Mario Burgos

Clear thinking and straight talk from the top of a mountain.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Denish's Silence to be Her Undoing

It's everywhere. Governor Bill Richardson got the boot from the cabinet secretary position because the FBI is not able to give Richardson a “clean political bill of health.” Do I think this is the first step to re-uniting Bill Richardson and Manny Aragon? No. However, I do think this is a devastating blow for Lt. Governor Diane Denish.

Lt. Governor Denish was poised to become the first female governor of New Mexico, but in one fail swoop that has all changed. My guess is that Governor Richardson will now finish out his term and attempt to save what is left of his legacy. That means switching all of those reporters he has gathered over the years into overdrive efforts to redirect the focus away from the indictments and on to more flattering topics.

Of course, the Lt. Governor could save her political future by coming out on the attack and blow the whistle on Richardson's antics, but that's just not her style. Sure, there was that whole pinching episode...

The lieutenant governor of New Mexico, Diane Denish was quoted in the Albuquerque Journal saying she avoids standing or sitting near Richardson because of his physical manner, which she said was not improper but was "annoying." The governor, she said, "pinches my neck. He touches my hip, my thigh, sort of the side of my leg."

On repeated occasions, Richardson has been pressed by reporters or Democratic activists on whether his personal conduct can withstand public scrutiny.

But, even then, the Lt. Governor had been careful not to call anything Governor Richardson did "improper." She preferred to think of it as simply "annoying." As this scandal plays out, most likely the final major scandal of the Richardson administration, expect the Lt. Governor to remain silent on the impropriety of pinching donors.

After all, it's no secret that Lt. Governor Denish has been rather aggressive in her own rights in securing a rather impressive war chest over these last few years. But, as one of the Lt. Governor's esteemed colleagues pointed out, taking large sums of money is only about charging for access.

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