Friday, September 28, 2007

Get Serious About Ending the War Now, Not in 2013 or Later

Go here to check out Cara's Daily Kos diary on the Gov's plan. And go here to read Governor Richardson's Huffington Post article on the same subject.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

War Until 2013, Or Not. It's Your Choice.

Last night's NH debate was a watershed moment for the Democratic Party in this election. The question posed to the candidates was simple: can you promise that at the end of your first term as president all US troops will be out of Iraq? The answers--from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards--were stunning.

They all said, "No."

I promised a long time ago on this blog that I would not "go negative" on any other candidate in this primary race, and I still won't. But I will tell you when Bill Richardson's position is starkly different than his chief rivals for the nomination, and there could be no more crystal clear example of such a difference than in his answer to that question: one year. The troops will be home within one year of him taking office. Not 2013, which, by the way, is five and one-half years from now--longer than this war has already been going on. One year.

And this is not a simple numbers game of one year versus many more. It's a difference in basic philosophy regarding the best way to end the Iraq War. There are the naysayers that quibble with Bill Richardson, telling him that one year is an unrealistically short period of time, and that troop withdrawal will take longer than that. To them, I say, "So what?" The critical point is not the precise length of time, but, rather, the commitment of the candidate to get our troops home as fast as possible, so the real process of peace and reconciliation can begin. The 2013 crowd is on the other side of that divide. They do not have the same commitment to bring our troops home as soon as possible. Instead, their plan has no end-goal in sight.

This choice isn't complicated. Yes, withdrawing troops from a war zone is complicated, but that will be true whenever it occurs. What is not complicated is deciding on which side of a simple divide you stand: should we bring the troops home as soon as possible, with a goal of no more than one year for the arrival of the last troop home, or should we keep an open-ended commitment to stay in Iraq much longer than that? If you choose the former course of action, you should have an equally uncomplicated task in choosing a candidate from among the top four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination because Bill Richardson is the only candidate who agrees with your position on Iraq. So go vote for him. Make him the nominee, and let's end this war--quickly and responsibly.

Vote Bill Richardson for president.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Richardson Surge

You may have missed this article in The Nation that lauds Bill Richardson as *the* candidate among the Dems who is still gaining ground in the polls, mostly thanks to his anti-Iraq-War efforts and his promises to bring *all* the US troops home faster than Clinton, Edwards or Obama.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bill Richardson Meets the Press

The Gov has been active on the interview circuit of late. Here's a link to an hour-long chat he had with Associated Press reporters.

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Hampshire For Richardson

Things have been a little slow here at the ol' blog the last couple weeks. The Gov has been working hard, but the amount of "new" news has been a little light. He's been wearing out the campaign trail pushing the familiar themes of ending the war faster than any other Dem candidate, energy independence, healthcare reform, and the power of international diplomacy. So it's nice to see a NH voter take notice and take a stand for Bill. Check it out here.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Bill Richardson--The Energy President

One of the reasons I'm a big Richardson supporter is because he walks the walk on energy issues--on both conservation and alternative energy. Here's a great interview with the Gov on energy policy, from Salon:

Sep. 03, 2007 | Bill Richardson likes to play up his image as a
horse-ridin', gun-totin' man of the Wild West, but don't be distracted
by the cowboy swagger -- the Democratic governor of New Mexico also
has a serious policy wonk side. That was on full display in May when
he unveiled a broad and ambitious climate and energy plan. Billing
himself as the "energy president," he's now calling for a 90 percent
cut to greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, a renewable-energy target of
50 percent by 2040, and a 50-mile-per-gallon fuel-economy standard by

Richardson is no newcomer to energy issues, of course -- he served as
secretary of energy at the end of the Clinton administration, and has
aggressively pushed clean energy as governor of New Mexico. But some
greens might not care for his "clean coal" boosterism or his embrace
of "all kinds of biofuel."

I rang up the governor at his office in Santa Fe, N.M., to size up his
energy and environmental vision.

You've dubbed yourself the "energy president." Why did you choose that

Right now, the most important domestic and national-security issues
involve America becoming energy independent and reducing
greenhouse-gas emissions. I believe it's going to take an "energy
president" who will lead this country toward these goals by asking all
Americans to sacrifice for the common good and be more
energy-efficient and promote a green style of living.

Many of the candidates are trying to paint themselves as the green
candidate. What makes your platform stronger than the others'?

