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Thursday, March 08, 2007

(Updated) NM Impeachment Resolution Killed Before Debate on Senate Floor; 9 Democrats Vote With Republicans to Prevent Debate

Earlier today: I just got a phone call reporting this and I don't yet know what the vote was. However, SJR 5, New Mexico's impeachment resolution, was killed when it failed to get the votes necessary to move to the Senate Floor for debate. So it didn't even get a discussion by the Senate, the very least that could be expected from a legislative body dominated by Democrats. I don't know exactly who voted against debating the resolution or who was absent, but I'll report that when I get it. I did hear that 5 or 6 8 NINE Democratic Senators voted against debating the measure.

According to Steve Terrell, "the vote was 26-13 to uphold Senate Majority Leader Ben Altamirano’s ruling yesterday. Altamirano ruled on a voice vote not to accept the committee report of the Senate Judiciary Committee." We had previously been informed that the original maneuver to keep it off the floor was a Republican effort, but now we learn it was one of our TOP DEMOCRATIC LEADERS who kept it from a debate -- Ben Altamirano. I guess Ben and his pals didn't like to see all those citizen lobbyists up there, practicing democracy like Americans. And those phone calls and emails were so, well, irritating. So much easier to go to lavish dinner parties with lobbyists.

UPDATE 3:55 PM: I just got the names of the eight NINE Democrats who voted not to accept the Do Pass of the Senate Judiciary Committee, thus preventing the resolution from being debated on the Senate Floor:

Ben Altamirano, Silver City, who is the Senate Pro-Tempore, the Senate's top leader

Pete Campos, Las Vegas

Carlos Cisneros, Questa

Phil Griego, San Jose

Tim Jennings, Roswell

John Pinto, Tohatchi

John Arthur Smith, Deming

James Taylor, Albuquerque

David Ulibarri, Grants

I hope they hear from plenty of their constituents and Democrats everywhere. If Democrats won't even allow something this timely and critical to our nation's future to be DEBATED, why do they call themselves Democrats? What this shows me is that these 9 men have only disrespect for all the hundreds and hundreds of our citizens who traveled to Santa Fe on their own dimes, spent hours in the Roundhouse, made phone calls, sent emails, shot video and audio, spoke personally to legislators, spread the word and worked so hard on this effort. They knew they had the votes to ensure the measure failed on the Senate Floor but they chose to kill it early, using an anti-democratic technical maneuver to make sure no debate took place. To me, what they did is the complete antithesis of representative democracy and an affront to the power of the people.

I can understand some of these Dems from conservative districts voting against the bill on the Senate Floor. What I can't forgive is the nine of them voting to stop the people's voices from being represented there. They silenced those who disagreed with them. Is there a worse example of anti-democratic behavior?

For those reading this on a direct link, be sure to go here to a later post and read what one of the resolution's co-sponsors, Sen. John Grubesic, has to say in response to what happened today.

Visit the impeachment archive to see all our previous posts on this issue.

March 8, 2007 at 05:31 PM in Impeachment, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink


A truly sad day for America, but definitely for New Mexicans. To know their voice was ignored. To know these Senators do not value law, our Constituion or Democracy.

I don't know they can live with this decision.

Posted by: Linda | Mar 8, 2007 4:37:30 PM

Some of these are the same ones who vote against equal rights for all, ethics reform, meaningful minimum wage laws and so much else that they apparently see as a threat to their crooked kingdoms.

I can understand Smith and Jennings. They come from conservative places. But the rest? Nothing but gangsters, true to their own mob mentality and the rich lobbyists who pamper them and noone else. They are crooks plain and simple and yet they pretend to be devout in their religion. This vote to kill even DISCUSSION on the bill is truly awful. We need to get these people out of the Democratic Party. They are a rot from the inside.

Posted by: Disgusted Democrat | Mar 8, 2007 4:49:50 PM

Maybe we should run a green candidate against them? Especially the ones from liberal districts. They have no excuse. I hope they are hissed every time they are seen.

Posted by: Coyote | Mar 8, 2007 4:59:32 PM

I could accept if they let it go to the floor and then felt they had to vote against it. But to kill it like this is really really bad. Its like spitting in the face of the people who care so much about Bush and the war. Arrogant.

