Photo credit: state.gov.
What do you know about Bill Richardson, who announced earlier this week that he’s running for President?
According to google, I’ve never written the name “Richardson” on my blog, which began in early September 2003. Shame on me, I guess — though I did mention his energy expertise once over at the Duck of Minerva.
Bloggers I read regularly have never made note of his political career. For example, I find no google hits for Richardson by Helmut and friends over at Phronesisaical nor any Richardson tags by Matthew at Fruits & Votes.
Here at LGM, they’ve done only a tad better. Scott has dropped Bill Richardson’s name twice in the past 60 days. April 26, he noted that when asked, the former Secretary of Energy picked somewhat strange favorite Supreme Court justices. On March 24, the New Mexico governor was mentioned in passing as a presidential candidate more electable than Hillary Clinton, and just as good on substance. The post was about HRC, however.
Finally, going back nearly three years to June 22, 2004, Rob speculated that the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations might make a “good” Secretary of State (paired with a “pleasant” Secretary of Defense, like General Wesley Clark).
Notice how I’ve sprinkled in some highlights of Richardson’s resume even as I have noted the lack of attention to his political career?
There’s more too. Richardson taught Government at Sante Fe Community College (he’s an academic too!) and then spent 14 years in Congress. Diplomatically, Richardson has negotiated successfully for the release of hostages, soldiers and prisoners from North Korea, Iraq (under Saddam), Sudan and Cuba. That’s a good starter-list of the nations America viewed as rogue states for most of the post-cold war era.
As Governor, Richardson has committed New Mexico to the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, which is a sub-national effort to move the western part of the U.S. towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Apparently, New Mexico is on track to meet Kyoto-level cuts over the next few years.
Moreover, Richardson claims to have expanded health care coverage, increased the minimum wage, slashed taxes, balanced the budget for five years, increased teacher standards and school quality, and promoted a number of labor union initiatives relating to collective bargaining and prevailing wages.
Oh, and some people think his campaign commercials are top-notch.
What are the cons?
Richardson did not play minor league baseball — though he apparently claimed that he was drafted. Note that Richardson did play baseball in college and was apparently scouted by major league teams.
His spouse wasn’t President.
He is not a “rock star” candidate.
And he was not already on a presidential ticket.
I am pretty sure those are not the only negatives, but Richardson does have one advantage. Since nobody paid much attention to him over the past few years, he does not have to worry about addressing a bunch of well-known “unfavorables.”
This is by no means an endorsement, but it does suggest a need to learn more.