Thursday, May 31, 2007
So, I noticed that some of my brothers and sisters of the blog have been less than kind to my man, Bill Richardson, in my absence. This displeases me (in my head I sound like Don Corleone when I say this). Much of the fuss has been about Richardson's performance on Meet the Press Sunday with Tim Russert.
I watched that interview on Tuesday, once the dust had settled after this hectic weekend, and I didn't think he did a bad job at all, in fact I thought he handled most of the questions deftly. Here is the complete transcript:
Of course, no matter how many times he answers the same old tired questions he will always be asked about them. I think that frustration and exasperation showed a bit. In my opinion he has answered the Gonzales, Whizzer White, and baseball draft questions satisfactorily. He was honest, and apparently honesty is not appreciated in today's political climate. I think that people want him to change his story so they can pounce on him as a flip-flopper and a liar. There is no satisfying this crowd.
What makes me really angry is Russert put up a bunch of statistics that made New Mexico seem like a poor cousin of the third world. Russert said, "This is New Mexico’s scorecard, and you are the governor. Percent of people living below the poverty line, you’re 48. Percent of children below, 48. Median family income, 47. People without health insurance, 49. Children without health insurance, 46. Teen high school dropouts, 47. Death rate due to firearms, 48. Violent crime rate, 46. You’re the very bottom of all those statistics of all 50 states, and you’re the governor for five years." When Richardson tried to answer the question Russert cut him off and said, "But these rankings are troubling." Yes, New Mexico is a state with poverty and crime, but great progress has been made, and the thanks belongs largely to our brilliant Governor. Thanks to Bill Richardson every child under the age of 5 is covered by health insurance. Richardon's pro-growth agenda has created 82,000 jobs, and that number should impress anyone, especially given New Mexico's population, which is not much over 1.5M. Many of these jobs are high paying jobs, because Governor Richardson has offered tax incentives to companies that were willing to bring jobs to the state that paid over the prevailing wage. Speaking of wages, Richardson has been instrumental to New Mexico raising the minimum wage...but I digress, back to the interview.
Russert slams Richardson for getting the name of a Marine killed in our war of terror wrong and using a conversation he had with the marine's mom on the campaign trail. This is really hideous, Richardson is nothing less than a hero. When he learned that the death benefit to reserve soldiers was only $11,000, he was horrified and raised it to $250,000. Richardson is a HERO for this. 36 other states have followed his lead, and now the federal government is, too.
And, as if this really matters at all, with all of the serious issues facing America today, there is the Boston Red Sox/New York Yankees issue, clearly the most salient and relevant issue of our time, and Russert devoted a lot of time to this. Listen, it is possible to be both a Sox fan and a Yanks fan as LONG AS YOU DO NOT LIVE IN EITHER PLACE. Let's talk about things that really matter. Let's talk about jobs, health care, energy, the environment, and the war. In all these areas Richardson has the best plan, if only we will listen.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
SANTE FE, NM ---- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today blasted President Bush's veto of Democrat sponsored legislation that would have set a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The Governor called on Congress once again to immediately pass a resolution, under the War Powers Act, that would de-authorize the Iraq War and provide a rapid timetable for the withdrawal of US forces.
"The President is defying the will of the American people so it is time for Congress to take action that cannot be vetoed," said Governor Bill Richardson. "It is clear to all but the President that no military solution remains in Iraq. Mr. President, stubbornness is not foreign policy. The death of more than 100 U.S. soldiers there last month underscores the need to withdraw our brave men and women now. To continue with more of the same is not a strategy, it is a tragedy. The only solution is strong diplomacy and real political progress led by the Iraqis. Our troops have performed bravely, with honor and sacrifice, but it is time to get them out of the crossfire of a civil war. We need to redeploy all of our forces out of Iraq leaving no residual forces. Al Qaeda and other anti-American forces benefit from our continued presence in Iraq- it enables them to portray the US as imperialist occupiers- we need to deprive them of that propaganda. The truth is our enemies want us mired and bleeding in Iraq rather than fighting the real war against the real terrorists who attacked this country on 9/11."
Governor Richardson stated that only Congress has the authority to authorize war, and can also vote by resolution to de-authorize the war- which would require the military to remove all American troops from Iraq. Such a resolution does not require a Presidential signature and would therefore not be subject to veto.
Bill Richardson's 7 Point New Realism Plan for Iraq:
1. Troops Out in 2007: We should get our troops out of Iraq this year. Our continued presence there only enables the Iraqi factions to delay making the hard political choices they need to make to end the civil war.
2. No Residual Forces Left Behind: We must remove ALL of our troops. There should be no residual US forces left in Iraq. Most Iraqis, and most others in the region, believe that we are there for their oil, and this perception is exploited by both Al Qaeda, other insurgents, and anti-American Shia groups. By announcing that we intend to remove all troops, we would deprive them of this propaganda tool.
3. Congressional De-Authorization of War: President Bush has demonstrated neither competence nor honesty nor a sense of reality in his conduct of this war. I support the Feingold-Reid bill to force the President to end the war.Congress must continue to use the power of the purse without cutting funds for troops on the ground, but we should also go one step further. Congress should assert its constitutional authority and pass a resolution de-authorizing the war under the War Powers Act. Congress can then set a military pull-out date and appropriate funds accordingly for the re-deployment of troops.
4. Promote Iraqi Reconciliation: We should promote an Iraqi Reconciliation Conference to bring the factions together to seek compromises and to begin confidence-building measures, including the end of militia violence. Our redeployment will give us more leverage than we have now, caught in the crossfire, to get the Iraqis to reconcile.
5. Work With All Neighbors and Allies: We should convene a regional conference to secure the cooperation of all of Iraq's neighbors -- including Syria and Iran -- in promoting peace and stability. Among the key objectives of such a conference should be guarantees of non-interference, as well as the creation of a multilateral force of UN peacekeepers, should the Iraqis request one. The US should support such a force, but it should be composed of non-US, primarily Muslim troops.
6. Global Cooperation in Reconstruction: We should convene a donor conference to fund Iraq's reconstruction. The United States needs to show the world that we intend to return to our tradition of being a trusted leader, not a unilateralist loner. The process of disengagement is an opportunity for us to show that we have turned the corner, and that we intend to rebuild our alliances, respect international law, and work with the international community.
7. Redeploy to Address Real Threats: We must redeploy some of our troops to stop the resurgence of the Taliban and to fight the real terrorists who attacked this country on 9-11. While all American troops in Iraq must be removed, we need to maintain a military presence in the region, including in Kuwait and in the Persian Gulf. We must have the regional capacity to use air power, special forces and other means to strike Al Queda anywhere. We do not need American troops in Iraq to perform this essential task.
We also must bring our National Guard home where they are needed for homeland security, and we must focus our energy and resources on real threats, such as nuclear proliferation, Al Qaeda, public health, and global warming.