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My friend Barney from New Jersey has been keeping up with New Mexico blogs.That gives him a huge advantage in that he knows more about what is going on with day-to-day state politics than I do, and I am supposed to know.Barney enjoys working the edge during his disruptive calls.“So what’s the deal, do you think it will hurt New Mexico when Tom gives up his important House committee seat?” he asked the other day, setting the bait.OK, I knew he was talking about Tom Udall, the northern congressman who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici. And I knew his Democratic challenger is Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez.And both of them are keeping and eye on Gov. Bill Richardson who is running for president and who says he does not want to run for the Senate seat. But Big Bill is Big Bill so you need to keep him on your radar screen.I knew all that but I didn’t quite catch Barney’s reference to a House committee seat. So I tried to divert him.“I don’t know, Barney,” I said, “it’s a real conundrum.”“Doesn’t have a thing to do with safe sex,” Barney shot back. “You either know which House committee it is or you don’t know which House committee it is.” “Barney!” I yelled. “Conundrum. Conundrum! It means an intricate and difficult situation. I didn’t say coneeoh, never mind!”Barney went on to explain Udall has said he will resign as 3rd District congressman and in so doing, will leave New Mexico without a spot on the House appropriations committee. He read it in the New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan blog.This blogging business is here to stay and will be a huge factor in this and future elections.For guys like me who grew up thinking it is not news unless the ink stains your fingers, all this Internet stuff is a bit overwhelming. I keep up somewhat with Joe Monahan’s stuff, but there are hundreds of blogs out there with details and opinions. Not only that, but some of the local papers I try to monitor now have “blogospheres” where members of the news staff want to engage you in chitchat about life. Where am I supposed to get time for all this?“I’ll tell you what,” Barney said, about to dispense additional political wisdom, “with Steve Pearce, Heather Wilson and Tom Udall all leaving their seats, New Mexico’s entire House delegation will be newbies, and Pete’s replacement will be a freshman as well. You guys are going to have to hold regular bingo games to support Los Alamos and WIPP.”“Hold on there, Barney,” I interjected. “We still have Jeff Bingaman.”I had to admit, though, Barney was keenly attuned to current state political turmoil. I took a stab at getting the upper hand.“The one I am watching is Diane,” I said.“Diane Denish, the Demo lady who want to take Richardson’s place as governor?” he replied.Dang!But when I explained Ms. Denish is not getting the attention she deserves for going beyond state law in disclosing campaign contributions, I could tell Barney wasn’t tracking.“No matter who we send to Washington, this state’s biggest problem is corruption and ‘pay for play,’ big campaign contributors getting favors, jobs, contracts,” I told Barney, “Diane may just do something about it.”Silence. Then, “It’s a real compendium.”“That’s ‘conundrum’, Barney,” I corrected.“Whatever,” he said, hanging up.
Ned Cantwell – firstname.lastname@example.org – got a dictionary for his birthday.