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Tilting at Windmills

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April 5, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

BILL RICHARDSON....I'm only tossing this out because the week is winding down and there isn't much else to talk about at the moment, but here's another observation about the fundraising totals announced this week: didn't Bill Richardson do awfully well? Sure, $6 million looks anemic compared to the three frontrunners, but in absolute terms that's pretty impressive, isn't it? If he keeps it up, he'll have a plenty big enough war chest to wage a serious campaign.

I don't have any big point to make here. It just seems like Richardson deserves a little more attention for raising that kind of money with virtually no name recognition.

Kevin Drum 4:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Richardson might be the strongest candidate the Dems could fold. He has much more experience than Obama and doesn't have Hillary's controversiality. Unfortunately for him, the front-loaded primary schedule will make it difficult or impossible for him to catch up with the two front-runners.

Under the prior schedule, Richardson might have been able to show rising popularity through a series of debates and elections. Under the current schedule, the nomination is likely to be sewn up by February or March.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 5, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

True. His visibility in the North Korean talks may help raise his name recognition.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 5, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK
I'm only tossing this out because the week is winding down and there isn't much else to talk about at the moment, but here's another observation about the fundraising totals announced this week: didn't Bill Richardson do awfully well? Sure, $6 million looks anemic compared to the three frontrunners, but in absolute terms that's pretty impressive, isn't it?

Um, the only terms that matter are relative ones. In absolute terms, after all, John Kerry got a lot of votes in 2004.

If he keeps it up, he'll have a plenty big enough war chest to wage a serious campaign.

That's a big if: once numbers start coming out, perceived momentum is a big factor in donations. What's Richardson got? OVerall fundraising success? No. Outstanding numbers of donors? No. Buzz from his internet fundraising numbers? No. Good poll numbers? Not even close: he's a very distant fourth, more than twice as far proportionally, and nearly as far in absolute terms, from Edwards in third as Edwards is from Clinton in first.

That's not saying its impossible he'll successfully use that $6 million to get attention for something that will swing some kind of positive buzz his way, but unless he stands out somehow, its going to be hard to keep money coming in. The money is not really much of a good sign.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 5, 2007 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"doesn't have Hillary's controversiality"

I don't think "controversiality" is a word, but in the late 1990s, Richardson was a poster-boy of controversy. Sure, much of it may have been of the GOP-invented variety, but considering it involved issues of national security, I doubt Richardson will even be seriously considered for VP. The GOP -- and the media -- would have a field day.

Posted by: Jim E. on April 5, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

So here's a simple question, perhaps showing how ignorant I am, or else showing how inadequate Richardson's PR is: Where was he on the Iraq war, before the war? Obama was against it (I've heard the video) and accurately predicted a good part of the future. Brains and backbone, sounds like a good thing in a president. If Richardson was also on the right side, I should send him some cash.

Posted by: dr2chase on April 5, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he can face off against Mitt Romney and Brownback in the NIT.

Posted by: lampwick on April 5, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's also impressive given that he is still a sitting governor, and hasn't been able to fund raise full time like the other candidates.

Posted by: besttrousers on April 5, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

I have heard his nickname in NM is "Dollar Bill" for his cozy relationship with uber rich corporate buddies. It's not well known outside of poeple who know alot of his background.

Posted by: Tomato on April 5, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK
The GOP -- and the media -- would have a field day. Jim E. at 5:14 PM
Screw 'em Posted by: Mike on April 5, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Richardson was on the board of San Diego's Peregrine Systems from February 2001 to June 2002 -- the period in which the directors were trying to put a lid on the billowing financial scandal that would ultimately send the company into bankruptcy and many of its executives into criminal proceedings. Now, as the Richardson campaign struggles to gather momentum, the U.S. attorney's case against four former executives and service providers begins on April 10 and should make headlines for many months.
To isolate himself from Peregrine, Richardson said he missed some board meetings and "didn't have time" to read corporate reports. Nonetheless, he claimed he had fulfilled his duties as a director. That's impossible. If you don't have time to read corporate reports, you are a derelict director.

Records show that Richardson attended, in person or by phone, 15 board meetings. In those meetings, directors were hearing that the company might get caught cooking the books. For example, Richardson attended the meeting of July 18, 2001. The company's chief executive, Stephen Gardner (the brother-in-law of Richardson's wife), informed board members of a barter transaction that had occurred with Critical Path, a Bay Area company headed by a Rancho Santa Fe executive known around Peregrine as an FOJ (Friend of John [Moores]). In a barter transaction, two companies swap each other's products whether they need them or not and both fraudulently ring up the transaction as a sale. The directors were told that the Securities and Exchange Commission had questioned three Peregrine top executives and a national business magazine was on the story. Directors discussed how to spin it.

