Friday, June 15, 2007

Why Richardson Will Never Be President

(Unfortunately.) He says things like this:

Bill Richardson was quoted saying the following about negotiating with North Korea: "Their U.N. guy calls. His name is Ambassador Kim. K-I-M. They're all named Kim."

You have to scroll down a bit but it's there. Otherwise, you can head to the source behind TNR's subscription wall.

Anyhow, Mr. Richardson, in case you can't tell is a candidate I have a bit of a soft spot for. In a better world someone with his kind of resume and experience is at the top of the list for presidential nominees. Don't mistake this as any sort of endorsement, however, since I haven't found out nearly as much as I should or will about his (And the other candidates, of course) positions on the issues that matter to me. Mostly because it's June, I don't feel like wading through a bunch of issue papers, and WE HAVEN'T EVEN GOTTEN TO THE PRIMARIES YET!!! Seriously, I don't want to be thinking about that kind of thing until about a week before it's time to pull the lever. So, I have no idea if Richardson or anyone else is my guy yet – although you can be damned sure it'll be a cold day in hell before I vote Republican any time soon – but he's one I'm keeping my eye on. Not because I expect him to win or anything, no, this world isn't perfect enough. But because he seems interesting and engaging and likely to take a prime spot in any eventual Democratic administration. So when he inevitably bows out of the race, like every other non-frontrunner, exactly which way he bounces, where his endorsement winds up, will hopefully aid me in making up my mind. Still, he's not doing his campaign any favors dropping unlyrical bombs like that.

Mr. Yglesias (Where, of course, I discovered the above link. And my awesome new banner quote. Is that a tip of the hat? Do you tip for that kind of thing? I have no idea. Do you or don't you? It's like take-out food.) seems to think this isn't that big of a deal. And he's right. As far as verbal gaffes go, it's not exactly a macaca moment. It's not nearly as chilling as, say, McCain's little ditty. And probably as likely to get dismissed as irrelevant by the media since Richardson isn't one of the A-list candidates, after all. It's nothing I haven't joked about before with my own, Azn friends – you know, asking them if their sister Kimmy is available, that sort of thing. And I don't think Richardson meant it with anything like the malice displayed by Sen. Allen. But there's a big difference between what you can get away with saying when you're at a late night study session and cracking on your buddies and what you can say on the campaign trail which is bristling with microphones and recorders.

It's not that the quote itself is so damaging as it is who was saying it. As I see it, Richardson's biggest asset for his claim to presidency is that he's the adult. He's the one in the race with the big resume, who's met with foreign leaders, been on the cabinet, governed a state, who's done and said more than, say, a one-term Senator from a Southern state who got bounced from office. He's the serious, policy wonk candidate. The one with the answers, the one with the gravitas, the one you can count on to consider and act rationally so as not to make a rash decision (Which, ah, sounds like a nice change of pace, doesn't it?).

So, when he makes blunders like this one, it makes me, at least, reconsider whether he really is all that much more experienced and wiser than the rest of the field. As the finely Irish named Mr. Nyhan says in the above link, it's never really a good idea to even brush up against pissing off an entire ethnicity. Especially not one as, well, fucking prissy as Koreans and the wider Asiatic community. They're out there and they've got a history of, rightly I think, jumping to offense at such statements. Doesn't matter how low his stock is already, it's now trending downward. And if Richardson is the “smart” candidate, he shouldn't be making the mistake like that, should he?

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