Mario Burgos

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

Friday, March 20, 2009

Out of State Blogger Takes Issue With Reporters

You know, I'm feeling a little guilty. I had nothing to say about former Senator Manny Aragon's send off to prison. Maybe, I'm just feeling Manny Aragon fatigue. We're going on three years since I first started talking about, at the time, Manny's pending indictment.

I guess if I wasn't so thoroughly tired of the subject, I might have noticed what a blogger looking from the outside in noticed about the reporting on Manny's sentencing:
Manny Aragon was one of New Mexico’s most powerful law makers and power brokers. A former Senate president, Aragon was this week convicted and given a 67 month sentence for lining his pockets and that of his co-conspiritors with millions in fraudulently billed state contracting money.

While his “iconic” status is mentioned and his long standing position as a “Senate leader” is dutifully chronicled, his status as a Democrat doesn’t seem to make the cut of a large portion of the stories on his sentencing. This is a common practice of the Old Media. The word “Democrat” never seems to escape the editor’s cut in a story about a criminal Democrat.

The Associated Press misses the fact in two versions of the story (here and here), so does the New Mexico Independent. KRQE News 13 doesn’t mention the party of Agagon or his co-conspiritor Raul Parra. The Albuquerque Journal also skips party mention in this story of reactions to the sentencing.

I must be losing my edge.

Update: Mark Bralley sent over a note to let me know that it's wrong to criticize the AP for the decision of local media editors.

A quick review of a news outlet that used the AP story without editing it greatly would have seen that "Democrat" played prominently in the second paragraph.
My apologies to Heather Clark at the Associated Press.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's Like I'm Totally Psychic

At the end of January, I wrote that after the Democratic Party held its caucus it would say something along the lines of:
We far exceeded our expectations. Despite the fact, that significantly less money was spent than years passed, more than [fill-in the blank] the number of people we projected turned out. This is a clear indication that people are eager for a change in Washington. Blah, blah, blah....
Well, today the folks over at Democracy for New Mexico are reporting the following from NM Democratic Party Chairman, Brian Colón:
“Today’s canvass results for regular and absentee ballots provide hard evidence that New Mexico Democrats are ready for change in the White House,” said Chairman Colón. “From ending the war in Iraq to providing solutions on health care and education, these two candidates have energized Democrats in every part of our state. With an official turnout of 54% more than the last caucus, the 2008 Democratic Caucus turnout was absolutely unprecedented.”
Can I call it or what? I'm thinking I ought to send Chairman Colón a bill.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Some People Just Shouldn't Talk

So, Patricia Madrid has decided to jump in the fray and attack the Democratic Party volunteers for a poorly run caucus. Mind you, this was the sitting attorney general that lost a Democratic leaning district during a year when Republicans across the country got the boot from Congress.

Call me crazy, but I'm thinking this is the last person in the world who should be taking a whack at anyone's ability to organize volunteers and achieve results. Then, to add insult to injury, she throws in this classic Madridism:

In addition, a party-run caucus puts a critical vote in the hands of volunteers instead of paid, trained election workers.

“It (the caucus system) doesn’t have all the checks and balances and the years of experience of a proper election,” Madrid said.

Excuse me??? Ms. Madrid, have you actually been paying attention to how elections are run in New Mexico? I can't remember the last time an important election in New Mexico was actually decided on, or for that matter somewhere near, Election Day. As I recall, by the time you were ready to admit defeat in 2006, the Christmas shopping season was well under way.

As to "paid, trained election workers," it has obviously been a LONG time since you were down in the trenches. Let me recommend that you take a walk down memory lane and revisit just how well that paid election worker system is operating in New Mexico. Or maybe, instead of Monday morning quarterbacking, you could have offered to help raise the money, or volunteer your time, so that your party could do its caucus right.

Personally, I find it amusing that New Mexico's Democratic Caucus has suffered from the same inability as the state's paid Democratic machine to count ballots in a timely manner, or to have enough ballots at an election site. But, that aside, I just find it offensive that folks like Governor Bill Richardson or Patricia Madrid refused to get involved in the process, and then spend the days after pointing fingers at volunteers... VOLUNTEERS.

We really do need new leadership in New Mexico.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Governor Bill Richardson is a Class Act

Governor Bill Richardson spends the better part of a year gallivanting around the country and doing his best impression of Don Quixote, then comes back to New Mexico, grows a beard, and starts throwing barbs at everyone he can find. First, he calls the Legislature a bunch of do nothings, and now he takes aims at his own state party:
Gov. Bill Richardson released a statement tonight expressing his disappointment at how the caucus was run. Richardson was instrumental in getting the state’s Democrats to switch in 2004 to a caucus system that allowed them to move up the date and have a greater voice in the presidential selection process.

In the news release, the governor took credit for the success of the 2004 caucus, saying it was well-organized, well-funded and well-executed “through his personal efforts and those of his organization.” This year, the release stated, he was focused on running for president and is now focused on the Legislature.

