Glad to have you here at the Richardson Campus! Over the next few months, we'll be uploading videos, posts and podcasts from contributors around the country. This is a blog for supporters of Bill Richardson to discuss his stance on issues, the presidential race, and politics in general. Anything in the political arena is in play here--while Governor Richardson is the center of this site, we want to hear from you on any relevant topic.

So, if you're a student that wants to add to this site, feel free to e-mail us at makowsky@stanford.edu or steina@stanford.edu. We'll get back to you within the day.

Of course, we welcome all comments on our content as well. If you agree or disagree with what someone posts, please don't hold back!

Here's a quick video introduction of ourselves and the site. After you watch it, scroll down for all of the content The Richardson Campus has to offer.

Monday, December 31, 2007

What is Mike Huckabee Thinking?

Lots of Mike Huckabee news, and though the former governor/minister is leading in Iowa, he continues to display his naivety, intolerance and disorganization. Thanks to the Carpertbagger Report for all the tip-offs.

First, an update on his stance on LGBT issues. Huckabee, who can't decide if homosexuality is a choice or natural, is for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the quarantining of AIDS patients, and is against civil unions and gay marriage. He is now expressing his displeasure with gay sex. On "Meet the Press," he said, "But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. We may have certain tendencies, but how we behave and how we carry out our behavior…."

Well...why? I assume Huckabee is speaking as a moral leader--he can't possibly legislate against gay sex, as that is forbidden under Lawrence v. Texas. Does he know that? He may not enjoy the idea of sodomy, but since it's behind closed doors, it's none of his business. Since he's about as anti-gay as any candidate, it's assumed that he's against participation in the gay lifestyle. He's intolerant, and he wears it on his sleeve--another way to prove to the Republican base that he's the true conservative, "moral" candidate. He went out of his way on "Meet the Press" to explain his disgust with gay sex. It was unwarranted, and a cheap political tactic, especially because he dodged the question asked of him ("Do you believe you’re born gay or you choose to be gay?"). How does this benefit him? It doesn't. I doubt he's going to get any converts because of his stance on gay sex--those so opposed to it are probably in his camp to begin with. It doesn't hurt him though, despite it being outrageously stupid. As CBR says, "So, Huckabee doesn’t actually care if someone is gay, he cares whether or not gays are celibate. “Tendencies” don’t matter to Huckabee, whether gays act on those tendencies is what counts."

Then, Huckabee ran into disaster when he held a press conference ostensibly to denounce the negative campaigning from the Republican front runners, and to emphasize that he would no longer participate in it. You might recall that, in a move to discredit Mitt Romney's beliefs, Huckabee wondered aloud if Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers. Anyway, at this same press conference, Huckabee had five easels up and a clip prepared that all attacked Romney. I'll let the Huffington Post take it from here:

In what is likely to be remembered as one of the more bizarre moments of this campaign season, embattled GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee renounced negative campaigning today by unveiling an attack ad to a ballroom full of reporters and dozens of TV cameras.

Standing before a banner reading "Enough is Enough" and flanked by five large charts attacking the record of rival Mitt Romney, a haggard-looking Huckabee said that the fight to win Thursday's Republican caucus had gotten "out of hand" and "out of control" and that he would refrain from any more negative campaigning.

Huckabee's unorthodox media event comes as a barrage of new polls has battered his lead in Iowa and put his campaign at risk of crash-and-burn. Some of those surveys now show Romney regaining a lead he had maintained over most of the year until Huckabee began to surge ahead in recent weeks...

Huckabee explained that he, indeed, prepared and produced a TV spot attacking Romney, sent it to local TV stations but had just given the directive to pull it from airing. "This morning I ordered them to hold the ads," Huckabee said. "From now we will run only ads that say why I should be president not why Mitt Romney shouldn't be president."

Then, amid loud gasps and laughter from the more than 150 reporters on hand, Huckabee announced he would show the assembled press the same ad. As dozens of TV cameras whirred, and after two false starts, the 30-second spot assaulting Romney's record was shown in full. The tag line of the spot ended with the narrator saying of Romney: "If a man's dishonest trying to get the job, he'll be dishonest on the job"

The room then exploded into a cacophony of questioning from the press memorializing this event as a moment that might be remembered as campaign meltdown for Huckabee.

What is going on in the Huckabee camp? And if these two issues aren't bad enough, Huckabee still has yet to recover from showing his blatant ignorance in regard to foreign policy when asked about the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. I was in the midst of finals and papers that week (early December), and wasn't paying much attention to the national media, but damn, all I had to do was go to any news service's main page and I could view dozens of articles about it. This naivety from a presidential candidate is inexcusable.

I've said it many times in private, and I'll say it publicly: Although Bill Richardson is my main guy, by far, if it came down to it, I'd be fine if one of the front runners from either party became president. Some I like more than others; few are great. But I don't think most would make any monumental mistakes. Huckabee is the exception--these are three of a multitude of examples why (others include FairTax, the most ridiculous modern tax plan I've heard). That man absolutely can not become our president.


Richardson Picks up Key New Hampshire Endorsement

Bill Richardson received a belated Christmas present today: the endorsement of the Conway Daily Sun, a newspaper in the Mount Washington Valley area of New Hampshire.The full editorial is below--overall, it touches on his foreign affairs experience and political clout at home and abroad.


Bill Richardson, the only heavy-weight in bout for Democratic nomination

Sen. Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a recent interview that if it weren't for Iowa and New Hampshire, the candidate with the most money would always win.

Retail politics works. And it's not overstating it to say that because N.H. voters see, hear and meet the candidates in person, we are better informed than voters in the rest of country, who rely primarily on electronic media.

The result: N.H. voters often pick winners, and if not winners, candidates who, in hindsight, should have won. How much better off would the Republican Party-and the United States-be today if the rest of the country had followed New Hampshire eight years ago and elected

Sen. John McCain?

In 2000, the Sun was the only newspaper in New Hampshire to endorse McCain in the Republican primary. In 2004, we supported Gen. Wesley Clark over Sen. John Kerry in the Democratic primary. Granted, neither won, but we feel as good about those selections today as we did then.

We live in a world where Russia's leader may rewrite his country's constitution to maintain power, and where violence is often the political tool of choice, as in much of the Middle East. It is remarkable, and a testament to the strength of this country, that the next leader of the free world understands the real power of this country is in its people, and the path to the White House includes running the gauntlet at little N.H. newspapers like the Sun.

The editorial staff of the Sun is extraordinarily fortunate to have had exclusive access to the candidates. Without handlers at their sides or the national media butting in, most of the candidates have given our eight writers and editors an hour to engage in freewheeling question-and-answer exchanges.

Our staff takes seriously its bit part in selecting the next president. It is impossible to completely discount the "electability" factor and screen out mainstream media, but each of us weighs heavily what we observe in these editorial board interviews.

In our opinion, this year's Democrats are stronger than we've ever seen, and out of three that we believe could be good presidents, we endorse N.M. Gov. Bill Richardson.

It boils down to this: Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards are clearly highly principled people of integrity, and in another race the Sun would have supported one of them.

While Obama and Edwards have the big media budgets, neither has the experience of Richardson. And as for Hillary Clinton, this is what fringe candidate and straight-talking former Sen. Mike Gravel says.

"The Clintons should read the Constitution, eight years is all they get."

