Where, Where the Hell Is Bill?

Bill Richardson just loves his country too much to let an ongoing New Mexico influence-peddling investigation muck up his confirmation as Commerce Secretary, and so good-bye. Mildly bad news, maybe, for those of us who cling to any capital-C Character that comes along in an otherwise dreary sea, much like early-'80s Cleveland once embraced Super Joe Charboneau.

More substantively, to the extent that the Department of Commerce impacts trade policy, it would theoretically seem unfortunate that a trade-bashing president-elect has let go a man once self-styled as a "market Democrat." But Richardson dropped that moniker faster than a heroin habit when he ran for president, campaigning unpersuasively against trade agreements, and otherwise doing what Brian Schweitzer and all the other once-ballyhooed (by fools like me) Mountain West Democrats have done–stand athwart a party bending leftward on economics and yelling "me, too!" For eulogies of the market-friendly strain within the Democratic Party, see these pieces by Tim Cavanaugh and David Weigel.

The worst news of all is that the Department of Commerce still exists. An $8.4 billion budget with 38,000 employees? What are they building in there? Helpfully, the department's website lets us know, right there on the front page. At a link entitled "Commerce Department Accomplishments" you can find, um, some speeches and fact-sheets about why trade is good? Of even less help is a little front-page box entitled "Commerce and You." There you can access a nifty little population clock for the U.S. and the world, but also such marginalia as the Official Time in Your Area, Today's Weather, and (my favorite) Grant Opportunities.

Way back in 1987, when Republicans still talked that way, Clarence Thomas asked in a Reason interview: "Why do you need a Department of Commerce?" And as late as '08, soon-to-be disappointing Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr told us that, "The Department of Commerce, to my mind, has no legitimate Cabinet-level function."

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  • VM||

    nice Joe Charboneau reference. the rumor at the time was that he would drink pop through his nose...

    :)

  • ||

    Mildly bad news? a suspected influence peddlar won't take a position at the main influence peddling cabinet department. Unfortunately, his replacement won't be any less dirty.

  • Turtles||

    Pshaw. At least he didn't solicit gay sex.

  • nobody u no and a big fan of j||

    this is nothing but pure racism. reasons fear of brown people is coming out again.

    time will show that this is another republican plot to stop the natural evolution to a progressive society.

  • ||

    Doesn't being the American League Rookie of the year mean anything, anymore? I can understand the hope that was invested in Super Joe by Cleveland fans-he did something positive. Richardson? Just another big gvt socialist democrat, hack.

  • ||

    nobody-

    Racism? I just love the reflexive invocation of that tired nonsense. Here, as with assertions that one is racist when one criticizes Israel or some person of jewish background, the charge is all the more goofy considering that Richardson is WHITE.

  • Other Matt||

    "The Department of Commerce, to my mind, has no legitimate Cabinet-level function."

    There are a few more that can be added to that particular list.

  • Other Matt||

    the charge is all the more goofy considering that Richardson is WHITE.

    But he's got some latino, so he's not white in a racist defining kinda setaside minority enterprise reverse discrimination "I want a token in a cabinet position" kinda way.

  • ||

    I'd remove the Dept of Education before the Dept of Commerce. Not because I think the latter is especially useful, but because I think the former is much more destructive.

  • Matt Welch||

    Doesn't being the American League Rookie of the year mean anything, anymore?

    Ask Angel Berroa!

  • ||

    As a former employee of the Department of Commerce, I must come to it's defense for two of it's [constitutionally mandated even - take that USDA] functions: Decennial Census and the Patent and Trade Office.

    Most of the rest is a joke (Minority Business Development Administration), an over-reach of governmental responsibilities (NIST) or should be privatized (NOAA).

  • ||

    LOL, Corruption is bliss isnt it!

    Jess
    www.web-privacy.pro.tc

  • ||

    nobody,

    The Holocaust denier guy thinks you have an awesome point.

    Congratulations.

  • ||

    About racism, no less.

    You must be so proud.

  • ||

    Joe Charboneau? How about Bernie Kosar, Carlos Baerga and Brad Daugherty? Cleveland is a perpetually dreary locale ... all hope, and no sizzle. Kind of like ... Obama.

  • ||

    I'd remove the Dept of Education before the Dept of Commerce. Not because I think the latter is especially useful, but because I think the former is much more destructive.

    Exactly. Commerce is relatively benign, and $8 billion is small potatoes compared to other departments.

  • ||

    Other Matt-

    Latinos are not a different race on the basis of being Latino. Latinos can be caucasian, negroid or mixed. Richardson may have darker hair and eyes, but he is a caucasian.

