City of Roses
Bill Richardson is currently my favorite 2008 hopeful, and I'll tell y'all why.
Richardson has served seven terms in Congress, has been an ambassador to the United Nations, has visited many foreign countries on diplomatic aims, and also served as the U.S Secretary of Energy, which makes for an immense credibility on international affairs few can match. I especially respect him for his recent dedication to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, who last month went to Sudan and tried to broker a 60-day cease-fire with President al-Bashir and rebel group leaders.
With all that considered, I think Richardson is that kind of candidate who would be most effective at improving our image in the eyes of the international community. Moreover, with his experience as a U.S energy secretary, he would encourage a great discussion about energy policy, and also as a governor of New Mexico, he has a strong record on greenhouse gas emissions control, which global warming concerns are certain to be a major 2008 campaign topic, something which not just Bill Richardson, but candidates like Barack Obama and John McCain are talking about also.
Finally, Bill Richardson is popular among both Democrats and Republicans in New Mexico (seventh most popular with 74% job approval according to the most recent monthly SurveyUSA 50 Governor approval tracking poll), who is commended for often reaching across the aisle and was even touted by the libertarian organization known as the CATO Institute for being one of the most fiscally responsible Democratic governors in the nation, where indeed both his experience as a governor and a U.S representative serves him well.
Of course, Bill Richardson is a huge underdog currently and is well behind both Clinton, Obama and Edwards in money and name-recognition. However, I believe, especially when we still have almost an entire year before the 2008 presidential primaries, that there is more than enough time for a come-behind campaign to take the top slot like Bill Clinton did in 1992, where nobody had even heard of him until after October of 1991. And the real reason I believe all kinds of candidates from George W. Bush in 2000, Bill Clinton in 1992, and Ronald Reagan in 1980, pulled it off then was because of their huge likeability factors, and likeability historically is what elects our presidents.
I think as people get a look at lower-profiled candidates like Richardson, they will begin to like him and gain interest in him. Candidates like Biden and Clinton, on the other hand, sort of stand out in contrast to those like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan because both have reputations for anger and sourness, which historically hurts candidates. The main reason John Kerry struggled much of the 2004 election season was because he wasn't seen as real likeable to the American public. The public saw him as too angry, too serious, too pretentious and too elitist, whereas President Bush, even if you disagreed with his politics heavily, still seemed likeable and at least appeared like a regular guy.
I think Hillary Clinton lacks the intensity of likeability Bill Clinton had, and that's why I believe this contest is far from over, and much of the American public are going to be looking for other candidates out there who resonate with both that personal brand of charm and integrity, which they've already begun finding with Barack Obama, despite his lack of political experience, and can certainly continue to find in candidates like Bill Richardson.
On the GOP side, Rudy Giuliani is thus far the most appealing candidate to me, who I believe is genuinely interested in seeking more common ground in the political process, although I have reservations of his lack of political experience.
Also, I respect many GOP candidates in their own ways, yet are at odds with them in other ways. I highly respect Sam Brownback for his excellent leadership on the Darfur humanitarian issue, as well as other African issues like fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria and social issues here at home including poverty, and finally admire him in speaking out against the Iraq war surge, but am greatly at odds with him on many domestic issues including his stances on gay rights. I commend Chuck Hagel for having the courage to speak out against the handling of the Iraq war frequently and demanding a change in course, as well as his strong defense of civil liberties, but disagree with him on most other issues. And though I admire John McCain's efforts on campaign finance refrm and environmental conservation in particular, in heart I just don't trust McCain as a commander-in-chief and believe he'll be even more hawkish and stubborn as one.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"