Tag: New Mexico

And Now a Susanna Martinez Nontroversy

Boy, the Democrats are scared that they’re going to lose power. We’ve been monitoring their progress toward insanity for some time — the Koch Brothers obsession, the hysterics over Supreme Court decisions, the attempts to portray even the most moderate Republicans as crazed maniacs.

Well, we’re now into the personal attacks. You may remember about a year ago, Mother Jones — now the unofficial muckraker of the Democratic Party — ran a bizarre piece on Mitch McConnell. Progress Kentucky illegally recorded a conversation between McConnell and his staff discussing a potential campaign against Ashley Judd and MJ was shocked, shocked! that Judd’s mental health issues came up. I wrote about it here. (Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, no one has been prosecuted for the illegal recording).

Well now they are going after one of the GOP’s rising lights: Susana Martinez. Calling her the “next Sarah Palin”, they describe her as “petty, vindictive and weak on policy”. Their evidence for this? Some old recordings of private conversations and some e-mails. Seriously. And even those were frequently taken out of context

In the first conversation, a 29-second excerpt about education, Mother Jones reported that in a talk with staff, Martinez “implied teachers earned too much.” Mother Jones described the conversation this way:

In private, Martinez implied teachers earned too much: “During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but … they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year.”

To its credit, Mother Jones included the actual 29 seconds of audio alongside the article. In that snippet, Martinez said just a bit more than was included in the article:

During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but I really keep going back to that, you know, keeping the teachers from feeling the pain when they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year, three months out of the year, but earn salaries at the same rate as people who do work 12 months a year.

Looking at Martinez’s full statement — or at least the 29 seconds that were included on the Mother Jones website — it appears her point was not that teachers earned too much but that there was a fairness issue in not differentiating between teachers, who do not work all year, and other workers who do.

The rest of these searing revelations are equally mundane. Apparently, asking your staff questions about issues you are not familiar with means you don’t have a handle on the issues. Apparently, if your staff say something nasty in private e-mails about your political opponents, that says … something. Apparently, something like this exchange is unusual in politics:

Listening to recordings of Martinez talking with her aides is like watching an episode of HBO’s Veep, with over-the-top backroom banter full of pique, self-regard, and vindictiveness. As Martinez and her campaign staff rewatched a recent televised debate, Martinez referred to Denish, her opponent, as “that little bitch.” After Denish noted that the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce had given her an award, McCleskey snapped, “That’s why we’re not meeting with those fuckers.”

(Context warning: Martinez called Denish a “bitch” because she thought Denish was lying about her record, not because Martinez is “juvenile”.)

As Popehat noted last night:

Bingo! Politics is a dirty business. It is intense, all-consuming and fought with bare fists. It often becomes personal. Should we be surprised that the occasional profanity is uttered? Are we going to pretend that Obama, both Clintons, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and every politician that ever lived doesn’t have these kind of conversations?

I recently watch “Mitt”, a documentary on Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. It’s a decent watch. I didn’t make much of it because I already saw Romney as a good and decent person. But while Mitt’s family doesn’t use any profanity, they show the same kind of frustration with the media, with their opponents and with politics itself. At one point, the Romneys were criticized for the “decadence” of installing an elevator in one of their homes. Romney’s son is furious because the press don’t mention the elevator was installed to help his mother, who has multiple sclerosis.

If the Romneys — a deeply religious and tight-knit family — can have politics get under their skin that much, you can just imagine what it does to anyone else? In fact, we don’t have to. There are enough reports of vindictive, petty, nasty behavior from our existing politicians to fill ten shelves of books.

This is a non-story. This is a complete nothing burger. It’s a desperate attempt to smear one of the most popular governors in America. If this the worst they can dig up on Susana Martinez, the Republican party should absolutely be grooming her for national office.

I Didn’t Create A Single Job

You wanna know why I like Gary Johnson? This is why I like Gary Johnson:

Presidential candidate Gary Johnson took a slightly unorthodox approach regarding job creation on Thursday. “I didn’t create a single job,” said the former Governor of New Mexico.

His statement came in response to a National Review article that complimented Johnson on his record as governor, saying that when compared to the other governors running for president, the rate of job growth was highest under his watch.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are proud of this distinction. We had a 11.6 percent job growth that occurred during our two terms in office. But the headlines that accompanied that report – referring to governors, including me, as ‘job creators’ – were just wrong.”

“The fact is, I can unequivocally say that I did not create a single job while I was governor,” Johnson added. Instead, “we kept government in check, the budget balanced, and the path to growth clear of unnecessary regulatory obstacles.”

It’s like Ron Paul without the crazy.

Johnson is absolutely right, of course. Government is not a magic wand — it does not create anything. What it does is create the conditions under which creation can happen. Some of that involves government doing things — keeping the environment clean, building roads, funding peer-reviewed basic research, enforcing the law.

But mostly it involves not doing things, such as Bush 41’s decision to not subsidize HDTV. I strongly believe that the future of our economy is in technological innovation, especially on the energy side. And I also thing the best way to strangle that innovation is for the government to be picking the winners and losers.

I really hope Johnson is in the next debate. He’ll add an element of liberty-oriented conservatism that is sorely lacking.

Gun Grabbers


Police officers in New Mexico can take guns away from drivers who pose no threat. The state supreme court ruled on May 20 that “officer safety” is more important than any constitutional rights a gun-owning motorist might have. The ruling was handed down in deciding the fate of Gregory Ketelson who was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over on November 13, 2008.

During the stop, Hobbs Police Officer Miroslava Bleau saw a 9mm handgun on the back seat floorboard. Ketelson and the driver of the car were ordered out and away from the car while Officer Shane Blevins grabbed the gun. The officers later learned that Ketelson, as a convicted felon, could not legally possess a firearm. The court, however, only considered whether the officers acted properly in taking the gun before they had any reason to suspect Ketelson, who was entirely cooperative during the encounter, of committing a crime.

This is the same shit logic that’s been used in Philadelphia where citizens legally carrying firearms have been harassed by police (and now hit with BS charges for showing up the cops on their legal ignorance).

The Court has demonstrated a stunning misunderstanding of the very basis of Constitutional liberties. Our rights are fundamental, not conditional. Our right to bear arms can only be taken away under certain circumstances, such as being a convicted criminal. There can not be an a priori assumption the police can violate our rights any time they think there might be trouble. You open that door and the entire law enforcement establishment will thunder through it.

The state argued that anyone with a gun should be considered “armed and dangerous”. This is an absurd statement. There are tens of millions of guns in this country and only a tiny tiny fraction are ever used to commit a crime (less than 1 in 10,000 to commit a murder). A car is more dangerous in the hands of a citizen than a gun.

I’m getting very worried about our civil liberties. A few weeks ago, Indiana decided that it was illegal to resist a warrantless search. Then SCOTUS ruled 8-1 that officers hearing the sounds of (maybe) illegal materials being destroyed justified a warrantless search. The PATRIOT Act was reauthorized with no protections for civil liberties, despite the valiant attempts of Rand Paul.

The problem is that we’ve had three Presidents in a row — Clinton, Bush and Obama — who have nominated judges that defer to government authority. It’s been a slow path but we’ve finally reached the destination: a judiciary that never wants to rock the boat, that errs on the side of authority and against liberty, that sees fundamental civil liberties as almost quaint. And given the rhetoric out there and the bizarre passion of politicians to look “though on crime/drugs/terrorism” in their judicial appointments, I see little hope of reversing this trend.

Hold on your butts (and guns). We’re in for a bumpy ride.