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Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Progressive Bloggers" Respond to Marty Chavez Reachout

I haven't written about my participation in a Tuesday "progressive bloggers" conference call with Marty Chavez, who's running for the Dem Senate nomination in New Mexico. There are two reasons:

1) I didn't think there was much that was newsworthy in the conversation other than the fact that Chavez, who had recently labeled Rep. Tom Udall "too far to the left" when he thought it might be politically helpful, couldn't manage to come up with any political differences between himself and Udall now that he was talking to a total of two "progressive bloggers" on the phone. I did add what I learned about the recent polling data leaked by the Chavez campaign to an earlier post.

2) My partner is going through health care hoops right now and I've been right there with her and not really concentrating much on mundane political matters.

Who Did Write About the Call?
In finally catching up some with the local scene, I noticed that Heath Haussamen and Steve Terrell -- neither of whom characterizes themselves as "progressive bloggers" -- both wrote about the call. Funny how that works. I had no idea the call may have been silently "monitored" by members of the local "neutral journalist" contingent. I surmised that Heath was on the call only because he said this in his post:

There was clearly some awkwardness about the conversation, but the bloggers also sounded genuinely happy to have such access to Chavez. Since he's currently the only big-name Democrat in the Senate race, progressives have no choice but to give Chavez a serious look.

Well, we do have another choice in the form of Don Wiviott, who's been reaching out to the grassroots in ways much more personal and sincere than an "official" blogger conference call. But that's a story for another day.

I don't know if Terrell was on the call or not, but he wrote an article for the New Mexican that characterized the call with Marjorie and I as a kind of stealth operation to snooker progressives, and he congratulated Chavez's paid web consultant for a "score."

Even though people on the call were asked to introduce themselves, only Marjorie from m-pyre and I did so, in addition to the Mayor and his web consultant. Therefore I'm not sure if Heath and Steve were just fed the angles on the stories they wrote or if they were actually on the call secretly or what. I know the world of "journalism" is in another, more exalted realm than that inhabited by naive, easily fooled "progressive bloggers" so it's hard to know for sure.

Wasn't Fooled Again
At any rate, I'll just say that I, for one, wasn't really "genuinely happy to have such access" to Chavez. I mean, it was OK, but I certainly wasn't unaware of why Chavez was suddenly "reaching out" to progressives. He needs the support of progressives and core Democrats to win. When he figured he didn't -- in his mayoral runs -- he never expressed one iota of interest in reaching out to us. As anyone following politics here knows, Chavez is a politician through and through. He does and says what he thinks he has to do or say to win. Period. Of course that's true of most politicos, which is why we need a an activist progressive movement in the first place. It's hard to find truth on the campaign trail or the halls of the "leaders."

And surely it's well known that Chavez hasn't exactly been popular with many progressives and party regulars, for a multitude of reasons. Mostly because of rather disturbing incidents we've witnessed or been a part of, as well as some of the decidedly Republican-lite or expedient positions he's taken over the years. A phone call isn't going to fix that, despite what hired web guns may think, whether they're "macaca" incident vets or not.

I'll have more to say soon about all this, but I have to go now and take care of some other things in my life. In the meantime, go read what Marjorie at m-pyre posted today about the call with Chavez. She IS a progressive blogger and she WAS on the call and she DID ask a number of pointed questions of Chavez after introducing herself on the call.

PS: Contrary to what the Blackstone guy said about the call in Terrell's article, there was no way that "about a dozen" progressive bloggers participated. I count two.

For our previous posts about the 2008 U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, visit our archive.

November 1, 2007 at 05:52 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink


How shall we describe Marty Chavez's "outreach to progressives"? How about nauseatingly dishonest? How about pure sham?

To start with, the "outreach" has been concocted by his new "on-line marketing" consultant - Blackrock Associates.

What does Blackrock do? From their website:
"Some of our most frequent work includes Online Fundraising, Supporter Acquisition, and Grassroots Engagement."

So don't think for a moment that any of this represents a sincere change of heart on Chavez's part. He's just following his consultant's script.

Blackrock may try to put Democratic lipstick on this pig, but they've got their work cut out for them. Remember who Chavez's real "political" advisors have been for the last few years. Not progressives. Not Democrats. No, we're talking Chief of Staff Barry Bitzer and Transit director Greg Payne! Both long-time Republican political operatives. And both still are. Haussaman documented their most recent work in the Council campaigns for Marty.

