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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > Richardson Endorsement of Obama Makes Perfect Sense

Richardson Endorsement of Obama Makes Perfect Sense

LatinaLista — Before New Mexico Governor, and former Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Richardson officially endorsed his one-time opponent Barack Obama today in Portland, Oregon, the blogosphere and the mainstream media were questioning his motives.

The Clinton campaign just dismissed the endorsement as “insignificant.”
Yet, in light of his own state voting for Clinton over Obama, Richardson’s endorsement of Obama was the right thing, and some might even say predictable action, for this former candidate to follow.
Yet anyone who really knows Latino voters, realizes that Richardson’s endorsement alone won’t sway Latinos to cast their votes for Obama.
If that was the case, Richardson would still be in the race.


For whatever reason, Richardson, while he was running for office, didn’t resonate with voters — of any ethnicity. The Latino majority gravitated towards either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
Some have tried to answer that question, and maybe out of political correctness they haven’t been honest in answering it. But after talking to enough Latinos across the country, two basic facts emerged: 1. The country’s populace, especially ethnic voters, are desperate for change in national leadership. 2. A female or “distinct” person of color represents and embodies that change on a variety of levels more so than a man who looks like every other male candidate.
So, it’s no wonder that Clinton or Obama has garnered such attention. Are people really looking at experience? Yes, but only as a secondary qualification. The first is how much of a statement can be made by electing a “different” candidate.
After watching Richardson’s endorsement today, I have to seriously wonder if he had grown his beard earlier if that would have made a difference in him getting noticed by the people and the media? As shallow as it sounds, it’s a fair question.
After all, this election is all about change.
But at the same time, it’s about bringing people together — and that’s why Richardson’s endorsement makes perfect sense.
One thing that Richardson was consistent about throughout his campaign, and continually figures in how he conducts his political life, is that he wants to be seen as a politician who unites people.
With Obama’s rallies, it has been clear that a cross-section of voters attend: young, old, white, black, Latino, Asian, etc. Unfortunately, Clinton’s rallies lack that same diversity in significant numbers all at one rally.
For a man who practices bringing peace to hard-hit areas of the world, and scolds his own party for dividing its electorate, especially over recent events, it’s not a big surprise that Richardson would put aside his allegiance to his old friends the Clinton’s and endorse Obama if there is a chance to unite, not just the party but the whole nation.

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Comment(20)

  • Avatar
    Irma
    March 21, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Richardson’s endorsement of Barak Obama served to remind me that I did
    not make a mistake when I didnt vote
    for him in the Democratic primary.
    Hilary is right to view this endorsement as
    insignificant in the long run. Bill
    Richardson did not have broad Hispanic appeal when he was running for President- the reason is now clear –
    the man has poor judgement.
    This endorsment will only serve to divide
    or demoralize the Hispanic vote in
    November if Obama is the Democratic
    nominee.
    Translation ? A McCain presidency.
    Muchas Gracias, Gobernador Richardson.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    March 21, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Hmm, very interesting and somewhat suspicious.
    I disagree with point number 2. Postive changes shouldn’t be measured in skin color, ethnicity or gender. It is what is in a candidate’s personal makeup that counts.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    March 21, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Now that is a DREAM ticket, Obama=freshness, new ideas, change Richerdson=experience, experience, and experience!!!