A handful of years as senator for each of them simply does not stack up to Richardson's powerful resume as a former congressman, energy secretary, U.N. ambassador, and now, governor of New Mexico.

Like our own Gov. John Lynch, Richardson is a big hit in his home state, where he is considered one of the nation's most environmentally-conscious governors. In New Mexico, he has raised the minimum wage, given all children under 5 access to health insurance, cut taxes and is pro-business.

On the national level, his experience negotiating with bad boys like Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro and the North Koreans is world-renowned. Richardson gained the reputation as Pres. Bill Clinton's top international troubleshooter, and during the '90s humorously referred to himself as the "undersecretary of thugs." His success as a negotiator also earned him four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Richardson has heavyweight credentials for a heavyweight job; Obama, Edwards and Clinton, by comparison, have barely found their way into the ring.

The knock against Richardson is that he doesn't have the dynamic personality of Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton, although in person he's funny and engaging. Asked about this rap and to compare himself to Bill Clinton, Richardson says, "Yes, Clinton can electrify a room, but I can get it done." We're convinced he can, and we ask you to join us in voting for him.

This New Year, Thank the Troops!

Check out this site, which allows you to send a holiday card to a soldier.

It takes no time at all, and I encourage all to do it. Help our troops bring in the new year with a smile.

Thanks to the Corner over at the National Review Online for the link.


The Man We Need Now

To Hillary Clinton, the recent tragedy in Pakistan should not be politicized. But only in crisis is leadership tested and proven.

I've never felt stronger in my support for Governor Richardson. While most of the other candidates hem and hew, while they bicker or make gimmicky phone calls to Musharraf, Richardson responds boldly and specifically.

Like President Bush, Richardson is steadfast under criticism. Unlike President Bush, Richardson is experienced, brave, and ready for change. He is the man we need now.

When choosing a president, all issues pale in comparison to foreign policy and national security. Of the democratic contenders, only Biden and Richardson have the experience necessary to lead there. And only Richardson has proven his effectiveness time and again in the positions that count.

We may not agree with Richardson on every issue, but America ignores him at its peril.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Richardson is shafted by the media; America pays the price

In most of my discussions with Alex, Mike and other Richardson supporters, the media coverage of the governor's campaign is inevitably mentioned. We feel that it is paltry, and that the mainstream media has made a point of shining the spotlight solely on the front runners and practically never on the so-called second-tier candidates. And when they do shed the rare light on these candidates, they treat it as a novelty piece--look at me, I'm writing about an unknown politician! (Example: Mark Steyn of the National Review recently wrote a piece on Richardson's Pakistan plan. He introduces Richardson as: "Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who is apparently running for the Democratic presidential nomination...").

In the debates, Richardson and others of his ilk (Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, etc.) are shunned, as the key policy questions are aimed at Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Funny, since Richardson, Biden and Dodd are seasoned political veterans who have more experience in most fields individually than the "Big 3" have combined.

The media plays such a major role in elections and candidate visibility that anything less than ostensibly balanced coverage does a massive disservice to the American people--they are kept in the dark as the most qualified candidates go uncovered. Without decent attention, the race is essentially narrowed down to three candidates before the primaries even begin, since in the court of public opinion, only the three front runners, and a few "other" candidates exist. Richardson who?

But don't take my word for it: read this article by Brent Budowsky for the Huffington Post. He explains our displeasure.


Thompson "not particularly interested in running for president"

A few days ago, I watched an old episode of "Law & Order" that starred senator-turned-actor-turned-presidential candidate Fred Thompson as District Attorney Arthur Branch. In it, he was smart, lively and darkly sarcastic--even though he was only on screen for about five minutes of the hour-long episode, he stole the show.

As the 2008 presidential race began, there was no front runner in the Republican primary that had reasonable policy goals while maintaining a deep, Christian moral conviction. Mitt Romney was stigmatized because he's a Mormon, and because he seemed to flip-flop on abortion and gay marriage; Rudy Giuliani was pro-choice and pro-gay marriage; Mike Huckabee, a former minister, had the necessary Christian credentials, but ridiculous initiatives (ahem, FairTax). Duncan Hunter was popular amongst the leading conservative Christians, but as a congressman practically unknown outside of California, he was at the bottom of the Republican pool.

And so the GOP turned to Thompson, who had recently issued a clever rebuttal to comments made by filmmaker Michael Moore. His overt personality and stage presence was appealing, as was his semi-celebrity status by way of "Law & Order." Plus, as Carpetbagger Report writes, "He’s plenty conservative; he’s never flip-flopped on key issues; and he’s not a member of a religious minority that the GOP base finds offensive. Simply as a matter of process of elimination, this guy should be huge."

Thompson soon left "Law & Order" and entered the presidential race, considered by many to be a viable choice for conservative Christians. But what happened? Contrary to his television persona, Thompson has been remarkably boring at the debates and campaign stops, and never seemed into the race. His poll numbers dropped into the teens as Romney and Huckabee's rose. It was an unexpected turn of events...but now, apparently, they are telling of a larger trend: Thompson has no interest in the race. He said, "I’m not particularly interested in running for president" at a recent campaign stop.

It seemed from the beginning that the GOP was begging Thompson to get involved to satisfy their religious base. And Thompson, being a good soldier, complied. But it's a tough road to the presidency, and for someone not completely into it, the wear and tear can show.

Everything seems to be taking its toll on Thompson. In the polls, he continues to fall in the early states as John McCain gains ground. His campaign is not over, but his stunning admission will go nowhere toward invigorating his base.


Edit: Thompson gave a 17-minute long closing speech in Iowa today in which he explained why the people of the Hawkeye State should vote for him. It is being praised by conservatives as appealing to both the conservative base of the Republican party, and to moderate Democrats as well. Thompson may have some life in him yet...

Richardson only ten points behind Obama in Iowa

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is out. Here are the results, and keep in mind that Richardson's numbers had been lagging as of late, despite his insistence that his popularity was steadily growing. Apparently, the governor was right. Let's see if this trend continues.

John Edwards: 24%
Hillary Clinton: 23%
Barack Obama: 22%
Bill Richardson: 12%


On Gaffes...

The United States has made a number of what I consider foreign policy mistakes in the past, and many of them were based around acts of rashness. The Bay of Pigs and other misguided CIA-funded coup attempts; supporting Shah of Iran; Vietnam; Iraq; the Smoot-Hawley Tariff (it counts in my book).

But few if any of these mistakes were caused by a President standing up and saying something that went against the grain of the political establishment. The big ones occur when information doesn't flow and ideas are not challenged.

So when someone tells me that my candidate gaffed on foreign policy, I wince. Most recently, both Bill Richardson and Barack Obama have been accused of destabilizing Pakistan by openly discussing policy options there. But we need open, challenging thinking now more than ever before. Cowardice and ambiguity will only lead us towards the same mistakes we've made in the past.

Read the excellent speech on Pakistan Richardson gave on Friday. Look up what he's said about Bhutto in the past, in almost every single debate. If you disagree, write exactly what you disagree with, in policy terms. Send it to either Wyndam or me, and we'll post it.

But don't expect us to listen if you try to tell us that Richardson is naïve. I'm quite sure you are far more so.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why I'll vote for Bill

Barack Obama is a symbol of re-birth and interconnectedness – a beautiful thing for a country desperate to prove that the rest of the world can believe in it again.

