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Bill Richardson: Slowly But Surely

Much of the attention today will be focused on the detailed financial reports filed by the Big Three in the Democratic field -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

With the focus on the "top tier" New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson may be overlooked. But Richardson is as well-positioned financially as he could possibly have hoped for when he announced his candidacy for president earlier this year.

Between April 1 and June 30, Richardson raised $7.1 million, bringing his year-to-date fundraising total to more than $13 million. Richardson, like Obama, raised more money in the second quarter of the year than in the first.

Richardson spent roughly five million in the second quarter and ended June with a very solid $7.1 million on hand. His biggest expenditure -- $1.3 million -- went to the production of television ads and purchase of air time, a necessity given the fact that Richardson is far less well known to Democratic primary voters than Clinton, Obama and Edwards.

Seeking to show that the ads, the first flight of which we raved about earlier this year, have worked, Richardson's campaign released a poll of the "likeliest" of Iowa caucus-goers that showed Edwards leading with 31 percent followed by Clinton at 23 percent, Richardson at 18 percent and Obama at 16 percent. (Among "likely" caucus goers in the Richardson poll, Edwards led with 31 percent followed by Clinton at 24 percent, Obama at 17 percent and Richardson at 13 percent.)

A collection of other independent polling in Iowa seems to show a positive trend line for Richardson, although the independent polls are not as rosy as the governor's own surveys.

Organizationally, Richardson is in surprisingly good shape in Iowa. He has 11 field offices in the state just one less than Clinton and four fewer than Edwards. (Obama has a whopping 28 field offices.) And, according to washingtonpost.com's "Campaign Tracker" -- bookmark it if you haven't already done so -- Richardson has done 25 events in the Hawkeye State since the start of the year.

Expect Richardson to attempt to gain more traction in the coming weeks with his plan to remove all American troops from Iraq by the end of this year. That agressive position is sure to play well with Democratic base both nationally and in Iowa, where anti-war sentiment runs high.

The CNN/YouTube debate set for next Monday provides Richardson a real opportunity to break through, a chance he has missed in the televised debates up until now. To date, Richardson has appeared uncomfortable on stage and uncertain of the format. A stronger-than-expected performance would play into a story line that Richardson is slowly but surely moving upwards toward the top tier. It would also help squash (or at least quiet) talk that Richardson is simply too unpredictable to be taken seriously as a candidate for president.

Richardson continues to build the kind of candidacy -- both financially and organizationally -- that will allow him to be a serious presence in the first four caucus and primary states. He remains far behind Clinton and Obama in fundraising and there seems little reason to expect that he will be able to compete with those two candidates when it comes to money.

But, Richardson is doing everything he needs to do to ensure that if the race takes an unforeseen turn, be it a stumble by a frontrunner or some other unpredictable event, he is in position to take advantage of it.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 16, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: More Departures From McCain '08

Comments

go bill richardson! senators talk, governors do!

Posted by: ismael | August 14, 2007 4:48 AM | Report abuse

india is tooooo poor!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 5, 2007 2:26 AM | Report abuse

contact 22222 british prime minister ,there's somebody here special

Posted by: saswati | August 5, 2007 2:24 AM | Report abuse

i want 2 beeeeee the actress of bollywood industry

Posted by: chilli | August 5, 2007 2:20 AM | Report abuse

If you're wondering what kind of campaign Fred Thompson will run, take a look at the new friends he's making in New York, including the head of the fireman's union who blames Giuliani for the loss of some of his members on 9/11:

http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/2007/07/giuliani-thompson-tainted-new-friends.html

Posted by: Robert Stein | July 20, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Mike Kitts: There might be a lot apart from chilis and illegal immigrants coming out of New Mexico, but the next president isn't one of them. One can admire Richardson's loyalty to his people in wanting to collapse the border, but the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose this agenda. He's going wind up as much out of the money as Dennis Kuchinich.

Posted by: Banjo | July 18, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

To Bob Ramos:

Richardson working with a REPUBLICAN legislature???!! In NEW MEXICO?!!??

What are you SMOKING???

Posted by: sestamibi | July 18, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Thought the Red Chinese spy case was interesting? Wait till his connections to the Sandanistas get aired. This is going to be fun.

Posted by: Some Guy | July 18, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

JayPe,

Governors may win but in most cases they don't make good Presidents. Look at our current Prez, he comes from the ranks of governors. Look at his father, who came to the presidency with the most experience of any candidate for the office.

It's not about experience it's all about LEADERSHIP ability which is having the intelligence to choose the right advisors, make sound informed decisions; having the capacity to influence and work with people on bothsides of an issue; and having integrity. Obama has the right stuff to be President.

Richardson's strength's would best serve the country as Secretary of State or UN Amabassador.

Posted by: andrea | July 17, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

OMG once the American people take a real good hard honest look at the Democrat's
"Hispanic" 2008 Presidential Candidate Two
Face Phony Bill Richardson and finally
realize Bill Richardson wants to throw our
US and Mexico Border Wide Open and Tear
Down the Fence all 11 Miles of It and give
the US to his "Hispanic" Pals then they
will laugh Loser Bill Richardson out of the
2008 Presidential Race! Richardson is the
biggest liar and most two face loser the
Democrats have to offer for 2008!

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | July 17, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Chris, I'm from New Mexico, and as I watch the Richardson campaign climb into the hearts and minds of the citizens of this country, I see a steadily growing surge for the Governor. People are tired of the Democratic troika always being in charge, and welcome a different face and new, fresh ideas. Watch, there's more coming outta New Mexico than just green chili and illegal aliens.

