No end to seamy politics in sight

Ned Cantwell

Ned Cantwell

By Ned Cantwell

State columnist

The New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial primary is so boring I had begun watching Albuquerque police lapel camera reruns. Depressing stuff.

So I clicked onto the New Mexico secretary of state website.

I am going to share what I learned. Lucky you.

This is particularly relevant information because in less than a month we will choose the Democratic candidate who will get beat by Susana Martinez.

Quick now. How many official parties are there in New Mexico? Four, according to the secretary of state. In addition to the big guys, there are the minor parties, the Libertarian Party and the Independent American Party of New Mexico.

We are all somewhat familiar with the libertarian folks. They don’t like government interference and want the “right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest.” I think that means they don’t want anyone telling them to wear a motorcycle helmet.

Perhaps you didn’t know, however, about the Independent American Party. This group endeavors “to find, nominate, assist and support candidates for federal, state and local offices who are wise, moral and honest.” Good luck with that trifecta.

The American Party is not to be confused with the New Mexico Independent Party, which the secretary of state has disqualified as a minor political party. Also disqualified were the Green Party and the Constitution Party.

Not mentioned at all, to my surprise, was the Tea Party, which is kind of like libertarians on steroids. They are madder than hell about what is going on in America and call Obama things like “devil.” And that’s when they are talking pretty.

The few remaining weeks leading up to the June 3 primary will be dominated not by fringe politics, but by a heavy salvo of misleading television spots designed to prove no one can stoop lower than a politician in heat.

As this is written, the major flame throwing has been between Alan Webber and Gov. Martinez. This is interesting because Martinez is not running against Webber. In this primary election she gets a pass. So, one would think, Susana would save her ammunition.

Webber’s accusations lean heavily toward classifying the governor as a “misogynist.” I don’t pretend to know much about political campaigning but I would think calling someone a “misogynist” is a mistake. Your average voter, even your average columnist, has no idea what a misogynist is.

Better, I think, to deliver this gut punch: “You … you … you dodo bird!”

Martinez accused Webber of welcoming the support of a “terrorist.” Considering real terrorist activity — think 911 and Boston — that is loose talk.

One understands why Webber, who has four opponents in the Democratic primary, would engage Martinez. He wants to show voting Democrats he is a giant slayer. Support me, is the message, and our party can take back the governor’s mansion.

Probably not. Or so proclaims the Democratic Governors Association, which won’t be spending campaign money in New Mexico because it does not see much chance of dethroning Martinez.

That conclusion has to be disheartening for Webber and the other Democratic contenders. Money follows money, and so far the money is lopsided. Recent candidate financial disclosure statements had Webber leading with $440,000 in the till. Lawrence Real banked about $229,000, Gary King $89,000, Howie Morales $48,000, with Linda Lopez trailing at $19,000.

Altogether, the Demo take is $825,000. Gov. Martinez has $4.2 million in her war chest. Sounds like a fair fight.

Politics, though, is a fickle business. Martinez surrounds herself with staff and advisors with horrible judgment and a take-no-prisoners attitude. The governor could not bring herself to utter a simple “sorry, bad day, shouldn’t have said it” after calling Diane Denish a (expletive). Haughtiness is not a smart long-term strategy for a politician.

Seamy New Mexico politics have this in common with our drought. There is no end in sight.

Ned Cantwell — ncantwell@bajabb.com — has been called much worse than dodo bird.