Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-14 pols already talking about 2016

121412 pol plans

SANTA FE – Sure, the presidential elections were just completed and it is way too early to start talking about 2016 – but it is happening.
Republicans fretting about their increasing losses of Hispanic votes are turning to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as their savior. Democrats are looking fondly at Hilary Clinton after a strong stint as secretary of state.
Rubio appears to like the attention. He has another immigration bill he is promoting. But a candidate with a Hispanic name isn't quite all Hispanics are seeking. They want one who speaks to their issues. At this point Rubio is still working too hard to keep the tea party vote.
Hillary Clinton says she just wants some time off after a very active four years. But she isn't one to just sit around for long. Her old friends who thought she should have received the nomination in 2008 are back to try again.
At this point, Clinton looks like the frontrunner just as she did the last time around. But even though the world is looking more fondly on her now, she still is likely to engender the vulgar jokes that began in the 1990s soon after husband Bill became president. It won't be pretty.
Hillary also has another strike against her. She's from the wrong generation. Author-historian and faithful reader Dave Clary of Roswell writes to note that Americans have always made clean switches in generations when choosing presidents.
Bill Clinton ended the World War II generation of presidents and ushered in the baby boomers. George W. Bush continued the era. Barack Obama then took over for the millennials, brushing aside John McCain, a Depression Era baby who lost his turn. Hillary lost her turn as a baby boomer and according to Clary's analysis Americans will be prone to choose another millennial to follow Obama.
Several Republicans from the millennial era have emerged during the past few years. Most of them are espousing the tea party philosophy. That may still be what it takes to win a GOP nomination in 2016 but it may not win the presidency.
On the Democratic side there has been less opportunity, under a Democratic president, for a group of new leaders to emerge. As septuagenarian Nancy Pelosi has observed, much of the congressional leadership is older than she is.

A youth movement appears in the New Mexico Legislature for the coming sessions. House Republicans met a few weeks ago and elected new leadership. Nate Gentry of Albuquerque was elected whip and Alonzo Baldonado of Los Lunas was elected caucus chairman.
Both came to the Legislature during the 2010 GOP surge. Don Bratton of Hobbs replaces Tom Taylor of Farmington as minority floor leader.
Among Senate Democrats, Sen. Tim Keller of Albuquerque beat Sen. John Sapien for the whip position. Both are just beginning their second term. For caucus chair, Jacob Candelaria beat Daniel Ivey-Soto. Both are from Bernalillo County and both were newly elected to the Senate last month.
Senate Republicans and House Democrats will be caucusing soon to select their officers. There are bound to be changes among House Democrats because floor leader Kenny Martinez of Grants plans to run for speaker of the House. Rep. Ben Lujan of Nambe is retiring as speaker.

The strife-ridden state GOP also has changed leaders. Former Lincoln County GOP Chairman John Billingsley soundly defeated John Rockwell of Albuquerque. Billingsley, along with former state GOP chairman Harvey Yates, Jr, of Artesia have been major critics of Jay McCleskey, Gov. Susana Martinez's chief advisor.
McCleskey and Gov. Martinez have caused considerable internal controversy by making primary election endorsements against fellow Republicans and by getting involved in Democratic primary elections.
The GOP typically holds its party elections in December following a general election. Democrats wait until the following spring. Democrats usually don't have as many fireworks. Could it be because they have a longer cooling off period?


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