Greg Payne was Executive Director of the state GOP. When he was on the City Council, he publicly used the term "neo-Marxist" to describe and denounce fellow Councilors, the majority, who opposed Chavez's pro-sprawl, pro-developer agenda. Councilor Hess Yntema, a Republican, was even painted with this "far left" brush. Why? Because he was an environmentalist who supported smart growth policies! If Hess Yntema is a neo-Marxist in the Chavez-Payne book, then what does that make Tom Udall?

Before being rewarded by Marty with his cushy City job, Greg Payne served as a hard right Republican State Representative from District 31. Payne had a blog back then. Remember? Who did Greg Payne repeatedly extoll as his source of intellectural inspiration? Ann Coulter! Let me say it again so it sinks in -- Ann Coulter.

These are the kind of people who are closest to Martin Chavez politically, the ones he surrounds himself with. Ann Coulter lovers!!

Thus, to employ a word like "nauseating" is to vastly understate the situtation. So in the future, don't ask Martin Chavez how he might differ with Tom Udall on any issues. The real question is, does Martin Chavez differ with Greg Payne? Ask Marty why he ever hired Greg Payne in the first place -- and what function Payne really performs "for the City"? Then prepare to get a real dose of bull.

Posted by: Martin Chavez - Ann Coulter connection | Nov 1, 2007 8:44:46 PM

I had the same reaction when I read those two pieces about that call. I felt "reported on" by Heath Haussamen and Steve Terrell. I was like... "I knew it!" Too bad one of them didn't get in touch with us to see how we thought it went. That would have made it good reporting.

After the call I sent the fellow who organized the call an email suggesting that if Marty genuinely wanted to convince us that he's really a closet progressive he should actually talk to the community based organizations that he has intersected with repeatedly over the years (Not simply a couple of progressive bloggers with hidden reporters lurking to report on it.) Want to lay odds on whether or not that happens any time soon?

Anyhow, I hope your partner gets well very soon. As you know, this crazy political world is always here so you should take all the time you need!

Posted by: < | Nov 1, 2007 8:52:27 PM

Hi Barbara--

I'm glad you were able to join us for the call. All I can tell you is that Marty and the campaign are committed to being accessible and reaching out to as many people as possible over the coming weeks and months. Marty knows that not everyone agrees on every issue, and that it will take more than one phone call to build relationships with folks.

We certainly weren't trying to "snooker" anybody -- there wasn't anything pre-scripted about what happened, the floor was open for people to ask questions, we tried to make everything as open as possible -- including inviting more than 2 dozen NM bloggers to participate. We certainly weren't trying to hide or screen anything from anybody.

We'll be doing much more of these kinds of events -- on the phone, in person, etc. -- as the campaign continues. Marty intends to be a candidate, and a Senator, who represents everybody -- including progressive bloggers -- and that's what this kind of reaching out is all about. I thought Marjorie's suggestion in her email to me after the call was very good.

Marty and the entire campaign are committed to continuing this dialog, online and off.

I hope your partner gets better very soon!


Brent Blackaby
Marty Chavez for U.S. Senate

Posted by: Brent | Nov 2, 2007 12:42:16 AM

What a hack. What does this guy know about Marty and his record? This California consultant clearly knows nothing about Marty or his history. We're not impressed.

One thing is for sure, he's already learned the Chavez art of misleading the public. In the New Mexican article, he said about a dozen bloggers were on the call. Now, he's saying he invited two dozen bloggers. Pretty interesting.

Posted by: Hack | Nov 2, 2007 7:53:27 AM

Yeah if Chavez really was so into reaching progressives he'd buy an ad on here and not just on Monahan and Haussamen where I just saw them up.

Posted by: JJ | Nov 2, 2007 8:30:42 AM

We did invite 2 dozen (and a few more than that) bloggers. And there were about a dozen folks on the call. Many people didn't speak up and ask any questions. Don't know what else I can say.

Our ads on Monahan and Haussamen just went up yesterday. More ads coming on this and other sites.


