This week: The N.M. caucus for dummies

Ned Cantwell

Many readers have asked for clarification on certain points regarding the upcoming Democratic political caucus in New Mexico. They have asked also if I am going to reveal details of a certain sex scandal regarding one of those candidates.
I am here to serve. Questions, please.
> Can anyone beat Howard Dean in New Mexico?
As we political insiders like to say, he seems to have “a lock,” which means he could either win or lose. Many people would like to see what writer Peggy Noonan calls those “cold marble eyes” staring down twinkle-eyed George on some debate platform.
> Who are some of the other candidates?
Well, Richard Gephardt, of course, but he’s now in the no-show column. And Joe Lieberman, maybe the best of the pack. State Sen. John Arthur Smith likes him. Then there’s Dennis Kucinch, who at 31 became the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city and whose campaign slogan is, “I may be funny looking, but I’m smart.”
> Is that really Kucinch’s slogan?
Of course not. Sometimes I make things up.
> How many candidates are running on the New Mexico Democratic ballot?
Eight. Two who are on the national scene, Rev. Al Sharpton and former U.S. Sen. Carol Mosley Braun, passed on New Mexico, maybe among the hordes of people who don’t realize we are part of the union. Then Carol dropped out of the race for president altogether. Too bad, too, because Braun is an intelligent lady.
> What about Rev. Sharpton?
Rev. Al recently hosted Saturday Night Live and seems to have found his niche.
> Do you have a favorite on the New Mexico ballot?
I am leaning toward Fern Penna.
> There’s a guy named Fern Penna on the New Mexico ballot?
There is.
> Is that the guy who works at a convenience story in Vaughn?
No, you fool. Fern Penna is an amazing fellow from New York. Get this. At the age of 7, the youngest of five boys, he took over the family budget. As his bio says, at this tender age he demonstrated qualities “such as honesty, efficiency and integrity.”
> That is amazing. But do you think he might also have been a precocious brat?
You can almost count on it. But there is more. When this kid was but 15, he started his own construction company. You have no idea of how much that impresses me. I was still trying to find the addresses on my paper route when I was 15.
> Did this quick start out of the gate pay off for the youngster?
Duh. He was a millionaire by age 19 is all.
> Is there anything you DON’T like about Fern Penna?
Yes. I wish he and his wife, Elodie, had not named their child Starsea.
> Starsea? Why would anyone name a kid Starsea?
Because Cerendipity was already taken.
> Do you have any other thoughts about the New Mexico Democratic caucus?
No, that about wraps it up.
> Wait a minute! You said you were going to reveal a sex scandal!
I know. That was a lie. I didn’t know how else to get you to read to the bottom of the column.

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso. He is known to be devious. Contact him at: