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.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Will Bill still end up in Washington?

Interesting and thorough article by Phill Casaus on whether or not Governor Richardson will seek the Vice Presidency or a cabinet position with a Democratic president.

Bill's Big Adventure came to an end in the disconcerting echo chamber that is the Roundhouse Rotunda, a place that turns even the most declarative sentences into acoustic soup.

It must be the Rotunda's fault, because for a moment there I could've sworn I heard Gov. Bill Richardson tell his audience, "I am back," after a year in the electoral wilds of Iowa and New Hampshire.

And yet, that couldn't possibly be right, because almost as soon as the words escaped his mouth and Richardson's rabid faithful supporters shot out of their chairs in wild applause Thursday afternoon, the governor repaired to a small room in the Roundhouse for some incisive interviews with . . . CNN and Fox News.

The local media? The local customers they serve? Sorry, no time today.

Those few illustrative minutes bring us to this place in the strange relationship between the governor and his state: Richardson says being New Mexico's chief executive is the finest job he's ever had in three decades of politics. It's a line that plays in the Rotunda. It kills in the Rotunda.

But think about it: If "Governor, New Mexico" was the best item on his Things To Do In This Lifetime checklist, Richardson never would have run for president in the first place. He'd have been here all along, doing what governors do — arm-wrestling with a balky state Senate, kissin' babies, instructing local reporters to kiss . . . well, you know.

As much as anything, Richardson's announcement that he's departing the presidential race felt more like a statement that he's getting in — if not into the White House, then someplace very close.

My guess: Richardson will mark time for the next few months, be ever-present at the Democratic Party's national convention in Denver in August, and stay very close to his telephone for a call that might keep him in Washington for the next several years.

None of us would be surprised, would we?

Regardless of what you might think of Richardson and his flaws, let's agree that he never sets his sights on a level horizon. His eyes are up, always up, forever hunting a major policy issue, always tracking the big game of challenge. And let's face facts: Washington, D.C., is a much bigger safari than Santa Fe.

Propelled by a gale-force personality, outsized ambition and humongous work ethic, the governor is now one of the best-known Democrats in the country. He's a player, a major player, in his party; a must-get for CNN and the New York Times; a guy whose name portends horsepower.

You can argue Richardson's long list of work experience — former congressman, U.N. ambassador and secretary of energy — might offer up those treats naturally, and all I can do is ask: Can you name a former ambassador to anywhere or a former secretary of anything?

Somehow, Bill Richardson gave résumé cachet.

Unfortunately for him, it wasn't enough to overcome Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, or even John Edwards. In the New Hampshire primary and Iowa circuses, he wasn't even close.

"He was everybody's second candidate," U.S. Rep. Tom Udall raved, apparently forgetting that nobody really wants to be Miss Congeniality in politics. "And that's a big accomplishment."

Not big enough, evidently. But there are some charms to what Richardson has done in the past year. His name now registers nationally — a plus, because Richardson works in a business where a big Q rating gives opportunities to those who possess it.

At a relatively youthful 60, who's to say Richardson can't try for president again someday? And in the meantime, there's no reason — providing the Democrats win in November — that he won't have a monster-sized business card come January 2009.

New Mexico is beautiful, wonderful, cool — a place where a governor can wear blue jeans to a news conference and get huge cheers for running hard but finishing fourth. I believe Richardson when he says he loves this state. But it ain't D.C., and it never will be.

Bill Richardson's back?

Yes, for now. But only for now.

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