  • ||

    Bernie Kosar did win a national championship for the U in one of the greatest college footbal games of all time. Byner's fumble didn't help Benie's legacy either.

  • ||

    I have long thought that Cleveland sports fans have a close affinity to libertarian thinking ... the constant hope for glory, the ever alive illogical charting of paths to the crown of victory. Yet, again and again, we are led to the inevitable end of loss and gloom. We have an occasional superstar that redounds to our cause, but when we, on those very rare occasions, arrive at the Dance ... we choke.

  • ||

    Joe-

    So, are you on board with noboby's assertion that Reason fears brown people?

  • ||

    No, I think that's idiotic.

    You know he's a troll, right?

  • ||

    Chachanomics-

    I wouldn't say that the Cavaliers "choked" in last spring's Eastern conference semifinals. Their 7 game series with the Celtics was awesome. I was lucky enough to score a tikcet to Game 7 and observed one of the year's great sporitng contests. Pierce and James was better, IMO, than Bird and Dominique Wilkins.

  • ||

    Point taken ...and I hold I personally think that the Cavs this year are better than any other NBA team ... my evidence is this : a couple of nights ago against the Bulls they had 7, that's right, SEVEN players score double digits. Incredible. Yet, as a Cleveland fan, I must believe that they will blow it somehow.

  • Loupeznik||

    Well, maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks

  • ||

    This Celtics fan thinks the Cavs were a lot scarier than the Lakers in last year's playoffs.

    LeBron is the man. If I was building an NBA team around any one player, it would be him.

  • ||

    Thank you joe ... I agree. Now, if only Cleveland can hold him past 2010 ...

  • ||

    Joe-

    It appears so. BTW, I did not take any shots at you....so what gives?

  • Boston||

    Ha.

    I would be more scared of the Cavs if they hadn't dropped one...to the effing wiz. Though we havent been doing as well of late as ever. Though BC beat Carolina in Carolina, so all isnt that bad in boston.

  • ||

    What gives, LM, is that I am genuinely and eternally creeped out by what you had to say about the Holocaust, and that you were inspired to bring it up by the Israeli incursion.

  • Eric Dondero||

    Oh, come on now Reason guys. Richardson was your man! You think we have such short memories? I remember when you leftwing libertarians were playing Richardson up as America's "top example of a libertarian-leaning Democrat." (slightly paraphrased.)

    And now he gets busted and you all are running for the eastern New Mexico hills.

    So, who will be the "shining example" of an actual libertarian-leaning Democrat now, Reason?

  • ||

    Well, maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks

    I heard it was Bad Religion.

  • ||

    Chachanomics-

    My view is perhaps a little different than most sports fans, but I look at the whole body of work. My assessment of a player and a team is not limited to the rings.

    For example, there is a local sports talk guy here in New England, the obnoxious Michael Felger, who consistently whines that Brett Favre is not that good and that Peyton Manning is over-rated. He claims that Favre is supremely over-rated because he has won only one Super Bowl and that you can count on him giving the game away.

    He does not want to hear that Favre has started 269 consecutive games and that the quarterback closest to him is Manning with 176. He does not want to hear that Favre has thrown more touchdown passes than any other qb in history or that Favre has the most completions and yards in NFL history. He doesn't want to hear that Favre is second to Elway in fourth quarter comebacks or that he has thrown for 3,000 yards for 17 consecutive seasons.

    Yesterday, on another thread, I made a similar point to cunnivore about Matt Millen. Sure, he failed BIG TIME with the Lions. Does that make him a loser unqualified to provide analysis for NBC? The guy went to Penn State and played for JoePa. He was an All-American. He played on four Super Bowl champions and had coaches like Tome FLores, George Sieffert and Joe Gibbs. Plus, he was generally considered one of the best broadcast analysts before taking on the Lions GM/Pres. duties.

  • Nigel Watt||

    DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • ||

    DONDERRROOOOOOO

    Eric, can you please tell us more stories as we requested here?

  • ||

    Damn you Nigel!

  • BakedPenguin||

    DONDERRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! You're right, he's nowhere near as libertarian as Rudy 'Freedom Is About Authority' Guiliani.

  • Boston||

    Also most career INTs! Favre was great back in the day, not so great now. Great move by Green Bay. Once they get anything like a defense, you will have to watch out for them.

  • Travis||

    "Well, maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks"

    Are they still around? I thought they broke up a long time ago.

  • Warty||

    I have long thought that Cleveland sports fans have a close affinity to libertarian thinking ... the constant hope for glory, the ever alive illogical charting of paths to the crown of victory.