Posted by: Mike Kitts | July 17, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson might well emerge as this year's "comeback kid." As we've reported twice before, Richardson is on a steeper upward trend in Iowa, New Hampshire, and California the this moment's leading contenders. He's got the résumé. He's building the organization. If he can define his brand beyond "Bring the troops home, now" -- he has an interesting shot. With most Americans placing little trust in Washington's ability to get the job done, his outsider status as a rural-sate governor, might just resonate with voters in same one it did in 1976 and 1992.

http://politicalbrandwagon.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-is-this-man-smiling-gov-bill.html

Peter S. Cohl
The Political Brandwagon
http://politicalbrandwagon.com


Posted by: Peter S. Cohl | July 17, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

While the U.S. government and media keep focusing on defense policies, campaign advertisement and the war in Iraq, 1.2 billion people in the world continue surviving on less than $1 dollar a day. I would like to see Gov. Bill Richardson and the political leaders behind him, support more international problems that affect our place in this world, such as global poverty. We should not forget the commitment made towards the U.N. Millennium Goals (a pact of ending extreme world hunger by the year 2025) in 2000. While the U.S. government and media keep focusing on defense policies and the war in Iraq, 1.2 billion people in the world continue surviving on less than $1 dollar a day. According to The Borgen Project, an annual $19 billion dollars is needed to eliminate half of the extreme poverty affecting the world by the year 2015. To my sense, it is almost unacceptable to have spent so far more than $340 billion in Iraq only, when we have more than war immunities to change the world and eliminate poverty.

Posted by: aileench | July 16, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking about the Youtube debate, here are the types of questions for Bill Richardson that need to be asked, but won't be:

youtube.com/watch?v=CifLm6z32eA
youtube.com/watch?v=i0YRHXoygRM
youtube.com/watch?v=MiszkrzoOs0

Maybe Cilizza could do some real reporting and ask Bill Richardson about him being a shill for the OAS.

Or, maybe not. Don't want to actually do any real reporting or anything.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 16, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Richardson is certainly the best pick in the Dem line up. If Dems learnt anything from recent history, its that Governors win the Presidency.

In todays climate, a Governor with foreign policy experience is awesome, and rare as hen's teeth. I'm amazed that Richardson has had so much trouble, particularly as his state is a marginal in a marginal region. Are the Dems blind?

Posted by: JayPe | July 16, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

If Richardson is so good, why didn't he fix the security problems at Los Alamos when he was Secretary of Energy? Why did he bail out of this position before a serious national security issue?

Posted by: andrea | July 16, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama is not stalling he is stalking. This is a horserace and everyone knows that in a horserace, the horse in the lead going into the home stretch is not the horse that wins. The horse that wins is the one who positions himself well, paces himself, stalks the leader throughout the race and surges ahead of the field in the race to the finish line. This is what Obama has done. His grassroots supporters will convince the undecided voters and with their votes, he will cross the finish line first.

How come no one ever talks about how many undecided voters there are? I think there are more undecided than decided voters and these people are on the fence between Clinton and Obama. In the end they will jump into Obama's backyard and not Clinton.

Posted by: andrea | July 16, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Being VP is actually pretty lame job, unless you dodgily build your own soft power through unofficial channels, like Cheney. And I'm pretty sure America's not up for any more of that. So it stands to reason Richardson's not up for being VP.

I'm sure he'd take Secretary of State in a heartbeat, though.

Posted by: Antigone | July 16, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

glad to provide info for the conversation :)

Speaking of which, CNN has finally put a story up about what Governor Richardson said on Late Edition earlier today (again, it'll be replayed at 7PM EDT). Here's the link:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/07/16/richardson-not-interested-in-no-2-spot/

Excerpt:
"...But Richardson, currently a Democratic presidential hopeful himself, said Monday he's not interested in the No. 2 post if it was offered at some point down the road, telling CNN "There is a better job, it's called governor of New Mexico."
"I'm not running for vice president, and I believe after this debate is over I'm going to win -- but I don't want to be vice president," Richardson told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I've got the best job, governor of New Mexico."..."

Posted by: Alison | July 16, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Alsion: Thank you for the update info. The more I can believe his affirmation, the more I will probably find myself supporting him. At least, we now have a statement of his word that can be held up later if he says one thing wise but then acts otherwise.

Posted by: RP | July 16, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

to RP and anyone else speculating about Richardson "running for VP":

Governor Richardson was just on The Situation Room (CNN). He said more than once and very clearly that he would rather stay governor of New Mexico than run for VP. He repeated what he has said previously: he loves being the governor of New Mexico, he wants to be President, he's "in to win", if you will, but if someone asks him to be their VP candidate, he will say no. Period.

It'll be on again at 7PM EDT, and I think they'll have the video/transcript up at some point here:
http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/situation.room/

Posted by: Alison | July 16, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

To whom it may concern:

"Bill" Richardson is NOT running for
President.

Explanation: "Google" my name anselmo Chavez

Thank You,

Anselmo

anselmoachavez@yahoo.com

Posted by: Anselmo A. Chavez | July 16, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The reason why I said Obama is stalling is because even though his fundraising is obviously impressive, he does not seem to be closing the gap with Hillary in the polls.

Regarding the VP, I think Cheney taught us that running mates matter. Look for voters to place a premium on competence.