  • Avatar
    Horace
    March 21, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Perfect sense. Richardson has 30 million lemmings that will follow him to the cliff, along with the rest of Obamarama fans.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    March 21, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    A different take on the Obamerama: How I Threw Grandma Under a Bus In Front of Millions of Americans
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/20/AR2008032003017.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
    The Speech: A Brilliant Fraud
    By Charles Krauthammer
    Friday, March 21, 2008;
    The beauty of a speech is that you don’t just give the answers, you provide your own questions. “Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.” So said Barack Obama, in his Philadelphia speech about his pastor, friend, mentor and spiritual adviser of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.
    An interesting, if belated, admission. But the more important question is: which”controversial” remarks?
    Wright’s assertion from the pulpit that the U.S. government invented HIV “as a means of genocide against people of color”? Wright’s claim that America was morally responsible for Sept. 11 — “chickens coming home to roost” — because of, among other crimes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (Obama says he missed church that day. Had he never heard about it?) What about the charge that the U.S. government (of Franklin Roosevelt, mind you) knew about Pearl Harbor, but lied about it? Or that the government gives drugs to black people, presumably to enslave and imprison them?
    Obama condemns such statements as wrong and divisive, then frames the next question: “There will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?”
    But that is not the question. The question is why didn’t he leave that church? Why didn’t he leave — why doesn’t he leave even today — a pastor who thundered not once but three times from the pulpit (on a DVD the church proudly sells) “God damn America”? Obama’s 5,000-word speech, fawned over as a great meditation on race, is little more than an elegantly crafted, brilliantly sophistic justification of that scandalous dereliction.
    His defense rests on two central propositions: (a) moral equivalence and (b) white guilt.
    (a) Moral equivalence. Sure, says Obama, there’s Wright, but at the other “end of the spectrum” there’s Geraldine Ferraro, opponents of affirmative action and his own white grandmother, “who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.” But did she shout them in a crowded theater to incite, enrage and poison others?
    “I can no more disown [Wright] than I can my white grandmother.” What exactly was Grandma’s offense? Jesse Jackson himself once admitted to the fear he feels from the footsteps of black men on the street. And Harry Truman was known to use epithets for blacks and Jews in private, yet is revered for desegregating the armed forces and recognizing the first Jewish state since Jesus’s time. He never spread racial hatred. Nor did Grandma.
    Yet Obama compares her to Wright. Does he not see the moral difference between the occasional private expression of the prejudices of one’s time and the use of a public stage to spread racial lies and race hatred?
    (b) White guilt. Obama’s purpose in the speech was to put Wright’s outrages in context. By context, Obama means history. And by history, he means the history of white racism. Obama says, “We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country,” and then he proceeds to do precisely that. What lies at the end of his recital of the long train of white racial assaults from slavery to employment discrimination? Jeremiah Wright, of course.
    This contextual analysis of Wright’s venom, this extenuation of black hate speech as a product of white racism, is not new. It’s the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance. That’s why the speech made so many liberal commentators swoon: It bathed them in racial guilt while flattering their intellectual pretensions. An unbeatable combination.
    But Obama was supposed to be new. He flatters himself as a man of the future transcending the anger of the past as represented by his beloved pastor. Obama then waxes rhapsodic about the hope brought by the new consciousness of the young people in his campaign. Then answer this, Senator: If Wright is a man of the past, why would you expose your children to his vitriolic divisiveness? This is a man who curses America and who proclaimed moral satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents at a time when their bodies were still being sought at Ground Zero. It is not just the older congregants who stand and cheer and roar in wild approval of Wright’s rants, but young people as well. Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?

  • Avatar
    adriana
    March 21, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Irma,
    Why do you hinge Governor’s Richardson’s judgment on this particular endorsement? He has substantial substantive experience in foreign policy and as an executive. If anything, Richardson is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be president.
    Do you really think that Hispanics did not support Richardson because of his judgment? Latinos have supported some strange candidates with judgment issues such as Richard Nixon, George Bush, and even Antonio Villaraigosa.
    Federico Peña didn’t endorse Clinton, and he worked for them as well. Don’t you think that some former Clinton insiders know just how they operate and don’t want to be part of it anymore? It is pretty much over for Hillary Clinton unless she manages to arm twist the remaining super delegates. Is this the kind of leader you want for the Democratic party? Someone who starts off with high unfavorable ratings and the nomination without having won the minds and hearts of Americans from all walks of life.

  • Avatar
    Jax
    March 21, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I believe Evelyn is correct.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    March 22, 2008 at 3:27 am

    For once you are correct Horace. It does make perfect sense. Thirty million plus the number it would take to put them in the white house.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    March 22, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Methinks that some ethnocentrics in here want a minority-minority ticket because they hate white people and they think these two will favor minorities. They are probably right and that is why I wouldn’t vote for that combination because they have already proven in their words and actions that is the way they would operate. We need a president and vice president who will not favor any group but will represent all “citizens”.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    March 22, 2008 at 11:50 am

    The fact that Richardson could embrace and endorse
    a political campaign that
    is racially divisive and sexist
    is a huge disappointment.
    I thought he was better than that – I was wrong.
    Richardson’s credentials actually surpass Obama’s
    but he didnt have the broad appeal. Now he
    has chosen to follow
    the Pied Piper – my hope is that Hispanics wont follow him. If they do- well everyone knows the end
    of that story.

