Inside the Capitol

Thursday, June 05, 2008

6-9 NM Still In Presidential Discussions

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Now that we know the two parties' presidential nominees, the discussion has immediately turned to vice-presidential selections. And New Mexico is figuring in the discussions.
Even though Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama in New Mexico, we are considered a swing state that it is possible for Obama to win. Colorado also is in that category of states that President Bush carried four years ago but that Obama may be able to take.
That means New Mexicans will be seeing plenty of the presidential candidates for the next five months. And it means Gov. Bill Richardson's chances of being tapped for a vice presidential spot on the ticket are improved.
At this point many backers of Sen. Hillary Clinton are threatening to vote for Sen. John McCain in November if Clinton is not on the ticket. But how serious are they?
Three months ago Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and other far right commentators were threatening to vote for Hillary Clinton for president if John McCain were to become the Republican nominee.
That was back when Clinton was still presumed to be the Democratic nominee. Since that time, I haven't heard much out of those folks, but I have a hunch we are hearing empty threats from both sides.
Sen. McCain held his first gathering with possible running mates two weeks ago at his ranch in Sedona. Friends and relatives in Arizona tell me McCain never called his Sedona place a ranch until now.
Presidential ranches seem to be getting popular these days, but none will compare in size with Lyndon Johnson's ranch, which now is a national historical park.
The Bush Ranch isn't difficult to get to. Traffic around Crawford, Texas isn't heavy. But can you imagine the traffic in Sedona, Arizona, with security details for important visitors plus media all over the place? For those of you who have not been to Sedona, a very popular tourist spot, think Taos and double it.
McCain and Obama have been warning each other and the media that their wives are off limits as far as prying and personal attacks are concerned. I can safely predict that is not going to happen.
Four years ago, we learned just about everything in the fascinating life of Teresa Heinz Kerry. Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama are equally interesting and somewhat controversial. We'll hear much about them.
Women have it tough in politics. When Hillary Clinton let her voice waver just the slightest during an interview in New Hampshire, her detractors had her crying crocodile tears. We don't want to see a future commander in chief with a soft side.
The women's cause suffered a setback recently when state Public Regulation Commissioner Carol Sloan explained a change in her vote as being a woman's prerogative. Not wise.
When term limits required Vladimir Putin to step down from Russia's presidency, he managed to slide into the prime minister's slot. Immediately there were questions about whether new President Dmitry Medvedev would retain the power Putin had as president or whether Putin still would be top dog.
Many New Mexicans were eager to answer that question for the Russian politicos. It wasn't too long ago when state Sen. Manny Aragon was deposed from his lofty position as Senate president pro tem.
At his first opportunity, Aragon took over the Senate majority leader post and from that position took back the running of the Senate. Putin has only been in his new position a month but already is finding ways to take over some of the president's former duties.
Now that congressional Republicans find themselves in the minority again, it will be interesting to see if they renew their push for term limits.
That was one of the cornerstones of the Contract With America on which they ran in 1994, the last time they were in the minority. But that part of the Contract seemed to have been written with disappearing ink.
MON, 6-09-08

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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