    Being a Cleveland fan is more of an exercise in nihilism for me - "Yeah, we suck. Fuck you."
    Though now, at least, we get to have the oh-so-sexiest quarterback in the NFL. That's something, right?

  • Warty||

    I just read that thread on Radley's blog. What the fucking fuck?

  • ||

    If I'm not mistaken, this is the first post by Dondero since this past summer, when he was mocking people for saying there was a recession.

  • Boston||

    joe,

    He must have come around during the election cheerleading for the "Libertarian" Gov. Palin right?

  • ||

    Pretty great stuff, isn't it, Warty?

    In Eric's honor, I am currently playing Black Flag's "My War".

  • ||

    You'd think so, but he went silent for a few months.

  • Warty||

    joe, there's no way that can be right. He looms as large as you; could he really manage that without posting for six months?

  • Boston||

    Eric Dondero | November 4, 2008, 10:23am | #

    BTW, I fully agree with Manny:

    Best course for all Libertarians is to vote McCain/Palin in critical swing states, and for Barr/Root in safe GOP states like Wyoming, Texas, Utah, ect...

    Though, I'm a Texan and I voted McCain/Palin out of loyalty and adoration for Sarah.

  • Boston||

    I don't know much but i know my Dondero

  • ||

    Though, I'm a Texan and I voted McCain/Palin out of loyalty and adoration for Sarah.

    Didn't we slam him for his mooning over Palin? Got a link to that thread, Beantown?

  • Nigel Watt||

    "Loyalty and adoration for Sarah"? It might be the crappy office coffee, but damn that's nauseating.

  • Warty||

    Dondero in love, they push, he shoves
    there's no point in asking, you'll never know why
    you run and don't listen, I sit home and cry
    my heart sinks further with each of his lies

    his love is real
    his love is real
    his love is real
    his love is real

  • Boston||

    http://reason.com/blog/show/129859.html#1130678

    Oddly enough, your comment was the next after his

  • Neu Mejican||

    the charge is all the more goofy considering that Richardson is WHITE.

    The working definition of Hispanic or Latino

    Hispanics may be of any race. The terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" are used interchangeably in this report....The OMB defines Hispanic or Latino as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central
    American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race."



    http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-1.pdf


    Richardson:
    His mother, María Luisa López-Collada Márquez is Mexican and was his father's secretary and a socialite. Richardson's father was born in Nicaragua...a U.S. citizen by birthright, was raised during his childhood in Mexico City.

  • Neu Mejican||

    That is..."a U.S. citizen by birthright, [Bill Richardson] was raised during his childhood in Mexico City."

  • ||

    Boston-

    I can understand Green Bay's position in sticking by Aaron Rodgers. I am not defending Favre's inability to make up his mind. The whole thing was a passion play-

    However, last year Green Bay was 13-3. This year, a horrible decline. The Jets improved from 4 to 9 wins. Favre had one of the best years a quarterback has ever had last year (2007)-it just happened the same year that Tom Brady had THE BEST year a quarterback has ever had.

    Sure, he has had the most interceptions. But, for me, as I suspect for many footbal fans, its not his statistical dominance that carries the day, rather, its the way in which he played. Thus, he goes to Southern Miss and is no. 7 on the depth charts as qb as a freshman. He gets into a game his freshman year with his team down in the second half and he rallies them to victory. How about his senior year in 1990? He gets into a nasty car accident, nearly loses his life and has a good portion of his intestines removed. The accident was in July. He comes back to play the Crimson Tide (I think they were #2or 3 in the country at the time) and beats them in September.

    How about the first game he starts for the Packers in 1992? He rallies the Packers from a fourth quarter deficit against the Bengals by engineering a two play, 92 yard touchdown drive with a minute left in the game.

    The game against the Raiders the day after his father passed away? How about the 1995 season in which he was knocked out of a game against the Vikings with a partially separated shoulder only to come back the next week and throw for 5 touchdowns against the Bears?

    I could go on and on...

  • LurkerBold||

    nobody u no,

    Thanks for ripping off my typing style. Now I am forced to use caps. Everybody watch as she/he continues to rip me off.

    At least nobody u is Progressive, although in that off-the-rails nutty way, not a true Progressive and does make a good point on the racism.

    His/her idol, the wanna-be-progressive, seems to think that holocost tripe is real.

    Dondero reminding everybody that Reason was on the right path, before the election, has induced fits with several of the posers here. Pretty funny.

  • ||

    Neu-

    He is white.

  • LurkerBold||

    NM,

    Thank you for attempting to inform the ignorant who have infected this space.

