Let's Talk Sense...

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Saturday, August 16, 2003 Volume XXVIII, No. 2
Roswell, New Mexico
Readership, this date: 22,787

In this issue...

Republican Party Challenges: National and State
Prognosis for George W. Bush
Rudy Fernandez
John Sanchez
The Republican Party of New Mexico
Kudos to Patrick H. Lyons
The Republican Party of New Mexico (according to Sterling Landau)

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Prognosis for George W. Bush

A constant feature of cable news and entertainment channels is the steady stream of trailers at the bottom of the TV screen. Their purpose is to amplify the story going out over the airwaves or raise questions, apparently to "help the viewer" absorb more of the news. During the high points of the war in Iraq as well as during the month-long afterglow, these trailers constantly asked the rhetorical questions: "Can Bush be beaten?" "Is there a Democrat who can win in 2004?" "Can the Democrats avoid a Bush landslide next year?" These trailers were of course accompanied by actual full hour shows devoted to these same questions. We don't want to pick on cable, the major networks as well as print media and radio ask the same kinds of questions.

As we have stated at several public appearances and speeches during and after that time, there are hardly any dumber themes to explore than these.

This is not to say that President Bush will not be reelected next year, or that he will not be reelected by a wide margin. Of course each is possible. The problem is not the positing of the idea that Bush might be reelected, it is the advancing of the idea that he is somehow unbeatable----at a point 16 to 18 months before the election.

When we ask people if they know what there lives will be like 16 months from now, what their financial situation will be like, what job they will hold, where they will be living, what their personal or professional life will be, many of them gradually realize how silly much of the American media's commentary on this subject truly is.

The short answer to the media is, was, and will remain for sometime: YES, of course Bush can be beaten. You idiots. Now shut up and report the news.

They won't of course. But you should know.

When we first wrote these words in May Bush held a 75% approval rating. Now he has been sighted as low as 53%. More on those polls later. Right now just remember: 100 days after his second inaugural, following the biggest popular landslide ever, Nixon's three closest advisers were forced to resign. Gary Hart was knocked out of the 1988 presidential race in a matter of a week in May of 1987! And lest we think all that is ancient history, Trent Lott fell from the most powerful post in the US Senate in a matter of hours.

There are 443 campaign days left before election day, Tuesday, November 2, 2004. In politics today that is an eternity. Intelligent people can observe that---barring catastrophic conditions---President Bush has a better than even chance of winning reelection next year. But only very foolish people push the notion that his second term is somehow inevitable. I hope that conservatives do in fact read newspapers, magazines, books, listen to radio and yes, watch TV, especially for the purposes of keeping up-to-date, gathering intelligence and fully appreciating what all points of view. Toward that end some TV shows can actually be useful. But we should be careful not to take too many of them too seriously.

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Rudy Fernandez

Rudy Fernández will serve as the southwest regional political director for Bush-Cheney '04. The region includes Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Hawaii. Fernández comes to the campaign from the Republican National Committee where he served as the director of grassroots development. Hispanic Business Magazine recently named Fernández one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" in the United States. Before joining the RNC Political Division, Fernández served as the RNC's Southwest regional press secretary. Prior to the RNC, Fernández was the press secretary for Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Fernandez is from Miami, FL.

Comment: Rudy Fernandez is a superb choice. He and Sharon Castillo worked with the Sanchez for Governor campaign last year where I got a chance to see Rudy in action. He knows New Mexico, possesses superb political instincts and is one of us----a committed principled conservative who is constantly working hard to put the best interests of our state and our nation ahead of petty politics. Our state party badly needs someone like Rudy in our region. We couldn't be happier with his appointment.

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John Sanchez

News Briefs Staff and Wire Reports

Sanchez To Chair Bush's Southwest Campaign

SANTA FE Albuquerque small businessman John Sanchez has been tapped to chair the 2004 re-election campaign of President George Bush in five southwestern states, including New Mexico.

"John Sanchez will be a valuable adviser and messenger," said Marc Racicot, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee who heads Bush's re-election effort.

Sanchez will chair the president's campaign in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah, Racicot said.

"With New Mexico being in the center of those, I'll be able to keep my base in my home state," said Sanchez, the unsuccessful 2002 GOP nominee for governor in New Mexico.

Comment: Obviously the best choice. The selection of John Sanchez sends all the right signals---to the party faithful, to conservatives, to Hispanics and to people who stand for principle over politics. This was a no-brainer.
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The Republican Party of New Mexico

Following the state chairman's election in May, my first remarks were directed to the newly elected chairwoman, congratulating her on her victory. In all of my communication since then (LTS..., Legislative Update, radio shows and several speaking engagements) I have had only positive and encouraging things to say about the state party and its leadership. I continue to urge all Republicans to support our state party and our chairwoman.

