Thursday, July 31, 2008
ACI Hosts Series of Congressional Candidate Forums
The Association of Commerce and Industry, along with a number of other organizations, is hosting a series of Congressional candidate forums in August in Santa Fe, Clovis, Las Cruces and Albuquerque. The forums will address the candidates' positions on business issues such as immigration, health care and other hot topics. Details are listed below the break. Space is limited. To register, visit the ACI website.
Monday, August 4, Santa Fe: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Forum Building at the College of Santa Fe, 1600 St. Michael's Drive. Invited: NM-03 candidates Daniel East (R); Ben Ray Lujan Jr. (D); and Carol Miller (I); U.S. Senate candidates Steve Pearce (R-NM 2nd) and Tom Udall (D-NM 3rd).
Wednesday, August 6, Clovis: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Clovis Civic Center, 801 Schepps Blvd. Invited: NM-03 candidates Daniel East (R); Ben Ray Lujan Jr. (D); and Carol Miller (I); U.S. Senate candidates Steve Pearce (R-NM 2nd) and Tom Udall (D-NM 3rd).
Thursday, August 7, Las Cruces: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces Village, 3011 Buena Vida Cr. Invited: NM-02 candidates Harry Teague (D) and Edward Tinsley (R); U.S. Senate candidates Steve Pearce (R-NM 2nd) and Tom Udall (D-NM 3rd).
Friday, August 22, Albuquerque: 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Marriott Pyramid North, 5151 San Francisco Road NE. Invited: NM-01 candidates Martin Heinrich (D) and Darren White (R); U.S. Senate candidates Steve Pearce (R-NM 2nd) and Tom Udall (D-NM 3rd).
Santa Fe's Mayor Coss Discusses Urban Issues on MayorTV
Santa Fe Mayor David Coss is featured on MayorTV today, lamenting the feds' "ignorance" in neglecting cities, criticizing overly harsh immigration raids and wondering when we're going to get serious about solar energy. MayorTV is a project organized by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and The Nation, and it's been interviewing mayors from around the nation about what's going on in their cities and what kind of help they need from the federal government.
Harry Moroz, a research associate at the Drum Major Institute, described the project this way:
One of our goals is to get the presidential candidates to start talking more about urban policy and the issues that really matter to cities- things like health care, infrastructure, public transportation, and education. Taken as a whole, these interviews have spoken to the fact that cities matter and can be the test-centers for policies that could be implemented on a nationwide scale. Often mayors are at the heart of this change and the presidential candidates need to start paying attention.
A few weeks ago, MayorTV visited Miami and interviewed mayors at the Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors including Mayor Coss, who had introduced a resolution calling for comprehensive immigration reform that passed unanimously at the conference.
The Drum Major Institute and The Nation take the position that urban issues -- housing, transportation, infrastructure, crime, education -- are being neglected by the presidential candidates, even though more than 80% of Americans live in cities and urbanites drive 90% of our economy. We've witnessed hundreds of photo-ops of the candidates at county fairs, tractor pulls and other agricultural settings, but much fewer in urban environments.
Have the presidential candidates lost touch with urban America? Are "urban issues" code for poor people and ethnic minorities, and thus to be avoided at all costs? Should the candidates have an urban agenda? What should it be? MayorTV is designed to get answers to these questions and more from those who are on the front lines dealing with city issues.
At MayorTV, you can check out videos of a diverse and influential group of mayors -- like Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, John Hickenlooper of Denver, Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City and Marty Chavez of Albuquerque -- giving their prescriptions for an agenda that supports American cities large and small.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Obama Slams McCain-Bush Economy
The economy may well be the issue that will bring us victories up and down ticket this year. Obama gives it to Bush-McSame but good (and by implication, Steve Pearce, Darren White, Ed Tinsely et al.) in the clip above. Here's the prepared text of Obama's complete remarks at the townhall meeting on the economy in Springfield, MO today.