Sorry, but if you ask me, the sitting Democratic Governor, who just happened to run for President, is the de facto head of the State Democratic Party. If he had still been in the race, you better believe he would have lent a hand and asked his minions to help. Instead, like a spoiled child, he is now pointing fingers at everyone else and saying, "It's your fault."

Kind of makes you wonder who he is going to blame when awareness of the economic downturn in New Mexico becomes common knowledge. If he stays true to form, there is no way he'll own up to the fact that his bad investments and unsound fiscal policy are the culprit, anymore then he is willing to take credit for the lack of leadership he has shown since returning to New Mexico.

One last note... neither the legislature, nor the Democratic Party officials are paid to do their job. They are volunteers. As someone, who at once upon a time ran a not-for-profit, I can tell you it is in truly bad form to blame the volunteers for the shortcomings of the paid staff.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Post Super-Tuesday Discussion with RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

This morning, I had an opportunity to talk one-on-one with Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Mike Duncan about the Super Tuesday results, and what bearing they have on the direction of the Presidential Campaign.

The first thing we talked about was the fact that on the Democratic side, there is no clear front runner and that is a clear indication that the Democratic Party is a party deeply divided right now. On the one hand, there are serious questions as to whether or not Senator Barack Obama has the experience needed to lead the country as Commander in Chief.
There also was a striking division between Clinton and Obama in views of their qualifications to be commander in chief vs. perceptions of who'd do more to unite the country. Obama was seen as more likely than Clinton to unite the country, by 50 percent to 39 percent; but Democrats said Clinton was most qualified to be commander in chief, by a nearly identical 51 percent to 36 percent.
On the other hand, huge numbers of people are grappling with whether or not Senator Hillary Clinton can be trusted.

The fact that these questions continue to loom as a large shadow over the Democratic race seem to indicate that the Democrats will go all the way to the Convention before deciding on a nominee. By contrast, on the Republican side we are seemingly moving toward picking a nominee in the not too distant future. This is good news for the Republican Party as it means that we can turn an eye (and our resources) toward winning in November.

The Chairman and I did speak about that all important political resource - money. Turns out that the Republican base is energized right now, and it is showing not only by the record number of people turning out at the polls across the country, but by their willingness to give their hard earned money.

Last year, Chairman Duncan raised over $80 million dollars. The same cannot be said for Democratic Chairman Howard Dean. It hasn't yet been released to the news media, but last month the RNC had another great fundraising month and finished with over $20 million on hand. Our Democratic counterparts aren't anywhere near that.

That's clearly evident on the home front here in New Mexico, where Democratic Party Chairman, Brian Colon has been lamenting the fact that he just doesn't have the resources available to him that were available in 2004:

Brian Colon, state Democratic Party chairman, said without the injection of money from the candidates' get-out-the-vote efforts, it will be tough to get people to the polls this time.

''The only thing that I kind of lose some sleep over is I wish I had half a million dollars to promote the thing,'' Colon said during a recent break from answering phones at the party's Albuquerque headquarters.

On the flip side, the Republican Party in New Mexico is being nationally recognized for its organization and ability to deliver results. In April, the New Mexico GOP will be hosting the RNC Chairman's Meeting in Albuquerque. As a blue state that turned red in the last election, we've won the right to be at the epicenter of the Victory campaign for 2008.

These are exciting times. The 27 million people who have turned out to vote in Republican and Democratic primaries and caucuses thus far show that the American people are once engaged in the process. Partisan politics aside, this is a GOOD for America.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Classic Strategy

The Democratic Party of New Mexico is playing a classic game of "underpromise and overdeliver" when it comes to Tuesday's presidential caucus (subscription):
When Gov. Bill Richardson successfully pushed in 2003 to hold a New Mexico Democratic presidential contest in early February, the goal was to shine more political attention on the state.

The tactic worked in 2004: Candidates made dozens of trips to New Mexico in advance of that year's Democratic caucus. Voters for many weeks couldn't turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper without seeing a reminder of the event.

But lots of other states have since decided to move their contests to early February, too.

Now, Democratic leaders think New Mexico voter turnout for the party's presidential caucus on Tuesday could pale in comparison to turnout the first time around.

State Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colón said this week he anticipates 30,000 to 40,000 of New Mexico's 532,000-plus registered Democrats to show up at caucus locations on the Super Tuesday compared to more than 100,000 last time.

In contrast, voter turnout in other states' 2008 Democratic nominating contests has shattered past records as excitement over the race between front-runners Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama has mounted.
Mark my words. When turnout in New Mexico exceeds the 30,000 to 40,000 predicted, Democratic leaders will turn around and say:
We far exceeded our expectations. Despite the fact, that significantly less money was spent than years passed, more than [fill-in the blank] the number of people we projected turned out. This is a clear indication that people are eager for a change in Washington. Blah, blah, blah....
I don't often make predictions, but I feel confident about this one.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

First You Actually Have to Be a Republican

I've watched with much amusement as Governor Richardson's favorite blogger has opened mouth and inserted foot a couple of times this week. Yes, I'm talking about New Mexico's premier politicial gossip columnist, Joe Monahan.