During Richardson's period on the board, Gardner was regularly telling directors that the Peregrine boat was sinking -- but the public knew nothing about it. The company was releasing official reports telling how revenue was soaring. The stock was roaring upward as the company was coming asunder, as civil suits reveal in graphic detail.


Posted by: sdreader on April 5, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Tomato, every politician names *Willian* is disparaged with the appelation Dollar Bill so that has kinda lost it's impact.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 5, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Democracy For America (DFA) has info and a video on Richardson's stance on Iraq. Short version: "...we need to get out of Iraq this calendar year.... I don't support leaving a residual force in Iraq. We should get out lock, stock, and barrel."

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 5, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't have any big point to make here."

Jeez, Kevin -- this ought to be your tagline lately.

Posted by: cjr on April 5, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

every politician names *Willian* is disparaged with the appelation Dollar Bill so that has kinda lost it's impact.

Not to mention "Slick Willie".

And then there is "Richard", which has its own built-in pejorative.

Posted by: Disputo on April 5, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK
Tomato, every politician names *Willian* is disparaged with the appelation Dollar Bill so that has kinda lost it's impact.

I dunno, I don't recall that being associated with William J. Clinton, who instead had "Slick Willie", not that that was a bar to election, reelection, or leaving office the most popular outgoing president in the history of opinion polling.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 5, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

These fund raising numbers may suggest that it's at last being generally recognized that the Republicans aren't really a political party at all, but a function of corruption.

Which may mean the field is wide open for a second political party to emerge.

Posted by: cld on April 5, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, change "every politician named William" to "countless politicians named William."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 5, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Bradley was called "Dollar Bill," but the nickname had nothing to do with politics. It was applied to him during his pro basketball career, because of the lucrative contract he had with the New York Knickerbockers.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 5, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

With the obsessive media coverage that Obama and Hillary are getting, Richardson might get a look see by the retail voters of Iowa and New Hampshire. He has the brains, the most experience of any candidate in the field on either party - in an era where his extraordinary experience in clean energy and diplomacy will be enormously important, so give me a break, lets give him a few bucks and wait until the primaries before sticking a fork in. Jeez. The primaries are nearly a year away! Lightweight Obama and Lady Macbeth enjoy no guarantees!

Posted by: Jacob on April 5, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Look up Richardson's interview on the Daily Show. He is quite engaging. He is Hispanic without wearing his ethnicity on his sleeve. He is a governor, better as a candidate than a senator. I have friends who have met him and who like him. Dont start writing capable people off a year before a primary. Even Chris Dodd may have a supporting role to play in this thing as it plays out.

As an aside, the secondary candidates are often evaluated for major cabinet positions. If they speak well, hold their reserve under fire, but dont catch on with the retail voters, the eventual nominee may want them on her/his team. This is a long and complex dance.

Posted by: troglodyte on April 5, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

With the obsessive media coverage that Obama and Hillary are getting, Richardson might get a look see by the retail voters of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Yes. Let's hear it for having the first primaries in small states that don't require f-ing huge media buys. Keep manning the barricades against the barbarians who want the oligarchy deciding who is the nominee.

Posted by: Disputo on April 5, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Is Richardson a good friend of Addington's? Or was that Napolitano who was a childhood friend of Addington?

I hear Goldwater Republicans say Richardson is the best candidate. That may be good or bad or Southwestern loyalty.

Posted by: Brojo on April 5, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Richardson may not be a Presidential front runner, but he'd make a hell of a Veep. Richardson just might be the kicker that Obama or Edwards could use in a general election. I understand that Clinton has considered tapping Evan Bayh for her running mate (can't remember the source) - probably a good idea given the need for piles and piles of money needed to win in '08.

In my dream world it would be an Obama/Richardson, or Richardson/Obama ticket in '08.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on April 5, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ooooooooooh yeaaaah M. Lefties are really well known for their racist tendencies. Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on April 5, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't Hispanic mean a person's ancestors were from Spain, a European country?

Posted by: Brojo on April 5, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Let's hear it for having the first primaries in small states that don't require f-ing huge media buys.

I'd be happy with California retaining its traditional role in not having a meaningful say in selecting the nominee if we didn't end up having to be ruled by whoever ended up getting elected President.

As long as we've got an ironclad two-party system (and I'm the first to support reforms that weaken that), I would like a say in the nominee for the least worst of those two parties.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 5, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Richarson, a true uniter.

Bonus: name other people who had similar unification dreams.