Hillary Clinton is powerful, talented, connected, and capable – necessary for a country yearning for competence in the White House.

John Edwards is the manifestation of passionate resentment towards corporate America – cathartic for the multitudes disillusioned by our grossly inequal economy.


I don't just want a president who can prove America's capacity for cultural understanding;

I don't just want a president who knows politics inside and out;

I don't just want a president who genuinely cares about the disaffected.


I want it all. And I want someone who's proven it as an executive.

Bill Richardson for President. Don't compromise on anything.


Lessons from "Empire"

I recently finished Orson Scott Card's book "Empire," which details a modern day civil war between progressives and conservatives. The country has been so torn apart by partisanship that words can no longer suffice--a violent battle must be waged.

While the book is a work of fiction, Card includes an Afterword titled "Keeping Things Civil," which is a narrative on the current state of the American political arena, and how we are at a time when partisanship is at its height.

It should be required reading for all Americans.

As you can see from my earlier videos and posts, partisanship is a major issue for me. To rehash a bit, I think the current political scene--where parties spend more time slinging mud across the aisle than they do legislating for the good of the public--is despicable.

And Card agrees: we are fully polarized as nation. He can express this better than I can, so I implore you to read "Keeping Things Civil." Do with it what you wish, but keep it in mind the next time a party's partisan actions come to light.

Here is my favorite passage:

We live in a time when people like me, who do not wish to choose either camp's ridiculous, inconsistent, unrelated ideology, are being forced to choose -- and to take one whole absurd package or the other.

We live in a time when moderates are treated worse than extremists, being punished as if they were more fanatical than the actual fanatics.

We live in a time when lies are preferred to the truth and truths are called lies, when opponents are assumed to have the worst conceivable motives and treated accordingly, and when we reach immediately for coercion without even bothering to find out what those who disagree with us are actually saying.

In short, we are creating for ourselves a new dark age -- the darkness of blinders we voluntarily wear, and which, if we do not take them off and see each other as human beings with legitimate, virtuous concerns, will lead us to tragedies whose cost we will bear for generations.

Or, maybe, we can just calm down and stop thinking that our own ideas are so precious that we must never give an inch to accommodate the heartfelt beliefs of others.


Friday, December 28, 2007

What can be gained by a third place finish in Iowa?

David Yepsen wrote a piece yesterday for the Des Moines Register in which he examines the benefits and disadvantages of a third place finish in Iowa.

Yepsen opines that in the Democratic race, a third place finish would be bad. The top three candidates (Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton) are all within a point or two of each other, based off recent polls. Eventually, the primary race with narrow itself down, and no one wants to be left behind. A third place finish for Clinton or Obama, who are perceived as the two front runners in a more general sense, would weaken their chances in the later primaries against each other, and such a result would be particularly disasturous for Edwards because, as Yepsen writes, "He's already seen as a bit of a one-trick pony who has a great campaign in Iowa and little elsewhere."

But Yepsen says that for the Republicans, finishing in third place could be a good thing. Instead of a "Big 3," there is currently only a "Big 2," Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. Since both have double digit leads over the second-tier candidates, it's unlikely that either will finish third. That means that for Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani (who leads in general election polls), Ron Paul and John McCain, a third place finish solidifies them as the top candidate of the second-tier, and is a potential spring board to greater things in New Hampshire and further.

Yepsen describes Governor Richardson as such: "Polls also show there is so much distance between the top three and the bottom tier of Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd that their hopes for a third-place showing would seem to be dimming."

This is a perfectly valid statement: in the recent polls, Richardson is at 5% in Iowa, over 20% behind the three front runners. And he has dipped off in recent weeks, so much so that he is no longer the clear top-of-the-second tier candidate: Joe Biden has begun to catch up to him.

To hear Richardson describe it though, 40% of Iowa voters are undecided with many make up their minds in the last week before the caucus. He also has a history of defying huge poll deficits.

So, although we may think we know the governor's rank, the truth is, we have no idea. And while Richardson will of course aim for victory, it is not likely--even second place would take a small miracle. A third place finish, though, is not entirely out of the question. It's a (very) long shot--even I can admit that. But it's not as hopeless as Yepsen and the rest of his ilk make it out to be. And let's just say it does happen. What then?

Obviously, it can not be a negative for the governor, who has stated several times that third place (or higher) finishes in the early caucuses are necessary for a successful campaign over the long term. If Richardson could pull a third place finish, then Yepsen's scenario for the Democrats gets rewritten, and it would almost resemble that of the Republicans.

But I think such a finish for Richardson would have a greater effect than that. Whereas one of the second tier Republicans (Thompson, Giuliani, etc.) is expected to finish third, Richardson is not. The momentum gained by the Republican third-place finisher would likely come at the expense of other second tier candidates (read: not that much) and Romney and Huckabee, who are the front runners in New Hampshire and Michigan as well, would continue to reign supreme over the Republican primary.

But if Richardson finished third, he could potentially pull support from one of the three current Democratic front runners, since one would have to finish fourth in order for Richardson to do so--such a result would throw their campaign in shambles, and all but end it. The voters he could siphon from them would be of much greater quantity than the Republican third-place finisher could pull. Even Edwards, whose numbers drop off significantly after Iowa, would give Richardson a large contingency of voters. A Clinton or Obama debacle in Iowa would be the best possible result of the governor.

Of course, no matter who falls to let Richardson in, it is all but guaranteed that some of their supporters will go to the two remaining front runners. But by establishing himself as a legitimate alternative in Iowa, Bill Richardson has an excellent chance to win over more voters and gain the momentum he needs going into New Hampshire and beyond.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Criticism of Richardson's comments on Bhutto misguided

Michael Lipkin's thoughts on Bill Richardson's statements after the death of Benazir Bhutto, and the subsequent criticism that followed them.


I’m sure most of you heard the terrible news this morning, but for those that haven’t, former Pakistani Prime Minister and Parliamentary candidate Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at a political rally. Bhutto was an active voice for more democracy and openness the Pakistani politics and someone who fought against the Taliban and valiantly stood in the face of repeated attempts on her life.

Since nothing happens in a vacuum, by the end of the day, all the major candidates for president released statements expressing their dismay at the attack and their sympathies for Bhutto’s plight. In addition, Governor Richardson made some statements that some right-wing bloggers have used to attack him. He said:

“The United States government cannot stand by and allow Pakistan's return to democracy to be derailed or delayed by violence. We must use our diplomatic leverage and force the enemies of democracy to yield: President Bush should press Musharraf to step aside, and a broad-based coalition government, consisting of all the democratic parties, should be formed immediately. Until this happens, we should suspend military aid to the Pakistani government. Free and fair elections must also be held as soon as possible.”

Parallels have been made between this quote and other “unsound” comments made by Barack Obama about how he would deal with Pakistan. Others have criticized Richardson for implying similar tactics to what has happened with Bush and Iraq (the overthrow of a dictator) or America’s involvement in the removal of the Shah of Iran.

Just to take a step back for a second. While these words seem harsh, a lot of people have been reading in to them and misconstruing their intention. Richardson at no point mentions military action. Yes, he says “force”, but precedes it with “diplomatic leverage”. What he is suggesting is what he has always suggesting: to use peaceful means to bring sides of the argument together and reach a diplomatic solution. He also mentions having international support, again consistent with his views, and what is viewed as one of the main flaws with the second invasion of Iraq. These were not slips or gaffes on Richardson’s part.