On energy, both the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters
have stated that my plan is the most aggressive, with the strongest

But what differentiates myself from other candidates is I've actually
done it. I've done it as energy secretary in the Clinton
administration by tightening air-conditioning energy-use standards by
30 percent, building a strong portfolio of renewable energy, and
promoting 100-mile-per-gallon vehicles through a fuel-efficiency
initiative with the auto companies.

Then, as governor of New Mexico, I believe we have the most
clean-energy initiatives of any state. We have a renewable portfolio
standard going to 20 percent by 2020. Our state is on track to observe
the Kyoto treaty. We have no taxes on hybrid vehicles. We're the first
in the country to export wind energy. We also have a number of
incentives for solar, wind, biomass, biodiesel and
distributed-generation fuel cells.

I was also probably one of the most active pro-environment
congressmen. I pursued and made law a number of national parks,
wilderness areas, river protections and air-quality standards. When I
was on the committee [overseeing the] Interior [Department], I worked
on bills including the Jemez National Recreation Area and the South
San Juan Wilderness.

You've vowed as president to mandate a 90 percent greenhouse-gas
emission reduction by 2050 --

I've also proposed a strong standard in the short term: 20 percent
reductions by 2020.

These goals are even stronger than some environmental groups are
calling for. Why such dramatic targets?

Because we can't wait. It's a matter of necessity. It's important
because it involves our national security. Our energy dependence on
foreign oil is so unhealthy -- we could be vulnerable to an oil price
shock, to $5-per-gallon gasoline prices, to long lines at the pumps.
What I'm also advocating is a dramatic shift in mass transit, like
I've done here in New Mexico with the Rail Runner. But we'd have,
nationally, transportation policies that promote sensible land use --
not just proposing highway funding bills, but bills to establish light
rail and bullet trains and more energy-efficient transportation. Also,
land-use policies that advocate open space. This is for a better
quality of life for all our people.

Are your climate goals as much informed by your concern about energy
independence as they are about climate change?


As president, would you subsidize the development of technologies,
such as liquefied coal, that could worsen global warming, even if they
would boost energy independence?

I'm for clean coal, but I'm not a big fan of liquefied. I do not
believe that coal-to-liquids technologies represent a viable solution
for the future because of the associated carbon dioxide emissions. I
will push for a well-to-wheels low-carbon fuel requirement that
reduces the carbon impact of our liquid fuels by 30 percent by 2020,
including alternative fuels that will substitute for about 10 percent
of our gasoline demand.

But coal does belong in a clean-energy future?

I believe that carbon-clean coal will play a role in our energy
future. There have gotta be some very strict clean-coal standards. I'm
not an advocate for continuing to use old oil, coal and nuclear. They
all have to be part of a mix, but in the past, those three have
received an inordinate amount of subsidies and tax incentives at the
expense of renewable energy. It's important to emphasize that the
future is in renewable energy, renewable fuel, conservation measures.
It's in buildings that are 50 percent more energy-efficient, solar
roofs in schools, 50-mile-per-gallon vehicles by 2030.

What about nuclear -- can you expand on that? It sounds like you think
coal and nuclear need to be part of the energy mix, but they shouldn't
be subsidized?

Yes. My dramatic preference would be for clean coal. I oppose the
construction of those coal plants in Texas -- too many subsidies for
the coal industry. And I opposed giving a tax incentive in New Mexico
to just a regular coal plant that's proposed here, Desert Rock. I
can't be the champion of global climate change and have a new coal
plant that isn't clean.

Do you think we'll have to expand nuclear capacity?

Nuclear has to be part of the mix, but I would eliminate the subsidies
that nuclear and coal and oil got from the last energy bill and shift
those to renewable energy, to a more equal playing field.

Nuclear will not be able to move forward unless we resolve the waste
issue. The [Yucca Mountain] site in Nevada has significant water,
environmental and transportation problems with it. The other
alternative of putting nuclear waste at existing regional sites around
the country is not going to work. I favor a technological solution --
let's get our best scientists at the national labs to find a way to
dispose of this nuclear waste safely. Until that is resolved, nuclear
should not get any advantages.

What role do you think ethanol and biofuels should play in a 21st
century energy system?

A very important role, both of them -- all kinds of biofuel,
biodiesel. We need to have more fuel-efficient fuels.

We should provide incentives for distribution by, for example, helping
gas stations convert at least one pump to handle E85 or other
biofuels. The federal government also should use its purchasing power
-- as we have done in New Mexico -- to transform the energy
marketplace by, for example, purchasing more hybrid and flex-fuel cars
for its own use.

