Chattering about Susana

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By Hal Rhodes

So Susana Martinez came out of her recent reelection campaign pretty much as just about everyone had expected.
Way back when they were still making glitzy movie musicals, the wondrous Marilyn Monroe won hearts and superstardom with the proposition that “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Well over a half-century later, New Mexico’s governor for-four-more-years will tell you that if you’re going to strut your stuff today — at least in electoral politics — there’s no better friend than a big, fat campaign treasury, the bigger and the fatter the better.
From start to finish Martinez had so much cash on hand that her campaign came off as unnecessarily squandering its resources.
Certainly that was the case in the final weeks of her campaign, long after it was abundantly clear that she had locked it up, but nonetheless continued to sling the high-priced attack TV ad mud with an abandon that appeared almost gleeful.
Gary King never had a chance.
The first negative ad Martinez leveled against the erstwhile Democratic nominee prominently featured remarks once made by the state Democratic Party chairman to the effect that King was one of the worst attorneys general in state history.
The Dems’ chairman, Sam Bregman, has a long history of loose lips and there are scores of prominent New Mexico Democrats who wonder to this day how their party let itself enter an important election year with such an inveterate grandstander at the helm of their organization (if that’s the word for it).
In any case, Susana Martinez let Sam Bregman deliver the first blow, and for Gary King it was downhill from there on.
He never had much of a chance anyway. From the git-go, national Democratic Party officialdom made it publicly known that it was writing King off and not inclined to send New Mexico any of the money earmarked to help elect the party’s gubernatorial hopefuls this year.
From top to bottom, national to state, the Democratic Party, wittingly or unwittingly, basically threw Gary King to the wolves, and the Martinez campaign was standing by with the appetite to do the rest.
And the irony is that Democrats are now licking their wounds, back in Washington where the GOP controls the Congress and here in New Mexico where Republicans have four more years in the office of governor and are about to begin at least two years in charge of the state House of Representatives.
Meanwhile the talking heads of television and the bloggers on the web have already given themselves over to spirited chatter about Susana’s political future.
Will she really spend the next four years up on the fourth floor at the Roundhouse? Or will the coming year find her flirting with national political prominence in advance of the 2016 presidential election.
Unlike most Republican governors, Martinez won the respect of some Democrats when she signed onto that part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that allowed states to bring more of their residents under Medicaid. For many medically uninsured, low-income, New Mexico families it was godsend and meant health insurance heretofore beyond their reach.
Otherwise the governor has a relatively modest set of accomplishments to show for her four years as New Mexico’s chief executive. Nonetheless she has other bona fides, including gender and ethnicity, that are thought to be desirable in a Republican seeking the number two spot on her party’s 2016 presidential ticket.
At this distance it might strike some New Mexicans as far-fetched, but it’s conceivable.
Which is why all of those aforementioned talking heads of television and bloggers on the web are chattering?