Posted by: Brent | Nov 2, 2007 9:37:05 AM

The gap between "mainstream" and the progressive blogosphere is huge, but shrinking. You two wonderful and hard working bloggers who were on the call have been seeing to that with great passion and insight. And, by the way, how good to be introduced to another progressive blogger. Chavez is slimey, has slimey policies, slimey pr folks, and slimes all that he touches.So keep up your good work - it matters and makes a difference for the huge number of folks who try to be truly informed and not just accept msm "wisdom" which can be a little ( or a lot) slimey itself. Hats off to all our local blogging heroines - your day has finally arrived!

Posted by: david | Nov 2, 2007 11:26:08 AM

thanks for your participation in the effort to take our country back from the theives and liars. Unfortunately the theives and liars are not only in the repug party, as i am sure you know.
Would you be so kind to share with us on this blog the other people that were on the call. Openess and transparancy is what we are about, right? Who else was listening?

Posted by: meb | Nov 2, 2007 11:48:37 AM

Hi Meb--

I forwarded the dial-in number to a bunch of folks, and frankly don't know who all chose to dial-in and listen. We didn't do a roll call or anything like that on the call.

But the invite went out to as many people who blog about NM and NM politics as I could possibly pull together -- and as many of those bloggers whose email addresses I could find.

Somewhere around 25-30 invites in all.


Posted by: Brent | Nov 2, 2007 12:22:42 PM

thanks for the reply Brent.
Living here in NM would have been interesting to know. It is a small community of bloggers here. But we all know one thing we are working for CHANGE.
remember the horrible war,
remember 2 bil a week going to it

Posted by: meb | Nov 2, 2007 12:58:01 PM

No question. We've got to end the war.


Posted by: Brent | Nov 2, 2007 1:01:16 PM

If Udall gets in, Chavez is truly toast. No way will Democrats pick Marty over the terrific Tom Udall!

Posted by: I Vote | Nov 2, 2007 1:42:22 PM

Marty will lose to any republican. He lost in a state race before. He has gotten more crazy over the years. Red light cameras, not letting the firefighters fight in those matches, and all of this green nonsense, everywhere you see his name. The people outside Burque, will not support him. He runs from one media meeting to another. Oh, I almost forgot all the Republican endorsments and his republican staff.

Posted by: George Peterson | Nov 5, 2007 6:09:50 PM

I forgot the working poor. If claims to be a Union supporter, why are the City of Alburqurque, Blue Collar workers paid so low.
I am a member of a Union and we have looked at those wages to try and use them to bargain with and we decided not to use them, because they were so low. I bet his Republican guys get paid good.

Posted by: George Peterson | Nov 5, 2007 6:48:46 PM

Wow, out of all the comments and the efforts of the the Chavez campaign you folks still choose to bash Chavez. As far as I can tell Chavez has been the only candidate so far to reach out the blogsphere, the only candidate to acknowledge that he doesnt always agree with members of this organization, the only candidate who has a staff member who has tried to answer as many of your questions as possible through this medium, and still you criticize. When will you stop?

Posted by: Sick of this attack on hispanic candidates! | Nov 5, 2007 11:00:37 PM

I call em, as I see em. Once he gets in there he will be very hard to get out. So, based on the information that we have. The past years as mayor. A logical person can see what he is about. I can see you dont like attacks on Hispanic cantidates. It dont matter if your bright blue, if you have republicans working for you, then you deserve the truth told about you. Dont be scared to look at the facts. I will never vote for him, no matter what. You can log in everyday apologizeing for him, but that dont change the facts that he is a Demopub.

On a different subject, have you ever noticed that rich people use the word "folks" alot. Anyway, they use it alot down south east.
Lets take a poll. When you here the word, make note of it and post you numbers.

Posted by: George | Nov 6, 2007 9:28:19 AM

I'm sorry if I offended anyone by using the term folks. Hopefully this will not lead to a uprising of Imus proportions.

Posted by: Sick of this attack on hispanic candidates! | Nov 7, 2007 9:20:18 AM

LOL, thats a good one. I did not mean to sound offended. Its just something I notice. I am not the least offended. The rich rednecks around roswell use it alot. Yes Folks, you can be rich and be a redneck. lol

Posted by: George | Nov 7, 2007 1:33:58 PM

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