Let’s be serious here. This is not a fully fleshed out, specific plan for what to do with Pakistan once brought into office. This is a general idea of what direction Richardson would take. So it’s not fair to critique his comments as if they were in fact a detailed foreign policy. But the main idea here is a solid one. Supporting dictators just because they sometimes help us with the Taliban is not the right path, especially if there were politicians like Bhutto who was in support of America, against terrorism and a popular, freely-elected leader. A firm, but fair hand in these situations can become necessary. While we should avoid making the mistakes of the past, that does not mean we should shy away from any strategy that may evoke failed policies. Bill Richardson knows this and made a valid, if blunt, statement to that effect.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tonight, speak directly to Bill Richardson!

Yesterday's theme was videos; today's seems to be phone calls.

Tonight, Governor Richardson, along with campaign manager Dave Contarino and deputy campaign manager Amanda Cooper will have a conference call with Americans across the country that you can join. The call is at 9:20 EST. To get on it, all you have to do is RSVP, and then call in. This site has the RSVP form, and the phone number/passcode you need to get on the call.

But the phone calls don't stop there: after (or before) you've spoken with the governor, help him out by calling Iowan voters and discussing Governor Richardson's plans with them. For those of us who, unfortunately, can not make it to Iowa to campaign for him, this is an excellent opportunity to help the cause. Go to this site to get started. It has numbers for you to call, talking points and speaking tips. You can do it from wherever you want, whenever you want.

Let's start those phone banks...now!


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Go on, Ask Bill!

More fun with videos!

Governor Richardson has a neat part of his site where he directly answers questions sent in by the public. It is called "Ask Bill." His responses are concise (about one to three minutes long), but remain insightful.

Here's a game: compare our videos on Richardson's stances with Richardson's own:
The governor discusses health care here, and issues we have yet to touch on fully, but he does discuss the "Heroes Health Card" and other veteran bonuses, which we talked about here.

And in this clip, he discusses equal rights and domestic partnerships for homosexuals. We elaborated on LGBT rights in this video.

Finally, Bill Richardson touches on two issues in this clip, energy initiatives and foreign relations. We discuss his energy policy here. He also skims over the need to focus on Africa (we talk about that here), build coalitions through respectful diplomacy (in the middle of this video, after my rant), and throughout, he displays some of his vision for the presidency (discussed further, by us, here).

Have an issue you care about? Send in your own questions to Ask Bill!

Fun game part two: identify the books on Richardson's shelves. So far, I can only make out "My Life" by Bill Clinton--it's well known that Governor Richardson is a big fan of the former president, and vice versa. If you recognize any others, add them to the comments below. It'd be interesting to know what's on that shelf--you have to believe they've been strategically placed. And as a diehard Yankee fan, I'm trying my best to look past the Red Sox hat...


Some Christmas Videos

Merry Christmas, everyone!

At The Richardson Campus, we are devoted to getting student views on Governor Richardson out to the public. I have scoured the web (all right, YouTube) to find a few videos of students in action, supporting the campaign with their creativity, intelligence and initiative. And, in the holiday spirit of giving, here are three of the best clips for your enjoyment.

Drake student Max Maher tells why he is going to caucus for Gov. Bill Richardson.

Students from Dartmouth College and Tufts University show their support for Gov. Bill Richardson.

I'm not sure if this student made, but I like the ingenuity of this video. It was originally created for the Genius Rocket primary, where movies are made in support of each candidate. This clip combines the two entries for Governor Richardson.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Iraq on a Ski Lift

I've been skiing in Idaho for the past few days, and this afternoon sat next to a very talkative man on a chairlift. We had some idle chit-chat for a few minutes about different mountains, trails, and the like. Eventually, it came out that I attend Stanford, and he instantaneously began ranting about two high-level officials affiliated with my school: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (Stanford's former provost) and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think tank on Stanford's campus).

He had some serious qualms about the War in Iraq. He said he couldn't reconcile the thought of sending thousands of Americans to their death for no purpose that he could see. He didn't understand the planning--how can you "shock and awe" an entire country with a relatively small contingency of troops, especially when the enemy is made up of cells that can disappear at a moment's notice. Iraq was beginning to remind him of Vietnam: it is becoming nothing more than a growing quagmire.

He went on, without interruption, for a few minutes (it was a long lift). I was surprised, since Idaho is about as red as a state can be, and he had indicated earlier that he was a resident, and wasn't just on vacation. He saw my look of surprise, which led to the following exchange:

Him: "I'm sorry, I'm making you uncomfortable, it's just a sore spot with me."
Me: "Oh no, it's no problem."
Him: "I just wish that we had a president who had the balls to admit his mistake and pull our troops out before anymore Americans die."
Me: "It's too late for Bush to do anything, and he wouldn't anyway. He believes in the war and our purpose there. And if he did pull out, it would be a defeat for him, even if it isn't for America. By admitting he made such a big mistake, he would doom himself, historically."
Him: "Yeah, guess you're right. I've given up hope that any action could possibly be taken toward with drawl before the next president is sworn in."
Me: "But the vast majority of candidates won't fully extract forces until 2013, at the least. And the leading Democrats seem to waver on the issue depending on the latest opinion poll. Very few candidates are committed to a nearly immediate with drawl."
Him: "Who is?"
Me: "Bill Richardson, among a few others. But of those few, he has the best chance at winning the presidency, and the best strategy for pulling our soldiers out. He would take the troops out within a year, and already has an extensive plan for how to do it. As a former negotiator, he would leave a strong diplomatic presence to help the Iraqi government adjust to being completely in power."

He nodded, but didn't say anything. He looked off into the distance, contemplating what I just presented. We stayed silent until the end of the lift when, as we prepared to disembark, he said, "Richardson. He's the governor, right?" I nodded. "I'll have to give him a closer look," he said. "If what you say is true, he might just have my vote."

With that, he skied off to the right, and I went left. I paused for a second. For the first time since I canvassed Pennsylvania for John Kerry all those years ago, I felt like I had directly influenced someone's vote. He may not end up pulling the lever for Governor Richardson, but at the least, he'll educate himself about him, perhaps tell a friend or two. When you're running a grassroots campaign, that's a definite sign of progress.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Confessions of a Hillary Convert

Here's an excellent piece on women's issues from Georgiana Popa, a student at the University of Michigan.


In the upcoming election, Hillary Clinton has become the self-appointed champion of women. She is our fierce leader and biggest supporter. When it comes to women’s issues, few other candidates have ventured to speak up because they feel that they cannot compete with Clinton; Barack Obama is just starting to court the women’s vote by way of Oprah. As a result, few women—especially diehard feminists—have even considered voting for another candidate. I have to admit that before I learned about Bill Richardson’s stance on female issues, I had fallen into the same trap. I thought that there was no greater champion of women’s rights than Hillary Clinton, and this was one of the reasons why I intended to vote for her. However, after researching Richardson’s platform on women’s issues, I’m not so sure anymore.

