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Note to the Democratic Party

With Heather Wilson’s announcement yesterday that she will not run for Governor in 2010, there is only one thing that is crystal clear about the gubernatorial race… The Democratic Party of New Mexico has a messaging problem:

“Regardless of who emerges from the Republican primary, the lack of experience in their entire slate of Republican candidates should deeply concern New Mexicans,” Geise said. “Now is not the time for on-the-job training. We need a proven leader to help New Mexico families weather these tough times, and none of the Republicans running come close to meeting that challenge.”

What’s the problem with this message you ask? Well, it tries to define Lt. Governor Diane Denish as a proven leader. Of course, the only proven elected leadership Lt. Governor Denish has is as the second highest ranking member of the scandal plagued Richardson Administration. Heck, if you factor in the Governor’s out of state travel schedule, especially in the last four years, you might even argue that she has significant experience as acting Governor of a scandal plagued administration. Problem is you’d be arguing against Lt. Governor Denish herself:

Denish has said, in an attempt to distance herself from the scandal-plagued Richardson administration, “There is only one governor at a time.”

So, which is it? Is she a proven leader, or someone who spent the last seven years failing to prove leadership? Let’s say we give the Lt. Governor the benefit of the doubt and choose the former over the latter. Well, then we have a leader who has proven that she can be at the helm of the most corrupt, financially bankrupt and policy flawed administration in the history of New Mexico.

Our roads are crumbling, our schools are failing and not a week passes without someone tied to the administration getting indicted or resigning in shame. If this is what counts as “proven leadership” in the Democratic Party, then I think you’ll find most New Mexicans have just about had enough with the Denish/Richardson brand of proven leadership.

On the other hand, if we are to accept the Lt. Governor’s claim that the terrible mismanagement of the public trust belongs to Governor Bill Richardson, then she has a failure to prove leadership problem on her hands. See, over the last seven years, Lt. Governor Denish sat side by side with Governor Richardson and told New Mexicans that all was well in the Land of Enchantment. Now, we all know that all was not well. In fact, as we have spiraled further and further into crisis, one thing has becoming increasingly clear there has been a decisive lack of leadership shown within the ranks of the Richardson Administration.