Posted by: El Norte | Mar 8, 2007 5:03:44 PM

What did you expect? Another shout in the wilderness. It would not get any further if it had passed.
The country is in a mess no matter where you look, Iraq, justice dept. ,Cheney, education, health care etc etc.
But it's like the weather, everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it.
Now what?

Posted by: CARL GUTMAN | Mar 8, 2007 5:33:57 PM

I guess it would have been a nice thing to tell one's grandchildren years from now, but outside of that I see no reason to care about this resolution. I'm against the war, despise the Administration, but spending time attempting to pass inert legislation isn't going to accomplish anything.

Bush is not going to be impeached, and, more importantly, passing empty resolutions at the state level wishing Bush would get impeached has zero impact on the likelihood Bush would get impeached.

Just win the next election, people. Just win the next election.

P.S.: At the same time, you'll get no argument from me that James Taylor is a weenie-head. He gives the South Valley's already bad name a bad name.

Posted by: | Mar 8, 2007 5:37:47 PM

So Scot, what is it you do to change things? All I ever read on your blog is you whining and complaining. You haven't been commenting here in ages but when we lose something, here you are.

You miss the point on this effort. One major value was to get people involved and motivated to learn how to even go up to the legislature and lobby and face these legislator and look them in the eye. It was to show people that there ARE good Democrats with spines and that not all of them are spineless cowards who obey their lobbyist donors only. I think it did that. We have many excellent legislators up there and they worked very hard to give people a voice in what is supposed to be THEIR house of government.

Moreover, it was meant to keep the issue alive because our mainstream media won't cover it in any fair way. You just don't get it. Go back into your hole of cynicism.

Posted by: another Democrat | Mar 8, 2007 5:45:42 PM

Another: Sorry, I don't see it as cynical, just realistic. And no, I don't think "go back into your hole of cynicism" is the way to really try to reach out to those that may disagree with you. You state your opinion, I state mine, etc.

As far as not making many comments, to be honest I've just principally lurked because I agree with much of what is said here. At the same time, I just feel somebody needs to say this "impeachment" emperor has no clothes.

That's my opinion, anyway. I'd prefer we fight battles that matter, fight them better and with better weaponry. Yeah, I'm still pissed off about the Patsy Madrid scud missile...I'm guessing lots of us are.

I don't think "impeachment" is a winnable battle. I also have some general dislike of impeachment as a tool for change (e.g. Clinton), and have a lot more faith in elections. More faith than those who think they have been stolen in recent years.

Posted by: | Mar 8, 2007 6:09:52 PM

As Joe Hill said, "Don't mourn, organize." To that I would add, stop looking to elected officials to help you- once elected, they are invested in the status quo. Organize your community and build the change you want to see. When the people lead, the leaders will follow, or find they have been made irrelevant.

Posted by: me | Mar 8, 2007 6:30:59 PM

In answer to Carl Gutman saying "But it's like the weather, everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it. Now what?"

Many of the people writing on here have been trying to do something for years and in fact have achieved things like the paper ballot bill and other things. Where have you been?

Posted by: JLC | Mar 8, 2007 8:26:06 PM

How about you go to congress.org (http://www.congress.org), enter your zip code, click the corresponding 'Go!' button, your senators and state reps' contact information will appear, and you can EMAIL THEM!

You can also make yourself known to http://worldcantwait.org/ and PROTEST!

Posted by: Phil E. Drifter | Mar 8, 2007 11:58:33 PM

...After the New Mexico fiasco, in which 6 Democrats betrayed their constituents and voted to kill the impeachment resolution. I have to wonder what they are all being blackmailed with...

Those notably voting against:
Pete Campos
(505) 986-4311

Ben Altamirano

Carlos R. Cisneros
(505) 986-4863

Timothy Z. Jennings
(505) 986-4362

John Pinto
(505) 986-4835

John Arthur Smith
(505) 986-4363

James G. Taylor
(505) 986-4862

David Ulibarri

Help us spread the word:

Posted by: | Mar 9, 2007 7:47:13 AM

To clear up some of the more ignorant comments above:

For those under the misapprehension that the state impeachment resolution would "not get any further" or was some kind of "inert legislation." -- That is simply false information. The rules of the US House of Reps requires that action be take on an approved impeachment charges submitted by a state legislature. It puts the House on the spot to defend the bushcheney regime or to confront it. Sadly, those few NM Dems chose to defend the war criminals instead.