Do watch Sen. Claire McCaskill's intro that calls out the trad media for their negative and inaccurate characterizations of Obama. Then continue if you want to watch the whole town hall.
Thursday: Labor & Environment Groups to Parody McCain & Pearce’s Pro-Industry Energy Plans
Are you in the mood for some lampooning? Some satire? Some pointed parody? Feeling so upset about how things are going that you need to laugh or you'll cry? This is the event for you. I'm informed that New Mexicans affiliated with labor and pro-environment groups will gather on Thursday, July 31st, to highlight Big Oil’s latest round of billions in quarterly profits -- at a time when people are paying record prices at the pump.
Donning their tiaras and puffing their cigars, a troupe of ‘Big Oil Billionaires for McCain & Pearce’ will be on hand to toast John McCain’s plan for a $3.8 billion tax cut for the top five oil companies. They'll be sniveling over Barack Obama’s plan for an immediate $1,000 tax cut to provide American consumers with real relief, while putting us on the path to energy independence through a $150 billion investment in clean, renewable energy. The troupe will also raise a glass to Rep. Steve Pearce for voting time and again to extend and maintain billions in tax cuts for the oil and gas industry, while opposing any increase in fuel efficiency standards -– all for only about $650,000 in campaign contributions. Be there tomorrow to join in the revelry:
- WHERE: ConocoPhillips gas station, Lomas & San Pedro (6121 Lomas Blvd, NE), ABQ
- WHEN: Thursday, July 31, 2008 – 4:30 PM
WHAT: Visibility event – including the ‘Big Oil Billionaires for McCain & Pearce’ troupe – on oil companies’ record profits and McCain & Pearce’s pro-industry energy plans
WHO: Sierra Club, AFL-CIO International, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, and AFSCME Council 18
VISUALS: ‘Big Oil Billionaires for McCain & Pearce’ troupe, mock gas station sign with top 3 oil companies’ profits and other informative graphics on presidential & senatorial candidates’ energy plans
According to event organizers, the largest oil companies are together expected to post more than $35 billion in profits for the second quarter alone –- putting them on pace to exceed last year’s all-time high of more than $123 billion. The event will also draw attention to campaign contributions that John McCain and Steve Pearce took from oil companies, and expose how their energy plans stand to benefit Big Oil rather than hard-working consumers.
Don't miss it. It's not often that we get tiaras, cigars and billionaires in one place in this town!
Backlash Erupts Against Victories in NM by Ethical Progressives and the Growing Power of Reform Groups
Oooh, oooh, that smell. Recent braying by the usual suspects about what is clearly constitutionally protected first amendment speech has erupted at both the conveniently anonymous Eye on Albuquerque (hi Whitney?) and the shifty alligator shack.
What are they whining about? What's clearly bugging them is that factual mailings and ads about issues by certain nonpartisan, nonprofit groups are helping to gain support for progressive issues, and thus the ethical, progressive candidates who support them in New Mexico. Bad news for the crooks and wall-leaning lobbyists for special interests. Good news for the people.
We can't have that. It threatens the monied, elite forces who like to be in charge and who use disinformation, unattributed innuendo and dishonest spin in an attempt to stay there. Facts (and voting records) are the enemies of this bunch. They win if people are uninformed or misinformed. They benefit from keeping voters in the dark about what's really happening and who's benefiting.
We've Seen This Play Before
The two (or more) bloggers are blowing smoke with their accusations of illegal actions on the part of the nonprofits they're going after. The stir they're trying to create is similar to the thoroughly discredited efforts by forces within the GOP to convince people there's massive voter fraud going on. You remember the David Iglesias case, don't you? And how the U.S Attorney's office couldn't come up with a single prosecutable case of voter fraud in New Mexico? Such realities never stop the forces of distortion, however. We've seen it time and time again.
