August 14, 2005


A New New Democrat Looks West and Forward (Mark Z. Barabak, August 14, 2005, LA Times)

Bill Richardson is holding court, seated at the far end of a shiny table in his modest Albuquerque office. It is Thursday, and the governor is hosting one of his regular open-door sessions — a chance for citizens to walk off the street and avail themselves of an audience with New Mexico's chief executive.

Richardson values these meetings, he said, for the knowledge he takes away and the connection they give him to the far-flung people of his state. But Richardson is a man of constant, propulsive motion, and it obviously pains him to sit still for so long. Even more painful, it seems, is having to sit with his mouth shut.

In the course of one afternoon, Richardson will meet a candidate for state attorney general, agree to write the foreword of a nature book, grant $500,000 to put a new roof on a local library, agree to a management study at the University of New Mexico hospital, and pardon three convicted felons. Each session goes something like this: a handshake, chitchat, goodnatured needling, a bit of listening. And then the governor abruptly cuts off each visitor. "OK," he demands. "What do you want from me?"

Richardson has long been the proverbial man in a hurry, starting with his first audacious run for office 25 years ago, when, transplanted from Washington, the Democrat nearly unseated the state's veteran GOP congressman. (Richardson won his own House seat in 1982.) Lately, Richardson's exertions have been aimed at resuscitating New Mexico, the sick man of the Southwest. His ultimate design, apparently, is a White House bid in 2008.

No matter what you may think of Governor Richardson--and we kind of like him--no one as slovenly as he is going to be elected president.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 14, 2005 6:16 AM

Yes, he always looks kind of frumpy. But then, take a look at the new "hip look" of men not combing their hair. What's up with that? What's next, dressing slovenly like Richardson?

Posted by: AllenS at August 14, 2005 11:06 AM

His ethnicity still makes him good cover as a VP nominee in 2008, at which time the Democrats' fashion consultants can take over. Whether or not the party's ideological consultants do the same thing to Bill, a la Joe Lieberman in 2000, is another question.

Posted by: John at August 14, 2005 12:54 PM