Staying true to form, our dear friend, Mr. Monahan, is trying to paint a picture of turmoil and dissension within the Republican Party of New Mexico. This time the tale he's spinning starts something like this:
Suffice it to say, Dog Days of Summer or not, the blogging Gods pulled the plug on the getaway, providing a reason we couldn't dream up even if we had dosed that iced tea with Drambuie. That reason is one Spiro G. Vassilopoulos, a Republican considering running against NM GOP US Senator Pete Domenici in the 2008 primary. Got your attention?
Now good ol' Joe may have got your attention, and mine, but in classic style, he either forgot to do his homework or just chose not to do it for the sake of sensationalism.

You see, if Senor Monahan had done his homework, he would have realized that even if Spiro G. Vassilopoulos is registered as a Republican, Mr. Vassilopoulos' money has a long history of being committed to the Democrats.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Go check out Political Money Line and see for yourself. Now, you are going to have to go back a ways, because it's been a good 13 years since Mr. Vassilopoulos has written a check for more than $200 to a candidate for federal office.

  1. In 1994, he and his wife contributed $500 to Senator Domenici's campaign, but he reserved the big money, a $1,000 for Democrat Bob Krueger of Texas.

  2. In 1990, he gave Senator Domenici another $500, but in the same campaign cycle he gave the Democrats, James Warren Lane of Texas $2,000 and Senator Jeff Bingaman, $333.

  3. In 1988, he gave his $500 to Senator Jeff Bingaman.
In case math is not your strong suit, that leaves us with Mr. Vassilopoulos donating a total of $3,833 to Democrats and $1,000 to a Republican. Sorry, but in my book, anyone who gives their money almost 4:1, Democrat to Republican, does not get to call themselves a Republican.

And, anyone following politics in New Mexico for any length of time knows that a "republican" candidate with close allegiances to the Democratic Party doesn't have even the slightest chance of being taken seriously by the GOP faithful in a primary situation.

Tsk, tsk, Mr. Monahan.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

DNC is Pulling the Strings

David Iglesias continued his media tour this weekend with a stop on Meet the Press. The Albuquerque Journal covered his appearance today, and this is the money quote:
Iglesias, whom Bush appointed to the U.S. attorney job, hinted that he was pleased with the aggressive inquiry of congressional Democrats into the White House and Justice Department into the firings.

"I'm seeing Congress exercising an oversight role that's been absent for six years," Iglesias said.
It seems that Mr. Iglesias is now unabashedly utilizing the Democrats' talking points in his media appearances. The Democratic Party's theme has been to time and time again state "there has been no Congressional oversight" for the last six years no matter what the topic. But, don't take my word for it:
Regarding business lobbyists - "Business lobbyists have been powerful players with the Congress and the White House under Republican control the past six years. The emphasis was on minimal regulation, easy access to federal rulemakers, many of whom came from industry, and almost no congressional oversight."

Regarding Domestic Spying - "And there really has to be in our system of law and government, checks and balance, separation of powers, congressional oversight and bob, there has been no meaningful congressional oversight on these programs."

Regarding Foreign Policy
- "In the past six years, however, congressional oversight of the executive across a range of policies, but especially on foreign and national security policy, has virtually collapsed."
Interestingly enough, Mr. Iglesias did not express any concern with the supposed lack of "congressional oversight" during his six years as a U.S. Attorney. No, he was more than happy with the status quo as long as he had a political appointment. However, take away that political appointment, and this guy starts looking for his meal ticket - the DNC. As I've said before, Mr. Iglesias now seems to have found his place as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Same Old Same Old

The majority of Democratic legislators voted to protect their committee assignments over taking the first step in ethics reform when they decided to keep Representative Ben Lujan as Speaker of the House.

Sad day for New Mexico, but strong opportunity for state Republicans.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Fear It Inspires

Both the Albuquerque Journal (subscription) and the Santa Fe New Mexican had stories yesterday about House Speaker Ben Lujan. What really struck me is the following from the New Mexican article:
"There's not a lot of room for dissent, deliberation or dialogue," said a Democratic state representative who asked not to be named.

The fact that few House Democrats would agree to talk to a reporter about Luján unless guaranteed anonymity is itself a testament to his power -- and the fear it inspires.

"Not only could I get screwed on committee assignments, but my bills and my capital outlay would suffer too, and in the end, it's my constituents who would pay," said one House Democrat, expressing the same sentiments as several others interviewed in recent weeks.
A deliberative body that won't deliberate because of a FEAR. Fear that they will end up with a bad assignment. Fear that their capital outlay will be vetoed. Fear that their bills won't see the light of day.

Maybe, they should balance those fears with fears of castration. Whatever happened to the Western spirit? In the land of Lobos - sorry Aggies - our Democratic legislature has turned into a bunch of sheep. Someone should remind these folks that they don't get paid for this job. In fact, all they have is there dignity, and it's pretty sad if they're willing to trade that away for a better committee assignment.

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