John Edwards

The Remarkable Mr. Richardson

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I just put up an Economist blog post about Gov. Bill Richardson, who is, to the apparent interest of nobody, doing really well in the Democratic primary polls. From a start in the low single digits Richardson has moved up to the low teens in Iowa and New Hampshire, inching pretty close to Obama in the Hawkeye state and past John Edwards in the Granite state. If you check out the averages on Pollster.com, Richardson is the only Democrat who's gained in every state: Obama has risen some and fallen some, Edwards has usually just fallen.

So if we assume that the polls are right and Richardson is slowly rising, what's the cause? He's less ambitious about tax hikes than the rest of the Democrats and he calls himself a "market-oriented Democrat," but that shouldn't necessarily excite Democrats. What's happening is that Richardson is polling disproportionately well among independents, and many of them—so, so done with George W. Bush and the GOP—need a candidate. Hillary's out of the question, Obama's increasingly unlikely, and Edwards is a drip, so they're looking at Richardson.

(The most recent numbers: In South Carolina only 1 percent of Democrats support Richardson, but 9 percent of independents do. In New Hampshire it's 6 percent of Democrats and, again, 9 percent of independents. In Iowa Richardson has an outright lead: 25 percent of independents.)

NEXT: Spliff Split

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  1. Richardson’s general stance is more in line with the Democratic Leadership Council than any of the other front runners. Voters — especially independents — are still attracted to it’s general centrist approach and eschew the populism leaking out of, say, Edwards. He also has the beefiest resume of the lot and has been the most aggressive among the majors about getting out of Iraq.

    Personally I think if he could shed a few pounds he could win.

  2. Richardson was decent for a Democrat, until he signed into law that idiotic statewide smoking ban for bars, restaurants, and private clubs.

    Wuz up with this guy? He’s relatively cool on medical marijuana, but off his rocker on tobacco.

    He’s gone over to the dark side of Nanny-statism.

    Give me the one guy in the race who’se ranting against the Nanny State – Rudy Giuliani.

  3. I said this on a previous post, but it bears repeating. In a more sane world, Richardson would be the Democrat nominee.

    Hes also the only Democrat who doesn’t insult my intelligence by telling me repealing the Bush tax cuts for the “wealthy” will buy us the stars and the moon.

  4. Give me the one guy in the race who’se ranting against the Nanny State – Rudy Giuliani.

    LOL you are upset by smoking bans but you are backing a guy who banned honking (among other silly things) in NYC?

    Thats really funny Dunderhead.

  5. Cesar,

    I think what Eric was trying to say is that bullies aren’t nannies. Vote for the bully!

  6. Richardson has always struck me a the smart choice for the Dems.

    Edwards was dead in the water the moment his wife started getting more press than him. Also, appearing on the cover of GQ and Esquire doesn’t do much to fight your image as a pretty boy.

  7. This can’t be the real Eric, this new guy is making the jokes too obvious.

  8. Yeah Eric, why vote for a Nanny-state when you can get a Police state from Rudy

  9. Edwards only chance was to win in Iowa (he has a lot of residual good will from 2004 caucus run-up and has/had a lot of union backing). But look how that worked out for Gephardt.

    If he’s lost the Iowa polling lead which he had until last month, he is dead in the ethanol.

    Way, way to for out to tell anything meaningful about the end-game for the Dems, but B-Rich certainly has the momentum right now.

  10. Help, Nanny, there’s a guy who wants to clean my window for spare change!

    LoL, Eric, thanks for protecting us from liberty-stealing panhandlers.

  11. Hey joe I’m just curious, since its your party who do you support right now? I gather you aren’t a big Hillary fan.

  12. “market oriented Democrat” = bullshit label to get votes. When push comes to shove on trade, taxes, or regulation, they usuaully get pushed over.

    See “Blue Dog Democrats”.

