Where, Where the Hell Is Bill?


Liz Mair takes to the New York Sun to analyze the state of the Libertarian Democrats. Can I give away the ending?

First, we have Senator Clinton, master of the big-government welfare state, with its price tag to be paid for with tax increases… Then, we have the former senator from North Carolina, John Edwards. During his Senate days, he was one of the most fiscally conservative Democrats. But, since then, he's jumped on the loony-Left bandwagon, bashing Wal-Mart, personally leading a new War on Poverty, and championing tax hikes and large-scale redistribution of wealth… And, finally, we have Senator Obama, the man who has served a grand total of two years in the Senate and in that time has voted against every notable bill that would cut taxes.

But Mair argues that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson could string together a libertarian-Democrat coalition that would truly challenge the GOP in the Mountain West, and among voters who care about guns and taxes.

Mr. Richardson scored third best of any Democratic governor for overall current-term performance on Cato's 2006 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors. He earned a better grade than 37 other Governors, including 20 Republicans, in part because, during his tenure, New Mexico's top marginal income tax rate has dropped a remarkable 35%.

Mr. Richardson also brings good credentials where immigration, guns, and social issues are concerned. He declared a border emergency in his state in 2005 (so he's no immigration softie), and he voted against the Brady bill and other gun control initiatives while in Congress. Yet, Mr. Richardson also has solid, moderate, pro-choice credentials, and is not a proponent of constitutional bans on gay marriage or civil unions.

Mr. Richardson's record and his views could resonate with libertarian Democrats, and that's something that should give Democratic Party bigwigs pause for thought.

Sounds great! And Richardson could be a good candidate if he came up with a powerful platform—something every candidate except the born-again lefty John Edwards lacks—and tightened his message machine. Maybe it'll come after he announces a formal bid and answers the inevitable scandal queries.