Monday, May 21, 2012

"Visiting," Considered, And Political Donations

The late Gov. Bruce King taught me about visiting. I interviewed him at his home in Stanley. This was in late 1978, just before his second term started. Actually, I didn’t lead the interview. I took a freelancer along because I felt unable to take King seriously, what with his “mighty fine” persona and all.

We visited. In the kitchen of the King home. Around the table. Drinking coffee. For three hours. The group included Gov. King; Alice, his wife and true partner; brothers Sam and Don; and sons Gary, now attorney general, and Bill.

Well before the conversation ended, I was in awe of King. He and his family provided a complete communication. We had visited. Visiting is about communication and relationships.

Visiting is what I think Republican State Senate candidate Pat Woods does when he talks to people. I haven’t met Woods. In this week’s newspaper column, I offered a brief theoretical consideration based on the broad and rural concept of visiting for Woods’ donations to Democrats over the years, donations that have drawn the always nasty rhetorical wrath of Susana Martinez political henchman Jay McCleskey. The column length of around 600 words limited the analysis.

This is theory. But I have enough experience in rural areas to believe the theory is in the vicinity. First, let’s attest to Woods’ conservativeness. He has regularly donated to Congressman Steve Pearce, who is a good working definition of being really, really conservative.

One of the Democratic candidates getting a Woods donation was Craig Cosner of Tucumcari. I haven’t met Cosner.

My Google search surfaced these items about Cosner that add to conservative. He is from Tucumcari. He is a retired banker. Given Tucumcari’s location, much of Cosner’s banking work will have involved agriculture. Woods is a farmer and rancher from the Clovis area. He will have known Cosner. They will have visited, had some coffee somewhere, more than once. Even if Woods and Cosner aren’t friends, they will have been in the same circles for a long time. That sort of relationship means that if one party to the relationship runs for office, the other gives some money.

Woods isn’t perfect. In 2002, he made a small donation to Patsy Madrid, a super liberal. Such a donation is inexplicable to me.

But then some time back I sat in on the donations committee of a construction industry professional group. The committee approved a small donation to a state senator of my acquaintance, one who I felt was the enemy of all thing capitalist.

Communication was the reason for the donation—keeping the lines open. Communication is the reason for a good many political donations. Organizations, business organizations in particular, want to maintain relationships, the keep the legislative boat stable. Winning is not the issue much of the time.

The Jay McCleskey’s live in a different world. Winning is the only thing.

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