  13. Bill Richardson will be the next Vice President of the United States.

  14. Cesar,

    Right now, it’s between Richardson and Obama for me.

    If Gore enters the race, I’m voting for him.

  15. This can’t be the real Eric, this new guy is making the jokes too obvious.

    second that

  16. The problem with independent support is that independents don’t vote in party primaries. At least, not everywhere, and less of them than party faithful. If Richardson is going to ride this to the nomination – or at least a real run at it – he needs to either broaden that wave to win over “real” Dems, or get them to vote for the guy who polls well nationally no matter whose policies they personally agree with. After Kerry, I don’t think enough people are going to go for the latter.

  17. Seems like Richardson is a natural for Hillary to put on her ticket – move to center, lock up New Mexico’s electoral votes (went GOP in 2004). Obama can go off and spend eight years getting seasoned as Illinois governor and run
    on Richardson’s ticket in 2016, become president in 2024. (In a Dem perfect world, anyhow.)

  18. I have always favored Richardson. He’s Hispanic (but without an Hispanic name), has great credentials and experience, is market-oriented, as he says, and will blend his respect for markets with his commitment to rational social policies (nanny statism). He should have great appeal to the middle and indpendents. What more could you ask for?

  19. What I see happening is that Hillary turns her machine against Richardson as he becomes more of a threat than Obama, and she survives to get the nomination. She asks him to be her running mate, but he declines due to the ill treatment he received during the campaign. She chooses Harold Ford, Jr of TN instead.

    Meanwhile, Republican nominee Ron Paul is agonizing over who to choose as his VP, and decides to pull a coup and choose a Democrat to shake things up. He taps Richardson, who accepts the change to wreak revenge on the traitorous Clintons.

  20. Richardson is far and above better than any of the other Democrats running.

    And he’s a quite a bit better than a handful of the Republicans.

    My only concern would be that if he won the presidency, he would abandon his rational stances and rhetoric and succumb to the party politics of the Democratic majorities in Congress.

  21. Meanwhile, Republican nominee Ron Paul is agonizing over who to choose as his VP, and decides to pull a coup and choose a Democrat to shake things up. He taps Richardson, who accepts the change to wreak revenge on the traitorous Clintons.

    Then Paul and Richardson meet and Paul realizes that Richardson is more qualified than he…once elected, Paul steps down to the let the better man become President….as long as we are talking silly fantasy’s…

  22. Mediageek,

    My only concern would be that if he won the presidency, he would abandon his rational stances and rhetoric and succumb to the party politics of the Democratic majorities in Congress.

    FWIW, he would maintain his stance on your favorite issue as he has for the last 30 years as a Democrat getting elected and re-elected. He is a self-serving politician. Flip-flopping is not self-serving.

  23. My only concern would be that if he won the presidency, he would abandon his rational stances and rhetoric and succumb to the party politics of the Democratic majorities in Congress.

    mediageek wins the thread for his spot-on (predictive) analysis.

  24. Ron Paul is raptured by God to entertain the souls of aborted fetuses in Paradise and drops out of the race. His poll numbers, however, remain constant.

  25. Give me the one guy in the race who’se ranting against the Nanny State – Rudy Giuliani.

    you owe me a new pair of pants dude.

    holy shit you’re so ignorant you give ignorance a bad name. this was the guy who nanny stated the shit out of everything – hot dog vendors, the taxi commission, the works man. broken window theory = tossing pot smokers in the paddy wagon instead of giving them a ticket.

    you’re a fucking joke, donderoooooooooooooooo

  26. My only concern would be that if he won the presidency, he would abandon his rational stances and rhetoric and succumb to the party politics of the Democratic majorities in Congress.

    This is my biggest personal dilemma for the upcoming election. Unless the Republican candidate is Ron Paul, I absolutely, positively will not vote for any of the other Republicans (thanks for freaking out after 9/11 and fucking up my country, dudes)!

