So Long Bill Richardson

by Rick Rockwell

So long Bill Richardson, we hardly knew you were on the campaign trail.

Now that Gov. Richardson of New Mexico has dropped out of the Democratic race for president, this writer can go back to being uncommitted. Some may recall a recent call for reason in how the Democrats in the presidential sweepstakes were being winnowed so quickly. Some may also recall a plea to consider Richardson because of his experience. None of the Democratic frontrunners really has what it takes to rescue this country, despite their high-minded promises.

So get that Mike Gravel ballot ready to mark as a protest when the insanely speedy primary season swings your way, if you are voting for the Democrats.

Or maybe they should have a ballot for “none of the above,” or “system broken, fix it first.” At least in Latin America, and elsewhere folks submit unmarked ballots and the authorities know those are a protest. But here, few would interpret it that way.

Of course, that’s probably viewed as old-fashioned thinking.

However, some who have been around for a few election cycles would prefer if the primary system lasted longer. How can we expect to hear anything about issues if all the deciding is done so quickly? Except for the media along with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, who was really tracking all this before January anyway?

But then while admitting they got it wrong this week in how they covered the horse race involved in the presidential campaign, pundits from the mainstream media also confessed they never expected the race to last past New Hampshire. And that was whether Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) won or not. Chris Cillizza, who writes The Fix column for washingtonpost.com confessed as much on the national radio feed of The Diane Rehm Show this week on public radio. Which raises the question of why any of these pundits are believed? Or why do the media assign them to write about politics if they don’t understand history? Or if they are only basing their observations on the last election cycle? And even the big guns who have perspective got it wrong. David Broder? Wrong. He called the primary season for Obama. George Stephanopoulos? Wrong. He called Iowa for Clinton on Nightline and sounds like a shill for her campaign. (Of course, those are his roots, but is anyone at ABC News paying attention to how he spews her propaganda?)

This is why someone like Richardson got ignored. He’s big. He’s burly. He’s not telegenic. The pundits don't like him. He speaks his mind. By the way, he was the only Democrat who said human rights were as important if not more so than national security during the debates. The rest are on President George Bush’s slippery slope of justifying executive power abuses through national security.

So it's back to New Mexico for Richardson where at least his campaign was more than a media footnote. Maybe someone smart will call him when it is time to think of vice presidential candidates.

Others have written about what the Democrats need to do to woo the true left and independents, and what makes frontrunner Clinton so distasteful. Let’s add how she mishandled healthcare reform, her attempts at secrecy during that process (which actually opened the door for many of Vice President Dick Cheney’s abuses), and how she grabbed power in the White House during the impeachment crisis. (She may have been taking her cues from Edith Wilson, President Woodrow Wilson’s wife, to save her husband’s presidency, but no one elected Clinton to do that.)

As for Obama, with more proof he can deliver bipartisan reform besides two bills he helped pass, he’d make a fine candidate in 2012 or 2016. (And no, Sen. John Kerry's endorsement doesn't make a difference. The only endorsement that matters for the Democrats will come from Al Gore.)

The Democrats are going to have to do much better. They need to remember some are not easily swayed by the hoopla of the moment, especially when the finish line isn’t until November. To get a win in 2008, Democrats need to remember some independents actually think beyond political fads.

For those who want more background on the campaign, please check these archival posts:

(Despite the photo branding, the picture of Gov. Bill Richardson speaking to the media during a campaign stop in Atlanta, GA is by Mike Schinkel via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License.)

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Tom said...

see video: It's Too Dangerous to Give Hillary Clinton Another Shot

see video: Petty Clinton Omits Gravel, Hillary Shows Her True Colors

see video: Noam Chomsky applauds Senator Gravel's past and present accomplishments

Jeff Siegel said...

I never thought I'd say this after Gore's lackluster campaign in 2000, but he is looking better and better.

Anonymous said...

Richardson did not add much to the race. He won't be missed and i hope he doesn't end up on the ticket because there is no need to put him there. Hillary has the west and hispanic voters already locked up and Richardson is a bad counter weight to HIllary because he initiallly supported the Iraq war and he tends to make gaffes even worse than HIllary. Plus he would have to explain all over again, why it was that he really wasn't drafted after all by the Kansas City A's and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Just another fast talking politician, who is a good negotiator if you ask me. The fact that he is now old doesn't make him wear any better in my eyes.

My guess is Gore will hold until it's obvious who is going to win, then he will endorse, and that means Hillary Some habits are hard to break.

I see Hillary chosing Ohio's governor as a running mate and I see Gore having a cabinet role in the White House in exchange for his strongly supporting her in the south during the campaign.

Rick Rockwell said...

Interesting that Richardson is seen as old when he is the same age as Hillary Clinton. (If that is old, how is McCain characterized?)

Agreed, all these folks are politicians and there are trade offs, but Richardson's career, on balance is better than most of the pool. And his plan for getting out of Iraq was clear and direct. Of the three candidates who did not support the war initially, Obama wants to invade Pakistan, so his understanding of the precarious situation in South Asia isn't much better.

That leaves you with Kucinich and Gravel.

And so for the moment, the Hillary machine rolls onward. Count me out until there are better choices.

Anonymous said...

So vote for Kucinich or Gravel!

Please stop voting for the candidates pushed on you by the MSM, Big Money and the "polls".

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