Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Guest Blog by Jim Hannan: Pete Domenici - His Other Legacy
This is a guest blog by Jim Hannan of Santa Fe:
As Pete Domenici’s career comes to an end, the state’s major newspapers continue their long history of never giving us the full story about our senior Senator. On the one hand, he was a good provider of federal funds for the state. But Pete Domenici also was a typical conservative Republican, placing corporate interests above the interests of working Americans.
Pete Domenici has done a lot for New Mexico. Over his 36 years in the US Senate, he brought home the bacon. His strong support of Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs allowed them to continue to thrive, many years after their mission had been served. By the end of the 1960’s our nuclear arsenal was substantially complete, with over 10,000 nuclear warheads and launch platforms from airplanes, intercontinental missiles and submarines. It was an amazing feat to continue to provide the labs with lavish funding. Pete also worked hard to procure federal money for infrastructure projects. His staff excelled in providing constituent service. And Pete’s fight for parity for mental health benefits must be saluted.
But a US Senator has an obligation to represent all Americans. And in this respect, Pete had many shortcomings over the years. The following are major examples.
- Fiscal Policy. The National Debt now stands at over $10 trillion. Pete was Senate Budget Chair under both Reagan and George W. Bush. He deserves much of the blame for the debt. He bought into the voodoo economics of Reagan and the Bush tax cuts for the rich. He used the Social Security payroll tax surplus to hide the real size of the government deficit. Now with baby boomers starting to retire, our government is close to bankruptcy.
- Environment. In a state like New Mexico, we cherish our natural environment. Pete has a very poor record of environmental protection. He consistently ranked near the bottom on his voting record from the League of Conservation Voters.
- Foreign Policy. In the last eight years, Pete has always supported the worst President in American history, George W. Bush. Bush is now so unpopular that even other world leaders ignore him. We New Mexicans needed a US Senator to represent our real strategic interests, not the delusions of the Bush Cheney neo-cons.
- Energy. As Energy Chair, Pete single mindedly promoted more nuclear power plants over all other solutions. He has not been supportive of energy conservation and renewable sources of energy. He came to the senate in 1973, in the middle of our first energy crisis. He leaves 36 years later, with us ever more dependent on unfriendly foreign governments for our energy needs.
- Government Programs. Pete was a supporter of George W. Bush’s failed attempt to privatize Social Security. In 2007, he voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for better prices.
Pete Domenici, like all politicians, is a mixture of good and bad. As he leaves office, it is time to acknowledge both. When Pete announced his retirement, his approval rating was only 41%. The Journal and New Mexican forgot to mention that as well.
This is a guest blog by Jim Hannan of Santa Fe. Jim is the Finance Director at the Housing Trust, a non profit that helps Santa Fe residents buy their first home. He has been active in the Sierra Club for many years, including serving as Chapter Chair for two years. Jim worked for Mo Udall in Congress in the 1970’s. In 2007, he decided to run for the US Senate to highlight the voting record of Pete Domenici.
Guest blogs provide an opportunity for readers to express themselves on topics of interest to the political discourse here, and may or may not express the views of the DFNM blog. If you'd like to submit a post for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Thank you Mr Hannan, your absolutely correct in saying "Pete Domenici, like all politicians, is a mixture of good and bad. As he leaves office it is time to acknowledge both" That is something no one will likely read in the Journal and or see discussed by local media but well worth remembering when the accolades are being expressed..
Posted by: VP | Dec 10, 2008 6:09:35 PM