Bill Richardson Tries To Make His Case

I have to feel a bit sorry for Bill Richardson. He lacks the name recognitiion of Hillary Clinton, and the charisma of Barack Obama and John Edwards, making him a distant fourth in most people’s estimates. While liberal bloggers show an irrational exuberance for John Edwards, whose qualifications for the Presidency wouldn’t fit on the front of a 3 x 5 card, they ignore Richardson’s impressive resume. The response of the blogosphere to the recent health care forum was glowing for Edwards who had years to come up with a plan which looks compelling at first glance but lacks details. Even Hillary Clinton, whose plan was so bad that it cost Democrats control of Congress for years, received favorable responses in the blogosphere. In contrast, Bill Richardson, who actually came up with suggestions which will both make a real difference and which can be passed, was derided because his plan isn’t as ambitious as those of the candidates to his left.Richardson realizes he has a lot of ground to make up this year to be considered a credible candidate. The New York Observer reports:

Mr. Richardson, whose long and impressive résumé in government and foreign affairs has earned him enough attention to gain him thinking-man’s-dark-horse status in the crowded field of Democratic nominees, is working hard to break into the elite club of front-runners, which includes Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.He served 15 years in Congress before acting as Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration and turning in a generally admired stint as U.N. ambassador. He is the first major Hispanic Presidential candidate, and his two terms as governor of traditionally Republican New Mexico are another asset—especially because, as he informed the young crowd sipping pints of ale Monday night, “We elect governors in this country.”

At the crammed event organized by Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century, a group of politically active professionals, Mr. Richardson reminded his audience several times that, as a foreign-policy envoy in Iraq and the Sudan, and as a governor, he had participated in the major events of the day while his rivals were onlookers, busy obsessing about the nuances of their Senate votes on Iraq. “A lot of candidates talk about voting a certain way, and ‘This is my position,’” he said. “I’ve done it. I’ve brought countries together.”

An hour later, after patiently answering the questions of a local cable-television channel and a couple of bloggers pointing camcorders in his face, Mr. Richardson said, “I need resources to tell the story.”

Others have also noted the discrepancy in experience between Richardson and the top tier candidates:

“I respect Senator Clinton’s record and her ability to raise money,” he added, “but I just hope the American people don’t vote on who has the most resources.”

He has good reason to feel that way. “You look at those four”—Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Richardson—“and it’s almost embarrassing, because he is clearly the most qualified to be President,” said Larry Sabato, a political-science professor at the University of Virginia. “It has got to bother him that people with far less experience seem to be dominating the landscape. Richardson hasn’t made an impression on people.”

It is way to early for me to be concerned with picking a candiate, but there are some I am more interested in others. If it was up to me, Bill Richardson would be in the top tier as one of the candidates most deserving of a closer look.

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