If their view of what is and what is not allowable under the law for such groups were to hold sway, a multitude of issue-based non-profits and so-called 527s here and around the nation would be deemed to be breaking the law, and doing it for many years. The laws governing such groups are detailed and specific. Generally, they cannot directly advocate for a specific candidate by name or coordinate their actions with campaigns. But such groups are definitely free to distribute anything they want about issues or document the voting records, positions and actions of any candidate on the issues being discussed. Period.
We Don't Want No Stinkin' Reform
The bloggers and those stealthy and unnamed "insiders" behind the recent attacks know this. But they are choosing to ignore reality so they can strike back against forces that are having success in promoting progressive issues and positions. They know that progressives and reformers often win when voters are informed on the issues.
Witness the victories of ethical reformers like Eric Griego, Eleanor Chavez and Tim Keller, who recently won state legislative primary races against lazy, compromised, long-time incumbents who had abandoned the needs of their districts in favor of furthering the agendas of special interests in the New Mexico Legislature. Rest assured that those wins rankled and scared the business-as-usual status-quo pushers. They don't like it when the people come before the lobbyists.
You can start giving the alligator shack and Eye on Albuquerque credibility on the ethics issue when they start being as up-at-arms about the filthy swiftboaters of the right, often funded almost entirely by incredibly wealthy rightwingers in Texas. Don't hold your breath.
Swampsters Have History of Snarling at Reform
Remember, the gator farm was the force behind that infamous "contest" that called for students to submit a "sensible plan" for ethics reform. At the time, the reptiles were claiming ethics reform bills were stalled in the New Mexico Legislature not because certain state reps and senators don't like the idea of oversight -- but because those lobbying for reform were ineffective in some way. For background, you can read my previous post about the reptilian attack on ethics and campaign reform and those who advocate it, and how that crude contest ploy played out in posts at New Mexico FBIHOP and m-pyre.
Now those fighting tooth and nail against giving up the quid-pro-quo gravy train are going a step further in hypocrisy -- suggesting that the reform groups fighting against corruption are themselves corrupt or compromised in some way. What's fueling this sturm und drang? Panic in the dark nooks and crannies of the power elites.
Pushing Gary King
What the pushers behind the blogger mouthpieces clearly are doing is attempting to pressure Attorney General Gary King to go after those fighting for ethics and campaign reform, improved health care and other important mainstream goals. Let's hope that King has his head on straight when he deals officially with the accusations of those who want to keep certain puppets in power. If he caves to the whining, I think he'll have some significant legal battles on his hands locally and nationally -- a real firestorm.
The rules governing nonprofits, 527s, etc. are pretty clear. My understanding is that unless there's blatant campaigning afoot that's directly pushing a certain candidate by name, or it can be proven that a group is coordinating its actions with a candidate, there's nothing illegal taking place.
Then again, the alligators, eyes on Albuquerque, special interest lobbyists and threatened legislative candidates aren't really concerned about the law. They're trying to raise a ruckus because the voting public is finally getting more access to the facts about voting records and how those who are supposed to represent them are instead at the beck and call of powerful, monied interests concerned primarily about their own bottom lines. Knowledge on the part of voters is considered a bad thing by the business-as-usual contingent -- so they're going after those who have the nerve to communicate the facts to the people. And trying to label that illegal. Shame, shame, shame. And transparent as hell.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
NM-02: Teague Launches Revamped Campaign Website
NM-02's Democratic Congressional candidate Harry Teague just launched a redesigned campaign website for the general election at https://harryforcongress.com. I like the rustic style and the photos from Harry's past -- like the one below with his sister, brothers and cousins. Harry is the baby on the far right. I couldn't resist:
I'm also impressed with Teague's position on ending the Iraq war, among others. Check it out, see what you think and be sure to sign up with the campaign to help elect a Democrat in New Mexico's Second District. If you missed it, also see our previous post about our recent visit with Teague in Hobbs.
