On January 6, 2009, the editorial writers at my local paper (The
[Dover, NH] Foster's Daily Democrat)
published a strange editorial suggesting that Hillary Clinton must be
taking delight in Bill Richardson's misfortune. Supposedly she was
still furious because Gov. Richardson threw his support behind Barack
Obama rather than herself when he dropped out of the 2008
Presidential primary race. (Gov. Richardson got less than 5% of
the vote in the two contests he entered before dropping out.)
The editorial was prompted by the
withdrawal of Gov. Richrdson's nomination to be the US Commerce
Secretary thanks to questions about state contracts which had
been issued to one of his campaign donors. The editorial rather oddly
failed to note another Cabinet nomination: Hillary Clinton's
nomination (which has since been confirmed) as Secretary of State. I
immediately fired off a letter to the editor, and it was published
ten days later on January 16, 2009:
Editorial was speculation
To the editor: Your editorial writer speculated on Jan. 6 that
Hillary Clinton "must have wanted to break out with a wide
grin" when she learned that Bill Richardson would be
withdrawing his commerce secretary nomination. Supposedly, your
editorial writer told us, she must still be furious that
Richardson endorsed Barack Obama rather than herself when he
dropped out of the Presidential race way back in March 2008, and
hence she must now be taking delight in Richardson's
This was a purely speculative editorial— but
even speculation should be based on fact. Two key facts were
totally left out of the editorial.
Firstly, Sen. Clinton
did endorse then-Sen. Obama after their long primary battle and
she campaigned very enthusiastically for him nationwide. Both she
and her husband even made campaign appearances on Sen. Obama's
behalf right here in the Seacoast region. Secondly, Sen. Clinton
herself is a member of President-elect Obama's incoming cabinet.
Indeed, she has been nominated to the most prestigious cabinet
post of all: secretary of state. This was a job, ironically, which
was expected by many to be offered to Gov. Richardson.
And, so you know what I am ranting about, I may as well post the
January 6, 2008 editorial itself here— even though it is a load of
bullcookies— since it might disappear from the Foster'ssite someday.
Wherever Hillary Clinton was when Bill Richardson withdrew
his nomination as the next commerce secretary, she must have
wanted to break out with a wide grin. If she wasn't in a setting
where she could do it, she must have at least felt warm all
Richardson was Barack Obama's pick for commerce
because he had done the president-elect a big favor. After ending
his own candidacy for president, Richardson endorsed Obama in
Et tu Brute?
It's as good as it
The Clintons were good to Richardson. In 1997,
President Bill Clinton nominated him to be ambassador to the
United Nations and the Senate confirmed the choice. Little more
than a year later he became energy secretary.
or wanting to make a difference? Most likely, it was the latter.
The endorsement came at an important time for Obama. He was
struggling for the nomination. Richardson read the signs and went
with the junior senator from Illinois.
The Clintons were
reported to be furious. And who could blame them? They treated him
well and what did he do in return? All he lacked was a toga and an
Barack Obama accepted Richardson's
withdrawal "with regret" and — it is to be suspected —
with no small degree of relief.
Richardson is entangled in
a play-for-pay scandal in New Mexico, where he is governor. A
federal grand jury met in Albuquerque in December to look at how
California-based CDR Financial Products won $1.5 million in work
from the New Mexico Finance Authority in 2004.
reported to have donated $100,000 to Richardson's efforts to
register Hispanic and American Indian voters and pay for expenses
at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Richardson read from a prepared statement, but declined to talk
about the grand jury investigation.
"It was my
decision to withdraw," he said. Of course it was. But he
thought the federal investigation would be over by now and his
Senate confirmations would be under way.
Imagine what such
hearings would have been with this cloud over Richardson's head.
Senators of both parties would have had a field day. It would have
gone the way of similarly vetted nomination in other
Richardson insists on his innocence. So does
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich following allegations of his having
tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant following the
election of soon-to-be President Obama.
reasons for being, Bill Richardson's future is now in the hands of
federal investigators and the people of New Mexico.
16, 2014] In case you are wondering whatever become of Bill
Richardson: he served out his second term as Governor of New Mexico,
which ended after the 2010 election. He cannot run again for Governor
of New Mexico because of a term-limits law. Since his term expired,
he has joined the boards of various corporate entities, some
non-profit, some for-profit. He has also been doing a little
consulting and a little free-lance diplomacy. There are still
lingering suspicions floating around him, but he hasn't gotten in any
serious legal trouble.
July 12, 2014 "Irony" Letter (about an incident where the
editorial writer failed to notice that a so-called climate change
conference was in fact sponsored by climate change deniers.)