You are probably wondering why Gov. Bill Richardson endorsed Sen. Barak Obama rather than Sen. Hillary Clinton.
After all Richardson served in a number of prominent positions in the Clintons’ first administration. (Please note that I refer to Bill and Hillary collectively because they have insisted on reminding us now for almost sixteen years that you get two for the price of one.) Richardson, a former congressman from New Mexico, first became known for successfully negotiating the release of Americans held prisoners by despotic regimes in North Korea and Iraq. As a result of chairing the House Hispanic Caucus he was included as part of the Democrats’ leadership team and worked closely with the Clintons on legislative matters. He served as the Clintons’ Energy Secretary and Ambassador to the United Nations. He was, in short, the ultimate Clinton insider.
There are several theories bouncing around about the reasons for Richardson’s endorsement of Obama but they all smack of petit politics and, if they were said of John Edwards instead, would be easy to believe. The first is that Richardson’s endorsement was a prelude to his selection as Obama’s running mate. I doubt it, while Obama may be the first person of color to receive his party’s presidential nomination, the Democrats know that there is enough racism out there in both parties to dampen enthusiasm for an “all minority” ticket.
The next theory is that Richardson has secured himself a prominent cabinet position, most likely Secretary of State, in an Obama administration. Frankly, that wouldn’t be a bad choice and I would think better of Obama if it was true although, again I doubt it. It’s simply too early in the process and there are too many others that have to weigh in on such appointments.
My theory, and the one that is not only plausible but also more probable speaks to the nature of the candidates. In the simplest of terms, Obama asked for Richardson’s support, while the Clintons demanded it.
Obama’s ascendancy in the Democrat primaries is as much a testimonial to his politics of inclusion as it is a rejection of the Clintons politics of personal destruction. The Clintons have routinely savaged everyone, including party regulars, who have gotten in their way. While former-Gov. Eliot Spitzer may have described himself as “a f””king steamroller“ he was a piker when compared to the Clintons. In a recent New York Times column, Maureen Dowd, who spent the last fifteen years fawning over the Clintons but somewhere was “jilted” for daring to disagree, wrote that three of the Democrats “super delegates”, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Jimmy Carter, and former Vice President Al Gore, are all waiting in the wings to “even the score” with the Clintons. Dowd cited a Carter friend as saying, “The Clintons will be there when they need you.”
And if there was even a little doubt about the Clintons expectations for a Richardson endorsement, one only needs to look at the comments of James Carville, the Clintons designated character assassin who said of the Obama endorsement, “Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out (Jesus) for 30 pieces of silver.” In response, a much more dignified Richardson hit the nail precisely on the head, “That’s typical of many of the people around Senator Clinton. They think they have a sense of entitlement to the presidency.” Richardson was being charitable by castigating the staff rather than the Clintons but we all know that it is the Clintons themselves who set the tone. In the end, that is the Clintons’ legacy for having used and abused people for all of these years.
Fifteen years of mean spirited tactics and noblesse oblige attitudes by the Clintons and their senior staffers have led us to precisely the point made by Ms. Dowd — “the chickens may come home to roost.” And it may be getting a lot worse. The Clintons’ refusal to acknowledge Hillary’s loss and the constant attempts to manipulate the process in pursuit of personal ambition may well destroy the Democrat party for years to come.
And for that I urge, “Hillary, you go girl.”