Doubleplus bonus: youtube.com/watch?v=i0YRHXoygRM

Posted by: TLB on April 5, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure Richardson was against the war from the beginning as well. I think he's being held back by two things; a low-level whispering campaign suggesting he is vulnerable to scandals (sexual and perhaps financial - as the above poster just enlightened me), and the widely held perception that he is angling fo VP. I don't know how much fire is there with the scandals. It seems like if it were something serious, it would have hurt him in his prior campaigns. The VP thing might be more serious. He's not going to get a serious look until one of the 3 candidates above him starts to falter. I just hope Hillary is the first to tumble!

Posted by: Seth on April 5, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Richardson has a great resume and he did manage to separate himself from the second tier of candidates with his fundraising numbers. But one of the top 3 really needs to fall for him to move up. They are vacuuming up all the resources.

I like Richardson, but unfortunately he actually has almost as much baggage as Rodham Clinton, it just has not received as much publicity. The whispering campaign about how he has a "Bill Clinton problem" is one. Another is the fact he was Energy Secretary when the Wen Ho Lee scandal occurred at the Los Alamos Nuclear facility. Another whispering campaign is Richardson was a "Deep Throat" figure in implicating Lee.

Posted by: Ogre Mage on April 5, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK


As a Chicano from Arizona, Gingrichs "botched" effort, and I paraphrase,"Spanish spoken only in the ghetto" was an effort to measure the viability of the Spanish-speaking voters moving over to support a Republican candidate, and in this case, the candidate being Gingrich.

If so, then Clinton and Obama are not seen as a big "threat" to a Gingrich candidacy. And that says a lot given the Gingrich is privy to national Republican thinking. Perhaps, Jeb Bush will join the Gingrich campaign, and if so, Bush can go on Univision and palaver fluently in Spanish, and become a viable asset for the Republicans, especially from a national perspective. And keep in mind, that we Democrats continue to forget that the "line is shorter" on the Republican side of the aisle.

Posted by: Jaango on April 5, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad if that everything is being decided so ridiculously early, because Richardson is clearly the best candidate, and the more people who have a chance to listen to him and read his c.v., the better his chances.

Let's see--a sitting governor, former cabinet secretary, former UN ambassador, former congressman--he's the complete package. Oh, and he's a westerner and Hispanic, which certainly doesn't hurt either.
Damn shame that he's being treated like some sort of also-ran a year before the primaries.

Posted by: Ringo on April 5, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

It seems like if it were something serious, it would have hurt him in his prior campaigns.

Yeah, isn't he already in his second term as governor? How did he ever get that far considering all the scandals? Or are they only a bar to the presidency?

Posted by: Ringo on April 5, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, Kevin, thank you.

Bill Richardson, as you know by now, is my favorite of the Dems. He doesn't get nearly enough attention with all the Hillary and Obama noise.

Here's to hoping those two peak early. . .

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on April 5, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

The guy seems legit; in a superficial, not-all-that-obsessed-with-2008-just-yet kind of way I'm seeing him as somebody I can think about pulling a primary lever for.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on April 5, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not the first to make this comment, but the fact that Richardson raised $6 million and isn't even in the top tier speaks volumes about how far the Democrats have come when it concerns fund raising, when you consider that both Bill Bradley and Al Gore didn't raise that much back in 2000 at this point in the game.

Posted by: Brian on April 5, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Certainly someone worth taking a long hard look at to support. Seems like a real person w/substantial brains.

It is still a loooooonnnng way from the primary season & a lot can happen twixt now & then.

"...Ambition must be made to counteract ambition..." - Federalist No. 51

Posted by: daCascadian on April 5, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Clemons wonders whether Richardson has a "Bill Clinton problem," Ogre Mage.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/a-question-for-bill-richa_b_39170.html

Posted by: pol on April 5, 2007 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

m: "Liberals will never support a hispanic for president even if his name is Richardson."

Yeah, those reactionary liberals.

Whatever the financial history, I think Rochardson has "veep" written all over him. And he can be played by John Goodman on SNL.

Posted by: Kenji on April 5, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama and Clinton still dominate by late summer, don't be surprised to see Richardson drop out and be announced as Edwards' potential running mate...especially if the perception increases that neither Obama and Clinton is a sure thing in the general election, no matter whom the Republicans nominate.

Posted by: Vincent on April 6, 2007 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards-Richardson '08!

Posted by: Kenji on April 6, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

There's a Nevada blog (sorry, can't remember name and the link is on my browser at work) and it asked in a poll which Dem candidate would you vote for. Responses were close to 800 and Richardson was the *overwhelming* winner. I have no idea why. Because he's the only westerner in the race?

Posted by: scruncher on April 6, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

To isolate himself from Peregrine, Richardson said he missed some board meetings and "didn't have time" to read corporate reports. Nonetheless, he claimed he had fulfilled his duties as a director. That's impossible. If you don't have time to read corporate reports, you are a derelict director.