RPNM is hosting a fundraiser as a tribute to former Governor Gary Johnson tonight August 16 in Albuquerque. Gary Johnson has always been a tremendous draw for fundraising and it should be no different now. This event should raise a minimum of $250,000 and turn out 600-1,000 faithful supporters. Please make plans to attend and contribute generously. (Those of us in Roswell have a scheduling conflict with a fundraiser for Congressman Pearce in our hometown at the same time. Please show up for Steve if you can't make it to Albuquerque.)

After three months' time, however, I have to register at least a bit of disappointment in the new chairman's first letter to New Mexico Republicans after she took office. Rather than sending positive signals, her very first communication with our party faithful was a continuation of her campaign for chairman----a scathing attack on her predecessor. That sent two bad signals: 1) She didn't realize that the campaign was over----this is bad because she needs to be an example for our candidates around the state, helping them pick up on: a) when to campaign, and b) when to be gracious. 2) besides all that, the claims in her letter were also incorrect. She alleged that because we would need some $280,000 for the rest of this year we are in the hole something like a quarter of a million dollars---right now---and that the previous chair and his staff had left the party in terrible shape.

But that is not the way the world works. No one thinks of a budget like that. Just because someone concludes that his household expenses (mortgage, utilities, insurance, car payments, clothing, food, miscellaneous, etc.) will be $5,000 a month, that does not mean he has a "deficit" of $60,000 even before the year begins. He could announce that. But it would needlessly alarm and upset his family. That is kind of the same thing those words from the chairman did to the Republican Party of New Mexico's family.

Using that logic, we could say that the state party is $3.5 million "in debt" for the cycle (2003-2004), since that is about how much our party received in the last cycle ('01-'02)---and it hasn't come in yet. We could announce that, but it wouldn't be right. It would be misleading and needlessly alarmist.

I will say this again: (for about the tenth time in all media): the election for party chair is over. Let's look to the future. There is no reason to attack the previous chairman----even for valid or truthful reasons, if they can be found. There is certainly no reason to attack him falsely. Instead, what is needed is single-minded, purposeful leadership. I am sure I speak for all New Mexico Republicans when I say that we are willing and able to follow the leadership of our party chairwoman and work together to win every election in 2004. Let's get completely focused on that and stay focused on it.

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Kudos to Patrick H. Lyons

While a number of us have been speaking out since the beginning on the Richardson Raid on the Land Grant Permanent Fund (see www.rodadair.com), the only figure to consistently get any media attention around the state is our own Commissioner of Public Lands, Pat Lyons.

Pat has been the leader on this issue, and without him we would have practically no voice at all. We owe a debt of gratitude to Pat, and I know those of us in the legislature who oppose the raid appreciate his leadership. As the GOP's highest elected state official (Senator Domenici, strictly speaking, is a federal office holder) Pat is going to carry the burden more than any other person. We need to back him fully.

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The Republican Party of New Mexico (according to Sterling Landau)

There are "others" whose voices ring out from time to time. Rather than let you get it from someone else, here is one of those voices. Though a staunch and mean-spirited critic of me and many others, we have no idea who this person or conglomerate is. Recently he (she? they? it?) sent out some blurbs about his (her? their? its?) favorite subject matter: the Republican Party's fortunes in New Mexico. It seems the Landau braintrust is not high on the state party operation. But then, to be fair, it wasn't high on the previous party administration either. Take it with a grain of salt. Here are the highlights from Sterling:

---"Ramsay Gorham's first fundraiser was a visit by a prominent White House person. But Gorham didn't announce the visit until Friday before the Monday event. Gorham was in North Carolina right up until the Friday night before the fundraiser. Thus, she never made the invitation calls and they ended up with only five donors, and only 12 people present, including staff. Word from an insider is the state party lost $150 on its first fundraiser even though the guest of honor showed up for free."

---"Another sign things are off track, Gorham is rapidly losing control of her staff and party officials... she has had numerous resignations, plus firings, and there is growing discomfort about loyalty, hers to them and them to her. This is clearly evident from comments made outside her presence."

--- "Permanent fund election. Gorham has yet to raise any money to combat the permanent fund raid referendum, leaving Land Commissioner Pat Lyons hanging out to dry. While Richardson is raising money hand over fist, Gorham has been vacationing in North Carolina.

--- "Gary Johnson has agreed to be the featured guest of the next fundraiser. Word on the street has it that in order to get Gary Johnson to agree to be part of a fundraiser, Gorham had to soften on her anti-drug positions. Many of her supporters see this as treason...."