A little waffle keeps folks on their toes
(With apologies to Gail Collins and David Brooks of the New York Times who popularized this format, the following is an exchange between the columnist and former New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish.)
Denish: Your column backing the New Mexico law allowing illegal immigrants to drive was right on target, but I was amused by readers who think you actually are a liberal. I guess in the eyes of some New Mexicans you might be.
Cantwell: Labels are misleading, aren’t they? It is usually a mistake to paint people with the same brush. I support human rights but I do not march to a liberal drum beat. For instance, I have a hard time understanding why we should not require all voters to show identification. Just makes sense to me. But, then, I tend to waffle on that one.
Denish: You do tend to waffle. That’s why I think you might be an ideal Mitt Romney voter. This guy may become the country’s first ever Waffler in Chief. Each issue seems to be a hot potato he can’t grasp and hold onto for 30 seconds. But let me educate you on the cockeyed idea we need to institute voter ID.
What makes you think we don’t know who is and who isn’t registered to vote? All the allegations about voter fraud have produced not a single case of illegality or otherwise. This is America! Aren’t we supposed to encourage voting? It is wrong to scare off little old ladies who might be intimidated by having to jump through the hoops of sometimes overly stern poll workers, or do anything that might make citizens wary of going to the polls.
Cantwell: I am feeling a little intimidated myself here. After all, your credentials speak for themselves. Certainly you and your late dad must be the only father-daughter team to represent a party as candidates for governor of the same state, Jack in 1970 and you in 2010. It’s not the Kennedy dynasty, or father and son Bush serving as presidents, but still.
On this voter identification issue, though. I bet you don’t have one problem whipping out your driver’s license when the Wal-Mart check out guy, following company policy, makes you ID yourself before you buy the Denish Family wine supply.
Denish: First of all, Herb is in charge of family wine procurement. And he tends to patronize local stores rather than chain outfits. If we all did that it would greatly enhance New Mexico small business and lead to job creation. It would be a start. There sure doesn’t seem to be much going on within this administration on that score. We need some comprehensive programs instead of grandstanding stuff like selling jets.
Cantwell: Ouch! I felt that hard elbow jab to the ribs and my name isn’t even Susana. You and Governor Martinez got down and dirty during the campaign, prompting this column to suggest you guys should have just staged a mud wrestling contest and been done with it. Did you know that got me in big trouble with feminists all around the nation?
Denish: As well it should have. You have also been walking on chauvinistic thin ice with your opposition to the New Mexico law that simply brings transparency to high school sports funding so we know our schools are complying with Title IX, the excellent federal program ensuring girl sports get a fair break.
Cantwell: Title IX is a total winner, I know. And equal treatment to all sports in the division of taxpayer money is a no-brainer. But when it comes to the girls softball team being supposedly mistreated because its privately-funded booster club can afford only a backyard awards celebration when the boys football team is being hosted by its private supporters at the country club, well, welcome to Life 101.
That’s the way I see it but, then, there are compelling arguments to the contrary.
Denish: Sounds like you are waffling again.
Cantwell: Could be.
Ned Cantwell welcomes response at email@example.com. No, wait, changed my mind. Write Diane Denish at firstname.lastname@example.org.