    But I also absolutely, positively do not want a Democratic House, Senate and Whitehouse. (Also, Democrats, thanks for freaking out after 9/11 and enabling the Republicans to fuck up my country so you wouldn’t be branded as “pussies”, dudes!)

    I’d love a small majority Republican House, small majority Democratic Senate (I believe the SCOTUS is getting way too overbalanced) and I don’t know as President. Right now Paul or Richardson would be cool.

    Clinton, Edwards or Obama, ugh! Romney, F. Thompson or Giuliani, ugh!

    The only upside to Clinton, Obama, or Romney is that they all represent something that we as a country need to get over: women, blacks and minority religion folks can in fact be President. Just not these three, please.

  27. Shorter version: Gridlock, glorious gridlock! Except for Iraq.

  28. Look how well divided government is at keeping the Iraq War going.

    You really want nothing to get done on ending this war, too?

  29. joe,

    That’s like asking Catholic school children to explain the Trinity. These libertarians expected to know the asnwers to the questions in the catechism. People who ask for expalanations are agents of the Devil (trolls).

  30. Since I doubt Richardson would try to enact a nationwide smoking ban, the fact that he did so in NM doesn’t bother me. Also, I don’t smoke.

    As a liberal, I don’t mind that he cut taxes, since he still managed to push through what sound like some worthwhile programs (I think it was transportation and teachers’ pay) without breaking the bank. I don’t think Democrats are in favor of tax hikes simply because they like tax hikes, they are in favor of spending (on programs they consider worthwhile) and, at least nowadays, they want the spending to be paid for up front and not added to the deficit. So if Richardson can claim that he left NM a better state than he found it, he should do okay.

    I think even libertarians have to admit that a candidate can’t run on a record that consists of “I cut taxes and didn’t to much of anything else, and things just took care of themselves.” Realistically speaking that doesn’t get many people to the polls.

  31. Look how well divided government is at keeping the Iraq War going.

    You really want nothing to get done on ending this war, too?

    We don’t have divided government on the Iraq war, joe. The Republicans want the war to continue because a bare majority of the portion of the electorate that voted for them wants the war to continue. The Democrats want the war to continue because they want to pound Republicans for another election cycle. Different cynical statist outlooks converging on a common outcome isn’t divided government (at least for that particular issue).

  32. Look how well divided government is at keeping the Iraq War going.

    You really want nothing to get done on ending this war, too?

    After September, some Republicans will start abandoning the war. How many? Enough in the Senate to prevent a filibuster. Hopefully enough to override a veto.

    The surge will be over in March anyway unless the deployment durations are changed again.

  33. jh,

    As much as it is in your third-party partisan interest to parrot St. Ralph’s language about the two parties being the same, it simply isn’t true in this case.

    I can’t wait to see your spin when 100% of Democrats and 10-15% of Republicans vote to stop the war this fall.

  34. joe, If you’re responding to de stijl, I think he had already corrected himself there.

    As for gridlock, my favorite form, given the past 30 years of history, is a relatively free-market friendly democrat in the whitehouse and a GOP majority in Congress. Still got us the DMCA and some other terrible legislation, but at least the budget was more-or-less balanced, and some real reform got passed – especially welfare reform.

    In blue-executive-red-legislative gridlock, Iraq isn’t a problem. Unless it’s Hilary. I’m just not sure what she’d do, foreign-policy wise. Can’t be much worse than shrub’s done, though.

  35. Look how well divided government is at keeping the Iraq War going. You really want nothing to get done on ending this war, too?

    In 2006, they said, give us back the Congress, and we’ll end this war.

    In 2008, they’re saying, give us back the Presidency, and we’ll end this war.

    Fool me once…

  36. Richardson is definitely a great resource for me:

    youtube.com/watch?v=mN2o208PFhg
    youtube.com/watch?v=CifLm6z32eA
    youtube.com/watch?v=i0YRHXoygRM
    youtube.com/watch?v=MiszkrzoOs0

    Maybe if Weigel wants to do some real reporting he could ask him about those issues.

