Tuesday, October 16, 2007

There You Go Again

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is Mario Burgos, a young political blogger, of the far right persuasion.

This is not an attack on his politics, just his sense of political history.

As noted, he’s young -- 38; however, he’s getting to an age where he should know better.

Since I retired, I chose to return to the university and have taken the journalism track. I’m the old guy who sits in the back of the room and listens to how young people view the world.

One thing that keeps me entertained are comments made by students, and sometimes by young teaching assistants. They run along the lines of, “this is the first time (some event) has ever happened.” Almost always, it simply isn’t true.

Burgos, in writing of Congressman Steve Pierce as being a self-made man, pointed out as a matter of comparison, another self-made man, “who was the first to be elected to two-consecutive terms as Governor in New Mexico.” He linked to a Wikipedia entry for Gov. Gary Johnson, who served from 1995 to 2003. Of course, there’s that one little problem; it simply isn’t true. Johnson was the first governor to be reelected to a four-year term, but in the old days, prior to 1970, governors served two-year terms.

Clyde Tingley was elected in 1934 and re-elected in 1936, becoming the first two-consecutive term governor.

The other two-consecutive term governor was David Cargo, elected in 1966 and re-elected in 1968. Cargo ran for several offices since and always mentions that he was the first Republican to serve two-terms. In 1970, Cargo ran in the Republican senate primary against Anderson Carter, but lost.

Pete Domenici was the primary winner for the Republican gubernatorial bid against Democrat Bruce King in 1970. King won and was later re-elected twice, but not consecutively.

Yet, when President Richard Nixon, left, came to Albuquerque Oct. 31, 1970, for a campaign visit, it was U.S. senatorial candidate Anderson Carter, right, and Gov. David Cargo, center, who stood in the open top of the presidential limousine passing the crowd at the International Sunport.

Isn’t politics a weird dance? Here is Cargo, who was a lame duck at that moment, embracing the man who defeated him for the next election. While Cargo was still the governor, Nixon’s visit was to support candidates for office and the governorship should have been on the Republican Party’s radar. Domenici didn’t get the support or visibility from Nixon. It probably was the best thing to ever happen to Domenici, for he went on to a six term run as U.S. senator.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

History has a way of repeating itself and hopefully, of teaching lessons along the way.

Burgos is seen here, left, at the Darren White for congress announcement, Oct. 10, making nice with his former Republican legislative primary opponent, Kathy McCoy, right, of Bernalillo, Sandoval and Santa Fe Counties District 22, who battled each other for the seat in 2004.

The race was nasty before it started when Burgos announced his intention to run for incumbent four-term Republican State Legislator Ron Godbey’s seat. Godbey later announced, that due to his wife’s ill health, he would not seek reelection. McCoy received 50.3 percent of the primary vote to Burgos’ 40.3 percent and 9.60 percent for third candidate, Charles Mellon. Mc Coy was unopposed in the general election.

“Youth is wasted on the young,” according to a George Bernard Shaw quote, which seems appropriate.

Yet, enthusiasm doesn’t overcome experience or basic research.

Burgos is attempting to dissuade Pierce from entering the senatorial primary against his favorite politician, Heather Wilson.

Burgos raises an interesting argument, in favor of the youth of Wilson, 46 and Pierce’s age, 60 as reasons for the southern district’s representative to stay in the house, letting Wilson become the junior senator.

Burgos’ rationale is that Pierce retain his seat in congress and run for governor in 2010, get re-elected in 2014, then run for president in 2016, when 69. He would be the same age as Burgos’ favorite president, Ronald Reagan, who took the White House address.

“There you go again,” to quote Reagan with the title of this entry.

Burgos needs to remember that everyone has a right to their opinion, but no one has right to be wrong on their facts.

Burgos would have been about four years old when Domenici was first elected to the senate in 1972. He, most likely, has no personal recollection of the string of candidates who tried mightily and failed to dislodge the now venerable senator:
1972 -- Former state representative Jack Daniels, who was current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish’s father;
1978 -- New Mexico Attorney General Toney Anaya;
1984 -- State Legislator Judith Pratt;
1990 -- State Senator Tom R. Benavides;
1996 -- Bernalillo County Democratic Party chairman, Art Trujillo, Abraham J. Gutmann (Green), and Bruce M. Bush (Libertarian) and;
2002 -- Former Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, Gloria Tristani, who is the granddaughter of the late U.S. Sen. Dennis Chavez.

Burgos’ argument is that Pierce is too old to run for senate, but nine years from now would still be young enough to run for president. Burgos’ age bias is showing.

In politics, you’re only as good as your last election and you can only promise to be as good in the next election, but not the one after that. Burgos is arguing for who will make the best senator in 2014, not 2008.

My take is, let all the candidates who want to run, from all sides, in. The Republican Party is bigger than the idea that Burgos has that Heather Wilson should be the anointed successor to Domenici. Though all indications seem that this was true, this week Wilson said in a Journal interview, that she and Domenici had never spoken about her becoming a senator. Domenici has not made an endorsement and Wilson has not yet asked.

Letting all voices into the critical discussions can only help the decision-making process and it might even allow for a broader look at the issues. This is an election of a representative form of government. Wouldn’t it make sense then that the candidates listen to those they hope to represent? Shouldn’t it be a conversation rather than a canned campaign speech telling voters what “They” will do rather than listen to what the constituents want them to do?

Quit picking on us old guys Mario; it’s kind of irritating… and read more history.

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