Deadline Nears for Dem Convention YouTube Contest
You have until August 1 to submit a short video (2 minutes or less) at YouTube on "Why I Am A Democrat in 2008," and enter the DNC contest described above by Chairman Howard Dean. Not only will the winner travel to Denver for the Convention, but the winning video will be shown to the Convention audience including elected officials and delegates. On top of that, the winner will also travel with Senator Obama’s campaign for a day, documenting life on the campaign trail.
Even if you don't submit a video, you can view and rate the submissions here. Also check out videos by Gov. Bill Richardson and former mayor Federico Peña on why they're Democrats. They can't win the contest but you can -- if you upload your video by August 1st. Tick tock.
Dems to Spend $20 Million to Mobilize Hispanic Voters
The Washington Post reports that the DNC and Obama are set to unveil a $20 million effort to register and mobilize Hispanic voters in a number of states, including New Mexico:
DNC Chairman Howard Dean said the sum is unprecedented for a presidential campaign and represents a show of Democratic confidence that Latino voters could prove pivotal in states including New Mexico and Michigan. [...]
Targets will include Florida; Western states such as Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico; and Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, industrial battlegrounds with sizable Hispanic populations. The money will be spent on niche advertising and other outreach, along with mobilization efforts aimed at identifying, registering and turning out new Democratic voters.
Over the weekend, the campaign held a training session in Las Vegas to teach local organizers how to canvass Hispanic communities. A similar forum will be held soon in Florida, Dean said, and sessions in other states are in the planning stages.
... The investment is intended to benefit other Democratic candidates as well, including high-profile House and Senate races in Colorado, New Mexico and Florida.
Meanwhile, McCain isn't doing so hot with Latino voters despite his campaign's claim that, "We've been doing all that," McCain spokeswoman Hessy Fernandez said of Obama's efforts.
Although Republican rival John McCain represents Arizona, a state with a strong Hispanic presence, Dean cited a poll last week by the Pew Hispanic Center showing Obama's approval rating with registered Latino voters at 66 percent nationwide, compared with 23 percent for McCain.
Monday, July 28, 2008
NM-02: A Visit with Harry Teague in Hobbs
Teague tells us why he's running for Congress
This is a bit long, but bear with me. There's a reason I have a lot to say about Harry Teague.
A week ago Sunday we drove back in a meandering fashion from Netroots Nation in Austin. We stopped overnight in the Hobbs area so we could visit with NM-02's Dem candidate for Congress. Last Monday, Harry Teague and staffer Michael Huerta graciously welcomed us and offered up several hours of their time to talk life experience and politics.
There was lots of lively conversation, funny anecdotes, a tour of Harry's haunts in Hobbs -- old and new, personal and business -- lunch at Dan's Mexican restaurant and a visit to Teague's well organized campaign office in Hobbs. (There's another one in Las Cruces.) Oh, and we learned that the entire state of Pennsylvania could fit into New Mexico's huge Second District with room to spare. I wonder if the pundits and strategists back East understand that fact. It's a hard one to grasp.
I had never met Harry Teague before and I have to say it was a real pleasure. I'm like most progressives I know. I supported Bill McCamley in the Dem primary down South. But now that I've spent some time with Mr. Teague I can honestly say I can support him with enthusiasm in the general election. Perhaps even more important -- I genuinely believe he can win. Imagine New Mexico with Democrats representing all three Congressional Districts. It can happen, but only if we vigorously support all three of our Dem Congresional candidates. All three.
My take on the Dem Red to Blue candidate in the Second District? He's smart, modest, well informed, down to earth, hard-working, friendly and nuanced in his positions. It's clear that he relishes coming together with others and solving problems, not preaching or being preached to. I came away with the impression that he's one tough cookie of a candidate -- a practical pragmatist with a big dose of common sense and a streak that's decidedly progressive. He came across to me as somebody who genuinely cares about human beings regardless of their stations in life, ethnicity or background. I don't think you can fake that and be believable.