  • LurkerBold||

    I see it did not take in the case of Libertymike.

  • Loupeznik||

    The title is from Camper Van Beethoven'S Where The Hell Is BIll

  • ||

    Oddly enough, your comment was the next after his

    I thought so. That's why I remembered it.

  • ||

    At least nobody u is Progressive, although in that off-the-rails nutty way, not a true Progressive and does make a good point on the racism.

    His/her idol, the wanna-be-progressive, seems to think that holocost tripe is real.


    Awesome.

  • Boston||

    LM,

    Like i said he was great, not so much now. The packers, lost (iirc) 4 to 5 games by 6 or less points. Say you win those games or 2 of them, thats a significant change. And that was hardly ARodgers fault, their defense is terrible. Also the afc east had the easiest schedule of any division. also Ryan Grant did not have the season that thomas jones did. Add that to the fact that B Favre is by all accounts a pretty terrible teammate and aging rapidly, its a no brainer.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    "Eric, can you please tell us more stories as we requested here?"

    Yes, Eric, tell us about all your "medals" again.

  • ||

    I know I'm a little late here, but I figure I have to post SOMETHING or I'll be stripped of my username. Unfortunately, I don't have anything useful to add to the discussion other than to point out that referencing "Where the Hell is Bill" is sooooooo 2007: http://www.reason.com/blog/show/119031.html

    Now if you'll excuse me I have to get some gnarly thrash boots...

  • LurkerBold||

    joe,

    Yes, awsome indeed.

    Why don't you quit pretending to be Progressive and see the light?

  • ||

  • ||

    I guess I'm just too busy believing "that Holocaust tripe."

  • ||

    I didn't realize your Austrian fixation extended all the way down to the corporals.

  • MNG||

    The problem with Favre is that he's at times clearly one of the top QB's in the league, but he often tries to take the team on his shoulders and carry them to victory and in that phase he gets terribly mistake prone, trying to thread the needle a bit too much, and you get these interceptions.

    But come on, GB with Rodgers stunk it up this year.

  • MNG||

    Can I remind all of the people bitching about a college playoff how the pro playoff, which allowed the Chargers at 8-8 but not the Pats, was a bunch of crap?
    Meanwhile most bowls have been great.

    Keep college the way it is.

  • LurkerBold||

    joe,

    Austrian fixation? Care to elaborate?

  • Boston||

    Their D is in the bottom third of both YPG and PPG. Rodgers was the 7th rated QB(iirc). and the lost a ton of close games. Again. Not. His. Fault.

  • ||

    No, but I'll responde to MNG.

    A college playoff wouldn't have to depend on conference and division winners, because there is already a ranking system in place.

    Just put the top 16 (or 20, if you want to give the top 4 a bye week) and put them in brackets, like March Madness.

    C'mon, everyone loves the NCAA tournament.

  • MNG||

    joe
    If we put the top 16 or the top 8 (the more common proposal) then we would have number 17 and 9 bitching about how they deserved to be in the playoff just like we have number 3 and 4 doing the same. It'll solve nothing.


    But look what it will ruin. Take Vanderbilt. Those poor fuckers pulled together and made a bowl for like the 4th time in their entire history, and they won. They get to go out on top having won their last big game on a national setting, and good for them, they deserve it.

    The bowl system allows countless stories like this to happen. A playoff would give us one "winner" and a bunch of losers, and the winner would still be contested (even super bowl winners have teams that beat them during the regular season, sometimes soundly).

  • ||

    Playoffs good, not-playoffs bad.

  • ||

    MNG-

    I am with you on the bowl system. Of course, as Joe points out, everyboy loves March madness, but that doesn't mean that football should copy basketball.

  • ||

    Boston and MNG-

    How about if Favre had Brady's brains? Or Manning's?

  • MNG||

    Pro-L
    Would I incur the wrath of Urkobold if I asked you to, er, expand on your argument?

  • Boston||

    Just because there will be problems with the new system doesnt mean that it isnt better than the old system. and lets not bring up vandy, f them and Jay Cutler.

  • MNG||

    I think Favre would need a new temperament, not brains. But of course that's whats good about him too, his confidence and drive, which is also a weakness at times.

    He's like Two-Face.

    But he can sell more merchandise.

  • ||

    Yes.

  • ||

    Take Vanderbilt...even super bowl winners have teams that beat them during the regular season, sometimes soundly

    You're just trolling me and Boston now, aren't you?

    ;-)

  • .||

    You know he's a troll, right?

    You know you're part of the problem when you feed him. Right?