And I believe in cooperative ventures with other countries. I would
expand our ties to Latin America with more collaboration in renewable
energy and technology. That's the future for that region, what Brazil
has done with ethanol, for instance -- they're totally energy

You are a strong supporter of both corn and cellulosic ethanol. How,
specifically, will you structure policies that transition the U.S.
away from corn ethanol and toward cellulosic?

Our goal should be bold -- to replace 20 percent of liquid
transportation fuels with biofuels by 2020. We should significantly
ramp up federal investments in the research and development of
biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol.

You have a strong incentive for electric cars in your auto proposal.
Do you think electric cars will win out over biofuel cars?

They will all be part of the mix. We in New Mexico were very proud to
get Tesla Motors to move here from California. It's the perfect
combination for us: It's high-tech jobs plus clean energy.

Do you think climate and energy will be front-burner concerns in the
2008 election?

Absolutely. They are among the most important issues in the
presidential campaign. The first is Iraq, the second is a close tie
between universal healthcare and energy independence.

You've said on the one hand that voters need to be willing to
sacrifice some of their creature comforts for a new energy landscape,
but also that Americans should be able to keep SUVs. Can you explain
this contradiction?

What I'm asking for is not sacrifice, like Americans' wearing sweaters
and turning the heat down. What I'm asking for is being more
energy-efficient with appliances, with vehicles, with mass transit.
Maybe, instead of driving to work, once a month go mass transit.

I believe very strongly in what John F. Kennedy asked all Americans to
do and that's sacrifice a little bit for the collective good. We need,
as a moral imperative, to reduce our consumption of fossil fuel
because it's in our national interest that we do so as a nation. It's
going to take a president to lead this dramatic shift and not just
little energy bills. We need to energize every American to become green.

But Americans will be able to keep their SUVs because the technology
is improving?

Yes. You can have an SUV with a fuel-efficient engine. We do have the
technology to achieve this.

You say your energy programs are going to produce 10 times more value
than they cost, right? How does this math add up?

Our energy programs are going to be great for the economy mainly
because they are going to create two sets of new jobs in this country
-- one in renewable technology, which are high-wage, high-skill jobs,
and the second in retrofitting homes for the construction industry,
also higher-wage jobs. It will be not just a job boom, but a
technological boom.

So that boom in jobs will add up to 10 times more than the cost of
jump-starting that trend?


Can Detroit achieve the sharp fuel-economy standards you're proposing
-- an increase to 50 mpg by 2020?

Detroit will benefit from this. We've got the technology. They need a
little gentle prodding and they need incentives, but Detroit has
always stepped up with ingenuity. They must realize that to keep jobs
in America, to be part of this globalized world, they gotta compete.
I'm not at all averse to giving Detroit tax incentives for these
vehicles or having the government jointly invest in R&D with them,
rather than clubbing them over the head.

In 2005, you signed an environmental justice order in New
Mexico. How would you address environmental justice as president?

I would issue an executive order that would respect neighborhoods,
especially in minority areas; I would make it part of a "Quality of
Life Initiative." It would have several components: promoting
environmental justice, as well as a new open-space policy, a smart
land-use policy and a new transportation policy that would emphasize
light rail and more energy-efficient transportation.

After climate and energy, what do you think is the most important
environmental issue facing the nation?

Protecting our parks, not drilling in ecosystems and offshore areas,
the need to create more open space and wilderness areas, and finding
ways to conserve water more effectively are critically important.

Who is your environmental hero?

Mo Udall, because he gave me, when I first came into Congress, a very
good environmental ethic. I remember him taking me to Alaska where we
worked on the Alaska wilderness initiatives. He was a Western
environmentalist -- I patterned myself after him.

And Al Gore deserves enormous credit for pushing global climate change.

You often talk about your love of the wilds of New Mexico and the
outdoors in general. Can you describe your inner cowboy?

I own a horse -- that's my main recreational activity. His name is
Sundance. I love to go out into the mountains of Santa Fe and spend
time with him. That's my main recreation. Unfortunately, I don't have
much time for it.

If you could spend a week in one park or natural area, where would it be?


What have you done personally to lighten your environmental footprint?

We got a Ford Escape hybrid for the governor's fleet and an ethanol
vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe FlexFuel that can run on E85. The governor's
mansion has energy-efficient windows, and we've installed compact
fluorescent bulbs wherever possible. We also are involved in a
renewable-purchasing program that supplies 90 percent of the
electricity from solar and wind. We've also made water-conservation
improvements to the residence, like low-flush toilets, low-flow
showerheads, xeriscaping, and a water-efficient irrigation system.

This article is part of a series of interviews with presidential
candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside.

-- By Amanda Griscom Little