Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Bill Richardson? Why Now?

You'll find numerous testaments on the web to the wonders of the Gov, all listing a myriad of reasons why he's the best choice for the '08 Dem nomination for president. Here's mine:

Bill Richardson is hands-down the best choice for the Dems for 2008 for two major reasons: experience and electability. Let's break that down a little.

First, the experience end of things:

1. He's a diplomat. Richardson jokes that he's the "only governor with a foreign policy," but he's right. What other presidential candidate can boast that he (or she) repeatedly has gotten the call over the years to negotiate the release of hostages from bad guys like Saddam Hussein, that he's the guy the North Koreans will actually listen to, that he's the guy who that awful leader of the Sudan will talk to when he'll talk to no one else about the crisis in Darfur? No one but Bill Richardson.... The US has traditionally been a leader in world diplomacy, but the Bush Doctrine, leading to the invasion of Iraq and even greater Middle East instability, has lost us that vaunted status. Richardson realizes that talking is always the first step to resolving a conflict. Sure, there's a rare time and a place for war, but it's never the first move. Bill Richardson knows that lesson well.

2. Bill Richardson understands energy like no other candidate. He was secretary of the Department of Energy and, like other Western Dems like Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, is leading the charge on alternative sources of energy, and, unlike George W. Bush, that doesn't mean drilling for oil in ANWR. Energy independence, along with its cousin--fighting global warming--is an area in which Bill Richardson is second to none.

3. Fiscal responsibility. This blog will not attack other Dem candidates, but no one in the race can match Governor Richardson for sound fiscal policy. New Mexico runs a surplus *and* cuts taxes. That's not a classic tax-and-spend liberal. That's someone with an eye both on your pocketbook and your children's future. The deficit is, thanks to the Bush administration, completely out of control. While some candidates have already expressed doubt that the Gov can avoid raising taxes *and* make sure all Americans have health insurance, he has one point in his favor already that they don't: he's a governor, an executive, not a senator, and he's balanced budgets while cutting taxes, and made sure the less-fortunate have more opportunity while expanding revenue through the stimulation of small and large business growth. Bill Richardson knows how to achieve change without breaking the bank.

And then there's the electability factor:

1. He's a Western Dem. The West is the new frontier for Democrats. Dem governors in AZ, MT, CO, WY, and, yes, New Mexico have proven that through a sound policy of fiscal conservatism and stay-out-of-your-personal-life libertarianism, Democrats can win votes in a formerly all-red zone. Eastern establishment Dems have failed miserably in recent years at the national level. It's time for a change in picking our nominee so that candidate can truly compete in every region of the country. It's no coincidence that our convention is in Denver, folks.

2. He's a progressive centrist. Centrism won the 2006 US Senate elections. The narrow victory by the Dems in taking control of the US Senate was orchestrated by a policy of picking centrist candidates like Claire McCaskill, Jim Webb and Jon Tester, not more traditional tax-and-spend liberals. No one on the Dem side of the '08 presidential fence fits that centrist bill like...Bill! Trying to win the presidency by barely managing to eke out enough electoral votes by "winning all the states that Gore won plus one" is a disaster (remember 2004?). We need a presidential candidate that can compete for votes in places like Missouri, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico. Montana, West Virginia, all states that went red in '04. "Win big!" should be our mantra this time around. Bill Richardson clearly has the best chance to compete in the most states in the general election.

3. He's a heck of a likeable, down-to-earth guy. Really. Don't you long for the days of 1992 when you'd watch Bill Clinton campaign effortlessly and work a room, no matter how large, charming the hell out of everyone there just by being himself? Bill Richardson is that kind of candidate. But he's not slick. He's not processed. He didn't vote for something before he voted against it. He is who he is without "image consultants" telling him what to say and how to act. He is, get this, a regular human being, funny and self-effacing. Believe it or not, the general electorate likes that sort of thing, even though we Dems haven't given them that since '96.

"Win big." Say it like you mean it. Repeat it over and over. And then vote for Bill Richardson.

Lights, Camera, Action

One of the many reasons, beyond his obvious wealth of qualifications for the job, that I support Bill Richardson for the '08 nomination is his electability when it comes time for the general election. He has a (Bill) Clintonian ease with a crowd and his down-to-earth nature at large political gatherings is a breath of fresh air. The folks at Richardson Brings Hope have put together a nice set of videos of Governor Richardson in action.

The Bill Richardson Blog Makes the Case

One of the better pro-Richardson sites out there is the Bill Richardson Blog, run by two Harvard Law students, Andrea and Ian. A while back, Andrea posted a succinct case for the Gov as the best-qualified person for the job. Read it here. And start spreading the news.

David Brooks on the Gov for President

David Brooks of the New York Times recently did a fine editorial espousing the qualifications of Governor Richardson for the presidency. Unfortunately, it's "preferred content" (meaning: pay to read it) at the Times, but the Albany, NY Times Union did a reprint that's not restricted. Check it out here.


New Jersey is one of a growing number of states that has moved up its 2008 presidential primary in order to have a greater say in the nominating process. The purpose of this blog is to promote the presidential candidacy of Bill Richardson, Democratic governor of New Mexico. In the coming days, weeks and months, I'll be blogging (along with others, I hope) with news about the governor, and, just as importantly, reasons why I and a whole host of other folks around this country believe that the best-qualified, most electable candidate for the Dems to nominate in '08 is Bill Richardson. Get on board, and enjoy the ride!