Monday, April 23, 2007

Bill Richardson's Speech at the Polk County Democrats Spring Dinner

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 638

I should mention that in his introduction of Richardson, Polk County Democratic Chairman Tom Henderson noted that the candidate has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times, no less. I didn't know that.

Richardson started by praising the other candidates, concluding that "any of them would do a great job in the White my vice president!" He then went on to sketch out his plans for what he would do, day by day, in his first week as president.

1st Day: get all troops out of Iraq (and he emphasized all, in counterpoint to Hillary Clinton's position that some troops may have to remain in Iraq after most US forces are redeployed). Convene diplomacy between Iraqi factions and also between Iraq and its neighboring countries.
2nd Day: announce plans for energy independence, a 10-year "Apollo program" to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. One feature of the plan would be a 40 mpg target for automobiles, which Richardson said would in itself completely eliminate the need to import oil from abroad.
3rd Day: address global warming and carbon dioxide emissions, with a target of making 20% of all domestic energy originate from renewable sources.
4th day: tackle education. Better teacher pay, universal preschool, smaller class sizes, college education for all who want it.
5th day: universal health care. Not many details here, other than to find new ways to get care to people.

Richardson's main point to the crowd was "Let's make this election on who's the most qualified" to be president. He touted his foreign policy experience, his ability to bring the country together (as evidenced by his landslide electoral record in traditionally Republican-leaning New Mexico), and what he characterized as not just competence and plans, but leadership for the future. He concluded by pledging, "I'm gonna outwork everybody [to win]. Keep your powder dry." Richardson then left for the Iowa Cubs - Albuquerque Isotopes AAA baseball game at Principal Park; unfortunately for the Governor, his homeboys went down 6-5 on a grand slam by the Cubs' Scott Moore. Holy Cow!

If résumés were everything in presidential politics, Bill Richardson would have it made. But we all know there's more to it than that, and I think Richardson himself understands he's got a tall hill to climb to break out of the pack. We'll see how he does over time.


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