Monday, February 19, 2007
Richardson's party: Is anyone left to back him?
NEW MEXICO Gov. Bill Richardson stopped by last week during his two-day swing through New Hampshire. Among the Democrats vying for their party's Presidential nomination, he stood out as someone not very interested in playing to the far left, or to anyone else's expectations.
With Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards tacking hard left, and Sen. Hillary Clinton trying to sound moderate while still holding on to the liberal base, Richardson was quick to note that he is a different kind of Democrat.
For one, he's all for tax cuts. "I'd have middle-class tax cuts. I'd cut capital gains," he said, adding that he might have to repeal tax cuts that went to wealthier Americans to pay for more middle-class cuts, but it would be a last resort. He believes that low taxes stimulate business investment and job creation.
"The Democratic Party, our first solution is to tax, but I'm not of that school," he said.
He's also pro-Second Amendment (he was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in last year's race for governor), for a stronger, larger military, against gay marriage, and in favor of letting states experiment on policy rather than forcing them to accept Washington's dictates.
On Iraq, he supports withdrawal, provided the United States can bring together the warring ethnic and religious groups and create some sort of political agreement first.
Richardson is not a candidate polished and shined by some D.C.-area spin machine. He's a Western governor who talks convincingly like a Washington outsider despite his years in the capital. Plus, he has some interesting ideas. The question is whether in the current political climate any Democrats will be willing to hear them.