Ventilating Dendahl Would Only Delight Dems

Ventilating Dendahl Would Only Delight Dems
Posted by FoM on March 09, 2001 at 08:01:51 PT
By Cinco de Mayo
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican 
Is that the grin of irony, or merely a wishful smile of impending relief, on Bill Richardson's trail-worn face? The former congressman - diplomat - cabinet member has yet to announce his candidacy for governor - but he's high among the Democratic Party's hopes for recapturing our state's executive branch after eight years in the wilderness.On his ride back into New Mexico, however, Richardson risks being dry-gulched by GOP gunslinger John Dendahl - the deadliest shot his party has seen in a state chairman.
The mere mention of Dendahl's name sets the opposition quaking in their boots - and many a Republican in this 3-2 Democratic state owes his or her election to John D's fast draw.But what's this? Republican guns drawn on Dendahl? They are indeed - and that includes the long-barreled .45 of New Mexico politics, packed by Pete Domenici. Yes, New Mexico's main senator has unholstered on John. Mebbe we need a new chairman, Domenici suggests through clenched teeth.All this over locoweed.Dendahl for years has shared the belief of Bill Buckley and other conservo-libertarians that the ``war on drugs'' is a farce enriching gangsters at the cost of robbery and burglary victims. Now he's endorsed Gov. Gary Johnson's call for decriminalizing marijuana - and in the process he's managed to enrage GOPers who associate the herb with un-Republican values.Bad enough, figured Albuquerque's Rep. Ron Godbey, that Dendahl would support liberalized drug laws; but that he would join Democratic ex-Gov. Toney Anaya in a press conference declaring drug reform a bipartisan issue? Godbey drew a bead on Dendahl. From Domenici's direction came an ominous click.Shoot the varmint, we can hear the Democrats urging; and that's precisely why the Republicans should hold their fire. Without Dendahl, their first election in a reapportioned New Mexico, instead of putting more of them in public office, could be a disaster.Instead of going ballistic over narcotics laws, the GOP should consult the polls. Most New Mexicans are closer to the Dendahl-Johnson-Anaya point of view than to that of either party's prohibitionists.At the very least, the Republicans - and the Democrats - should be talking among themselves about controlled-substance policy. Can some drugs safely be decriminalized? Would treatment and education make more sense than today's cops-and-robbers approach? Should we look to other states, even wait and see what more of them do?Today's itchy trigger-fingers could cost New Mexico Republicans one of their finest talents. That might be good news for Democrats, but it would be a blow to two-party politics.By Cinco de Mayo, when Republicans hold their state rendezvous, they should settle their differences over drugs - and Dendahl.Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)Author: Cinco de MayoPublished: March 9, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Santa Fe New MexicanAddress: 202 E Marcy, Santa Fe, N.M. 87501Fax: (505) 986-3040Contact: letters sfnewmexican.comWebsite: Articles:Domenici Wants Dendahl Off the Job Disavows Dendahl Remark Lawmaker Says Dendahl Should Resign
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Comment #2 posted by Dan B on March 09, 2001 at 10:53:41 PT:
I wonder who the first defectors will be . . .
I think zenarch is correct in asserting that a major rift is unveiling itself before our eyes. Ipredict a series of defections from the Republican Party to the Libertarian Party, and quite soon. these defections will have two major results, as I see them: (1) The Libertarian Party will have to decide whether it is willing to compromise complete adherence to some issues in order to court incumbent politicians into the Libertarian fold, and (2) The Republican Party will have to decide whether to remain merely a mouthpiece of the Religious Right (not to be confused with the Religious Correct). It is clear that the American population has become increasingly aware of and disturbed by the stripping of Constitutional liberties as a result of the war on some drugs. Polls in at least some states (South Dakota, New Mexico), as well as more informal polls on the Internet and on shows like CNNs "Spin Room," are revealing a clear shift in perspective in that while 10 years ago about 1/3 of Americans wanted to see decriminalization of cannabis, now that number appears to have grown to 2/3 of the population. And we are continually gaining. There will be a major rift in the Republican Party, and it will, I predict, benefit Libertarians if they are willing to accomodate politicians on idiosyncratic differences from the party platform. One prominent Republican defection is all Libertarians need to start the ball rolling. I suggest that the Libertarian Party get working on this right now. They have little time to waste, and everything (including Liberty) to gain.Dan B
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Comment #1 posted by zenarch on March 09, 2001 at 10:32:05 PT
I know very little . . . .
about the inner workings of party politics, but the hive that Dendahl stirred up reveals a major rift between the true (Jefferson / Lincoln) Republicans and the (Bill Bennett / Police State / State Religion) pseudo-Republican usurpers!
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