More on Richardson
From WaPo, here’s some of what Richardson told supporters in his announcement e-mail: “I am taking this step because we have to repair the damage that’s been done to our country over the last six years. Our reputation in the world is diminished, our economy has languished, and civility and common decency in government has perished.”
Fair enough. I don’t find anything with which to disagree there, although I’m far less concerned about the state of “civility and common decency” in Washington, the fixation of David Broder and his nostalgia-spun ilk, than I am with the actual aspects and consequences of the Bush presidency. Richardson ought to have mentioned Bush’s anti-environmentalism, extremism on social issues like abortion and stem-cell research, nominations of activist conservative judges to the federal benches and the Supreme Court, support for social security privatization, etc. But I’m sure we’ll hear more from him on these and other topics.
I have nothing against Richardson — indeed, I admire his experience, particularly with respect to foreign affairs — but I just don’t see how he can stand out in a field that includes celebrities like Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. Except that he is Hispanic, which should help, but I worry that media attention will focus on the identities of these candidates as opposed to their ideas. Edwards aside, for he is not a visible minority, we have a woman, an African-American, and a Hispanic-American. America has come a long way, to be sure, and this reflects the admirable diversity of the Democratic Party, but what should be important to Democrats is that America elect a Democrat in ’08, not, say, a Hispanic-American Democrat. It’s all about emphasis.
Still, to the extent that Richardson, popular governor of a border state, will give voice to Hispanic-Americans and to such issues as immigration, he is a welcome addition to the race. And, too, I must add, his experience in government trumps the comparatively limited experience of both the three frontrunners and of other major candidates like Wesley Clark. That means a lot.
On another note, see this post by Steve Clemons at The Washington Note. He wishes Richardson “would remain the globe-spanning international problem fixer that he has been for many years” and then asks a question that, it seems, the governor would do well to answer. Let’s just say there’s a “perceived problem in his political portfolio” that involves women.
Here’s the reaction from one of the smartest bloggers of the right, Ed Morrissey: “This should be the candidate that really worries the Republicans in 2008. Hillary sucks up most of the oxygen, and Barack Obama gets most of the headlines, and John Edwards keeps gathering the crumbs left behind. Bill Richardson has more credibility and better credentials than all three put together, and has managed to stay below the radar of the more bitter partisan fights of the last fourteen years.”
I disagree with Ed’s dismissive assessment of Edwards as a crumb-gatherer, but otherwise he’s right that Richardson has “an incredible amount of applicable experience for the Presidency”. He’s also right, I fear, that “Richardson will get as lost in the shuffle as his announcement did”.
Finally, over at The Reaction, Heraclitus mentioned Gore-Richardson. How about Edwards-Richardson?