The truth is that Bill Richardson is the only candidate who has promised to support only Supreme Court Justices who will uphold Roe v Wade. As a pro-choice female, this promise is very important to me. As we’ve seen from the last couple of years under George Bush, the right to choose is standing on very thin ice. There isn’t much that separates us from the age of underground abortion clinics and the haunting image of coat hangers. Now, more than ever, we need a president who will make sure that this right is not taken away from us.

More important, however, is Richardson’s stance on paid family leave. While in Congress, Richardson supported the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under this act:

“ Covered employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee; for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.”

This is great, but only for those who can afford to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave. But what about those who cannot afford to lose next week’s paycheck, let alone 12 weeks’ worth.

If elected, Richardson pledges to fight for paid family leave. This is one of his most noble campaign promises, and one that should concern women the most. Paid family leave is the rule, not the exception, in most civilized countries. In most European countries, mothers receive paid maternity leave for at least a year, if not longer. In the US, most working mothers are forced to leave their young children in daycares, because they cannot afford to stay home and take care of them. This contributes to the ever-growing rift within families, which has sadly become emblematic of US family life. Instituting paid family leave could be the first step in repairing a larger, social problem.

These are only two of Richardson’s campaign promises that concern—or should concern—women. And while Clinton and Obama support paid family leave, only Richardson has his support on the most important record—the Congressional one. And he alone has explicitly said that he'll support pro-choice judges. He is a bold candidate with bold ambitions; the exact type of president that this country needs.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Governor is funny, candid. Does that hurt him?

An interesting article came out today in the Nashua Telegraph titled "Richardson a little rough underneath." Among other things, it discusses Governor Richardson's sincerity and frankness. He doesn't cater to what he thinks people want to hear--instead, he stands firmly on his beliefs and stances on issues; he never flip-flops (the same cannot be said for other candidates); and he does not sidestep questions--Governor Richardson is remarkably blunt, and not above cracking a joke or two. His humor shows in his 2008 and 2006 campaign commercials.

"The American people . . . don't want blow-dried candidates with perfection," Richardson said during the first Democratic presidential debate.

This isn't just an image he puts on in public, though: his demeanor extends behind closed doors. He cuts through bureaucratic nonsense to get to the hearts of matters, and as a result has been remarkably successful. While he's determined, he is also able to relate to others on a personal level: when he had to negotiate with Fidel Castro, he began by talking about baseball; when he learned the Japanese Foreign Minister liked cigars, he made sure to bring some to a meeting, only to take them out at the most appropriate time. Of course, none of this stops him from his ultimate goals--if anything, these characteristics help him reach them sooner.

And while his personality endears him to many of his constituents, the article asks the ever-present question: Is he presidential enough? He insists on being candid (a.k.a human), staying on point and solving problems instead of putting up the perfect public face. Does that hurt him?

The Telegraph doesn't take a stance, though it does mention some of the problems he faces because of this (such as naming Byron White as a favorite Supreme Court justice, which Michael talked about here).

I, too, am undecided. Does his persona hurt him? If anything, once I discuss the governor's personality with my peers, they seem to like him more. But of course, not all voters are 18-25 year olds--in fact, few are. His personality shouldn't hurt him, but it might if people are a) more focused on the image a candidate projects rather than the positive results he has on record and/or b) scared at the thought of a president speaking freely and acting like a person, not just a political tool.

"I'm not changing," he said in a recent interview. "Do I have faults? Yeah. Do I sometimes act a little quirky? Yeah."

As for whether all of that may be entirely "too real?"

Richardson flashed a dimpled smile. "We'll see."

God forbid we have a "real" president.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Huff Post Readers Love BR

Check out Governor Richardson's post today in the Huffington Post. He outlines his plans for Iraq and for veterans (which we detailed here).

And most of all, check out the responses he gets! Yes, there are a few skeptics, but the vast majority of posters recognize that a) his ideas are great, b) he is the most experienced and qualified candidate and c) the media has shun him.

Whenever the governor gets a chance to speak/write beyond the 10-15 second sound bytes the mainstream media grants him, he is able to show why his plans are the best for America. It's unfortunate that he rarely gets a bigger stage, but on a grassroots level, he has an influence on the voting public.


On Principles...

The manner in which a president conducts himself is important. Are they condescending? Elitist? Do they view others--no matter their ideological background--as equals? While we shouldn't necessarily be choosing the candidate we would most like at a dinner party, it is important to explore the morals of the candidates, because they will surely influence the way each person conducts themselves in office.

In this new video, Wyndam and Mike (a special guest host) discuss Bill Richardson's moral background and the way he has handled himself as a public figure, no matter the office he has served in.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On LGBT rights...

At the forefront of the national debate are rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. It is a divisive issue, but there really should be no discussion: homosexuals should have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. In the same way that equality was granted to women in 1919 and to minorities in 1964, there must be gay civil rights legislation in the near future. It starts with more anti-hate crime laws, and continues on with accepted domestic partnerships. Bill Richardson has taken point on LGBT issues, as he has helped passed significant gay rights legislation in New Mexico. As president, he would go even further.

In this new video, Wyndam and Mike (a special guest host) discuss gay rights and Bill Richardson's work--and promise of further work--on them.

EDIT: A new article on Bill Richardson's stance on LGBT issues by the Washington Blade hit news stands today (Friday). Check it out!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Partisanship...

We are faced with many issues in today's America, one of the biggest being partisanship, and the ever-growing rift between the two major parties. Our current political forum is in ruins: no day passes without one idealogical side bickering with the other. Politicians find it hard to cooperate even with others in their own party, and elected officials disregard their mandates in favor of vicious attacks that are not only political in nature, but personal. Our political system has thus suffered, as the best recipe for success is a bipartisan atmosphere where Democrats, Republicans, and everyone else can work together to better our country. This, obviously, is not happening, and it shows: Congressional approval ratings hover at around a pathetic 25%. Americans no longer trust their representatives.

Bill Richardson would right this terrible wrong. Bipartisan in nature, the governor commands respect from both sides of the aisle. He never resorts to partisan tactics to accomplish his goals, and would rather work with the other side than defame them in the public arena. He is the one candidate from either party who has committed to a positive campaign. America needs Bill Richardson; America needs this change.

In this video, Wyndam & Alex discuss the problems with a partisan atmosphere, and Bill Richardson's record of combating it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

An Unnecessary Endorsement

Michael Lipkin chimes in on Governor Richardson's "celebrity" supporters.


OK, so it’s pretty much a given that the contributors and editors of the Richardson Campus are supportive of Bill Richardson, and I count myself up there with the most devoted of them. But I have a bone to pick with the good governor.

If you haven’t heard, the latest in the long line of celebrity endorsements came out and the good news is that someone besides Martin Sheen has stepped forward to support Richardson. The bad news? It’s Judge Reinhold.

Judge Reinhold, you ask, who’s that? Well, without his picture I wouldn’t be able to tell you either. He’s a bit actor from the ‘80s who’s pretty much faded from the public eye. He’s relocated to New Mexico, which is where I’m guessing he came into contact with Richardson.

Now I’m not trying to say that Rienhold should go back home and leave us all alone, but what does he think he is accomplishing? Someone like Sheen is well known to America—and in his case, many young people—and his support of Richardson puts a favorable news story into the cycle, which gives credence to what Richardson is fighting for.

