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What about Bill Richardson?

Updated on December 3, 2012
Image credit: gknec / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: gknec / 123RF Stock Photo | Source

In burnt-out, spacious, sandy New Mexico, one would have to look far and wide for a politician more accomplished than Bill Richardson. And yet, the sentiment against him is intense. There are facts and figures, events and anecdotal material, that anti-Richardsonians can easily summon forth in conversation. But it never quite adds up. Trouble, yes, and indiscretions, too, and worse still, but this much hatred could not have come about without skillful character assassination. Everybody, or so it occasionally seems, in the state is into it. It makes one curious. That is all. Illinois regularly throws its governors into prison after they serve their terms. But this regularity has never been personal. It is what happens unless the governor in question has one of those cherished getottajailfree cards. The only plausible explanation is prejudice. Some people really do not like the Governor and have it in for him. But why?

Well, first off, he had a rather stellar and unique career before the word corruption began to attach itself to him like an unwanted burr. There are few who can match the particular combination of personal data and political success that is virtually his alone. He has Spanish ancestry, that is a given, and it also makes him a true contender in today's rough and tumble, presidential arena. Suddenly, the WASP is down. A window of opportunity is open. As far as numbers of votes are concerned, Latinos are the frontrunners. The man himself grew up partly in Mexico City, and throughout his career has been more receptive than almost any insider to foreign matters and concerns. Best of all, while Governor, he sponsored the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. He does not turn his back on the outsider as well as the poor and needy. All this is impressive. Admittedly, there are others who have even better credentials, depending upon how they are evaluated. However, after so much service to the Clinton administration, the United Nations, overseas negotiations, and the State of New Mexico, the bad blood will not go away.

There is no ready explanation. It is sheer insanity to even speculate. Maybe it was not him. This was the case with the Ferarro fiasco, remember? Suddenly, questions about her leadership abilities were overshadowed by her husband's business propriety. Likewise, maybe Richardson was delivered to the slanderers by someone who had a beef with him. The average American can never know what is really going on when it comes to politicians, power grabs and power losses. Technology has driven a wedge between the newsmakers and the newswatchers. The digital haves are so far ahead that the have nots will never catch up. It would be interesting to know what is going on, but it is no longer possible. In the case at hand, it feels as if Hamlet left the stage during a soliloquy or something. What went wrong? It is one thing to vote somebody out of office, or to overwhelmingly prefer another candidate in an election. But stubborn and relentless dissing has these nebulous undercurrents. It is much more aggravating, internal, visceral, and disconcerting. State-wise and nationally, those who should otherwise have felt respect and awe, went into reverse. If the man has done wrong, okay. If he has not, then not okay. The inquisitorial pressure persists, yes, but not rationally.

There are many reasons why outsiders would want to live in New Mexico. But few have much to do with its politics. Once here, a transplant cannot help but wonder. Few states have a heavyweight in the stable. In Richardson, New Mexicans had a chance to move the power zone a little closer to home. Further, there are any number of Southwest issues so routinely ignored by los federales that there is at best a 0% chance of them ever getting resolved. The border, for instance, starts out urgent and then gradually becomes a nonexistent topic the farther one moves northward. Granted, it is exciting to lynch the famous, one readily concedes, in the press or by word of mouth, and for reasons only psychologists comprehend, but there are some pastimes, however much fun, that should not get in the way of serious, more universal progress.

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