Inside the Capitol

Sunday, September 02, 2012

9-5 Gov. Martinez shines in conventionspeech

90512 Susana

SANTA FE – Gov. Susana Martinez did New Mexico proud with her speech at the Republican National Convention. She was given what appeared to be one of the most prime of prime time slots and didn't disappoint.
Our governor had several applause lines and brought the crowd to its feet with a story about carrying a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum as a security guard for her father's small business. That was red meat for the crowd.
Another ovation came when she told of deciding to run against her former boss for district attorney. Both were Democrats in a Democratic leaning community.
Some Republican friends invited Martinez and her husband, Chuck Franco, to lunch to talk politics. She said she liked their issues so much that when she and her husband got back in their car, she said "Well I'll be damned – we're Republicans." She didn't say but maybe there might have been a few other topics discussed at lunch. Anyway, there is talk of putting the quote on T shirts.
Another big applause came for her quote that "In America todo es posible." I've already seen that on a sign in front of a church. Republicans are thrilled that they have more Hispanic governors and U.S. senators than Democrats do. Martinez helps that along by being able to speak Spanish.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also speaks the language quite well. Watch for Gov. Bush or one of his sons to keep the family name in Republican politics.
Many New Mexicans were displeased that none of the major network channels carried the speech. Appearing between Condoleezza Rice and the vice-presidential nominee was a real coup. But the networks had to have time for commercials and talking heads between those two major addresses.
To any veteran channel changer, finding our governor's speech shouldn't have been much of a problem. The Public Broadcasting System channels carried gavel-to-gavel convention coverage and those with cable or satellite connection could get it on C-SPAN. Fox News, MSNBC and CNN also carried her speech.
Her speech still can be seen on most newspaper and TV web sites. But the fact remains that Gov. Martinez would have been seen by many more Americans had any of the major network channels carried her speech.
So the schedule turned out to be unfortunate for the governor. Convention planners very likely knew it. But that was not the most unfortunate scheduling of the convention. The entire week was built around former Gov. Mitt Romney's acceptance speech.
The mystery guest's appearance totally messed that up. I could almost hear households around the country turning down the volume on their television sets to discuss what in the world Clint Eastwood had been thinking about with his rambling 12-minute soliloquy.
Martinez spent most of her time telling her story, an inspiring tale of political success. It is likely to inspire some young Hispanics to seek office as Republicans. The speech didn't contain much to encourage Hispanics to vote for Gov. Romney.
Immigration is an issue among Hispanics. Gov. Martinez has a comprehensive immigration stance that would appear quite attractive to many Hispanics but it disagrees with the Republican Party immigration platform so she couldn't say anything about it.
Earlier this year Martinez outlined a rather comprehensive immigration package for Newsweek magazine. This column commented on it and received notice from one of her advisors that her immigration stance had been public for some time.
But coverage of Martinez's convention speech mentioned the Newsweek article as being the source for Martinez's immigration positions so apparently most of us in the world of political reporting hadn't heard about it before Newsweek reported it.
Many of us had not heard Martinez use Spanish phrases in her public appearances. Gov. Richardson used Spanish frequently. It may be that Martinez hasn't spoken to many groups yet which contain many Spanish speakers.


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