Right-Wing Democrat Marty Chavez Takes The Re-Invention Route... As Albuquerque Democrats Laugh
I was very excited to take a job as general manager of Sire Records, mostly because of my love for bands like the Ramones, Depeche Mode, Smiths, Ministry and Talking Heads. These were the bands that were reintroducing a new honesty and candor back into pop music after a cruel decade of pretentious, overblown corporate rock. But when I took over at Reprise, the label's biggest artist, by far, was Madonna, who I didn't understand at all. My boss, the label's founder, Seymour Stein, took her right off my hands. "I'll handle Madonna and the Cult. You handle everyone else. No, you handle everyone else and the Cult," he told me on my first day on the job. The was fine with me and I soon realized that "handling" Madonna didn't take up much time, basically because she handled herself-- including her much-hyped penchant for reinvention. I came to admire her and the way she reinvented herself, like a slickly handled brand. It's on thing for a pop star; it's something entirely different for a politician.
Early in May we expressed our concern that the DCCC would back one of New Mexico's least trustworthy right-wing Democrats, Marty Chavez, in a race for Martin Heinrich's open House seat in Albuquerque. Chavez was mayor of Albuquerque and his name recognition is as high as it could possibly be. But many Democrats who recognize his name, don't recognize it with fondness. So he's trying a Madonna-like reinvention. I doubt it will work as easily on New Mexico voters as it worked on the incompetent lunkheads at the DCCC. I doubt it and I fear it-- fear it because America doesn't need another right-wing hack in Congress making believe he's a Democrat. And in this case, the man Chavez is running against, state Senator Eric Griego, is one of the most promising progressive leaders running for Congress anywhere in America. Yesterday I got this statement from Eric's campaign:
"I stand with seniors, the disabled, and the working and middle class families of New Mexico in calling on President Obama and Congress to keep their hands off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as they negotiate a solution to the federal debt default crisis. While I support President Obama in his effort avert the catastrophic collapse of our recovering economy, any deal with Republicans that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid for New Mexico seniors and working families while failing to ensure that our nation's wealthiest are paying their fair share is entirely unacceptable."
That's where Eric Griego is coming from-- and he has a record to back it up. It's why Blue America endorsed him and it's why we feel good asking donors to contribute to his campaign. It's who he really is. Don't be surprised to see a similar kind of statement from Chavez as he tap-dances around his reinvention process-- even though it is decidedly not who he is. Who he is, as political observers in Albuquerque are well aware, is a triangulating, self-serving hack who fought against increasing minimum wage and fought against environmental protections and, in fact, fought against reformers and Democrats throughout his disgraceful career.
The first time I really became aware of what a destructive tool Chavez is, wasn't even that long ago. New Mexico's progressive congressman, Tom Udall, then a Blue America fave, was running for the open Senate seat being abandoned by Pete Domenici. Chavez wanted the Senate seat as well and went on an insane, well-financed and distorted jihad against Udall. He was confident, he bragged, that he could defeat Udall in a primary.
“Philosophically, he’s so far to the left,” Chavez said. “I’d rather not have him in the race, but that’s a challenge I’d not shy away from.”
But he did shy away from the challenge. Polling showed him consistently losing to any Republican in the general-- and to Udall in the primary. So he quit the race... and then told the Albuquerque Journal running for a mere House seat-- the one he's running for now-- was beneath him.
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez on Tuesday tossed a bucket of ice water on any speculation that he might be considering a run for the 1st Congressional District seat.
Chavez, in a telephone interview, blasted the U.S. House of Representatives and said that jumping into the race for the open, Albuquerque-based seat is "not an option."
The House is "not a place where I want to be," said Chavez, who late last week unexpectedly abandoned his short-lived bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
He said Tuesday that while the Senate remains a place where "individuals of substance gather," the House-- whose members face re-election every two years, compared with six-year terms for senators-- is "not a place for ladies and gentlemen any longer. ... They play a type of politics (that) I think is destructive."
Odd he would shy away from destructive politics. That, after all, is his hallmark. His short-lived race against Tom Udall didn't endear him to New Mexico Democrats.
Continuing his recent mean-spirited barrage against his high-polling Dem primary opponent for U.S. Senate, Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez is now accusing Rep. Tom Udall (NM-03) of "endangering our national security."
...It's one thing to criticize your primary opponent's positions, but I think this kind of over-the-top rhetoric coming directly from Chavez can only serve to turn more Dem voters against him. Chavez already has a reputation for publicly and privately trashing fellow Dems on the Albuquerque City Council, supporting Repubs and their causes and vowing to vote for Repub Sen. Pete Domenici if he ran for reelection.
Do Chavez and his campaign team really believe that using inflammatory language like this to attack one of the most highly respected and popular Dems in the state will help him in his quest for Dem primary voters? Astonishing. Not only is it wrong, it's bad politics.
Now Chavez, a pro-growth, Chamber of Commerce type hack, is trying to reinvent himself as what he calls a "green mayor." It's a joke and completely manufactured by him and demonstrably false--he's actually terrible on the environment, and spent most of his tenure as Mayor defending himself against lawsuits from environmental organizations and fighting all of the City Council's pro-environment initiatives. Union members know how awful he is and he's not going to hoodwink them, so he's trying to persuade voters of his "progressive" cred using environmentalism.
Eric Griego makes no bones about joining the Congressional progressive Caucus and working on an agenda focused on American families, rather than on multinational corporations. Everything in Chavez's record points to another slimy pro-corporate Blue Dog if he gets into Congress, which is probably what makes Steve Israel so excited about him. This guy's got to be stopped. Please do what you can to help Eric Griego win the primary.