For those who claim impeachment is not a "winnable battle." -- It is, in fact, the ONLY winnable battle for those who oppose the neofascists. The reality of "rule by signing statement" makes impeachment the only substantive, moral, patriotic option for having an up or down debate on whether or not to continue as a War Criminal Nation.

The bizarre position of the current DC Dem "leadership" -- as gov't officials to refuse to report and take whatever action necessary to stop ongoing torture -- is in fact a war crime in itself. (And that's a reality we in the US don't get to "decider" or procedurally duck. Especially if any of them plan to travel abroad again.)

For those who have a "general dislike" because of something vaguely to do with "Clinton." You are one of many victims of the beltway propaganda machine that regularly propounds this oxymoronic notion. It's not just apples and oranges, the circumstances are diametrically opposite.

Clinton was a popular, twice-elected president -- impeached for less-than-trivial reasons -- by a party in danger of being seen as extremists. Bushcheney is an unpopular, never-elected, never-legitimate regime -- being impeached for torture/war crimes, spying on Americans, and terrorizing the nation into war -- by a party that might be in danger of being seen as conscious or vertebrate.

Realistically, we can expect "Reverse Clinton" results. Perhaps even on conviction/removal. As a matter of fact, I think the "not gonna happen" scenario is finding 30 GOP Senators to stand and defend torture and war crimes.

So impeachment is not only possible -- but as the DC Dems have already shifted from "issues actions," to "non-binding conflict," to now "binding conflict" (whatever they think that means), -- impeachment may even be inevitable.

And the effort in New Mexico, even though unsuccessful there, has been a great success in propelling the issue nationally.

You should all feel proud. And accept the gratitude of your fellow Real Americans.

Posted by: thedeanpeople | Mar 9, 2007 9:26:09 AM

When I wrote Heather Wilson a letter about Impeaching Bush/Cheney, I got a form letter back from her about her support for impeaching Bill Clinton! When I met her once at the Golden Pride, I reminded her that she has voted to impeach a President, she got a real weird look on her face, then I told her I'm not a Republican or a Democrat, I'm an American and I expect my leaders to defend the Constitution. This was way back before the 1,000+ tyrannical signing statements. There is something terribly wrong with this country, honest to Christ! This Generation seems so wasted! 1,999 days since WMD said he'd catch Weekend at Osama's???

Posted by: | Mar 9, 2007 10:53:31 AM

I have been cheering the progress of this resolution! Now I find it difficult to imagine the possibility that the people really have a say, and really are being listened to at all. We all have a voice however tacet, but there are always leaders who will take as much power as they can and power like money corrupts most floks well intended or not in this country. My suspicions are that money power and status are the driving force here rather than any interest in the people and our voice. It is obvious that the amount of resistance needed to overcome the inertia both in Santa Fe and in Washington is formidable! It has been done before and we the people will again rise to the need of real and lasting freedom from tyranny. In the interim now is the time to see if there is a parliamentary slight of hand that can bring the issue back to the floor and at least have some debate. If anyone has the means and needs a hand – let’s go! Remember to change the “system” it is best done from inside!

Posted by: jeabrams | Mar 9, 2007 11:42:43 AM

Well, I guess I'm responsible for much of the "ignorant comments" above...so I got that going for me.

I don't know what to tell you, thedeanpeople, other than you seem to have a different opinion when it comes to this impeachment thing. Vastly different. But that's okay. I guess time will tell who has failed and who's been left behind. Oh wait, I'm channeling Bob Dylan all the sudden. But I guess it fits. Dylan often does.

Posted by: | Mar 9, 2007 11:11:42 PM

I think this shows that people need to vote in a new party to replace the Democrates and Republican's, The Constitution Party. I don't live in New Mexico, but I was cheering for this..

Posted by: knight fire | Mar 10, 2007 12:58:09 PM

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