  • Avatar
    adriana
    March 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Irma,
    I have some colleagues who have been to Obama rallies and volunteer events. These are friends of all colors, genders, religions, etc. They have all been welcomed with open arms. Lately, the Clinton campaign has lacked diversity in its events, as Marisa points out. How can you say that the Obama campaign is racially divisive for including everybody?
    I think that your Pied Piper remark would be more appropriately directed at Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopy County.
    And what will happen if Hispanics chose to support Barack Obama? Do you have some sort of scientific crystal ball that the rest of us don’t have? How has Obama hurt Latinos over the years? I will admit that he isn’t perfect, but he doesn’t waffle about NAFTA, driver’s licenses for undocumented, or surround himself with advisors who support anti-immigration measures (see James Carville). And he has been consistently against the Iraq War, which has been detrimental to many young Latinos.

  • Avatar
    Publius
    March 22, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    “I have some colleagues who have been to Obama rallies and volunteer events. These are friends of all colors, genders, religions, etc. They have all been welcomed with open arms.”
    The world is full of leaders who’ve proclaimed that their for inclusiveness but have disappointed their followers. Didn’t George Bush proclaim the same things when he ran for office. Saying and doing are obviously independent variables in a political equation.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    March 23, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    The Obama rallies wouldnt work if everyone wasnt welcomed – it all makes for a good picture for the press. Their campaign has been quite clever about the way they have used racial divisiveness to drum up support. The first evidence of this was South Carolina. Bill Clinton’s
    remarks were accurate and not all racist –
    the Obama campaign spun into a black-
    white thing. In subsequent weeks, they played it up climaxing in the 91% vote
    in Misssissippi. It was a sad day for African Americans – they were as the
    song says ” a pawn in the game.”.
    Now Bill Richardson, a guy who I thought
    was beyond that kind of thing, has joined in the melee. That action indicated to me that Bill Richardson is also not above in using racially divisive tactics to bolster a political campaign.
    I want NO part of that .
    I don’t care if Hilary doesnt have a multi-ethnic political team. I want my
    candidate to put together a team
    that they can work with effectively. It green co-workers
    worked best for her – thats what I want.
    In the laboratory where I work , our
    success is based on the talent and cohesiveness of team
    that we can assemble. We consider
    a number of factors ;intelligence,
    work ethic, zeal fo the subject etc.
    Notice that race is not on the list.
    This being said, without any effort at all our group has always been multinational.
    Obama has been in Illinois politics for about a decade – in all that time I never heard anything about his commitment to Hispanic causes on a national level. This recent concern is just that – recent.
    I also disagree with the notion that Obama has been consistently anti- Iraq. Since he
    has been in the US Senate, –
    his voting record has the been
    the SAME as Clinton and McCain.
    If his commitment had been real,
    he would have voted AGAINST
    all Iraq war funding measures
    But that would have been political suicide – so he decided
    to vote against his “principles.”
    This hypocrisy of his part – is
    what bothers me the most about him. If I had been in the same place, I would voted my principles – it is just how I was brought up.
    No, I dont have a crystal ball – but my instincts tell me that
    if Obama is the Democratic
    nominee – the next president of
    the United States will be John McCain.

