Bill Richardson, Business and Environmentally Friendly

Bill Richardson doesn’t get much attention in the blogosphere, but when he does it is generally favorable. Matthew Yglesias had the opportunity to see him recently and was impressed. He writes that Richardson “isn’t much of a lefty on domestic issues generally — he had a pretty conservative, business-friendly record in New Mexico.” That makes it more significant that he does share two views of the left which really matter–getting out of Iraq and acting to prevent damage from global warming now as opposed to waiting until it will be far more difficult. Yglesias wrote:

I particularly liked his insistence on the idea that most people underplay the role of transportation and land use policy in the energy puzzle. This was appealing because it’s what I already thought, but Richardson said it totally unprompted, and it’s true. More fuel efficiency is good, and more renewable energy is also good, but we’re also going to need people to drive less. And that’s going to mean that we’ll need policies that make it realistic for people to do so — mass-transit, but also transit-friendly, high-density constructions.

Yesterday, when discussing the talk of Michael Bloomberg running, I noted that the Democrats won in 2006 due to receiving many votes from independents and moderate Republicans. This includes upper income voters who were less likely to vote Democratic in the past. Such a business-friendly Democrat, who is liberal in areas where it is crucial, is the type of candidate who can keep these “Starbucks Republicans” in the Democratic Party. In contrast, an inexperienced candidate like John Edwards, who now seems to think that the way to win is to promise everything to everybody regardless of the cost, is just what the Republicans need to rebound and enjoy another long run in office.

Being able to apply the “business-friendly” label to a candidate is important for the Democrats to remain a majority party. The country doesn’t need candidates who are “business-friendly” in the sense of the Republicans where this often means corruption and corporate welfare, but Democrats must also avoid candidates such as John Edwards where it is not possible to use “business-friendly’ and their name in the same sentence with a straight face.

Update: Text of Bill Richardson’s Energy Speech to the New America Foundation. Richardson pledges to be The Energy President. That sounds better than The Decider or The Commander Guy, but still sounds like Stan Lee is scripting our politics.

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