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Editorial: N.M. political bad taste a partisan playground

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According to the Oxford Dictionaries it means “dumb.” Urban dictionary says it means “idiot, stupid or dumbass” or “a single pubic hair.” Wiktionary says it’s “a stupid person; a dumbass; creep.”

Yet Albuquerque attorney and mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli uses pendejo to describe all registered Democrats who have crossed party lines — to vote for a candidate who has a background they respect, who accurately represents their views on an issue, who has done their homework to earn their vote.

Dinelli, who is running in a nonpartisan city election, says he wants to end “petty partisan politics” in city government. He uttered his slur at the state Democratic Party central committee in Las Cruces.

Using the same logic, Dinelli presumably would consider any Albuquerque Republican who might consider voting for a Democratic candidate to also be a pendejo. No telling how his reasoning would apply to the growing number of voters who decline to state a party preference — driven in part by things like the recent outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease by influential people in both parties.

If Dinelli’s gaffe and subsequent weak non-apology laying the remarks off as a bad attempt at humor show anything, it’s that the disease is contagious. Just last month the Bernalillo County Republican Party suspended executive director Steve Kush for social media postings during a county meeting on raising the minimum wage that included the term “radical bitch” and saying a political foe was “hot enough to almost make me register democrat.”After the public pounding Kush took — deservedly — you would think politicians of all stripes would have a month or two of restraint. Nope. Given the podium, Dinelli jumped right in.

Both outbursts are anachronisms, hearkening back to a time of straight-party tickets and pledging allegiance to political groupthink.

New Mexico voters have moved forward even if many of their political leaders have not. Declined to state — otherwise known as independent —is the fastest growing voter group in New Mexico. Fed up with extremists who pander to the base of their respective parties, more than 200,000 New Mexicans have chosen to disenfranchise themselves in primary elections by shunning both the Democratic and Republican parties.

The recent public comments from both sides of the partisan divide make that choice even more likely for future voters who are just fed up with grade-school partisan name-calling.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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