Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s chief spokesman scored a coup last week by pointing out a tiny mistake.
Tripp Stelnicki stood tall for his boss by fact-checking one of the Washington Post‘s elitists, nationally syndicated columnist George F. Will.
Will erred with this opening paragraph: “The smallest state has the smallest governor. Rhode Island’s Gina Raimondo is almost 5 feet 3 inches, about an inch shorter than James Madison.”
“Until Danny DeVito is elected the shortest gov is in New Mexico,” he wrote on Twitter.
That’s how to prop up the boss with flair.
By most accounts, DeVito is 4 feet 10 inches tall. Lujan Grisham might best him by an eyelash.
Short on facts, Will changed his lead sentence: “The smallest state has a small governor.”
The Post added a correction. “An earlier version of this column incorrectly reported that Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is the nation’s shortest governor. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is 4 feet 11 inches tall.”
This should have given Lujan Grisham a momentary diversion from the pressures of managing New Mexico through the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Will probably hasn’t been this embarrassed since the 1980 election, when he privately coached Republican Ronald Reagan for his debate against Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Will then appeared on ABC’s Nightline to give viewers his unbiased view that Reagan had cleaned Carter’s clock.
Will is on a different mission now. He wants Joe Biden, heading toward the Democratic presidential nomination, to choose Raimondo as his running mate.
“A Biden-Raimondo ticket would achieve the left’s primary goal, the removal of President Trump,” Will wrote in the same column where he gave short shrift to Lujan Grisham.
Will also said the administration of Biden and Raimondo “would restore adult supervision in Washington.”
Only last summer, Will had a different plan to rid the White House of Donald Trump.
Will dismissed Biden and proposed the Democrats nominate the well-known political titan Michael Bennet for president.
Bennet, a senator from Colorado, polled at less than 1 percent in the presidential race. He lagged behind write-in candidates before getting on with his life’s work.
While dismantling Bernie Sanders, Biden promised to select a woman as his running mate.
Some claim Lujan Grisham is under consideration. I asked Biden’s campaign if it’s true. No one has responded.
In most elections, people don’t vote for president based on the bottom of the ticket. But this year is different for the Democrats, at least in the swing states.
If Biden is to win, he must take back Florida and at least some of the Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic battlegrounds Trump carried in 2016. He needs a vice presidential nominee who can rev up voters in those regions.
Biden represented the Philadelphia suburb of Delaware in the U.S. Senate. He should win Pennsylvania in a walk.
He also will be a stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton was in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. She lost them all.
Clinton took Minnesota in a tight race, and she won Virginia more decisively. Her running mate, Tim Kaine, is a Virginia senator and a former governor of that state.
Biden, 77, knows he needs an accomplished running mate who is ready for the national stage. Geography is equally important.
Trump has turned Michigan’s formidable governor, Gretchen Whitmer, into a national figure by insulting her, early and often. She could help Biden.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar would be an asset to Biden in her home state of Minnesota. In doubt is whether she would inspire voters elsewhere.
I still believe Biden will choose Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Army helicopter pilot who was grievously wounded in combat.
Trump likes to taunt opponents with sophomoric slurs like Lyin’ Ted and Crooked Hillary. Duckworth would have Trump on his heels, aggravating those famous bone spurs.
That leaves out Lujan Grisham and Raimondo. They can’t help Biden in the toss-up states. It might have been a different story if the battlegrounds were in New England or the Southwest.
But their stature is not in doubt.
To paraphrase J.D. Salinger, how long should a governor’s legs be? Long enough to touch the ground.
Ringside Seat is an opinion column about people, politics and news. Contact Milan Simonich at [email protected] or 505-986-3080.