Hard to match this for chutzpah…
Allen Weh is running for the Republican nomination for governor of New Mexico. You’ll remember Weh from the U.S. attorneys scandal, in which, as chair of the state GOP, he played a key role in pressing the Bush administration, successfully, to fire David Iglesias.
And in talking himself up in a Democratic-leaning state, Weh has been claiming that the Iglesias firing shows he’s capable of taking on his own party!
When Congress last month released the results of its investigation into the firings, confirming that Weh had directly pressed Karl Rove to oust Iglesias, the Wall Street Journal reported (sub req.):
Mr. Weh, who is currently running for governor of New Mexico, on Tuesday portrayed his role in the firing as demonstrating his willingness to take on officials of his own party. ‘I have been equally critical of leaders in both political parties, those who have either betrayed the public trust or failed to do their job,’ he said.
Then the other day, Weh doubled down on that line in an interview with a New Mexico radio station, saying:
Think about this. I was taking on my own party. This is an appointee of the president of the United States. There would have been a lot of people who would have said, ‘Well, I’m not going to say anything about that guy.’
At the risk of stating the obvious, let’s look at the actual record. The Justice Department’s report conclusively confirmed that Iglesias ran afoul of Weh and his fellow state GOPers by declining to go after voter fraud as aggressively as Republicans wanted. Weh repeatedly pressed Iglesias to focus on the issue, and in 2005, emailed Karl Rove directly, asking for Iglesias to be removed and a replacement appointed “that takes voter fraud seriously.” The report found that “complaints from New Mexico Republican politicians and party activists about Iglesias’s handling of voter fraud and corruption cases were the reasons for his removal as U.S. Attorney.”
Of course, when Republicans reliably make such a stink about voter fraud every election season — despite almost no evidence that it exists — they’re not doing it in their capacity as good citizens. They’re using it as a partisan weapon. Inherent to the issue is the notion that it’s being perpetrated by low-income and minority voters — that is, Democrats. Weh’s close ally Pat Rogers once described voter fraud as the “single best wedge issue ever in New Mexico” for Republicans.
In other words, Weh’s targeting of Iglesias was an example of him doing the opposite of bucking his own party. He was directly advancing the political interests of that party, by seeking to engineer the appointment of a local prosecutor who would prioritize an issue that, he believed, would help Republicans win elections.
Hat tip nmpolitics.net.