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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
(11:19 AM) | Stephen:
Richardson Isn't Campaigning Well

Ezra has a post about Bill Richardson's poor performance on Meet the Press last Sunday, concluding that Richardson's problem is that he is "less than the sum of his parts." What's missing from his assessment - indeed, what's missing from Richardson's campaign - is an understanding that as impressive as Richardson's resume is, it doesn't contain very much campaign experience.

It's been a very long time since Richardson has needed to expend a lot of effort campaigning. He has run for office as a challenger exactly two times, and neither of those races featured an incumbent. In fact, he's never really had a hard campaign slog to get through.

He moved to New Mexico from purely political calculations, knowing that his ethnicity would help him and that the state requires less money to run campaigns than other places. That isn't a criticism; it's no crime to be ambitious or to plan ahead. He ran to represent a brand-new Congressional district, so he didn't have an incumbent he needed to displace. Then he held a couple of high-profile appointments during Clinton's tenure, and when he ran for Governor the first time the state was pretty sick of Gary Johnson, one of the biggest assholes the state has ever produced. Richardson's national stature plus the idiocy of the sitting Governor made that race fairly easy, and his reelection campaign was more about Richardson having fun with it and NM's residents showering him with affection.

The more I look at him, the more I see him as a technocrat - an able one, to be sure - but someone whose political skills, such as they are, coupled with his other talents would make him a good Secretary of State, but not President or even VP.

He won't fare well during the early primaries, no matter how good his commercials are. I hope he has the good sense to drop out with dignity and to make it clear to the eventual nominee that he would be happy to serve on the President's cabinet as Secretary of State. Or he can run for Senator after a while, or just drop out. But the man will never be President, unless he can pull off the biggest skills turnaround since Charles and Monique had to help Lane learn to ski the K-12.

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