Posted by: The 7-10 | July 16, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I am supporting Edwards because I like, for the most part, his plans for health care and the climate crisis, as well as his strong position against the war. But how many readers of this post actually know what his views are? Have you read them in Chris' columns, or anywhere in the Wa' Post? No. Nor have you read of Kucinich's or Richardson's or Dodd's or Obama's or.....I feel I have the responsibility to request that journalists and pundits (Chris Cilliza) educate their readers on these vital issues. To date, all I have read in this column the dollar and polling numbers; i.e, witness this particular discussion.

Posted by: Frederick | July 16, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The Presidential election of 2004 demonstrated the fallacy of the argument that all Democrats need to do is line up behind a candidate, generate a massive turnout and victory will be ours.

John Kerry received more votes than any other Democratic candidate for President in history, including President Clinton. Yet Kerry still lost.

On the other hand, as we saw in the 2006 Congressional elections, when Democrats attract votes from Republicans and Independents, Democrats win.

New Mexico politics mirrors the partisan split in America today. In the last two Presidential elections, the outcome of the vote in New Mexico was decided by less than 1% of the ballots cast.

Richardson has been the most successful governor at the ballot box in New Mexico history. In a state evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, Richardson won his first term in office by a 56 to 39 percent margin.

Four years later, when the campaign issue was his leadership and performance, Richardson was re-elected by a 68 to 32 percent vote - more than twice his margin of victory in 2002. Forty percent of the Republicans that went to the polls in New Mexico last November voted for Richardson.

Richardson knows how to communicate with and obtain the support of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. That is precisely the type of candidate we must have to retake the White House in 2008.

Then add Richardson's Latino and Western heritage into the mix. Just as it was a source of pride for Irish-Americans and Catholics when JFK ran for President, the same phenomenon will take place in 2008 among Latinos. One of the key reasons Bush won in 2004 is that he gained over 40% of the Latino voter, the best result ever for a Republican Presidential candidate. The Latino and Western vote is critical in 2008 - which is why the Democratic National Convention next year is in Denver.

With Richardson at the top of the Democratic ballot the Bush success with Latino voters will be reversed. California will remain solidly in the Democratic camp. Republican states such as Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico will shift to blue states. Florida is ideally suited to revert to Democratic control with Richardson as the Democratic candidate for multiple reasons, including his stance on 2nd Amendment issues. The same can be said for Texas - which is becoming increasingly Democratic and could be in play in 2008 with Richardson on the ticket.

No longer will the fate of the Democrats depend upon the outcome of one state - that the Republicans can expend enormous resources on and win. It will be the Republican Presidential candidate's turn to play defense and struggle (in vain) to preserve Florida and the Southwest as red states, while losing badly in the blue states Kerry carried in 2004.

With Richardson at the top of the ticket, Democrats win in '08 by a landslide.

Posted by: Stephen Cassidy | July 16, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Tobe--that is Wen Ho Lee, but you are absolutely right that the relationship between Richardson and Dr. Lee would really be caca hitting the fan if Richardson rises into a solid first-tier position. The entire degrading affair is something one would expect from Bush-Cheney, but it was from Clinton-Richardson.

I have, nonetheless, liked BR since before he officially announced. But he does seem so like he's willing to play second-fiddle to anyone. His autobiography ["Between Two Worlds"] reveals that he always has been, and wants to always remain, in the thicket of political activity. That is why he seems so willing to be "available" for any position or cabinet post for any candidate who happens to win. He's certainly looking ahead to when his current term as governor ends.

I would challenge Richardson to stand up and announce that he will NOT be the vice-presidential running mate for any candidate, that he feels he would be the best presidential candidate period, and that he will not merely be the helper for anyone else. In fact, I would like Edwards and Obama to say the same thing. Hillary would never play second fiddle, whether to help the Party or to help America, since with the Clintons it is all about them or nothing. Besides, anyone who would now want to be VP to the NY HillBillies is foolish beyond reason.

Posted by: RP | July 16, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Re Richardson for VP - Sometimes VP's have to take office during the term, do you really want someone for VP who you wouldn't vote for for president in the first place?

How about Obama/Biden?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Judge - enjoyed your Coulter analysis.

Would you agree that Ds should be pushing for B-H, preferably with Biden's view of semi-autonomy for the ethnic groups by region as the proposed Iraqi Constitution recognizes, as the building block for a shift in Mideast policy [see JimD at 12:45]?

Could you accept the Ds working with the moderate Rs to pass Warner-Lugar, Webb-Hagel, and then, perhaps, Salazar-Alexander?

I believe that when the Ds post timetables it is pure theater, and like JimD, I am afraid it will backfire and lengthen the time the current bereft policy stays in place.

And I actually think it is unwise to talk about immediate draw down as Richardson does, even though he ties it to troops on the "horizon" and a diplomatic initiative similar to the B-H and Biden proposals.

But Richardson is stuck with that now, and I think it gets him some left support. Of the three broad possibilities; "stay-the-course", withdraw, or rebuild our mid east foreign policy with some troops on the ground to fill the missions described in B-H, Richardson's proposals are the second best, and second worst.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 16, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon, thanks for your reply, too.

Maybe its time to write our Senators.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 16, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hello. Does anyone remember Bill Richardson's stellar term at the Department of Energy? A great candidate if national security should ever raise it's ugly head in Campaign 2008. Just three words, "We Ho Lee."

Posted by: Tobe | July 16, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Bobby W-C - Thanks for the reply. Do we know that voters in the Valley actually know that BR is of Mexican ancestry? I am inferring from your post that BR's name is bandied about on the Spanish language TV stations, and that the connection has been made.