But Reinhold? All his support does is associate Richardson with a fuddy-duddy has-been. Sure it draws attention to Richardson, like any celebrity endorsement would, but in a negative light. When celebrities like Chuck Norris, Oprah, Kevin Bacon and Curt Schilling lend their name to a candidate, they give credence to a candidate because people associate these celebrities with desirable traits or judgments. People think Chuck Norris is bad-ass, so Mike Huckabee becomes a little more cool too. People who idolize Curt Schilling may just give John McCain another look. And Oprah's support can go a long way toward securing the female vote for Barack Obama. But what do people associate Judge Rienhold with? Fast Times at Ridgemont High? In lending his name to the campaign, I fear it does Richardson little to no good.

Richardson is of course compelled to accept Reinhold’s support. (The alternative would be to publicly reject it, which would be terrible PR.) But there are tons of these second-rate endorsements in the ’08 campaign: Chuck Yeager for Duncan Hunter, Bay Buchanan for Tom Tancredo and dare I say it, Robert Bork for Mitt Romney. I’m sure these celebrities think they’re doing well, but it just might be hindrance as election day nears.

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the candidates' vision

We often question whether candidates have (or lack) vision. Are they ambitious and idealistic, or are they more pragmatic, and realize that they can only do so much? Which is better, then: a visionary, or a realist? The former would surely introduce revolutionary proposals in regards to foreign, domestic and economic affairs. But they would be prone to devastating failure. The latter would be a good steward of government: they would not push for far reaching changes in policy, and would instead work within the current system to help America at home and abroad. But this is also their downside: they aren't going to "change the world" or leave as much of a lasting legacy as their ambitious counterparts.

In this new video, Wyndam and Peter (a special guest host) discuss the historical and current implications of a visionary president, and where Bill Richardson falls on this spectrum.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why can't we focus on the issues?

CBS News is starting a series of interviews called "Primary Questions," where Evening News anchor Katie Couric will ask the top 10 candidates in the race the same 10 questions in an attempt to delve deep into each candidate's character.

Couric and CBS have a fantastic opportunity to ask the candidates questions that really matter ("How would you disarm Iran? Would you?"). But in the commercials for this series, what is the one tough question CBS promotes?

"When was the last time you lost your temper?"

Thanks CBS for that striking and in depth commentary! With this valuable knowledge in hand, I'll know I made the right decision when I head to the polls!


Course of Action

Here's another excellent piece by Michael Lipkin, a frequent contributor to The Richardson Campus.


I just finished reading Alex’s excellent summary of the last debate in Iowa and it reminded me how as we inch closer and closer to the primary, the impressions the candidates give become increasingly vital. The spin Edward’s campaign has been giving for the past few months is nowhere near as crucial as the message it sends out next week. And that means that as the days before January 3, float by, it becomes more difficult to respin an image. The campaigns become stuck, at a certain point, with the public image they’ve got.

Given that, you may begin to worry about the Des Moines Register throwing their supposedly hefty hat into Hilary’s ring in addition to her substantial lead in the polls over all candidates whose name does not begin with O. But things may be looking up for our favorite governor.

This week’s Economist writes that Clinton’s campaign is becoming less and less inevitable as we get closer to the primary. “The cracks”, as the magazine termed them, in Clinton’s “armor” include overusing and –estimating her husband’s political power, her poor debate showings—given how much she touted her fighting prowess—and her ludicrous use of Obama’s kindergarten papers. More and more people are discarding their opinion of her as a safe bet to win the nomination.

Granted the piece ties this dip in Clinton’s inevitability to Obama’s recent surge, especially with Oprah backing him (O² anyone? Anyone?), but I think this is good news for Richardson too.

The way I see it, Richardson’s plan for the next few weeks is to build enough momentum to launch himself into one of the top three spots—realistically speaking, the third. I’m not entirely sure why the top three is that much more important than the top four in our modern consciousness, but that’s the way it is. People love to ponder over the top three anything and news organizations love to discuss the top candidates. If Richardson is able to pull that far ahead in the race, the new attention he would get might be enough to win outright some states.

For a long time this seemed, to me at least, to be a pipe dream. With single digit polls this close to the end of the race, how could he possibly pull it together? But a lot of things have changed recently, and these changes have become more and more pronounced. Clinton, Obama and Edwards have become extremely close in the race and Richardson’s popularity has increased noticeably. If you’ve been checking out other political blogs and newspapers, Richardson is getting more mentions than ever, and not just as someone to turn to when they need a generic “second-tier” quote. This last piece about Clinton only further cements in my mind that she is bound to fall from the top spot, and that would provide an opportunity for the Democrats to reshuffle the standings.

Rooting for a dark horse candidate is never easy. It’s a lot of nail biting and a lot of hoping. But when good news like this comes along, some celebration, in equal measure with rededication to the task at hand, is in order.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Why I support Bill Richardson

There's a video going up in the next couple days in which Alex and I discuss the role partisanship is playing in American politics. Essentially, my view is that our elected officials spend too much time trying to make their opposition look bad, and not enough time working with their political opponents to pass meaningful and effective legislation. And this, more than anything, is the biggest problem afflicting our nation. Inevitably, the political process becomes a high profile game of "he said, she said." More and more, it doesn't matter who we elect to federal-level positions, because as soon as they reach office, all the promises of change and progress are disregarded in favor of partisan tactics which, in the end, do little but get a 30-second sound byte on the news and continue the downward spiral of American politics. That doesn't mean there are no politicians doing meaningful work--there are. But they are few and far.

I support Bill Richardson because I believe he is one of the few public servants from either party that is above such petty actions. He has refused to involve himself in the mud-slinging, and recently called on his fellow Democrats--people he has never, and will never attack--to stop bickering. He has maintained a purely positive campaign, and is arguably the only presidential hopeful to do so. I find this particularly striking, especially because other candidates have called themselves bipartisan and yet cannot elevate themselves past fighting within their own party. This must change and the only way it will is if we elect a chief executive who is a unifying, and not a dividing figure.

Check out this article from ABC.com. In it, Governor Richardson calls on his fellow Democrats to stop their bickering. It's a good start, and we must ensure that we elect the one candidate who will fix our reprehensible political climate.

The New Mexico governor, who joined "Good Morning America" today from Concord, N.H., criticized the past week's "nastiness," saying the Democrats have gotten into "irrelevant food fights about who said what in kindergarten."

"This is demeaning the process and I think Democrats hitting each other now, it's just going to be ammunition for the Republicans in the fall campaign," Richardson said.

This partisanship is a good reason why voters don't go to the polls--only 50% of eligible citizens vote. In the end, Governor Richardson may benefit from such fighting, as voters recognize that he, and only he has pledged to be above these childish actions.

"My campaign is moving up," he said. "I'm getting huge crowds here in New Hampshire. I got big crowds in Iowa. I'm in and out of double digits. This race isn't over."

It is clear: we, the American public, are sick of our current leadership. We don't want more of the same: we want someone who can rise above and bring together political opponents. We are, without a doubt, the world's greatest and freest country. Our elected officials should reflect that.

"Attacks are not what voters want," Richardson said.

Damn straight.


On the need for experience...

