As a reporter, I saw a lot of strange things on the campaign trail. As an adviser, I saw more. But nothing quite brings out the true oddities of life in government and politics like the early jockeying of a presidential campaign.
To wit: The buzz out West about an end to cockfighting in New Mexico.
This week, New Mexican Gov. Bill Richardson suddenly came out in favor of a ban on cockfighting in his home state - one of only two states to still allow fighting birds. Richardson, a Democratic candidate for president, seems to think siding with the longstanding rooster fights might be an, umm, blemish on his record or somehow lead people to think he represents something of a backwoods state.
How people could get that from the "sport" of cockfighting is beyond me.
We've seen hometown governors, senators and congressmen do a lot of things over the years to bolster their records before launching a run at 1600 Penn. Romney did it here, so did Dukakis. Heck, W. Bush even happily worked with Democrats before leaving the Texas Governor's Mansion - for a while, anyway.
"The bottom line is that if Bill Richardson is not running for president, this wouldn't be an issue," said Leo Lopez, a 42-year-old Hobbs native who has been attending matches since he was 12. "He doesn't want it to be known that he's from a state with cockfighting."
Well, who could blame him, really?
But it could be worse, Governor, imagine you were running from the Tula Province deep in the woods south of Moscow. Now then, you'd have something to talk about.