I hope he continues to substantially improve his TV presence, by the way. He is going to have to say "clean needle exchange", not "needles", next time - and he may have to explain it. You may remember that many "Fix" posters completely tuned him out for that last time.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 16, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon,

Absolutely, we need a new strategy. Only a political settlement will bring a semblance of stability to Iraq. On numerous occasions I have posted my preference for a combination of Baker-Hamilton and Biden plans.

I think we need to redeploy the troops to concentrate on force protection, training the Iraqis, ensuring Iraq's territorial integrity and making strikes against al Qaeda cells. That must be coupled with a political settlement and I believe a federal Iraq with highly autonomous Kurd, Shia and Sunni provinces a la Biden is the best of the bad options. That solution will require a US presence in the Kurdish region to deter the Turks.

I just think that a timetable to total withdrawal is as simplistic as "stay the course".

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 16, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Also, just look at the guy, even Ann Coulter would have a hard time bashing "Bambi"."

Coulter could bash Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale and Jesus Christ rolled up into one person without breaking a sweat. One of the few benefits of insanity. What planet do you live on?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | July 16, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Some of us bashing Clinton are independents who would like to vote Democratic in 2008. My main objection to Senator Clinton is that she is such a divisive figure with extremely high negatives. I would like to see a president who can truly be a uniter. Now I realize that Rush & Company will never accept a Democrat as president and Moveon.org, Daily Kos, etc. will never accept a Republican. However, I would like to see something beyond a 50.5 to 49.5 favorable versus unfavorable rating.

Incidentally, I also bash Republicans with great frequency.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 16, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Richardson is my first choice. Unfortunately, by time of Montana's "last-in-the-nation" primary, the nominee will be long decided.

Richardson, a western governor, would probably play very well here. But we are so far out of the nominating process that not many Montanans get very involved in the nominating process. We used to share the late, first-Tuesday-in-June primary with California, so at least the frontrunners were still slugging it out, though they didn't pay much attendtion to Montana.
But in the front loading of this year, it's hard to say.

I suppose one scenario of the front loading might be that several candidates get large numbers of delegates with no one having enough to control the nomination. In that case, in a battle for the remaining delegates, candidates may well be looking to win a late primary to show their electability to the remaining uncommitteds.

Wishful thinking in Montana, but wouldn't it be grand?

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | July 16, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Not that facts matter - but to Peter de - there are two anti-gay laws on the federal books. DOn't Ask Don't Tell and in Defense of Marriage ACt - both authored and signed by Slick Willy Clinton

Has Hillary denounced her hubby for authoring and signing into law the only two anti-gay federal laws in existence?

I think not - please do not tell me I need to vote for Hillary over Don't Ask Don't Tell when her husband is the one you authored the law in the first place

Biden, Lugar, Warner are offering a bipartisan solution to Iraq

http://balancingtheissues.com/iraq_solution.htm

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | July 16, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I assume most of those online here bashing one Democratic candidate or another are Republicans. If they are Democrats they are all very sad and misdirected people.

As has been said the Democrats have a number of excellent candidates who could all represent the party well and win in November. Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Richardson seem to have the best chance of getting the nominatin with Richardson moving into a close race for 3rd with Edwards. I don't think the others have much of a chance but they are good people.

I happen to be a Hillary Clinton supporter and believe that she is the best candidate we could put up. Her experience in the world, her well thought out positions, her abiltiy to think before she talks and weigh her positions carefully and see what impact they have on a whole host of other issues, and the fact she is a highly intelligent woman make her my choice.

It seems that the people of the Country seem to think so as well at this point as she keeps widening her lead which in a new poll yesterday reported on Meet the Press gives her a 16 point lead over Obama, 42-26 and a much wider lead over Edwards.

As someone said about all those who come on here and swear they will never vote for Hillary or Obama - clearly and thankfully the country feels differently.

But I think as Democrats we need to stay positive. Any Democrat will be better than what we have now. Democrats may be debating on how to end the war, George Bush is talking about how to keep it going.

Let's stop bashing each other as Ddemocrats and start bashing the Repubicans. The future of the Supreme Court is at stake along with such issues as reforming health care, ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", and a whole host of other issues that won't be dealt with if we elect another Republican administration.

Posted by: peter dc | July 16, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

in re: Mitt Romney's "Ocean" ad: the script reads (in part) "I'd like to keep pornography from coming up on their (kids') computers."

However:

"The Mormon church-owned Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City published an editorial criticizing Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney for profiting from the pornography industry as a board member of the Marriott International hotel chain.

The paper pointed out the former Massachusetts governor 'caught a bit of flack last week' from critics who charged he did nothing during his 10 years on the board to reverse the corporation's policy of offering pornography on TV in its rooms.

'Even if the subject never came up at a board meeting, one can argue that at least part of the $25,000 plus stock he was paid annually for his board membership came from the money some hotel guests paid for access to the films,' the Tuesday editorial said."

He's an opportunistic moralizing hypocrite.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin, just saw your question from yesterday, and I am posting my answer here.

You ask "Do you think it would be possible for the Ds to do a deal with Warner and Lugar to back their proposal in exchange for the 4 votes needed on Webb-Hagel?"

Like JimD, I hope so. And I do think it's possible, although by no means definite.

