Monday, October 10, 2005

Local Boy Makes Good

Mikaela says:
Sirota's discovered Heinrich. Let the love commence. Cue the mood music. Dim lights. Action!



An Up and Coming Progressive Champion in New Mexico

Albuquerque City Councilman Martin Heinrich is showing how progressive populists at the local level can really be instrumental in making change. Heinrich, you may recall, has been spearheading his city's fight to raise its minimum wage - a fight that brings out all the big corporate guns who don't want to have to pay workers well. Sadly, Heinrich's legislation and subsequent ballot initiative lost in a very narrow vote this week.

But Heinrich isn't taking the loss sitting down. Just days after the ballot vote, he managed to get New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) to back his efforts to pass a statewide living wage law.

Heinrich is the kind of political leader progressives will be relying on in the future to clean up government and start making it work for ordinary middle-class people - not just the fat cats, the lobbyists, and the corporate interests. He is, in short, a model for how even at the local level, a new progressive populism is starting to boil into a real movement.

What I wonder is how many people in Albuquerque will now learn about Heinrich through Sirota. I mean, really, is he known here? Was the ballot initiative really his campaign? Is Eric gnashing his teeth?

Doesn't this reek just a little of hero-mythologizing, as though all we really need are a few good men? Is Sirota so wrapped up in the Washington game that he really believes that one man is not just one vote but an entire movement? I don't know about you, but it makes me a little nervous. This is how they pick off leaders on the left, separating them from the herd and making them think they're more important than the people they serve. Dangerous and foolish all wrapped up into one hero-worshipping package. Not good. Don't listen to him, Heinrich! Keep your head down and your ear to the people. By the way, we're down here.