Mudfests seem more prevalent, uglier

by Ned Cantwell

Key questions heading into the final days of a grueling, exasperating political campaign season: Is there a single New Mexican who will not be glad when this is all over? Yes, executives of the state’s television stations who are gleefully lining their pockets with political dollars.

The TV attack onslaught is so tasteless we are starting to miss commercials for toilet bowl cleaners. Never has it been so brutal, so intensely nasty as this mudfest between two guys who sink lower by day. As the president and one who covets that job, you would think they could show a little class.

It’s not much better in the New Mexico race between incumbent Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson and challenger Richard Romero. They are taking ugliness to a new level. Which leads to the next question:

Why oh why was Romero so eager to debate Wilson?
The Republican carved poor Richard up like a Thanksgiving turkey and pundits are guessing that because of her superior performance it will be Heather giving thanks for this election victory.

The veteran New Mexico legislator thought he would box Heather into a corner when he asked her if she could pledge never to support privatizing Social Security. “Yes,” Heather responded, leaving poor Richard mumbling. He might have reminded her that Heather was on record with the opposite answer, but he drew a blank.

Where oh where is beloved Governor Bruce when his kid so badly needs the boost? Gary King looks to be stalled in his quest to unseat Republican Steve Pearce. Gary is as poor a campaigner as Bruce was an excellent one. Political insiders tell me Bruce has been telephoning heavyweights in the district. But Bruce shined in the hand shaking and the ah shucks department, and that’s what Gary needs.

Does anyone remember that in addition to Romero-Wilson, King-Pearce, there is another hot congressional race underway?

Well, maybe not so hot. Democrat Tom Udall will skip to victory in his Northern yawner against Republican Greg Tucker. Tom insists he is not taking the race lightly. Sure.

What are you afraid of most during the next few years, having your Social Security check clipped, being attacked by terrorists, or having your job shipped overseas?

Those seem to be the choices foisted on us by campaigns that dwell on the negative rather than emphasize what positive benefits might accrue from either presidential candidate. We said it months ago and we will say it again: Thanks to the messages they approved, whoever is elected starts out on day one with about half the country hating him. It’s a dumb way to do business.

Make no mistake about it. The choice is an important one, but life as we know it will not change drastically no matter which man we entrust with the presidency.

And, finally, weren’t we snookered bad when we all cheered the law banning intrusive telephone calls peddling credit cards, and vacations, and you name it?

We let them get away with excluding political calls from the mix, so our telephones have been ringing like deranged church bells with recorded messages from campaign shills. Infuriating.

Ned Cantwell is a syndicated columnist living in Ruidoso. He welcomes response at: