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Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Richardson & Horseshoes

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
In politics as in horseshoes, sometimes close does count. Interesting article from Hispanic Business Magazine regarding New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's supportive "non-endorsement" of Howard Dean:
Gov. Bill Richardson has to stay neutral in the 2004 race for the Democratic nomination for president because he has been tapped to chair the Democratic National Convention to pick the nominee in July in Boston. But Richardson certainly spoke highly of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, when Dean came to Albuquerque Wednesday to meet with Hispanic leaders and address the National Congress of American Indians.
Richardson is massively important to Dean -- and really all the Dems -- for a host of reasons. First, as Energy Secretary for Clinton, he provides a bridge to that successful and popular administration, and he's one of the most vocal and most qualified critics of the Bush/Cheney energy policies. Second, he's probably the most well-known and well-respected Hispanic Democratic leader in the United States. Third, he's the popular Governor of the must-win state of New Mexico, which Gore carried in 2000, and which could serve as a spring-board to Arizona, a state that Bush carried in 2000.

Finally, he's the Chair of the Dem convention, and for all the reasons stated above, he will be perhaps the most important peace-maker and primetime speech power-broker in the post-primary season. In fact, I predict that he will eclipse even the Clinton's in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. Assuming that Dean wins the nomination, he will either be able to make peace with the Clinton's and McAulliffe, or he will find a way to work around them effectively on behalf of Dean. The article continues:
Richardson said he thinks Dean has to be regarded as the front- runner for the Democratic nomination in New Mexico and nationally. Richardson pooh-poohed pundits who contend Dean, if he wins the nomination, would be too far left to beat President Bush.

"You can't dismiss Dean as a strong general election candidate," Richardson said in an interview. "He's got a strong balanced budget record. His campaign is well run. He's got an interesting coalition and he has tapped the interest of many voters that have not participated before. So he's built a huge grass-roots effort that you can't dismiss."

Surveying the group surrounding Dean outside the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Richardson said Dean "has an impressive array of endorsements from New Mexico, Hispanic and Native American leaders, literally my organization's endorsement." Richardson praised Dean for making multiple trips to New Mexico: "I can categorically say in New Mexico he has the strongest organization."
I know that many of you have read those quotes before, but of course he's got the strongest organization in New Mexico -- it's Richardson's organization! The article continues with reports of a tiff between Richardson and Beantown Mayor Tom Menino -- reports they adamantly deny, but one must wonder if the tension is of the Dean v. Kerry variety:
The Boston Globe has reported that Menino snubbed Richardson when the Democratic governor visited Boston in October and that there were tensions between the two over the organization of the convention.

Both Richardson and Menino said those reports are nonsense. [...] Menino said he was out of town when he supposedly snubbed Richardson in October. "When he came to Boston (in October) I was on my way to Italy so I couldn't even argue with him if I had wanted," Menino said in a telephone interview late last week. "When my staff told me we were supposedly fighting, I said, 'What, I never even talked to the guy when he was here.' That report's just cuckoo." [...]

Richardson noted that both he and Menino are close to Sen. Ted Kennedy, the senior Democratic senator from Massachusetts. "We've had three-way (telephone) calls, Kennedy, me and Menino," Richardson said. "There aren't any tensions."

Richardson has long ties to the Boston area. His father was a Boston banker, who later worked in Mexico City, where Richardson's mother still lives.
Good. Yet one more extra plus for a Dean/Richardson future, and an important one for Dem unity. When it comes to what happens after we win -- assuming we win -- Richardson is well positioned to be Howard Dean's luckiest horseshoe of all. Considering this amazing year, that's really saying something!

Happy Thanksgiving Dean Nation!


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.