  • Avatar
    adriana
    March 23, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Irma, if you want a team that can work together effectively, then I don’t know why you are still backing Hillary Clinton.
    Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been a mess to say the least. She has run low on funds (poor fiscal management) and has had uncontrolled inner sniping and fighting with staffers. Now, this wouldn’t fly in your lab. Why would you want the candidate auditioning for the highest office in the land to be plagued by managerial problems in a campaign?
    To quote political scientist James Therber in regards to Clinton’s campaign, “She hasn’t managed anything as complex as this before; that’s the problem with senators. She wasn’t as decisive as she should have been. And it’s a legitimate question to ask: Under great pressure from two different factions, can she make some hard decisions and move ahead? It seems to just fester. She doesn’t seem to know how to stop it or want to stop it.”
    Added to this, if you look at Hillary Clinton’s released first lady schedules that just came out, you will find that she had little substantive policy work during her husband’s administration. After she failed to bring about comprehensive health care reform, her role was not much different from former first ladies. So much for taking credit for her husband’s achievements, but she was home when he was having sexual relations with that woman Miss. Lewinsky.
    While all politicians are plagued with hypocrisy, I have a good one for you re: Hillary Clinton. Why hasn’t she released her tax returns? She criticized her former senate opponent Rick Lazio in 2000 for not releasing his, and now she is taking her sweet time doing the same. Do you think that Bill Clinton’s relationships with Dubai might have something to do with it? Maybe your instincts will tell you or the rest of the readers of this forum something that we are all waiting for.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    March 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Adriana,
    Hilary ‘s campaign has been nothing short of brilliant as of late. She has remained competitive by spending only 25% of what
    Obama has spent. She seems to perform better under stress – a desired
    trait in any type of leader.
    I am wary of what political scientists have to say- they deal only in the theoretical.
    As for Hilary’s first lady schedules – I am not surprised that they are not too revealing. She was
    greatly criticized FOR any appearance of
    involvement in Bill Clinton’s presidency.
    So, what they probably did was keep it all ” unofficial.” I have seen this happen in other settings eg. the wife
    of a university president advising her husband on university matters unofficially. etc. As they say “its all in the family.”
    Listen, keep Lewinsky out of it. It is
    none of your business or mine.
    To bring it up is simply irrrelevant to
    this conversation.
    Tax Returns? Why do you care ?
    I don’t. In my field of science,
    I know of brilliant scientists who
    are guilty of all the criticisms
    that you make of Hilary and I suppose
    of Bill Clinton. And yet, those
    scientists do their job better than
    anyone else. Look , if you and I have until April 15th to release our tax returns – then Hilary has that right too.
    No doubt, her political opponents
    will try to find “evil” motives in donations to BILL Clinton’s library etc.
    It is all so tiresome and irrelevant to
    the business of what our country needs.
    I can see that we have reached an impasse in this discussion.
    Hilary is not perfect. But in my view the pluses FAR OUTWEIGH the minuses.
    She is a really smart lady beginning
    with Wellesley class president to Yale Law School to the United States Senate. She is also a mother. Most people would be proud to have such a woman as their daughter, wife, sister or mother. She is also a woman – never forgetting birthdays, anniversaries and
    peronal moments in the lives of her
    friends, family and acquaintenances.
    I would be most be pleased to have
    her be the next President of the United
    States.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    March 24, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Well I would certainly pick Hilary over Obama, especially after the latest about his pastor.

  • Avatar
    adriana
    March 24, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Irma,
    We are talking about tax returns since 2000. She is now saying that she will release them before the PA primary. Why do you think she needs all this time? She’s a public official with vast resources. Senator Obama has released all of his tax returns. We, as citizens, have a right to examine these records. We are all loyal to a certain extent to those who put $ in our accounts.
    As for leaving Miss. Lewinsky out of this discussion, I don’t think that we should dismiss her so quickly. If Mrs. Clinton is someone who we should all be proud to have as a wife, mother, etc., why has she repeatedly been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment from her husband? Furthermore, I don’t think that dismissing sexual harassment at any level is very empowering for women.
    While political scientists deal in the theoretical, they also test their theories in determining voter participation, the likely outcomes of different scenarios, etc. in reality. One could easily dismiss your science just as quickly, but I don’t think that we will get anywhere debating whose science is better. If the right wing had its way, there would be less science and more biblical tales.
    I don’t doubt that Hillary Clinton is a smart lady. She does have great academic credentials, but I think she would be better suited to being a leader in the Senate. She isn’t a uniter, and our country needs someone who the people feel that they can trust. Right out of the gates, Clinton ranks the lowest in recent polls in terms of trustworthiness and honesty. If you have followed the news today, you will see that she has “misspoke” about her experience in Bosnia. I’m tired of leaders who conveniently forget or misspeak repeatedly. Aren’t you?
    Fortunately, at least for me and others who don’t care for a second Clinton presidency, it would be nearly impossible for Senator Clinton to pull ahead at this point. Her own campaign is already acknowledging that she won’t pull ahead in pledged delegates. So for her to be the nominee, the Super Delegates would have to decide, and I think that should they overturn the will of the party members at large, it won’t be pretty.