JimD, in re: "I do not believe most people will really support a timetable for total withdrawal... because the situation would only get worse." - I agree, but also think that absent a new strategy/new stated goals, folks will not be on board for staying in Iraq just because we are unwilling to withdraw. I would go back to what I said yesterday, in that I believe if we can at all we MUST bring in at least neighboring countries (like Jordan, Syria, Iran, Saudi), and preferably the UN at large. This will not happen as long as W (read: Cheney) feels he can make policy without any interference from Congress, and maybe not until we have a new president... but I think it's the only realistic solution long-term, and I think it's the direction in which we should be moving to the extent possible.

Posted by: Bokonon | July 16, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson is nothing more than a corrupt bully.

He purchased himself a corporate jet using New Mexican tax dollars, and uses that jet to campaign for president.

He has been running for president since he became governor, if you don't believe me, check out the billboard on Times Square with his face on it with vist New Mexico as an afterthought.

Posted by: DCWill | July 16, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Edwards - I have a very real problem relating to a guy who willingly pays as much as $1250 for a haircut.

--wtf -- they just keep inflating this BS -- why we are in the mess we're in... stop talking about this utter nonsense.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

There is a conventional way of framing policy debates in which conservatives want to leave things to the market while liberals/progressives want to have the government intervene to have better outcomes. This framing has the right arguing for the seemingly natural outcomes of market interaction and the virtue of the rugged individual. It puts the left on the side of meddling government bureaucrats.

Needless to say, most people tend to prefer to leave things alone than to trust the competence and goodwill of the government, so this framing works hugely to the advantage of the right. However this framing also has nothing to do with reality. The right has every bit as much interest in government intervention as the left. The difference is that the right wants the government to intervene to redistribute income upward. And of course the right is smart enough to try to hide their role for government as just the natural working of the market.


I am reminded of this framing issue by a front page piece in the NYT, which contrasts the plans of the economic populists in the Democratic Party for intervention, with the supposedly free market economics advocated by Republicans and more centrists Democrats. The list of interventionist policies advocated by the populists includes the elimination of the special tax break received by private equity and hedge fund managers, a rejection of recent trade pacts, and having Medicare negotiate drug prices directly with the pharmaceutical industry.

It's amazing that these policies can be dubbed interventionist. Starting with the fund manager tax break; how is it consistent with a free market to give a special low tax rate to a specific profession, especially one that includes some of the highest paid people in the country? The government is supposed to assess the same tax rate regardless of occupation, not tax teachers and firefighters at 25 percent on their wages and billionaire hedge fund managers 15 percent on their wages.

In the case of trade, agreements proposed by both Democratic and Republican administrations have been designed to place manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. This has the effect of putting downward pressure on the wages of manufacturing workers and less-educated workers more generally in the United States. At the same time, the trade deals have largely left in place the protections that prevent highly educated professionals in the developing world (e.g. doctors and lawyers) from competing with highly paid professionals in the United States. In fact, in some cases these protections have been increased. This is not a free market or free trade, it is selective protectionism designed to redistribute income upward.

Posted by: Dean | July 16, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

My comments concern only the Democratic candidates. Hilliary is a good woman and I respect her but her debate answers seem to have been vetted by committee. I am not sure she can really think on her feet. Plus, you either love her or you hate her. This works to her disadvantge. Edwards - I have a very real problem relating to a guy who willingly pays as much as $1250 for a haircut. No way he can relate to my lifestyle. Plus, in time his wonderful wife will need him more and more at her side when she undergoes more cancer treatment. This is not his fault but it is the way it is.
Obama - Very much a rising young star but I have seen very little of substance. Many proposals but nothing solid yet that I know of. On Biden and Dodd, their day is done. Great guys but their place is in the Senate.

Richardson - this guy has a real record. He has been a congressional stafer, a congressman, a governor, a UN Ambassdor and a diplomat. At Clinton's, Bush (father) and Bush (Son), he has undertaken difficult diplomatic missions to Syria, North Korea, Iran and Iraq (Saddam's time) and succeeded. As Governor of NM, he has helped land a space port and helped establish energy conservation projects that work. During his time, he worked very well with a Republican legislature.

Also, just look at the guy, even Ann Coulter would have a hard time bashing "Bambi". It is extremely hard not to like the guy once you meet him.

Posted by: Bob Ramos | July 16, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

sorry chi-town -- didn't see your post. beat me to the punch. time to impeach the lunatic cheney, before he killls us all.

Posted by: Cassandra | July 16, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Can an article in "The Guardian" be grounds to impeach a Vice President? No? Too bad...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Sorry guys no polls - it has been a while since I have seen anything

he is wildy popular in West Texas - South Texas will turn out for him - you cannot win Texas without the latino vote and again the Democratic Party is already annointing an anglo (who may be a winner btw - very bright) as the Senate nominee over the Latino (5th str8 election that are doing this and probably the 5th str8 election with will nothing in Texas)

What I have seen in the past makes hims popular among Latinos - remember Univsion has more viewers than all of the English Speaking news networks combined - there is no name recogniztion problem for Bill Richardson among Univision listeners

God I wish someone would remove all of the braindead syphlitic morons running the Democratic Party in Austin

http://balancingtheissues.com/iraq_solution.htm

BTW - Biden recognizes his plan only works with the consent of the Iraqi people - how about allowing the Iraqi people decide if they like it before WE ANGLOS reject it for them

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | July 16, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

'The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran 'decisively'. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.

"The red line is not in Iran. The red line is in Israel. If Israel is adamant it will attack, the US will have to take decisive action," Mr Cronin said. "The choices are: tell Israel no, let Israel do the job, or do the job yourself."

