Sunday, January 4, 2009

Role for Richardson?

President-Elect Obama indicated he would make New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson his Secretary of Commerce.  Richardson, however, has withdrawn his name from consideration.  Richardson is one of my favorites of all the Clintonites.  I had hoped he would get the nod as the Democratic presidential nominee.  As one-time New Mexicans, Suni and I appreciate the work that needs to be done there, and I think Richardson will continue to serve that state well.  There is plenty of work to be done.  There is an underlying hint of scandal here, though. 

"I felt that duty particularly because America is facing such extraordinary economic challenges. The Department of Commerce must play an important role in solving them by helping to grow the new jobs and businesses America so badly needs. It is also because of that sense of urgency about the work of the Commerce Department that I have asked the President-elect not to move forward with my nomination at this time. I do so with great sorrow. But a pending investigation of a company that has done business with New Mexico state government promises to extend for several weeks or, perhaps, even months," the governor said.

I'm not sure how that will all play out, but I hope nothing comes of it.  Regardless, Commerce will be an important post in the Obama administration.  In the November 19, 2008, edition, the New Republic staff put together an "O-List," comprised of the thirty names of folks people most likely to "matter most" in Obama's Washington.  The list is available online here.  No one on that list jumps out at me at this point. 

Update: Reynolds says there is more to the Richardson scandal than he thought.  Hmm...

I like this take on Richardson:

I’ve been a fan of Richardson because he has shown himself to be a good representative and honest broker on the world stage for the United States.  He’s become an expert on foreign policy and as governor has had a decent record.  I hate to see that he’s just another singular example of a well-meaning, seemingly honest, intelligent Democrat distracted by the shine of that Wall Street gold.

Seems to be the case. 

Update: Of course, the Obama team says Richardson wasn't forthright, but the NY Times pointed out that the investigation has been going on since August. It will be interesting to see who else wasn't forthright with the transition team and just how many end up having to withdraw their names from appointments. 

Michelle Malkin says "Looks like Barack Obama’s vetters haven’t gotten any better since the campaign."

AP Writer Ben Feller writes that Richardson's public life "one of rumpled imperfection but plenty of opportunity.  Reminds me of someone else. 

Timeline by AP via Denver Post.

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