Advice for Republicans

Republicans appear to be in a mood to stop being the stupid party. But from what I’ve been hearing, their solutions don’t get to the heart of the matter.

First, some of the solutions. They need to go into places they’ve gone before to get voters. They need to be more inclusive. And, in that regard, suddenly immigration reform is important. Let’s get those Hispanic votes. It's not about finding a humane solution; it's about votes.

I’m sure you’ve heard some other ideas, but it all comes down to two things: The Republicans are about to become the Pander Party and they still don’t get it.

The most important thing Republicans need to do to show they want to play is state unequivocally that they want to govern. Every time a Republican opens his or her mouth, it’s to declare that they favor less government and lower taxes. They don’t understand the need to govern.

How about declaring that you want to solve problems and maybe government is the answer and raising taxes might be a necessary evil. 

I watched a panel discussion on CNN on Sunday made up of two Republican governors, a Republican mayor and a Republican Hispanic PACman. The one thing three of them have in common is that they must first govern. 

When disaster comes to town, they can’t turn a blind eye to the problem. They have to solve it. See Chris Christie in New Jersey. 

And what’s wrong with raising taxes to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent? Who pays that bill? Why the people who benefit. Maybe Republicans, instead of vowing to cut the entitlements, should ask people what they want. 

You want a solvent Social Security, here’s the cost.

Republicans always make it sound as though they’re cutting a free lunch, and a lot of voters are so, er, dumb, they buy it. But if we want a solvent Social Security, why not raise our taxes to pay for it?

Two of the biggest disasters in the Republican House are Eric Kantor and Paul Ryan. They don’t know how to govern. Maybe if they removed their heads from you know where, they might see a different world.


Arizona Rising

Over New Mexico

I shared with a friend an e-mail I had gotten from my alumni association about a trip to Cuba. I had asked if I could see Ernest Hemingway’s house and he told me it wasn’t on the itinerary and there would be no deviating from the itinerary. I knew my friend would find the exchange interesting. 

“OK,” she replied, “that note was worth everything in the world because of the last line. :-)”

I had to look. 

“Hope all is well with you in Arizona!” 

Except for eight years in Santa Fe and four in the Navy, I have lived my entire life in Pennsylvania. But for those eight years I lived in Santa Fe, acquaintances in Pennsylvania always asked me about life in Arizona. 

I was on a plane returning from Pennsylvania shortly after having moved to Santa Fe and my former state representative said hello. “How’s Arizona?” he asked. Happened every return trip and even after I returned. After we moved back in 2011, I ran into the guy who sold me the SUV I later traded at Beaver Toyota and he welcomed me back—from Arizona. 

And remember The New Yorker cartoon about New Mexico that made its point with a saguaro cactus? As any good New Mexican knows, those cacti grow in Arizona, California and Mexico, not New Mexico. The saguaro blossom is Arizona’s state flower. 

And lest anyone forget, Arizona was created out of New Mexico. New Mexico is the mother of Arizona.
I must admit that after a few years of reading New Mexico Magazine’s “One of Our 50 Is Missing,” I thought the joke had run its course and the magazine could drop the feature. But now I think it should keep it and add another: “We Aren’t Arizona!”