Will the Governor’s Propagandist Prevail on Tuesday

Will the Governor’s Propagandist Prevail on Tuesday?

Jay McCleksey is the corruption in New Mexico’s political system. You forgot to mention that in your story about the governor’s top advisor on Friday. 

There are solutions to problems in this state like stagnant job growth and education disparity. But those solutions have to be found, and the process of finding them requires smartly considering multiple sides of multiple arguments. 

Susana Martinez has decided the fixes for education and job losses are, respectively, more emphasis on testing results (this time they’ll look at changes in scores) and tax cuts for corporations. These are her proposals, and because she’s the governor they should be starting points for crafting reform legislation. That’s only fair.

She does not, though, get to decide something and then force it onto the rest of us. This is how George W. Bush ran the country for eight years. The results of blocking out criticism and refusing to compromise are disastrous. Bipartisan collaboration, where multiple ideas are considered and merged, is how we fix our problems. 

HBO talk-show host Bill Maher recently told pollster Frank Luntz “You’re evil because you think of words to get stupid people to vote against their interests.” Luntz advises Republicans to use words like “government takeover” to describe Obama’s health-care bill, for instance. When Republicans wanted to frame the inheritance tax as evil, Luntz coined the term “death tax,” which stuck. 

McCleskey has denied his flyers are filled with lies, though the candidates he attacks are often appalled to have their stances so egregiously misrepresented. 

Emily Kane, a fire captain running against Christopher T. Saucedo in Albuquerque, described this reaction to the fliers McCleskey’s company put out against her: “At first I was shocked and kind of offended and thought ‘Can they really publish this stuff?’ … You wonder if you can sue them.” 

McCleskey fliers, somewhat strangely, call Democrats “politicians.” They like to accuse candidates of working for “special interests.” Someone should ask him to define that term, because reports show his Reform New Mexico Now PAC just received a quarter-million-dollar donation from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. The oil- and natural gas-company contributions, many from out of state, pour into Reform New Mexico Now at clips of $5,000-, $10,000- and even $100,000-a-pop. If those are not “special interests,” what are?

One of the best moments in Obama’s presidency was at his 2010 State of the Union address, when he called out the Supreme Court to its face over Citizens United: “Last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests. … I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests.” 

America’s most powerful interests don’t want constructive conversations about how to fix our problems. Devon Energy Production Co. didn’t give McCleskey $100,000 to make the case for expanding oil and gas exploration. He was paid that money to win seats for Republicans any way he can. 

So he bombards voters’ mailboxes with misleading fliers, and produces commercials that tie Democratic candidates to Bill Richardson or illegal immigration or child murder. He misleads and distracts, to make elections about superficial buzzwords rather than important policy questions. 

If it works, the governor will have stacked the deck in the legislature. Agenda ideas like third-grade retention and corporate tax cuts will prevail with impotent opposition from Democrats. And the state will be worse off from its one-sided governance. 

This is what McCleskey strives after. He is using propaganda to weed out his boss’s checks and balances. Voters need to consider this man carefully, and decide whether his vision of government is best for the state. 

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