Bill Richardson is the most experienced candidate in either field. He has held a number of offices--Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, Governor--and has been effective in all of them. He has regularly done more than expected (i.e. negotiating on behalf of the U.S. in hostile countries around the world) and has proven to be valuable in any capacity. And, most of all, he is one of the only candidates in the race with any executive experience to speak of. Now, he is ready to take the next step. With such experience in tow, Bill Richardson has, on a slew of issues, proposed the best and most feasible plans for our country. His opinions and strategies have been built over decades in the political arena--it is now time for him to exercise them in the highest office of all.

In this new video, Alex and Wyndam discuss the need for a chief executive who carries the wisdom developed only by extensive involvement in the political process.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Notes on the final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus

I've read too much about "who won" each debate. Allow me to express my impressions of each candidate after what I watched the other night. Richardson was there, this time.

Biden: The guy has guts. He is pushing for a partition of Iraq, which may be our best policy option but is a tough sell. He's the only candidate who spoke honestly about how lost Iraq really is. He gets riled up when he sees injustice, and he speaks his mind when he disagrees with anyone. The man will not back down even from his friends. I worry that his passion may undermine his ability to work with a legislature.

Clinton: The line the press is making a big deal about really did hit me hard. She's all about the details – all about banging out policy after meeting with a bunch of people. But with her I still can't shake the feeling that she doesn't have a stronger conviction than simply wanting to do a good job at whichever job she does. That said, her push for healthcare back in the day showed plenty. In Clinton, I see a hard worker who's very willing to adapt to any political climate in order to be successful.

Dodd: His speech on his commitment to public service impressed me. His crisp explanations of the limitations on the President made good retorts to both Edwards' promises and Richardson's bragging. Also, Dodd is the only candidate who supports a carbon tax, which I find bold and admirable.

Edwards: All the Democrats were anti-trade, but Edwards took it to another level. He promised voters to fight all the bad guys, and this apparently has won him some support. I think his trade policies would undermine our economy's strength – for some reason, Edwards does not accept that we must lose some jobs in order to create new ones. But I do not doubt his conviction or his morals.

Obama: My favorite moment was the specificity with which he laid out his top priorities for the first year of his presidency. Right at the top of his list was reviewing, with his attorney general, every single executive order that W. Bush has made. The top is where that belongs. On foreign policy, he takes more flack than he deserves. Yet I was disappointed by his willingness to pander in regards to trade. Standing for change should mean more than standing with the Democratic Party's base on every issue.

Richardson: I usually laugh and hurt at how hard he has to try to smile, but this night was different. He's the only candidate, he finally showed, that's capable of not always taking himself seriously (and I'm not just talking about the weight joke). To me, his ability to subtly make fun of himself shows his confidence. His policy on Iraq is bold, clear, and unique among the candidates'. Energy (independence) and education (teacher pay) are his next highest priorities.

I wish with all my heart that Richardson hadn't pandered to all the anti-China guys, but no Democrat didn't. Richardson dwelled on human rights record longest, so of all things, I'll take that. I sure would have preferred he left out the currency "issue," but I can't have everything. We have real choices in front of us.

I think Joe Biden said it best: "This debate isn't about change or experience. It's about action."

You look at these guys and you tell me who's the most capable of taking meaningful positive action. I've made my choice, and I'm sticking with it. Bill Richardson for President.

Salon.com had this to say about Governor Richardson's peformance:

Former Democratic Rep. Dave Nagle, who is neutral in the presidential race, offered an intriguing theater review of the debate. "The second tier beat the first tier," Nagle said, boosting Richardson, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd...Richardson did deserve plaudits for what may have been his best debate performance of the long theatrical season...

Richardson sits out best (formatted) debate yet

I listened to the candidates try to outdo each other with shrillness in regards to China. I read in the transcript more of the same old same old on Iran despite the candidates' opportunities to say so much more.

And I asked myself, why why why would Bill Richardson miss this of all debates?

It turns out that my candidate was attending a funeral. Sometimes that's just how life is.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

On Mental Health and Agriculture...

Bill Richardson has taken point on two issues that routinely get swept under the rug: mental health and agriculture. For too long, we haven't given mental health patients the treatment and respect they deserve--they have been stigmatized, and we must change that. It begins with a broader national discussion on mental health, and ends with ensuring that those afflicted with a disability receive all the help they can get. It isn't a "hot button" issue, so it is rarely discussed, but Governor Richardson has made it a significant part of his agenda.

The governor has also developed initiatives to help the American farmer. The American agricultural economy has, for quite some time, been controlled by a small group of powerful companies. Richardson recognizes the intrinsic distortions our current policy creates, and he supports taking action to change the status quo. Not only will Governor Richardson's proposed caps on subsidies help small farmers instead of rewarding big agribusiness, but they will improve our nation's nutrition and help us engage with the developing world more effectively.

In this new video, Alex and Wyndam discuss these two important issues.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taking Care of Our Teachers

A new piece from Michael Lipkin, a student at the University of Chicago.


The New York Times just published an article about education, quoting a study that found that the current crop of teachers scored higher in high school and college than those awarded teaching licenses in the mid ‘90s. This points to a heartening trend: America’s public schools are attracting more and more qualified applicants.

It helps to keep things in perspective though. Our public teachers still come from the bottom third of the nation’s graduates, in stark contrast to the top ranked education systems in the world—like Singapore and Finland—who draw on the top third. Adding to our unlucky lot is that fact that many qualified teachers leave the profession in just a few years. What needs to be done, all candidates agree, is make teaching a more attractive profession in order to net the best and brightest possible candidates.

But Bill Richardson’s is by far the most concrete and sensible plan. The governor proved in New Mexico that by raising teacher pay, more qualified teachers are hired and they stay on the job longer and produce better results with students. On a national scale, Richardson plans to institute a minimum salary of $40,000 for K-12 teachers.

This makes intrinsic sense, just from my personal experience. In high school, one math teacher stood out as the most dedicated and hard-working teachers in the department. But due to his looming grad school debt, he was forced to tutor privately to make up the difference between his salary and his bills. With all the extra work, he was frazzled some days and you could see his performance suffer. Had his salary better reflected his responsibilities, his performance could have been even greater.

Another thing newspapers have been harping on in the past couple of years is America’s lagging math and science standing. Much has been made about the decreased flow of international students coming for college and the rise of schools in China, Japan and India with stellar graduates. With Richardson’s plan for 250 new math and science institutes in the next 5 years, each staffed by 400 teachers, we could see resurgence in America’s supreme competence in the science industry. These would be public high schools that offer intense instruction in the math and sciences that would also help train math and science teachers. To top it all off, Richardson would devote billions to art and music education to counter-act the growing phenomenon of “teaching to the test”, or only instructing our students on what will help them get a better grade on standardized tests.

At my school, I’ve met people from all across the country, and I’ve noticed something about their education. Either they “escaped” public school by going to a private institution, moved to find a better public school, or “lucked out” by finding a specialized public school, or special program within their zoned school. What this adds up to is a look of disdain on the public education system. This is the worst thing our undergraduates could think; these talented people are the ones we want eventually education our children. Bill Richardson knows all this and is doing—and will do—his best to fix the problem.

Martin Sheen Endorses Richardson

This news is a week old, but alas, in the midst of finals and term papers, I just heard it today. Martin Sheen, the actor known most for his portrayal of President Jed Bartlet on "The West Wing," has endorsed Governor Richardson for president.

