The Richardson endorsement

It's such an unusual thing for me to actually get a request to blog on a topic, thus, I've got to say a few words about Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama.  Obviously, there's not many voters out there who are going to say, “oohhh, now I'll vote for Obama,” but still I do think this endorsement is of important symbolic importance.  Among other things, it's been well-reported that Obama does not fare well among Hispanics, and Richardson is far-and-away the most prominent Hispanic politican. 

More importantly, it is saying somethig that Richardson is willing to stand up to the Clinton establishment.  Here's a little tidbit from Jason Zengerly I came across over at TNR discussing Clintonite (and former DNC chair) Terry McAuliffe:

All that said, the most interesting thing
about Richardson's endorsement, to me at least, is thinking about just
how much it must piss off Terry McAuliffe. Here's one of my favorite
bits of campaign reportage this year, from a piece Crowley wrote way back when about the mood on the Clinton campaign plane right after her defeat in Iowa:

The preternaturally jolly McAuliffe is a good
man to have spinning for you in a pinch. But his good cheer dimmed when
I asked him about Bill Richardson, who appears to have made an
11th-hour deal to throw his supporters to Obama. ?How many times did
[Clinton] appoint him?? McAuliffe marveled. ?Two? U.N. Ambassador and
Energy Secretary?? He looked at me, half-glaring, awaiting
confirmation. ?I don?t know,? I joked, ?but who?s counting?? ?I am,?
McAuliffe said firmly.

Imagine what McAuliffe's thinking now.

One thing that has always troubled me about Hillary's campaign is wondering how many of her staff and supporters generally wanted her to be president versus how many thought they could not turn their back on Bill (especially after reading this excellent Josh Green profile of Hillary some time ago).  Reading McAuliffe's comments you really have to wonder just how widespread this is.  Richardson has the stature where he can buck the Clintons, but many politicians are surely (and quite legitimately) fearful.  Anyway, I am pleased that my original choice for the nomination has backed my current choice.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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