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The Unanswered Questions of Bill Richardson’s Obama Endorsement


I think there are a few unanswered questions regarding Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Barack Obama. This is what he said on CNN on February 25 regarding the role of superdelegates:

BLITZER: All right. So you say you will — you’re about to endorse somebody? You’re thinking about endorsing either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? Make the news. Go ahead. RICHARDSON: Well, no. I’m going to decide very shortly. But the reality is I think there are too many superdelegates. There are over 800. That’s the latest count that I saw.

BLITZER: There’s almost 800.

RICHARDSON: Who elected these people? I think it’s important that those…

BLITZER: Well, you’re a superdelegate. You were elected by the people of New Mexico.

RICHARDSON: Well, that’s right, but that doesn’t mean that you appoint every big fundraiser, you appoint every governor, every member of Congress, every leader that contributes money.

I just think this should be decided by voters. And in my view, there are too many superdelegates. They have too much influence. I would cut down the number.

But I think superdelegates should vote according to who they represent. If somebody’s appointed as a superdelegate because they’re Hispanic or a governor, they should pay attention to what their voters and their constituencies are saying.

BLITZER: Well, the Democratic caucuses in your state, New Mexico, decided that Hillary Clinton got the most votes. Does that mean you have to go with the Democrats of New Mexico, because she won the caucuses there?

RICHARDSON: Well, she won by 1 percent, you know. It was a very contested race.

BLITZER: Well, you know what they say. A win is a win.

RICHARDSON: No, I know that. But I’m going to decide in the next few days. I just think superdelegates have too much influence. It should be voters in states. It should be delegates according to the proportion of the vote or the candidate.

It shouldn’t be, you know, fat cats, big contributors, politicians deciding this. Let the people — let the Democratic voters — decide. That’s my view.

Richardson seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth on this one. New Mexico went for Clinton, and Hispanics in the New Mexico caucuses went 2-1 for Clinton. If Richardson thinks superdelegates should "vote according to who they represent," who does he think he’s representing?

I don’t have strong opinions one way or another on the superdelegate situation, or whether they should even exist. Neither do I have a fear that they’re going to go renegade and override a clear popular winner (and I don’t see any way that’s not going to be Obama). I also think Chris Bowers’superdelegate transparency project is a good one, but that’s based on general considerations regarding the good of transparency.

What I have a problem with are people espousing a set of rules strictly on the basis of advocacy for their candidate, without regard to whether it’s a good thing for the party, long-term. Just because it’s Good For My Candidate Now doesn’t make it a smart way to run the party over time, and those who are indulging in these kinds of proclamations at a volatile moment without taking that into consideration are not showing either good judgment or leadership, especially when they dramatically switch positions when it becomes politically convenient for them to do so.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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