Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Last night something kind of funny occurred when I was channel surfing. Mostly, I was watching the election returns on CNN. When John McCain started his speech early in the evening I watched him, painfully, for about five minutes and then just couldn't stand it anymore. I started surfing for a bit and ended up on the History Channel's excellent 'Universe" series. The subject at that point were pulsars that send out their signals into the universe and how some of them slow down sometimes. I found it funny because I had been wondering when McCain was reading his speech from the teleprompter if he had much of a pulse at all.

When I surfed back to CNN Hillary came on to the stage. I think the lighting on her was designed and provided by the ghost of Bela Lugosi. It was truly awful and we watchers all saw it as a metaphor for they way her whole campaign has been running. How could her 'producers' let this happen and how could she once again ignore reality and not even mention her defeats even in passing?

Then Obama came on and talked for 44 minutes. CNN cut from Hillary's coverage just as we all suspected they would. Obama has a tendency to run on a little but I have to say every time I was ready to surf again he would say something that was meaningful and we all agreed to keep watching. We thought CNN would cut him off at 8 PM but twenty mintues later they were still with him. Amazing. And then one of the commentators said he spoke to long. That figures coming from the folks who give presidential candidates on the news and average of 9 seconds in a sound bite.

I think it is all over for the Clinton effort. Now Obama has to put meat on the bone and start delivering some more specific policy on issues such as public land policy and water issues in the west. I know a lot of people that will help with that. These policy papers don't have to be extremely detailed. They should just provide everyone a feel for where he is headed.


NewMexiKen said...

Jim, I agree, public land policy and water issues are important, especially in the west, and especially to someone such as yourself.

But why, oh why, would Obama want to issue policy papers on them? If, as it appears, we are going to have a choice in November between Obama and McCain, how would Obama's position on water in the west possibly matter — compared to say, Iraq or healthcare or tax policy?

For example, in 2004 Princeton political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels estimated that “2.8 million people voted against Al Gore in 2000 because their states were too dry or too wet” as a consequence of that year’s weather. They believe that those voters cost Gore seven states, any one of which would have given him the election.

The election isn't going to turn on western water issue policy papers. Would you vote for McCain if he had a better water policy than Obama?

I for one wish that we could get presidential candidates to commit to cabinet selections before the election. I would much rather know who Obama's secretary of the interior might be than what some policy paper that would have to be negotiated through Congress anyway might say.

But thanks for stimulating my thought — as your blog so often does.

A. Esquibel said...

Dear Mayor Baca ~

I came upon your blog while researching another New Mexico related topic. What a terrific find!

I am a native New Mexican who now works in Washington, DC. I was looking through your archives and found some delightful entries, including your 2005 profile on Lawrence Rael. I grew up knowing the Rael family and worked with both Lawrence and Kim when they worked for Senator Bingaman in Washingotn, DC. They are great people and even though I haven't spoken to them in a few years, I will always consider them good friends.

I too spent much of my childhood in Pena Blanca, so I enjoyed reading your post about going to your grandparents home in Pena Blanca. I could visualize every aspect of your descriptions - from crossing the cattle guard en route to Pena Blanca, going to the local church - or just spending time along the irrgation canals.

Reading your entry today, mirrors much of where I am today. I too saw Sentor McCain's speech, followed by Senator Clinton, and the networks cutaway to Senator Obama. When the split screen came on, you could sense a pivitol moment was about to occur. I too am an Obama supporter.

I will continue to read your blog. Thanks very much for such rich content and a welcome connection to the Land of Enchantment.

~ Amanda Esquibel

barbwire said...

Sometimes it's better to leave the details for later. Have you ever read any George Lakoff? I think Obama is running his campaign according to Lakoff's framing principles and it's working. Ordinary voters don't respond to policy wonk papers. They need to feel connection with the candidate and jibe with his or her human values, not policy points. This is why I don't believe Hillary connects with people. Ten point plans don't inspire people.

KathyF said...

I decided to go look, and, while this isn't western issues specifically, it does address rural areas:

It goes--pardon the pun--pretty deep into the weeds on some issues in particular, so I suspect that a western-specific policy might be similar. I too think water issues will be a major turning point in the not too distant future, as we realize what we've done with our natural resources. (In that respect, the CAFO legislation he proposes is pretty alluring.)