  • Avatar
    IRMA
    March 25, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Adriana,
    I am disappointed that as woman you would call Hilary’s presidency as a
    “Clinton ” presidency. By doing this
    you give the perception you believe that all she has accomplished is due to her husband and not to due to her own
    achievements, thoughts etc. Can this be true? Hilary by the way , changed her name to Clinton only after public pressure in Arkansas.
    It was not something that she wanted to do.
    I am also disappointed that you imply that somehow Bill Clinton’s infidelity in his marriage was somehow justified. Infidelity is NEVER justified in a marriage no matter how difficult the
    circumstances.
    You also mischaracterize Lewinsky’s
    relationship with Bill Clinton. It
    was not sexual harassment – it was
    consensual. This being said –
    the fact that Hilary Clinton had an unfaithful husband in no way
    diminishes HER qualifications to
    be President.
    Diego Rivera was a “sin verguenza”
    and yet Frida Kahlo remained his wife.
    He was as they say her “bashert” or
    soul mate. Perhaps this is what
    the Clintons have. I dont know.
    Beware of polls. Have you forgotten
    that George W Bush had at one time a
    90% favorability rating ? The American voter is fickle – thats why politicians
    oscillate so much in their policies –
    they are just trying to keep their jobs.
    So HIlary Clinton “misspoke”. This is
    typical politician stuff- doesnt bother me. Here is an example Obama
    claimed for weeks that he was “unaware ”
    of Wright’s politically “incendiary”
    statements and then in his recent
    speech on race he openly said that he was
    “was not unaware of some of those
    views.”. So what is the truth ?
    Did he know about it or not?
    Obviously he did – I guess you could
    say he “misspoke,” ?
    Morale of the story ? Most poliiticians are not good liars, but then who is?
    I am a realist. All politicians have
    flaws . The voter has to decide
    whether those flaws outweigh
    what a political candidate has to offer.
    Early on, I did that for Hilary, Obama,
    Richardson and Edwards.
    I concluded that Edwards >Clinton>
    Richardson>>>>> Obama.
    Edwards dropped out – so Clinton was left. Then Richardson dropped out.
    So I was left with Clinton >>>>>>Obama.
    If HIlary is out in November –
    I will stay home and ask my rather
    voluminous family in Texas to do the
    same . My suspicion is that they wont stay home – without Hilary, they will vote for John
    McCain.

  • Avatar
    adriana
    March 25, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Irma,
    Maybe where you work a supervisor or authority figure having sex with an intern is ok, but where I have worked, it is not tolerated and is considered sexual harassment.
    I can agree w/ you re: John Edwards. I liked him very much and wish that the mainstream media had given him more coverage. He actually spoke out against the abuses of corporate America and did not take money from corporate lobbyists, unlike Hillary Clinton.
    If Obama is the nominee in November, you should not stay home. You don’t have to vote for the President, but you should vote in your local and congressional races. We actually can have a greater impact as individuals in local elections, despite the media’s coverage and inundation of presidential politics. Would you really let Barack Obama hold you back from voting at all? I didn’t know that he was that influential over voters who don’t care for him to prevent them from voting at all.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    March 26, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Adriana,
    Monica was not a baby – she knew what she was doing and liked it. That was not sexual harassment. The woman even said she hoped he would leave his wife and marry her.
    If Obama is the nominee – I may not
    stay home – it is simple enough not
    to vote for President. But my family will probably stay home – they are perhaps even more skeptical than me of politics.
    One member of my member has put it like this ” If the Democrats dont pick Hilary-
    then they deserve to lose. “. I have to
    say – I agree.

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