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Lipstick and Paint

Reading the Albuquerque Journal’s profile of Patricia Madrid (subscription) reminded me of a saying I once heard my grandmother use, “Lipstick and paint make a woman what she ain’t.” What triggered this walk down memory lane? Well, this did:

The now 60-year-old Las Cruces native in a recent interview said she was likely one of the first judicial candidates in New Mexico to wage a political-style campaign. She planted yard signs, ran TV ads and agreed to have her black hair streaked with gray to make her appear more judgelike [emphasis added].

Apparently, my grandmother knew what she was talking about:

District Court records showed that in 1982, Madrid was the most frequently disqualified judge in civil cases. She was also criticized by lawyers who maintained she was not well-versed on the law.

But hey, the superficial makeover got her elected, so who cares? If it worked before, why not try it again?

[Madrid] could have built a solid reputation as a champion against corruption in New Mexico government. There has been plenty of raw material to work with. While Madrid has some significant accomplishments in office, prosecuting corruption hasn’t been her forte. A cosmetic campaign makeover won’t turn voters’ heads.

I’ve met many people who think the world of Heather Wilson; however, I haven’t met anyone who thinks highly of Patricia Madrid. Oh sure, there are lots of folks upset with our President, and a great many more conflicted about the war in Iraq. But, I’ve never actually met someone who said to me Patricia Madrid is just a fantastic individual with such an impressive record that we have to send her to Congress.

Instead even her supporters say, “Patricia Madrid is not our ideal candidate for the post.”

So, the Journal editorial was right. “Cosmetic campaign makeovers” haven’t turned voters’ heads. No one is convinced that Patricia Madrid is a tough crime fighter. No one is convinced that Patricia Madrid is more qualified than Heather Wilson. No one is convinced that Patricia Madrid has better solutions for the toughest problems facing our nation. No one.

Today I listened to Brian Sanderoff give some polling information at a NAIOP luncheon. He made the point that if it weren’t for the low approval ratings of the President and Congress combined with the sentiment on the War on Iraq, Heather Wilson would be leading Patricia Madrid by at eight points right now.

In other words, if this were about choosing the better woman for the job, Heather Wilson would remain our number one choice by a long shot.

Do you really want to elect Patricia Madrid to make a point? Right now Congress has a 23% approval rating. Do you think someone like Patricia Madrid as our representative is going to raise or lower our view of Congress?

Remember, Madrid tricked New Mexicans into electing her as a judge and then failed miserably. And to what did she attribute those failures?

Madrid chalks those criticisms up to being a woman in what was then a man’s world.

Heather Wilson has long been a woman in a “man’s world.” Funny, I don’t recall her using it as a crutch.