I think that makes him an excellent candidate for the presidency. As a Republican.

Posted by: ogmb on April 6, 2007 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Still working on 'Lee - Sharpton 08'

Will settle for 'Obama - Richardson 08' if forced at gunpoint.

Posted by: professor rat on April 6, 2007 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

I like Bill Richardson a lot, but Obama has changed things. I'm with Sullivan on him - he's got an RFK-type vibe, and I'm his until he gives me a reason not to be.

Used to be I wanted a Clark-Richardson ticket, but now I want Obama-Clark or Obama-Holbrooke. Bill Richardson would make a superb Secretary of State, and would be plenty young enough to run in 2016.

Posted by: El Caballo de Sangre on April 6, 2007 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

Let's also remember he's a *governor,* the type of person who has historically been elected president.

But, as a former New Mexican who grew up there, then later lived there as an adult, yes, he's got baggage.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on April 6, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

He's a very good politician. Doesn't seem to have made a lot of enemies. But his ties to the indicted Former state senate president could be a problem, especially if Manny talks to save his hide.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on April 6, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK
Let's also remember he's a *governor,* the type of person who has historically been elected president.

"Historically"? Not so much, more "current conventional wisdom" than actual history. From WWII on:

Bush II - Governor
Clinton - Governor
Bush I - Not Governor
Reagan - Governor
Carter - Covernor
Ford - Not Governor (but not elected, either)
Nixon - Not Governor
Johnson - Not Governor (but elected only after succession from the vice Presidency)
Kennedy - Not Governor
Eisenhower - Not Governor
Truman - Not Governor (but elected only after succession from the vice Presidency)
FD Roosevelt - Not Governor

And before WWII:

Hoover - Not Governor
Coolidge - Governor
Harding - Not Governor
Wilson - Not Governor
Taft - Not Governor of a state (Governor-General of the Phillipines, though)
T Roosevelt - Governor
McKinley - Governor
Cleveland - Governor
B Harrison - Not Governor
Arthur - Not Governor (but not elected)
Garfield - Not Governor
Hayes - Governor
Grant - Not Governor
Johnson - appointed military Governor (of TN)
Lincoln - Not Governor
Buchanan - Not Governor
Pierce - Not Governor
Fillmore - Not Governor, not elected
Taylor - Not Governor
Polk - Governor
Tyler - Governor, not elected
Harrison - Not Governor of a state (but Governor of a territory)
Van Buren - Governor (though only for 3 months)
Jackson - Not Governor of a state (but Governor of a territory)
John Quincy Adams - Not Governor
Monroe - Governor
Madison - Not Governor
Jefferson - Governor (during the revolution)
John Adams - Not Governor
Washington - Not Governor

Not any kind of strong historical trend that current or former governors dominate the Presidency...

Posted by: cmdicely on April 6, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

I keep waiting for Richardon to break out as well. Clinton and Edwards showed really bad judgment on the authorization vote. Edwards has recanted but still wary about the judgement thing. Obama worries me with his triangulating. Richardson was against the authorization and has great experience. Hadn't heard about the scandals and I'm wary of his coziness with AIPAC. Dodd, too, has a good voting record, and, when push came to shove, voted against the authorization and is the first Senator to sign on to the Feingold/Reid out of Iraq bill--something I don't think Obama or Clinton have done.

So I keep waiting for Richardson or Dodd to break out, or Gore to get in. Might be a long wait. I'm in a late primary state, so I don't need to think too hard about it right now. And I'll wholeheartedly support the Dem nominee, whomever it may be.

Posted by: allys gift on April 6, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Let's hear it for having the first primaries in small states that don't require f-ing huge media buys."

I live in California now, but I'm originally from the Midwest, and I say that this "small states better" argument is hooey, at least as far as California is concerned.

Although large in size and population, California is pretty much empty compared to the much more densly populated states east of or along the Mississippi.

A Democratic candidate could travel around California, hit San Diego, Orange County, and LA in one day, then go on to Bakersfield and Fresno for the lower valley the next day, Stockton and Sacramento for the upper valley the next, and pick among San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco to cover the Bay Area. It might be worth a couple of stops here in the Bay Area just because of the number of votes to mine.

Public rallies would draw thousands of people at each stop. Free media in the form of local TV news and newspaper coverage, with loads of blogging...

I would like to see Richardson do this. As New Mexico governor he has appeal here in the West. As a Hispanic, he also has a big natural base here. A California strategy would look a lot more like, for instance, a South Carolina strategy.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 6, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Correction to cmdicely's list:

Woodrow Wilson was Governor of NJ from 1911 to 1913.

Posted by: OrangeSam on April 6, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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