Harry's into the common good -- its shows in so much of what he says and so much of what he's done over many years in his community. And he's careful to point out just how much he's gotten from his community in return, even when he lived in very modest circumstances. Teague says he's had fun his whole life, when he was poor and now that he's the opposite, and I believe him. He's not a guy who's comfortable spinning. He looks you in the eye when he talks. He doesn't wobble.
Watch out Ed Tinsley -- Harry Teague is in it to win and he's determined to do it by reaching out to people from all walks of life in the District -- plainly saying what he believes in, and why. And he clearly believes in the kind of all-American family and community values that Dems have long supported, and to which too many Republicans have paid only cynical lip service while pretending they have the high ground.
What came up most often in our conversations? How we can get the country back on the right track and rebuild our middle class, our working class, the opportunities available to ordinary people. We certainly need more of that in Washington. Much more.
Harry drove us around the humble neighborhoods in Hobbs where he grew up, and which prompted many warm memories on his part. Born on a small farm in Oklahoma, Harry, his three siblings and his parents moved to Hobbs in 1959 and lived in tiny trailers, small buildings behind gas stations where he father worked and in very modest houses, moving often. He was raised in Anglo neighborhoods, Hispanic neighborhods, African-American neighborhoods -- and he has many friends from those places to this day. In fact, Teague still lives in a modest neighborhood, in a modest home. Pretentious he's not. Things don't seem to motivate him. People do.
Teague also showed us the oil services companies he built from scratch, explaining how he started in the oil fields doing physical labor at a young age. He had to drop out of high school to help support his family when his dad became ill. He's come a long way on hard work, good planning and an honest reputation, and he's proud of it. He's also proud of treating his 250+ employees right -- paying them a generous wage, providing them with good health care coverage and helping their children go to college.
He had nothing good to say about his GOP rival's continual bad-mouthing of a decent minimum wage. Ed Tinsley owns restaurants, represented the National Restaurant Association for years and sees the minimum wage as his enemy. It's evident that, unlike Teague, he has no interest in anything called the common good or economic fairness. Tinsley's a grabber, through and through. Period. He's got his and he's gonna keep it that way. And he spends almost all of his time out of the district, up in Santa Fe and beyond. Tinsely and the interests of the people in the Second District are miles and miles apart.
Besides a keen passion for economic justice, Teague is very excited about bringing his experience in the energy field into play in Washington. A firm believer in the need for an Apollo-like project to develop renewable energy, Harry spoke a lot about his interest in being a sort of bridge in Congress -- between our present energy system and the one we'll be transitioning to in the coming years. He says he understands the energy business and can be a conduit for knowlege that can help us change to new methods and fuels without destroying the lucrative jobs we have now from energy development.
"We have to find a way to switch to alternative energy, but we also have to find an alternative tax base," says Harry.
He sees wonderful opportunities for wind and solar energy in the Western part of the huge 2nd District, near Lordsburg and Zuni Pueblo, for instance. He knows the oil business, but he also knows a lot about what we need to do to craft a new way of powering our communities. I found that very impressive. And valuable when he goes to Washington.
Teague also pointed out his top-notch track record of bringing jobs to the area while he served eight years on the Lea County Commission. He ended up chairing the Commission even though most members were Republicans. Teague is definitely a person who takes reaching out across the aisle seriously so important things can get done. Helping communities and workers is his number one priority and he's had a lot of experience doing just that.
Teague said, "It's a heady feeling thinking about how this next Congress may get to do more than any Congress since 1932, and I’ll get to be a part of it. That’s humbling. We can do more good for the people of the U.S. in the next few years than anyone since the early '30s. We'll have a chance to set our course on the right track in terms of energy, immigration, ending the war, heath care, education, jobs and more. I want to be a part of that if I can."
I hope he is -- representing New Mexico's Second Congressional District with honesty and care. I don't agree with Harry Teague on every issue, but I do agree with him on where we need to go on all the important issues, and how to get there quick. I'd like to urge all of McCamley's former supporters to give Teague a chance and help NM-02 gain Democratic representation for the first time since 1981. We need all of New Mexico's members of Congress supporting the change and renewal that an Obama presidency can bring to the forefront. We need Harry Teague, along with Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan, Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman. How about it?
