Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Burden of Proof: A Man For All Reasons

One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to spread the word about our candidate amongst fellow Democrats I speak with is the ease to which people relegate Governor Richardson to positions other than the office he is seeking. All too often, I hear "Cabinetmakers" push him aside to one of any number of posts that reflect his diversity in experience.

For example;

"I like Richardson, I think he'd make a great Secretary of State," or "Obama/Richardson would be my dream ticket!"

Up to this point I've left the question that should follow such a response to dissolve on the tip of my tongue in muted reticence for a number of reasons; mainly that those I'd spoken with who offered their own administrative advice on executive branch job placement already supported another candidate. Perhaps I also took some solace in the mere fact that there was an affirmation of name recognition on the part of our man. No longer.

My friends, the time for name dropping and introductory pleasantries is over. The burden of proof is now on the support of any Democratic candidate who believes he or she is better prepared to lead our nation than Governor Bill Richardson.

No longer should it be acceptable to remain content with "I like him, he's my second choice," nor should we be at all complacent with the ease to which a positive opinion of him leads to the endorsement of serving at the pleasure of any other candidate for President.

So, as Senator Clinton suggested when announcing her exploratory committee, "let's begin a conversation, because we all need to be part of the discussion if we're all going to be part of the solution." So let's talk, let's chat, let's start a dialogue.

Tell me why I should believe any other Democratic candidate should get the nod over the varied political and administrative experience of Governor Richardson. Tell me why nominating another Senator with limited crossover appeal in battleground regions so crucial to our success in 2008 should inherit the nominative coronation while each of us has a clear choice to stand up and present the American people with a Presidential candidate who does more than simply talk about his potential of obtaining significant results in the field; we can present them with one who has achieved them! Tell me why, in the aftermath of hype and media exposure presented to the `top tier' at the moment, he is your second choice... why instead wouldn't Richardson/Obama be your "Dream Ticket?" Do you not feel confident that the strength of his candidacy supercedes the `greater knowns?' Does it seem that due to his second tier status in polling at the moment you don't think he can secure the nomination though you are clearly in a position to help change it if you wish? I realize you think he's a `longshot' to win the nomination at the moment but what about the odds of the state of our nation improving if we elect another President with such limited experience? Should we ask the American people to take that risk? Now is not the time for that. Save the rockstar charisma and the name recognition for later. Now is not the time.

We are all too aware of the challenges facing our nation after the disastrous execution in leadership and polarizing ideology of the Bush Administration. Many of us disagree on the priority of these challenges. Yet within the diversity of our personal priorities as voters it is always important to consider the readiness of our next President of these United States to face any adversity ahead. There are many reasons why I believe Bill Richardson should be our Democratic nominee for President yet his diversity in experience separates him so notably from the remainder of our contenders.

So even if it would seem that he would make a good Secretary of State after the Bush administration needed to score a much-needed foreign policy victory by asking Bill Richardson to help lead a delegation to North Korea with the aim of bringing home the remains of American servicemen who gave their lives in the Korean War, not only succeeding but additionally brokering an agreement that will allow UN inspectors to supervise the shutdown of the Yongbyon atomic reactor on top of his already impressive diplomatic record, don't be so quick to sell him short. After all, the man's already been a cabinet member of the executive branch as Secretary of Energy. He's been there, done that. Of course, it isn't as if he neglected the issue of renewable energy once he left the DOE. You'll be hearing a lot of talk about reducing our dependence on foreign oil from your hopeful President but this guy here actually has a very strong record of performance in the field!

I think it's worth some consideration that in a general election it will be to his advantage to appeal to moderate Republicans and independents that he has received a reputation as one of the most fiscally responsible Governors in the nation. I don't know about you, but you've gotta believe the Republicans will drag out the ol' "tax and spend liberal" epithet to the aim of achieving a victory. Wouldn't it be great to not have that albatross hanging over a Democratic nominee's head for once?

I know, I know; to some of you out there the mere thought of appealing to a moderate swing voter goes against a staunch progressive idealism which has hardened with frustration toward the regressive ways of our current administration. You've every right to be upset! Let's just take care not to get too upset or we'll likely be even moreso in November of 2008. Yet before dismissing him entirely on the basis of some of his centrist positions, it may of interest to note that, unlike many of his peers seeking the nomination, as President he plans to leave no residual force behind after a prompt removal of forces in Iraq . Furthermore, Richardson has offered a susbtantial health care plan to help ensure coverage for more Americans and places high priority on greater stewardship toward the environment.

So if we are all to be a "part of the discussion if we are going to be part of the solution" then in the coming months it will continue to amaze me in some conversations if Governor Richardson remains on the short list for a position in somebody else's cabinet or to serve as President of the Senate, perhaps the only position in the executive branch to which his Democratic Senator rivals would be better suited.

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