Saturday, January 13, 2007

ABQ Tribune: Governor, it's time for a big announcement

From the Albuquerque Tribune:

Editorial: Governor, it's time for a big announcement

Governor Bill Richardson owes it to himself to run for the Oval Office.
Everyone expects him to run, so what's he waiting for? Political experts - as detailed by Tribune political reporter Kate Nash on Tuesday in the article "Well, Bill?" - suggest it's all about timing and getting the greatest bump in national exposure out of the moment.
Whatever. It certainly isn't about suspense.
Richardson has been running for president most of his political life, as Nash's two-part series - "Richardson's quest," Jan. 2 and 3 - amply illustrated.
He is eminently qualified as a former New Mexico congressman, a former ambassador to the United Nations, a former secretary of the Department of Energy and an international diplomatic globetrotter who has been useful in negotiating the releases of various American hostages and in keeping communications with North Korea open, among other missions.
Indeed, a recent poll suggests that Richardson's globetrotting - he just returned from Sudan, where he was able to broker a cease-fire - and his numerous forays into key primary election states are paying dividends. These have dramatically improved his national name recognition, political respect and admiration.
In addition, Richardson, who takes to people like a duck to water, may be one of the country's smoothest politicians. People like Richardson's relaxed, humorous style, ability to articulate the issues simply and, above all, his moderate politics.
He talks a lot about compromise and bipartisanship and will be able to crow about his gubernatorial record of cutting taxes, supporting education, stimulating growth, protecting the public estate and, perhaps, health care reform.
Richardson's views on many issues appear to track strongly with the views held by the majority of Americans. His Hispanic heritage is another strong asset, as both political parties vie for this valuable and emerging constituency.
So all that's needed now is his official announcement, which may or may not come next week.
Whenever it comes, New Mexicans can be satisfied that it is a worthy endeavor and that by electing him their governor, they may have helped propel him into the White House and global leadership.
Richardson's candidacy still is considered a long shot by most political analysts. But with a national electorate that obviously embraced changes last November, Richardson may prove to be exactly what this country is looking for in its next president and commander-in-chief.
No question that Richardson stands tall compared to President Bush, who seems completely out of touch, lost and determined to buck the will of the American people and the world.
To be sure, getting the Democratic nomination against the likes of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton or Illinois Sen. Barrack Obama will be an arduous uphill climb for Richardson.
But far stranger things have happened in the unpredictable realm that is American politics. It is worth nothing that few Americans in 1859 would have given Abraham Lincoln much chance of ever being elected president, let alone waltzing into the White House two years later to become one of the greatest in American history.
Richardson may or may not be a Lincoln, but he sports many of the same populist qualities and faces the same kinds of dominant competition that Lincoln beat.
Considering the country's dismal, divided and disillusioned state, Richardson's presidential candidacy could be downright refreshing and a lot of fun.

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