The Spine

Richardson's Strange Choice


Maybe Bill Richardson thought he was saying something very clever and
bi-partisan. After addressing the National Democratic Jewish Council
(along with all the other aspirants for the nomination), he told members of
the press that, if elected, he would consider appointing
former secretary of state James Baker special envoy for the Middle
East. Now, Richardson's whole campaign is self-delusional: he will not be
nominated for president or, for that matter, vice president either. But,
still...does he think Baker is a credible or popular figure? Or a wise figure?

Baker was the person most responsible for arming Saddamite Iraq before the
first Gulf war and for keeping the tyrant in power after the war. And,
just in case Richardson hadn't noticed, Baker's report on Iraq flopped with
just about everybody outside the administration, which actually didn't seem
to pay attention to it either. Then, there is this tick that Baker has
about Jews and about Israel. He wants Israel to surrender its strategic
advantages with the Palestinians so that the old alliance with the feeble
Sunni states like Egypt can be buttressed. But even some of them which are
not so feeble--Saudi Arabia, in particular--know that that game is
up. These states, in their heart of hearts, want a strong Israel. They
are allies under the carpet.

And while I'm writing about Richardson, let me remind you of the tacky
baggage he carries. I don't know about his widely-mentioned "personal
issues." I really don't. But I do remember that he flew down, he, the
U.S. ambassador to the U.N., to Washington, to meet with Monica Lewinsky
because Richardson's boss wanted to silence her by getting her a job at the
world's last best hope for peace. Please.

Hey, maybe there's a ticket in Hillary and Richardson. They can reminisce
together on the inevitable bus joy ride after the convention.

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