Endorsements have a time, place, person

Ned Cantwell

A politician’s worst nightmare has to be waking up one morning to the “Today Show” to learn he has just been endorsed by Britney Spears.
“I just think Western Clark would do a real good job when he gets to the round office, or whatever you call that thingee,” the gum-popping teen idol might tell Katie Couric.
How would you like to be running for president and get a call from Michael Jackson? “Hey, guess what, Deaner: Press conference here at noon. I am behind you all the way, you sweet man.”
Or Anna Nicole Smith. “Well, ya know, like, wow, I kinda like that Edwards guy cuz he’s got like, you know, a real nice butt.”
Political endorsements link the intellect and ideological leanings of the endorser to the candidate, providing insight to both.
Not so with product hustlers. The fact that Michael Jordan can jump 5 feet into the air wearing a pair of $110 Air Zooms is of little use to me who can soar only 2 inches into space wearing either the Nikes or a pair of $15 Wal-Mart Lead Foots.
In any case, I will likely injure myself upon my return to Earth.
New Mexico has begun returning to her normal, neglected self after an onslaught of national politicos seeking endorsements and caucus votes on Tuesday.
Has the Land of Enchantment ever before basked in the limelight of such national political luminaries as was our privilege in the days leading up to the caucus?
The president himself graced us with his presence, stepping off Air Force One in Roswell where he returned adoring hospitality with a crack about the town’s potholes. He did use his remarks, broadcast nationally, to give Ruidoso tourism a shot in the arm.
Savvy politicians pick their spots. George Bush was not likely to encounter heavy opposition in conservative Roswell, the sole dissenter waving a placard bearing some weak protest like, “you’re not a nice man,” or something.
Likewise, another political heavyweight — and we are speaking literally here — chose the safer and more liberal stomping ground of Albuquerque for his visit. Ted Kennedy showed up to tell New Mexicans that John Kerry is the man for the job.
Over the weeks, we have seen New Mexico political and business stars close ranks behind their candidates.
All the candidates lusted for the endorsement of the Big Enchilada, but The Bill played it coy. The guv said he could not endorse any candidate because he is chairman of the National Democratic Convention.
Having said that, Richardson’s remarks about John Kerry walked like, talked like, smelled like an endorsement.
Political predictions are hazardous at best. This is written before Tuesday’s primaries and caucuses in seven states. But it is the guess here that Howard Dean is, or soon will be, sitting late into the night in his Vermont den, playing and replaying tape of his Iowa screech, chanting over and over:
“What was I thinking, what was I thinking, what, by all that is holy, was I thinking?”

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso. He invites your endorsement, or protest, at:
ncantwell@charter.net