  37. Spin harder! Harder!

    Yup, Nancy Pelosi, warmonger. Sure, the Democrats have unanimously supported a number of bills to end the war, only to be stymied by the Republicans. But that just shows that the Democrats support the war.

  38. RealReporting uncovering the MexicanAgenda?

    !aye dios mio!

  39. To paraphrase Edmund Burk, all that is necessary for this war to end is for enough Democrats to do nothing. (ie, not fund it)

    The sad thing is, they’re apparently not capable of that.

  40. TLB, who are you VotingFor?

  41. Thanks for asking! Most likely Hillary, with the same justifications I used to support JohnKerry.

  42. Personally, I think that Hillary would have to commit a major screw-up not to get the nomination. Richardson makes for a good VP nominee, precisely because of his ethnic background and the fact that is not a charismatic sort who would overshadow Hillary. She’s already got enough problems on that score from her husband.

  43. I had long thought of Richardson as a Democrat I could support, up until I heard his interview with Tim Russert. The man did nothing but make embarassed excuses for his own positions when challenged, and seemed incapable of taking a stand on anything or offering up a straight answer. Russert’s question about whether or not Richardson was actually drafted into major league baseball was met with a response on par with “We were alone but I didn’t really feel alone/depends what the definition of is is”. Not that Richardson’s baseball skills matter a bit to me, but the pattern of twisting, turning, and backtracking made the guy drop about 40 points in my one man opinion poll.

  44. Based on his record on tax cuts, gun rights and medical marijuana – not perfect, but better than most Dems – I was prepared to support Bill Richardson until Ron Paul entered the race.

    Then I watched part of the Tim Russert interview with Richardson, and frankly it was so boring I cannot remember anything from it, except Russert quoting from Richardson’s book on why we have to invade Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein.

    Richardson is now the most antiwar Democrat, and I still hope he gets the Democrat nomination, but he is no paragon of principle like Ron Paul.

  45. “market-oriented Democrat”? If that isn’t the mother of all oxy-morons.

  46. “Right now, it’s between Richardson and Obama for me.

    If Gore enters the race, I’m voting for him”

    And you post on a libertarian website? I think you should check out and post on one of the nanny-state magazine websites

  47. I find it hard to believe that this deep in the comment thread, no one has mentioned one issue that Richardson has set himself apart from the front-running democratic nominees: unlike Edwards, Clinton or Obama, he has called for a full withdrawal from Iraq.

  48. As much as it is in your third-party partisan interest to parrot St. Ralph’s language about the two parties being the same, it simply isn’t true in this case.

    I can’t wait to see your spin when 100% of Democrats and 10-15% of Republicans vote to stop the war this fall.

    joe — read what I actually said and quit trying to twist my words to mean what you’d like them to say: “a pox on both their houses”, not, “the two parties are the same”. Bush, a Republican, started this particular war, unlike most of the Democratic-instigated wars we’ve been involved in during the last century. The Republicans in Congress supported the war, and mostly still do. The Democrats said, give us control of Congress, and we’ll end this war. They lied. They got control, and then didn’t do what it would take to end it — sitting on their hands and not passing an appropriations bill to keep funding the war. The Democrats didn’t need ANY Republican votes to end the war. They can’t get the 2/3 to override a veto.

    Both parties are responsible. Both have blood on their hands. I won’t vote for any members of either major party for Congress in 2008, except Ron Paul.

    The parties are quite different — the Republicans are largely warfare-welfare statists, while the Democrats are welfare-warfare statists. Unlike you, I’m a libertarian, and unlike you, I want the war to end now, and unlike you I won’t vote for any of those statists, left or right leaning.

    Clear now what I’m saying?

  49. I think you should check out and post on one of the nanny-state magazine websites

    Yeah, the Internet needs more echo chambers.

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