If Sen. Barack Obama wins the Democratic presidential nomination – not a sure thing but certainly a probability – should he should consider asking New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to join his ticket as a candidate for vice-president?
Here's why The Skanner thinks Richardson is worth a look.
Born in the United States, Richardson spent his childhood in Mexico City before attending a prep school in Massachusetts and Tufts University, where he earned a master's degree in International Relations. He has worked on immigration issues, served on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and is well known to Latino voters.
Richardson's resume is almost as long and as deep as McCain's. It includes 14 years as a U.S. Congressman, where he worked to protect U.S. interests around the world as a member of the foreign relations committee. He spent a year as America's Ambassador to the United Nations, and two years as Energy Secretary, both under President Clinton. And that's just the job titles, not his accomplishments.
Richardson has negotiated successfully in tense situations. In 1996 he flew to Baghdad (with Peter Bourne) and negotiated with Saddam Hussein to secure the release of two U.S. civilians captured after straying into Iraq from Kuwait. Under President Clinton, he represented the United States as Ambassador to the United Nations during 1997's Mideast peace negotiations.
He also negotiated with the North Korean government on its nuclear policies and brokered deals in Sudan: in an effort to halt the fighting and displacement of refugees, and to advocate – successfully -- for an imprisoned journalist.
Richardson's economic skills are equal to anyone's. Even the conservative think tank, the Cato Institute has praised his fiscal responsibility. He has worked on international trade deals. In New Mexico his administration is known for its economic development initiatives, such as bringing Japanese, Korean and Mexican investment to the state.
This guy has shown his ability to make policy that helps people from many different walks of life. In Congress he initiated legislation to protect the rights of Native Americans and to support tribal economies. Under his governorship, New Mexico was the first state to provide $400,000 insurance policies for the men and women on active service in the the National Guard. Like Obama, he has the ability to build broad coalitions.
Richardson has his critics, but who can get through life making no mistakes. He perhaps inflated his early success as a baseball player into a draft pick – when in fact – he was never drafted. He has been criticized for inept handing of the Wen Ho Lee nuclear energy spying case.
Some say Richardson's failed presidential bid means he doesn't have the necessary support. But consider the opposition: Sen. Clinton with her unrivalled Democratic Party connections and Sen. Obama, a uniquely charismatic politician. It will be hard for Sen. McCain to find a running mate to equal Richardson.
Sen. Obama's campaign is not typical; it has upset conventional wisdom at every turn. That's why he might consider Gov Richardson as his vice president.
What do you think? Barack Obama isn't the only one in the race. Hillary Clinton and John McCain are thinking about vice presidents too. Who would you pick for each one and why? Click on "Share your thoughts" below to post your comments.