"Gov. Bill Richardson. I have been supporting him, doing a fundraiser for him in Los Angeles, just some very low key stuff," Sheen said. The two met while Sheen was assisting John Kerry's 2004 Presidential bid. He said he is impressed with Richardson.

"New Mexico is one of the poorest, if not the poorest, states in the nation and he has just had tremendous success there," Sheen said. "And I admire his work for Clinton."

I grew up on "The West Wing," and have watched every episode multiple times. In my opinion, it is the best drama in television history, and Sheen's performance is nothing short of spectacular. I would read the news of the day ("Democrats trash Republican budget" or "Republicans shoot down Democratic initiative") and go to sleep hoping that when I woke up, Jed Bartlet would be president. When I see Martin Sheen's image, Jed Bartlet is the first thing that comes to mind, and with him comes the hope that he instilled in me in the American political system at a time when it was at its worst. How sweet it is, then, to see him back Bill Richardson, the only presidential candidate over the past three election cycles to inspire me similarly.


Governor Richardson has another celebrity supporter: Carlos Alazraqui, who plays Deputy Garcia on Reno 911!, and was also the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua in the infamous commercials from the late 1990's/early 2000's. The Santa Fe Reporter has a full interview with him in today's issue.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Veterans' Affairs...

Soldiers go off to war zones around the world to fight for our country and our freedom. They risk their lives for us everyday, and ask little in return. Yet when they come home, there are few initiatives in place to help and thank them. It's time to right this wrong and give something back to these brave men and women. Bill Richardson has a detailed outline for how to do just that, which includes better health care, and a new G.I. Bill.

In this clip, Wyndam and Alex discuss the intricacies of this plan, and why it is necessary.

Suited for the Job?

This just in from Peter Drivas, a student at Williams College. As you will see, Peter's views differ slightly from ours--although we all hold Governor Richardson in high regard, Peter feels his talents could be better used in offices besides the presidency. While the goal of the site is to promote Bill Richardson's presidential campaign, we cannot have only pro-Richardson-for-president views. All we'd be doing is preaching to the choir. We want to generate meaningful discussion on this site, and the best way to do this is to bring in outside views. So read on, and take in Peter's insightful opinion.


First off, big thanks for tapping me to contribute to the blog. It’s a great idea, and although I’m not a Bill Richardson supporter myself (mostly because of the Iraq issue), I hope my insight will add something.

I’ll admit that, as far as 2008 presidential candidates go, there isn’t much to dislike about Bill Richardson. In fact, while few Democrats would name him as their first choice for the party’s nomination, most likely fewer would put him at the bottom of the list. This mostly has to do with his record: from his time in Congress, to his service as US ambassador to the United Nations, to his tenure as governor of New Mexico, his credentials are just about as good as they come, and certainly better than any of the Democratic front runners. However, this is my main issue with Richardson as a candidate: he’s proven so often, and with such great success, that he is a valuable asset to the country that he may be best used in an office other than the presidency.

Take a look at some of his career highlights: negotiating a cease-fire in Sudan, overseeing the largest return of federal lands to a Native American tribe in US history and taking part in peace proceedings between Israel and Palestine. Clearly, Richardson has a prodigious talent for negotiation and communication. This talent would most likely be far better used in a cabinet or ambassadorial position, where he wouldn’t have to be bogged down by the partisan politics, domestic issues, and intense public scrutiny that come with the presidency.

The United States has a huge asset in Richardson. As disheartening as it may be for those who support his candidacy, I wouldn’t like to see that asset wasted in the Oval Office.

Iowa Primary Poll Analysis

With less than a month until the Iowa primary, Bill Richardson is currently polling at fourth, behind Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

In Iowa, Richardson has been treading at around 8-10% for most of the campaign, while the three front runners hover around 20-30%. He hit a peak in late August at 14% in a Strategic Vision poll, but dropped off (he seemed to lose voters to Obama) and recent numbers have not been favorable: He was only at 4% in an American Research Group poll at the end of November. It should be noted, though, that in a Rasmussen poll taken the same week, he was at 10%. In the weeks since, his poll average has climbed back to the 10% mark.

Richardson has concentrated the majority of his efforts on the Iowa caucus, and has just finished a tour in which he spoke in all of Iowa's 99 counties. Iowa is Richardson's best chance to finish near the top in an early primary. Edwards has all but taken up residence in the state, and his popularity there is huge. This means that the vote at the top, which is usually split only between Obama and Clinton, is actually split three ways--Edwards is within six points of both Obama and Clinton. And so Richardson, even at 10%, is still only 15 percentage points behind the three front runners. If he makes a late push, he could finish third or higher. In an interview with the Quad City Times, Brian Kingsolver, a Democratic Party county chairman in Iowa, said, "He will surprise a lot of people on caucus night. I could see him pulling second (place) or third."

And indeed, polls can be deceiving. According to the same Quad City Times article, Richardson was a 30 point underdog when he first ran for congress in New Mexico--he ended up losing by a very slim margin. He has shown that, even though polls may not show it, he is an attractive candidate and a good campaigner who can make leaps on election night.

Additionally, his opponents may have inflated numbers: Obama, for example, may have to deal with what is known as the Bradley Effect--in essence, people feel guilty telling pollsters that they won't vote for a black candidate, even though they will go on to vote for their opposition. This leads to a spike in the polls that are not indicative of future performance in the actual election.

That's not to say that Richardson wouldn't like to be higher in the polls. But after canvasing Iowa and getting out his message, he could finish higher than predicted and build some momentum going into New Hampshire.


The Richardson Campus got its first press coverage yesterday on "Blogging Bill," a site created by the staff of the Santa Fe Reporter to track Governor Richardson's campaign. Many thanks to everyone at the SFR for the mention. And yes, I'm due for a haircut.


Monday, December 10, 2007

On Energy...

As we get deeper into the 21st century, the need for alternative energy solutions has grown larger. Carbon emissions has a negative impact on our environment; dependence on oil is hurting the the economy. Bill Richardson, a former Secretary of Energy, fashions himself as the "energy president," with far-reaching proposals for how to make our country more energy-efficient. Among them: a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions licenses, creation of a Secretary of Water position, and reducing America's oil demand by 50% by 2020 and increasing its alternative energy resources 50% by 2040. For these proposals, Governor Richardson has been widely recognized as the presidential candidate with the most ambitious, yet feasible energy plan.

Alex and Wyndam discuss the role of energy in our economy and more in this new video:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

On Darfur...

The genocide in Darfur has killed close to 500,000 people. 2.5 million more are now refugees. This massive violation of human rights must be stopped, and the only candidate with a cohesive plan to do so is Bill Richardson. There are a lot of factors at work here--The U.S. must not only deal with Sudan, but the U.N., A.U. and China, amongst other, as well. Only someone with immense diplomatic experience will be able to navigate such tough international politics. Bill Richardson is, again, the one candidate with the qualifications and strategy needed to instrument change in the area.

Wyndam and Alex explore his proposed tactics and past successes in regards to human rights issues in this video.

On Iran...

American foreign policy for the foreseeable future will be dictated by Iran. As the 2008 election approached, America needs a president who will work with the Iranians to ensure a safer world. We must cut through the current bluster and posturing on the issue and begin to work toward reasonable solutions. Bill Richardson, with his vast foreign policy and negotiating experience, is the only candidate suited to take on this monumental task.

Wyndam and Alex examine the issue further in this video: