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Two Faces, One Governor

Governor Richardson has come up with the perfect plan. On the National stage he plays the Conservative Democrat winning kudos from Cato, and capturing the attention of conservative bloggers with interviews like this:

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON (D): Well, this is very significant. I believe the Bush Administration deserves credit for putting pressure, and saying that authoritarian regimes have to go. What is happening here is, the assassination of a very popular former prime minister in Lebanon, has fueled massive demonstrations in Lebanon, that hopefully will lead to all 14,000 Syrian troops out of Lebanon, plus their intelligence agents, by May. It means that in Lebanon, in Egypt there’s some potential new elections. The Palestinian Territories; in Iraq; I think there’s a wave of democracy caused by internal pressures, of young people in the Arab world, rooting against these authoritarian regimes–and pressure from the Bush Administration–


BILL RICHARDSON: They deserve credit.

Yup, these are precisely the type of interviews needed to reinforce the Governor’s claims of delivering on all of his campaign promises by ringing in an era of strong bipartisan cooperation in New Mexico:

“What we’ve been able to do in New Mexico in a short time is cut taxes, cut waste, and make key investments in education, health care, and economic development,” Richardson said in prepared remarks he gave at a news conference in Washington, D.C. “We’ve done this with bipartisan cooperation and common goals.”

Unfortunately, the truth is not nearly as pretty of a picture (subscription):

But the clearest patterns that emerge from analyses by the Journal and legislative staff appear to be partisanship and political paybacks, with the governor’s own proposals getting the lion’s share of millions in capital outlay dollars.

The Democratic governor whacked $11.8 million in capital outlay projects sponsored by minority Republicans while vetoing only $2.4 million in projects sponsored by majority Democrats, according to the Legislative Council Service.

If you’re thinking that’s all water under the bridge, you’d be wrong. The Governor is already off on one of his famous tantrums and “threatening to call legislators back to the Capitol for a special session if they don’t send him a budget with more money” (subscription):

The Senate on Saturday approved a nearly $4.7 billion budget measure (committee substitute for HB 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 48), but Richardson said it shortchanges his spending initiatives by more than $31 million.

It will be interesting to see if the legislature is finally going to reign in the monarchy. Luckily for Governor Richardson, no one at the national level pays close attention to how New Mexico politics unfold on a daily basis. They’re only interested in the press releases and photo ops he and his staff (subscription) dream up.