  • MNG||

    I rooted big time for BC Boston, but that 2nd string QB wasn't gonna win it for them.
    They've dominated in the bowls for a while now (another reason to stay away from playoffs as BC would have made the playoffs very few times but obviously should have some reward for their perennial excellence), so let every dog have its day.

  • ||

    You want to know the dirty little secret about BC's recently-ended bowl streak?

    BC fans don't travel well, so the Eagles always end up in a bowl game one or two steps below what their performance during the season would suggest.

  • LurkerBold||

    joe,

    No kidding, you cannot elaborate just yet because you were too busy talking basketball to make something up.

  • Boston||

    Why can't you have the old bowls for non-playoff teams. I mean Basketball has the NIT.

    LM- Favre needs to get younger and that aint gonna happen

  • Other Matt||

    Latinos are not a different race on the basis of being Latino. Latinos can be caucasian, negroid or mixed. Richardson may have darker hair and eyes, but he is a caucasian.

    Obviously my sarcasm was lost on you. To be more specific, having Latino negates any Caucasian you have, in some people's mind, ergo you are a member of an oppressed minority and a beneficiary of a multitude of government programs. You are entirely correct, my point was that there are a number of people who ignore this in favor of the Latino.

    The same principle is then extrapolated to, say, homosexuality. If you're homosexual it negates any Caucasian you have in your genetics.

    It's patently ridiculous, but it's the way a lot of lefties think.

  • MNG||

    Pro L
    Then I shall not ask.

    Hail the Urkobold, may his Taint never Stain.

  • LurkerBold||

    Other Matt,

    You sounded fine until that last bigoted line. We need more programs for people like you.

  • ||

    More philosophizing from the "Straight White Males Are Oppressed" school of thought.

    An endlessly reneweable resource.

  • LurkerBold||

    joe,

    Finally you wrote something good today. Continue on the path.

  • BDB||

    joe | January 5, 2009, 10:07am | #
    If I'm not mistaken, this is the first post by Dondero since this past summer, when he was mocking people for saying there was a recession.



    True story: I said the economy was in the shitter, and Dondero said it was strong. The next day, Lehman Bros. collapsed and the stock market went down 800 points.

    The fundamentals are strong...

  • Nick||

    Where, where the Hell is Bill?
    Where, where the Hell is Bill?
    Well, maybe he went to get a sideways haircut
    Maybe he went to get a striped shirt
    Maybe he went to get some plastic shoes
    Maybe he went to get some funny sunglasses
    Well, maybe he went to get an Air Force parka
    Maybe he went to get a Vespa scooter
    Maybe he went to get a British flag
    Maybe he went to go Mod Ska dancing
    Well, maybe he went to get a mohawk
    And maybe he went to get some gnarly thrash boots
    Maybe he went to go ride his skateboard
    Maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks

  • Nick||

    I love Camper Van Beethoven.

  • Nick||

    Btw, it's sad about Bill Richardson. As much as I think he's a pretty good example of the direction Dems should go (after all, he was Cato's top ranking Democratic governor for several years), if there's corruption there, he shouldn't be running the Department of Commerce. I was excited too, because he's a free trader. Just because his policies are more agreeable than most of the other Dems doesn't mean he gets a pass on possible corruption, though.

  • ||

    Let's not get out ahead of ourselves here. There is an investigation into whether somebody in his administration acted improperly. There hasn't even been an accusation made yet about anybody, no evidence has been made public, and we don't even know if Richardson is a subject of the investigation.

  • Nick||

    You're right, Joe, but what we know doesn't sound very good. Then again, that sort of thing happens all the time. Isn't that just called lobbying? It wasn't as if Richardson was personally enriched by this company a la Ted Stevens.

  • ||

    Isn't that just called lobbying?

    No no, "free speech."

  • Syd||

    It doesn't really sound like Richardson to me, so hopefully it'll turn out he did nothing improper and they can investigate important questions like whether he really does have wandering hands.

    He's got a couple of years left as governor, anyway, and if he's exonerated, I'm sure Obama could find a place for him.

  • ||

    If Reason Magazine's World Wide Web site, specifically its web-log "Hit 'n Run," does not immediately cease re-cycling blog post titles, I promise to kill everyone I know (both of them.)

  • ||

    This thread has a strange football conversation intertwined with the actual topic. It's almost like it is caught in some sort of time shift ala the movie "Contact".

  • Nick||

    It could have been somewhat strategic as well - bets are something (be it a scandal or a sudden urge to challenge Obama in 2012) pushes Hillary out of SoS, Richardson would be in a perfect position to accept. Then again, I guess he could still do that from within the Cabinet...

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