Almost half of the US's 277 warships are stationed close to Iran, including two aircraft carrier groups. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise left Virginia last week for the Gulf. A Pentagon spokesman said that would mean three carriers in Gulf at the same time.'

So the Israeli govrnment determines US policy now... of course, the enormous blowback from bombing Iran and killing hundreds or thousands of people will fall on the cities of the US.

Cheney is insane -- there's simply no other word for it. Our military is exhausted and he intends to start another war.... you know that means a draft folks -- hey chickenhawks is that what you really want? I know you love the idea of the military -- but the reality, not so much.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2127115,00.html

Posted by: Cassandra | July 16, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

poor richard, you say "I like Richardson as VP to Obama.. seems like the Cheney model but it may not me a bad idea to have a competent VP. "

Yes but:
Obama is far more intelligent than Bush.
Richardson has a great deal more moral fiber than does Cheney. (granted, a low bar to clear.)

Apart from that, I agree that an Obama/Richardson ticket would be strong in terms of governance. I'm not sure how thay would do on the campaign trail tho.

Posted by: Bokonon | July 16, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

THe Cheney Model of VP....Sad

Look at this mornings news-in the Guardian. Not printed here.

1. Cheney influence on attacking Iran taking precedence in white house today
2. Pace Says that they may increase the number of troops in a surge.

What's next. a Draft? So this crazy administration can get us into World War III before they get thrown out of office?

Posted by: chi town hustler | July 16, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I like Richardson, but I don't think he can win an what has unfortunately become an era of sound bite politics. don't get me wrong, I would support him if he were the nominee and hope he has a role in the next Administration, whether as its head, VP, a Cabinet member, etc. I think he's very smart very qualified, and very capable, and I think his heart is in the right place.

To the poster who said that Obama could not win in the South or in Northern states which have a significant racist element, I would say a few things:
first, although there is undoubtedly some foundation for your belief, to behave as if that were a foregone conclusion only serves to reinforce the stereotype; i.e. if everyone is convinced that racists will dominate a Southern election, it both empowers the racists and discourages those who are trying to develop and support a progressive movement in the South. If Southerners are never given the opportunity to prove that they are not racists, the rest of the country will continue to look at them that way, and to some extent that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have and have had friends and family members in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Louisiana, all progressives and all of whom are / were members of progressive communities in their home states. Second, "conservative" does not equal "racist," and Obama has an excellent track record in Illinois of being able to find common ground and work with moderate and conservative Republicans on several issues. Thirdly, I don't think anyone has an exact idea of how the black vote will mobilize and play out in the South, especially with the strongest black candidate ever one of the frontrunners. And I could be wrong, but I don't think both Edwards and Obama will be serious contenders after the first couple primaries, and if Edwards were to drop out (nothing against Edwards, but he trails Obama both in national polls and in funds) I think a lot of his support would go to Obama. For all of these reasons, I believe Obama has at least a decent chance in the South.

Posted by: Bokonon | July 16, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

'William Kristol | If we win in Iraq and a Republican wins in 2008, Bush will be viewed as a successful president. I like the odds.'

I think Kristol has gone over the edge. Why does the WaPo continue to publish this delusionary garbage? Wishful thinking?

Posted by: Sam | July 16, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Just to be clear here, Richardson's Iraq plan is not just a one-part plan (part one: leave). His plan includes local (read: muslim) security and diplomacy. I expect that his approach would lead to something similar to the Biden approach, with one key difference: Richardson has the diplomatic skill to help the Iraqis do it themselves.

My big problem with Biden's plan is that, while it sounds good, it's still the US President imposing his will upon the Iraqis. Even if the Iraqis want the same thing as Biden, it still stinks of the same arrogant "we'll tell you how to run your country because you're not civilized enough to figure it out" approach that has killed the Bush plan's chances of success.

So that's why I like the Richardson plan of facilitating self-determination rather than being an occupying force and/or mandating political action.

Let me also address two other things. First, Richardson is NOT running for Vice President. The poll numbers show he's clearly worked his way into the first tier (if the first tier includes Edwards) and he's got plenty of money. Second, Richardson's tendency to go off-script is not a hindrance, but a boon. The actual voters, as opposed to the political insiders, want someone who seems to be human, not a scripted automaton.

Posted by: Artie | July 16, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

If I weren't about to be an unemployed grad student, I'd totally give money to the Richardson campaign.

What's with Edwards? He's moved really far to the left (even for him) the last 4 months.

Posted by: Ugh | July 16, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I like Richardson as VP to Obama.

Puts the vision (also flash) at the head of the ticket and the experience to support.

Seems like the Cheney model but it may not me a bad idea to have a competent VP. Sadly, The abuse and autocratic/secret operation in the Cheney application of the Cheney model is something that should terrify the US electorate and be a subject for Constitutional scholars to warn against for the next 500 years or so....if the US survives the Bush/Cheney administration.

At least Nixon had the good sense to resign for the benefit of the Republic.

Posted by: poor richard | July 16, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Frederick,

The fact that we don't know concrete positions by the candidates on these issues is not because they aren't being covered - it's because the candidates aren't being that explicit this early in the campaign. Not only are they being careful, but apart from the early primary states, they are focusing on fundraising. If you want to hear concrete positions, come back later when the real campaigning has begun.

In any case, the focus of this blog is on the running of the political machine, not on the policies of those running. I think Chris is meeting his stated goals for this column. Again, if you don't like it ...

