Big 'n' Richardson


New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, whose presidential bid sunk like that bus in The Sweet Hereafter two-and-a-half months ago, endorses Barack Obama. Jonah Goldberg shrugs.

Is there any person in the Known Universe who honestly and sincerely will vote for Obama now solely because Bill Richardson has endorsed him? Could such a person exist?

Hey, I exist! When I followed around Richardson and read his book for this article, I started off expecting his reputation as a market-friendly, iconoclastic Democrat to be a charade. It was only 75 percent of a charade: Pretty impressive, as these things go. Congressman Richardson whipped against the proto-John Edwards Democrats to pass NAFTA, and Governor Richardson signed a medical marijuana law while keeping New Mexico government pretty lean (if not lean by Gary Johnson standards). His absolute worst moments have come when either 1)running for president (I'm talking more about his left turn in New Mexico than his campaign trail gaffes) or 2)working for Bill Clinton. And there's no chance of him doing either of those things now!

Also, Richardson's snub of the Clintons underscores what rotten people they surround themselves with. For example:

The preternaturally jolly [Terry] McAuliffe is a good mad 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.

I wasn't on the fence between Clinton and Obama (I voted for Ron Paul in D.C.'s primary), but if I was, this would nudge me.