while Big Money concentrated on its Big Issues in Coralville, city council incumbent Laurie Goodrich, one of three targeted by Americans for Prosperity, sighed and wondered what she had stepped into.
Goodrich ran to campaign on issues like painting the water tower, keeping the parks clean and maybe upgrading residential yard waste bags, she told The Times.
“We have not discussed any of that,” she said. “The sad part is, is that’s really what concerns people who live here.”
She was right. The good news. Goodrich and the other targeted candidates won the Nov. 5 election. Maybe the national group will get the message our towns won’t roll over to outsiders without a fight.
Here’s the message from New Mexico:
Let Farmington determine if its animal shelter consultant was overpaid and under qualified.
Let Ruidoso decide if it wants to adopt as its official theme song, “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town.”
Let Carlsbad and Roswell fight it out over water.
Let Las Cruces, as it occasionally does, go to the mat over whether its three crosses are a violation of church and state, or cherished tradition and history.
Given recent events there, let Estancia go all Breaking Bad on us and maybe produce a TV sequel called “Sex in the Library.”
In other words, Americans for Prosperity, butt out.
Ned Cantwell welcomes response at: