Time for another reminder that New Mexico IS TOO a state, even though an evergreen sub-category of Lite News involves folks from Albuquerque or Santa Fe having to explain to airport security or customer service dummies that, no, they are not from a foreign land. We were going to link to a Wonkette story we know we wrote about one of those silly things, but darned if we can find it now. Also, New Mexico has the usual complement of US Senators, two (2), and the junior one, Martin Heinrich, is running for his second term so he can continue to put Republicans on the spot in in Senate hearings like he did with Jeff Sessions last year when he tolerated exactly NONE of Sessions's equivocations and refusals to answer simple questions. If Dems take the Senate this year, expect Heinrich to become even hotter than he already is. Superficial? Maybe. But damn.

Here is Heinrich explaining to Sessions that no, you really can't refuse to answer questions during a Senate hearing unless 1) the answer would be classified, or 2) Donald Trump had invoked executive privilege, which he damn well had not:

Feisty! Also smart!

New Mexico's US Senate race has been rated "solid/safe Democrat" by all the places that do that sort of thing. Heinrich had been expected to handily beat Mick Rich, a Republican construction contractor and actual boiled egg with no political experience. But then in August, the mostly unknown state land commissioner on the Libertarian ticket dropped out and was replaced by Gary Johnson, the state's governor from 1995 to 2002 and the Libertarian presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016. Happily for Johnson, US Senators don't have to know "what is Aleppo" or even know things at all -- do they?

So now Heinrich is on track to beat Rich and Johnson, at least if mid-September polling holds up. There was some amusing drama around Johnson's entry into the race, with the predictable call from the state GOP chair for Johnson to not be a splitter and please drop out (nope, he did not). But this being rightwing politics in 2018, a bunch of Libertarians and loon-leaning Republicans also called on Rich -- again, the actual Republican nominee, to drop out so Johnson could defeat the evil Demmycrat and make New Mexico a Libertarian paradise. Johnson quickly got Rand Paul's endorsement, too. At least early on, Rich seems to have hoped Johnson might actually split Democratic support for Heinrich, what with the old Libertarian wanna-legalize-pot position, but it would appear New Mexico Dems also noticed the part where Johnson wants to repeal Obamacare and privatize Medicare and Social Security. Imagine that.

The three candidates triangled off for a debate Friday night described by the Albuquerque Journal as "rollicking," and by golly, it sure does sound like a real dust-up!

Johnson was by far the most lively – pointing his finger at Heinrich at one point.

The Journal did not specify whether, after pointing the digit, Johnson also shook or wagged it. Still, it's not a bad description; Johnson is definitely the bounciest guy in the debate, and his rolling back and forth doesn't come off looking unhinged, no sir.

We liked the part early on where Heinrich said Brett Kavanugh has no business being on the Supreme Court and the other two said he sure does belong there and that tells you all you need to know but we'll look at other differences among them anyway.

Johnson, not surprisingly, expounded again and again on the wonders of the free market, which he insisted should be "let loose" to work its magic on everything from school vouchers -- because doesn't everyone hate public schools? -- to healthcare, which in his strange imagination would become affordable for everyone once it's provided on a truly pay-as-you-go basis, with "insurance" limited to covering catastrophic care only.

Johnson also insisted that balancing the budget through vast cuts to everything -- including the US military -- wouldn't hurt New Mexico, where military spending is a super-big part of the economy, because obviously, other states' military assets would just flow naturally to New Mexico with no impact on the economy (and senators from all the other states would be fine with that, because it would save America from its national debt, you see). New Mexico, after all, has unique airspace and weather and stuff, so "all military assets in the United States belong in New Mexico."

"It's an argument unique to New Mexico," Johnson said. "I think we'll end up gaining assets."

Uh huh! Clearly a guy who has thought through the logic, possibly in a late night conversation with his dorm friends. Heinrich didn't seem to think it would work, because as a Washington Politician, he has been infected with "reality":

"I just don't think it's credible to say we're going to cut everywhere else, other than New Mexico," Heinrich said. "I think that's a pretty flippant answer."

Johnson, apparently thinking every single viewer would remember what the Base Realignment and Closure process was in the 1980s and '90s, interrupted "It happened with BRAC! It happened with BRAC!" He may even pick up an accidental vote or two from fans of "Space Ghost Coast to Coast."

For his part, Rich went with the go-to argument of any first time "outsider" candidate with zero experience in government: accusing Heinrich of being a "Washington insider" who is out of touch with real New Mexicans who are constantly in fear of border banditos taking their jobs and doing crimes! Rich told a story of visiting a ranching family whose chihuahua is always barking at all hours. That's either because the ranchers were dumb enough to rely on a chihuahua for security, or the drug runners coming across their property at night, "rattling the doors and windows," as drug runners will. Or maybe because it's a chihuahua in the first place -- Senate investigation needed.

The point is, why isn't Heinrich out personally patrolling the US-Mexico border like he should, huh? It's because he moved to the DC suburbs, that's why!

Where he lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, they don't have a problem along the border! That's why it's not a concern. He has abandoned the people of New Mexico!

Heinrich, the silly lib, said maybe you won't really solve problems by putting children in cages, and said we can have a "reasonable, rational immigration policy" without building a stupid wall --- and that he hadn't met anyone on the border who really thinks a wall would help anything. Johnson agreed, saying the only wall advocates he'd met all lived in Iowa and New Hampshire, not the border region. He also said -- in one of those weird moments when Libertarians sound lucid before they go back to telling you "Just trade a goat for your chemotherapy!" -- that the US should expand work visas so more Messicans can work in the US and live permanently in Mexico, improving both economies. Then Rich pretended America will deport everyone, including DACA recipients, and make them "wait their turn" to come back, MAGA.

Finally a fun little answer from Rich: when Heinrich pointed out Rich's construction company was behind schedule and over budget on a university project near Roswell, Rich explained it wasn't an indication of how he would be a senator because his son runs the company now, and besides, it's almost all done now anyway. Gotta love that party of personal responsibility promising to bring a businessman's skills to government.

In conclusion, Martin Heinrich should look forward to another six years of calling out lying Rs in the Senate, and could we please make him part of a Democratic majority there? Here is a link to his campaign, and also to a neat link where you can donate to ALL the red-state Dems for Senate at once, hooray! Let's keep New Mexico hot, 'kay?

[Albuquerque Journal / Daily Beast / Albuquerque Journal / Santa Fe New Mexican / AP / Martin Heinrich for Senate]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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