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Fix Pick: Bill Richardson and the Element of Unpredictability

We've said and written before that while no one in the presidential race can rival Gov. Bill Richardson's (N.M.) resume we remain skeptical about his chances of winning the nomination for a simple reason: his unpredictability.

That trait makes covering Richardson a delight -- he is always ready with a witty one-liner and regularly treats reporters as though he's known them for decades. But, his tendency to veer off message is less appealing when it comes to the highly scrutinized atmosphere of a presidential campaign. Richardson is, frankly, too real.

A recent piece by Fix friend Ryan Lizza in The New Republic captures Richardson at his most real and is this week's Fix Pick. (For past Picks, click here.)

Any political junkie worthy of the name needs to read the whole article.

But, here's Lizza's thesis boiled down to a few paragraphs. "Richardson thinks his informal approach is precisely the kind of authenticity that voters want," Lizza writes. "But in presidential politics, where every utterance is sifted for its ideological content and examined for clues about the candidate's readiness for the job, style takes you only so far."

In the piece, Lizza documents a number of examples of this informality at the center of Richardson's campaign: he twice uses expletives on the record, he tickles the scalp of a young woman he doesn't know, he says that all North Koreans are named "Kim."

Taken separately, none of the incidents (with the possible exception of massaging the scalp of a total stranger) are a big deal. Taken together, however, they paint a troubling picture for a man who wants to be the next leader of the free world.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 13, 2007; 6:28 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Picks  
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