“So many people thought they knew the governor,” Mother Jones reporter Andy Kroll told KOAT in Albuquerque, “and then went on to govern in a different way.” Er, she did? Susana Martinez has a 52% approval rating in New Mexico, according to PPP, and her re-elect polling has her with double-digit leads, according to RCP. Mother Jones wants to change all that by suggesting that Martinez is the next Sarah Palin, only with an extended vocabulary:

Here’s the MJ brief against Martinez, which argues that she’s foul-mouthed and hostile to women and Hispanics … which of course, she is herself in both cases:

During an October 2010 campaign conference call, Martinez said she’d met a woman who worked for the state’s Commission on the Status of Women, a panel created in 1973 to improve health, pay equity, and safety for women.

“What the hell is that?” she asked.

“I don’t know what the fuck they do,” replied her deputy campaign manager, Matt Kennicott.

“What the hell does a commission on women’s cabinet do all day long?” Martinez asked.

“I think [deputy campaign operations director Matt] Stackpole wants to be the director of that so he can study more women,” Kennicott said.

“Well, we have to do what we have to do,” McCleskey chimed in, as Martinez burst out laughing. (As governor, she would line-item veto the commission’s entire budget.)

Yes — which was noted at the time, too. Oh, and she also questioned whether teachers got paid too much in relation to other public-sector employees:

The campaign emails and audio recordings also show how Martinez and her team strategized to maintain her straight-shooting image while avoiding actually being up-front with the public. Throughout the campaign, Martinez praised teachers and insisted she’d “hold harmless” funding for public education. In private, Martinez implied teachers earned too much: “During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but…they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year.” She and McCleskey acknowledged that cuts to education could well be necessary, so her aides plotted about how to respond if they were ever called out for it once elected: “Put up a YouTube video that no one will ever see where you talk about making everyone feel the pain,” McCleskey suggested. “And when you win, we say, ‘See, we said this shit the whole time. What are you guys talking about?'”

“It’s on YouTube,” Kennicott said. “C’mon, bitches.”

Yes, I’m sure that in private, lots of people say things, suggest ideas, and make jokes that they wouldn’t make in public. And? What about teachers’ salaries — which are public policy — makes them so sacrosanct that public officials can’t even question them in private? It seems to me that we elect public officials to act as stewards of public funds, not as high priests and priestesses for the Church Of The Public Employee, where private questions and scrutiny require public beatings.

Martinez responded by raising $15,000 the same day off of the news. She later pledged to hit the “cuss jar,” and otherwise ignore Mother Jones and their smear campaign. Matt Lewis writes that Mother Jones may be right about Palinization, but clueless about the fact that this speaks to them and not Martinez:

Indeed, there does seem to be a parallel with Palin. But it goes something like this: Just like the former Alaska governor, Gov. Martinez can be seen as a real threat to a liberal movement that has often hitched its electoral future to the “GOP war on women” narrative. (And as a Mexican-American Latina, Martinez may be viewed as an even greater danger.)

And just as a sort of Palin derangement syndrome led to all sorts of crazy antics — from Trig Trutherism to hacking her email — it’s not all that difficult to see this Mother Jones article as a harbinger of things to come.

Mother Jones actually did Martinez a big favor. They’ve raised her profile, and the attack will bring a lot more support from the national grassroots than Martinez may otherwise have attracted. By targeting her, they’ve also increased her credibility as a national figure. Assuming she wins re-election — and this little firecracker popped way too early to affect her chances in New Mexico — she’s going to get plenty of attention for the 2016 cycle now.