Posted by: Gonzo, MD | July 16, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

. USA Today leads with an in-house investigation that found service members on the ground in Iraq had been asking for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, which provides much better protection against roadside bombs, since as early as December 2003. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the issue a priority only two months ago.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The time delay in postings sometimes leads to unusual results - JimD made my later Biden comment and Bobby W-C answered it before my comment hit the "Fix". But, Bobby, if you have a poll or some anecdotal evidence that BR puts Texas "in play", please reply. If you have not done so already, that is... .

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 16, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Andy, token candidates don't raise $2.9 mil with nary a fundraiser on the payroll.

Maybe if the Washington politicians would take lessons from Ron Paul on how to budget, we would be able to wipe out the federal debt.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | July 16, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Even if you are not a Richardson fan (or prefer Clinton or Obama), his gaining in popularity and name recognition is a positive.

He is very likely to end up as the Number Two on the Clinton or Obama ticket, simply because of what he brings. Clinton gets a personable governor that offsets her cold demeanor, and Obama would get experience behind him, especially in the international arena. Both get a Hispanic governor from the crucial southwest region.


Posted by: Matt, Philly | July 16, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Bobby W-C -

In addition to JimD's reply to you at 9:01A, I would say that Biden should be the front runner according to your 9:16A post, and he's my first choice, and he apparently does not stand a snowball's chance in Texas.

I have posted that I thought BR could help some down-ticket Ds in
our state; have you seen anything to support your view that TX would actually be "in play" if he is the D candidate?

drindl -

There will be a troop draw down, as you suggest. Will it be an orderly part of a new foreign policy in the Middle East, as B-H and Biden propose, or will it be something worse?

My point was that the USA needs the four missing votes on Webb-Hagel and the Ds, by working with the wiser Rs like Warner and Lugar, should be able to make that happen. If that means that the disappointing and apparently inept Harry Reid must be ignored by his caucus, so be it. Obviously a lot of Rs are prepared to ignore McConnell.

In a partisan atmosphere, we still desperately need a bipartisan foreign policy.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 16, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Jim, Biden is past his prime - and he will never get over that "brain fart Comment"

http://balancingtheissues.com/new_page_3.htm

Just heard - Bill Richardson will be in the situation room tonight with Wolfy - He is calling himself the "Insurgent Candidate" that could have a double meaning

Biden needs to sit back and be a Statesman - and push his position on Iraq - He needs to use his presidential run as a tool to push the other candidates into the correct position

http://balancingtheissues.com/iraq_solution.htm

Posted by: BObby Wightman-Cervantes | July 16, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Bobby

I wish the Biden approach could make Biden a front-runner. He is the only presidential candidate with a realistic plan to deal with the mess in Iraq.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 16, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

obama can't carry the south..and probably not those northern states where the klan used to be strong..hillary will reunite the republican base like nothing else can, and does not do well with women voters for pete's sake..edwards is a trial lawyer..did nothing at all in his six years in the senate representing north carolina..so sorry to bring the voice of reason into politics..maybe richardson can do it..i think the current governor in north carolina would probably be more electable, but you never can tell..

Posted by: w04equals666 | July 16, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Jim, Ron Paul doesn't beleive in government controlled student loans. There is no argument that can explain that postition. His position on Iraq is good, but almost every other position he has is ridiculous. He is a token candidate and will stay that way.

Posted by: Andy R | July 16, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting to me, how many people I know, almost everyone, says they will stay home if Hillary gets the nom - but then she appears to do well in the polls - Why?

The Biden, Lugar, Warner solution to Iraq if adopted by any Democratic will make them the front runner almost over night - it will certainly get them 2-3 days of high profile interviews at no expense to their campaign

http://balancingtheissues.com/iraq_solution.htm

Are you listening Guillermo?

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | July 16, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting to me, how many people I know, almost everyone, says they will stay home if Hillary gets the nom - but then she appears to do well in the polls - Why?

The Biden, Lugar, Warner solution to Iraq if adopted by any Democratic will make them the front runner almost over night - it will certainly get them 2-3 days of high profile interviews at no expense to their campaign

http://balancingtheissues.com/iraq_solution.htm

Are you listending Guillermo?

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | July 16, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin,

I very much agreed wtih this post:

'I think Webb-Hagel has the salvation of the Army and the Marines at heart and I do not think either of the sponsors can be criticized for not "supporting our troops".

... and I found it kind of mind-boggling that anyone can say they 'support the troops' and not vote for it. All it calls for is for the soldiers who are riskng their lives, over and over, to be treated like human beings.

I don't think it's a particularly good or practical strategy to call for a total troop withdrawal within a given time-- logistically it seems kind of impossible anyway, I've heard it would take almost a year to move everyone out, and there are of course ramifications to consider.

However, I have heard from a number of military people that to maintain the current troop strength willl be impossible beyond March or April... what are your thoughts given this?

Posted by: drindl | July 16, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Time for someone with a head on his shoulders...Ron Paul for 2008! Check him out on youtube.com.

Posted by: Jim | July 16, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Obama is far from stalling. His popularity is growing and with 30+ million in the bank he can really start playing hardball. By the way I think it is time for the Obama camp to start airing commercials. If anyone is stalling it is Clinton. She has now been outraised for two straight quarters and her poll numbers are completely stagnant.

I disagree that Richardson is running for VP. The only person who Richardson would be a good VP for is Edwards. Clinton and Obama will have a white male from a red state as their running mate (ie Warner, Bayh, Clark, Webb, or Gore). Edwards on the other hand will have to have a minority or woman as his running mate (Obama, Richardson, woman governor from Kansas).

