Governor race displays lack of class

Ned Cantwell,

When Barney heard New Mexico’s next governor will be Democrat Diane Denish or Republican Susana Martinez, he was elated.

“That’s great,” gushed my friend from New Jersey in a phone call last week. “I know I’ve poked a lot of fun at your hick state over the years, but your future is on track with a female governor.”

I knew what Barney was talking about. For years now we have heard about how the world has gone down the toilet at the feet of a male-dominated political structure driven by testosterone-crazed politicians primarily concerned with who has the bigger poster.

Wars, famine, corruption have been laid at the feet of power hungry males intent on gobbling up one another’s territory. (“My oil!” “No, my oil!”)

George Bush famously said, promising retaliation to Iraq militants threatening U.S. troops, “Bring ’em on!” Laura Bush famously reacted by rolling her eyes and telling George to grow up and go sleep on the couch.

Women, it is reasoned, will bring their tender gender proclivities to political leadership with soft communicating skills, the same trait that leads Mom to seat the family at the kitchen table and say, “OK, guys, let’s figure out what is best for all of us.”

“So,” Barney asked, “how is it going between Diane and Susana?”

“They’re slapping one another every day, Barney. It just doesn’t stop. They are making New Mexico TV stations rich with a never-ending parade of attack ads. We are all going to be ready to hang ourselves by the time this thing ends.”

He was stunned. “You’re kidding me,” he said. “Who started it?”

I told him Susana showed her mean side early when she reduced her Republican opponent to rubble in the primary. Diane surprised me by immediately going after Susana primary vote night during her acceptance of the Democratic nomination.

“I thought Diane might congratulate Susana and say she looked forward to a positive campaign,” I told Barney, “but she immediately bit her in the ankle and the fight was on.”

I told him I am a Diane fan and still hopeful she will be our next governor.

“Was that a disappointment to you, then?” he asked.

“Kind of like looking forward to dinner with a classy lady and finding out she picks her teeth,” I admitted.

This whole phony war is a disappointment to the entire state, I explained. “Susana and Diane are making Sarah Palin look as sweet as Julie Andrews in ‘Sound of Music’,” I said. Sarah’s going after the Tea Party, our ladies seem more interested in the Pee Party.

Barney follows New Mexico fairly closely and is aware of our problems, a debilitating shortage of Medicaid funds, a struggling education system, too many poor and disadvantaged, persistent unemployment. “What do you think will be the defining issue, what will decide this race between Diane and Susana?” he wondered.

“Mud wrestling,” I said. “So far these ladies have displayed such lack of class we’re beginning to think, ‘strip down and get ’er on, gals’.”