It’s tough being in NM these days, what with Gov. Bill and Harry Teague cavorting in NM CD-02 and now Senator Jeff Bingaman donning the official uniform of the Obama Diversion Team. Both of these “leaders” seem to ignore the fact that voters in NM voted for Hillary Clinton…it was close, but they did choose Hillary over the others on the ballot. (Editor’s Note: At the time of the primary in February, John Edwards had just left the race, so his name was still on the ballot…he got my vote.)
Following in the footsteps of David L. Boren/Sam Nunn’s (see my post here , here , and here ) joint endorsement right after Obama’s poor debate performance in PA and Oklahoma super delegate Reggie Whitten’s ode to small-town America right after Obama’s insensitive comments about people in those towns and Obama’s loss in the PA election (see here), Senator Jeff has decided that NOW is the right time to endorse Obama as Rev. Wright ratchets up the noise and Obama reacts with sudden “outrage”. To add insult to injury, the spin has been that Bingaman’s endorsement has enabled Obama to pull ahead among the Senate poobahs.
Someone is directing this parade, but if were a smart politician/super delegate, I wouldn’t be following any directives to endorse at this moment. Of course, Senator Jeff has been in office for AGES (first elected to the Senate in 1982) and has plenty of energy industry money alongside the union cash that comes into his campaign coffers, so he doesn’t have to be worried. (In fact, he had a load of cash left over from his last campaign where he had an almost non-existent opponent.
The biggest problem for Senator Jeff in my opinion? He has no political courage. He fails miserably on Project Vote Smart’s Political Courage test (click through the link on this page to see his positions) and because:
Senator Jeff Bingaman REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO PROVIDE ANY
RESPONSES TO CITIZENS ON ISSUES THROUGH THE 2006
NATIONAL POLITICAL AWARENESS TEST WHEN ASKED TO DO SO BY:
Key national leaders of both major parties including:
John McCain, Republican Senator
Geraldine Ferraro, Former Democratic Congresswoman
Michael Dukakis, Former Democratic Governor
Bill Frenzel, Former Republican Congressman
Richard Kimball, Project Vote Smart President
Over 100 news organizations throughout the nation also urged their candidates to supply their issue positions through the National Political Awareness Test.
He sits on a lot of important committees, too:
Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, Member
Joint Economic Committee, Member
Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, Chair
Subcommittee on Health Care, Member
Subcommittee on International Trade and Global Competitiveness, Member
A lot of people have never heard of this Senator, probably because he his very quiet and doesn’t go after a lot of press. I saw him speak in 2004 at a Kerry event and comes across as “nice” and “folksy.” He can afford to do that, because he garners a lot of campaign money, from various groups, energy-related industry as well as his Senate colleagues and he’s as comfortable as an old shoe.
I’m beginning to wonder if it may be time investigate getting a new pair of shoes that might actually start walking a little differently. It’s just a dream, of course. Bingaman seems to have his feet firmly rooted in his Senate seat for life…