Harry Teague is a True Blue New Mexico candidate. Please do what you can to help him get elected in November.
Click on photos for larger versions. All photos and video by M.E. Broderick.
NM-01: White Releases Internal Poll Info Showing Decline in Support
The first internal polling released by Repub Darren White's NM-01 Congressional campaign back in October, conducted by GOP pollsters Public Opinion Strategies (POS), showed him with a lead of 18 points over Dem Martin Heinrich. Then, nothing from the White campaign -- until Heinrich released an internal poll on July 8th showing Martin surging in popularity and leading White by 3 points.
Now we suddenly get a bare-bones-only memo about a new internal White poll, again by Public Opinion Strategies, showing him bleeding support to Heinrich compared to their previously released internal survey. The telephone survey conducted on July 22-23, 2008 among 500 likely voters, and with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38%, shows White with a 47-41% lead. Support for White is now down by 12 points from the level he had in his campaign's initial internal survey -- not up.
Why release these numbers now? Perhaps because panic has begun to set in at the White camp and he needs to convince Repubs that he has a chance to win in a year when Dems are expected to swamp the GOP up and down the ticket in most states -- even according to GOP strategists.
Where Are the Questions and Other Data?
Note that the White campaign failed to release the text of the questions that were asked, any unfavorable numbers generated by ancillary questions or any detailed description of the methodology used. Is this because the questions were worded or asked in a manner designed to produce the answers the White campaign set out to obtain? We don't know. Were party labels attached to the candidate names? We don't know. All we know are the numbers publicized in the memo, period.
The manner in which this polling data was released suggests to me that a candidate who's one of George Bush’s biggest cheerleaders is struggling in this race. White's face has long been on TV and his name before the public in connection with his job as Bernalillo County Sheriff. Yet Heinrich's name ID lags by only 13 points before a single general election ad has aired or a single debate between Heinrich and White has been televised in the NM-01 race. Not good.
As more people get to know Heinrich, his name recognition and approval numbers have an excellent chance of rising within this group. On the other hand, most voters already know White so it will be harder to get his numbers to rise.
POS: Pumping the Right-Wing Agenda
In important ways, this is a politicized poll aimed at making political points, not a serious and fair snapshot of the race. Need more proof? Read the memo. What comes to mind when an allegedly respectable pollster uses rhetoric like this?
Martin Heinrich’s record on the City Council and the extreme positions he has taken in the
campaign make him better suited to run in the elite neighborhoods of San Francisco than this middle-of-the-road district in New Mexico.
That's not statistically driven analysis -- that's pure political spin from the right, relying on stereotypical language left over from the 1980s. In other words, it's as hackneyed and heavy-handed as the rest of White's campaign messaging to date in this race.
Despite providing no data or documentation to back up its claims, POS also states that "Heinrich comes with a long and undeniable record of opposing the needs of New Mexico families on issues they care about most." Like what? Raising the minimum wage?
POS also mentions "the extreme ideology of Martin Heinrich" that "will become abundantly clear in this campaign." Oh, and Heinrich’s "extreme views and votes on everything from taxes and spending to fringe environmental protectionism to hypocritical business persecution to national security policy, position him well outside mainstream thought in New Mexico." I especially like the "business persecution language. Don't you?
Transparent and laughable, isn't it? And, again, nothing to back up the claims. Just BS rhetoric straight from the GOP talking point machine.
Heath Haussamen headlines his coverage of the latest internal White poll with the phrase, "Take That Heinrich." Given how we've all heard by now how Heath runs a purely neurtal, "journalistic blog," am I the only one who finds that headline just a bit too celebratory? Notice that Heath fails to
mention draw any conclusions from the fact that the survey questions were not provided from POS, and that he offers little other analysis of the survey memo. Primarily, he just copies the memo's contents verbatim. Hmm.....