Posted by: Andy R | July 16, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Bobby that Richardson has been a disappointment. I also agree that he needs to re-think Iraq and that the Biden-Lugar-Warner approach makes more sense than any other alternative out there.

Richardson has appeared "not ready for prime time" in the debates. He must improve his performance to move into the first tier. I, too, am desperate for an alternative to Hillary and Edwards. I like Obama but do not think he has the experience to be President.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 16, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"The CNN/YouTube debate set for next Monday provides Richardson a real opportunity to break through, a chance he has missed in the televised debates up until now."

Huh? He's had plenty of chances to "break through," whatever that's supposed to mean. A better phrase would have been "another opportunity to break through, something he has failed to take advantage of in past debates."

Will he utilize this chance effectively? I doubt it. I haven't seen that kind of 'spark' from Richardson, much to my disappointment. It's not something you can learn or practice; it's an ability some are born with. Most are not.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | July 16, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The 7-10,

Obama is not stalling, raising $10M more then Hillary for the primary over the course of three months is stalling? I agree with your views on the other candidates, but Richardson is running for VP, he would compliment any of the other top candidates on the ticket. Richardson tries to go unscripted sometimes, and it ends up kinda messy. (Meet the Press anyone?).

Posted by: sjxylib | July 16, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

First Frederick the purpose of the post is to note Richardson is still alive an well and gaining - For me Richardson has turned out to be a disappointment - he needs to reconsider his approach on Iraq.

To key to Richardson is, if he wins the nom he will put Texas into play and this sends the Republicans into a tail spin -

I will stay home if Hillary or Obama win the nom.

Richardson would do well to consider the Biden, Lugar, Warner solution to Iraq

http://balancingtheissues.com/iraq_solution.htm

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | July 16, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Richardson is more of the same betrayal as the Senators listed below and their tricky politics.

THE BETRAYAL CONTINUES:

Stymied in their attempts to pass a massive increase in immigration, proponents of this notion are trying to attach pieces of the "comprehensive" bill to funding legislation. A major effort is underway to include the AgJobs bill as part of the 2007 Farm Bill Reauthorization.

As presently written, the AgJobs legislation would provide an amnesty for illegal aliens engaged in agricultural work and their spouses and children-potentially 3 million people-and would provide few safeguards against fraud in the application process. It also relaxes the standards for H-2A agricultural guest worker visas.

*Contrary to claims of amnesty proponents, the agricultural labor portion of fresh produce constitutes only 7-10% of the purchase price.
A doubling of the pay of farm workers would lead only to a minor increase in this portion of a grocery bill.

*Nothing will prevent agribusiness from hiring new illegal aliens to replace those who are legalized this time.

*Each amnesty and guest worker program depresses the wages of agricultural workers and other working poor by providing an endless supply of cheap labor.

*The 1986 amnesty led to mass increases in illegal immigration. This proposal will be no different.

*After a few years, "temporary" workers could apply for a green card and eventually citizenship.

*Amends the Social Security Act to exempt blue card aliens from prosecution for social security-related identity or payment false statements if such conduct occurred prior to the granting of blue card status.

ACTION NEEDED

Call, fax or e-mail your Senators to oppose efforts to attach the AgJobs amnesty programs to the Farm Bill.


Sponsor/Cosponsor(s) of Bill #S. 340:

Bayh, Evan (D-IN) Bingaman, Jeff (D-NM) Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) Cantwell, Maria (D-WA) Casey, Robert (D-PA) Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) Craig, Larry (R-ID) Dodd, Christopher (D-CT) Domenici, Pete (R-NM) Feingold, Russ (D-WI) Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) Hagel, Chuck (R-NE) Harkin, Tom (D-IA) Kennedy, Edward (D-MA) Kerry, John (D-MA) Kohl, Herbert (D-WI) Leahy, Patrick (D-VT) Levin, Carl (D-MI) Lieberman, Joseph (I-CT) Martinez, Mel (R-FL) McCain, John (R-AZ) Mikulski, Barbara (D-MD) Murray, Patty (D-WA) Nelson, Bill (D-FL) Obama, Barack (D-IL) Salazar, Ken (D-CO) Schumer, Charles (D-NY) Snowe, Olympia (R-ME) Specter, Arlen (R-PA) Voinovich, George (R-OH)

Posted by: A.C. | July 16, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for this post, Chris. For those of us who are sick of hearing about Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, this kind of post is refreshing. It just so happens that Richardson is my sleeper choice. Obama is stalling, Edwards is falling, and Biden/Dodd are failing to gain traction. Will Democrats really nominate Hillary or will the bottom fall out as the primaries and caucuses draw near?

Posted by: The 7-10 | July 16, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for this post, Chris. For those of us who are sick of hearing about Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, this kind of post is refreshing. It just so happens that Richardson is my sleeper choice. Obama is stalling, Edwards is falling, and Biden/Dodd are failing to gain traction. Will Democrats really nominate Hillary or will the bottom fall out as the primaries and caucuses draw near?

Posted by: The 7-10 | July 16, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Health care, education, climate change, and of course, the Iraq War. The candidates positions on these issues are NOT being covered in this column, the Wash. Post or the Times, or any other media outlet.

Instead, we simply see the dollar figures and polling numbers. Isn't this a rather "sick" way to run a democracy?

I believe it is your responsibility Chris to focus on and write about these issues. If you do not, then why expect another Beltway politico to do it?

Posted by: Frederick | July 16, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Chris, does Edwards lead the "likeliest" poll
by -2%?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

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