Respecting Richardson

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I don't understand why Gov. Bill Richardson is the Rodney Dangerfield of the 2008 Democratic crop. The man gets no respect.

For all the ink (virtual and otherwise) spilled over the first viable female and African American candidates, Richardson — to my knowledge the first mainstream Latino candidate to run for the White House — gets no boost from the novelty factor. (For the geneologically curious: The anglo surname Richardson comes from his grandfather, the one non-Hispanic of the four.)

The lack of attention is just sad, not only because of Richardson's unique appeal to the nation's fastest growing ethnic bloc, but because the man actually has the kind of experience you need to be president. Indeed, apart from Joe Biden, he's the only candidate in the current Democratic field with the requisite foreign policy experience. There. I said it.

I used to have my doubts about the man's charisma, but after his speech from the DNC meetings — in which he comes off as authentic and funny — I don't remember why:

When we were first invited to speak here today, we were all told that each of us would have only seven minutes —

Seven minutes — to tell you how we'd create better jobs, expand health care, save the environment, improve our schools, balance the budget, fight terrorism, get out of Iraq, and bring peace to the Middle East.

I don't need seven minutes. I can do that in four words: "Elect a Democratic president."

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