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  • « Ask the Dems: Chris Dodd | Main | Methinks he doth protest… »

    August 01, 2007

    Ask the Dems: Bill Richardson

    Posted by: Chris

    Story1 Bill Richardson is the big enigma in the Democratic primaries. His resume is the best in the contest, on gay rights and generally. He's Latino, and he brims with confidence. Unfortunately, that confidence once in awhile comes off as cocky or even flippant.

    It's a bit of a mystery to me how a man who successfully negotiated with Saddam Hussein and the North Koreans could be as glib as he's been at times on issues as complex as Iraq. It's probably that same cocksure quality that got him into trouble with the gays — referring, of course, to his  “maricón moment.” on the Don Imus show.

    As noted, Richardson arguably has the strongest gay rights record in the race, including actually pushing into law workplace rights, a gay and trans-inclusive hate crimes law and domestic partnership for state employees. Then came news of his "maricón moment."

    The most troubling thing about the whole incident for me were his wavering explanations and his attempt to pin the whole story on a rival campaign, which we know is bunk.  It broke because a reader of this blog saw the positive things I'd written about him (here and here) and let me know about the maricón in his closet.

    As much as I'd like to ask Richardson to defend his spurious claim about the origin of that story, I would stick to the issues and for his "toughest question" I would ask this:

    Governor Richardson, many gay people were shocked you called a staffer with shock jock Don Imus a “maricón” in an on-air joke because he didn’t believe you were really Latino. You have said the word means “simply gay” to you and not “faggot,” as gay activists and many gay Latinos have claimed. But why would the Imus staffer be “simply gay” for not believing you were Latino? Shouldn’t you take full responsibility for what was clearly intended as a slur?

    Previous questions:
    Dennis Kucinich
    Joe Biden
    Chris Dodd

    For a complete summary of gay issues in the presidential race, go to: http://www.gaynewswatch.com/whitehouse08

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    Comments

    1. Amicus on Aug 3, 2007 9:07:23 PM:

      The question:

      "Governor Richardson, many gay people were shocked ..."

      The answer:

      "Chris, I have a long and strong track-record of advancing civil rights for gay and lesbian, not only as individuals, but as couples, too. I hope that people who took offense at those words accept my apology and view them in the context that they weren't indicative of any general animus against gay people."

      Other question:

      "As President, most groups will call on you to focus on national legislative priorities.

      However, as you know, the struggle for gay equality is, in many aspects now, a state-by-state effort. And, of course, you will bring your experience as Governor to the White House.

      As Governor, you were able to advance many progressive ideas, in a State that is divided politically more than other States - on issues as diverse and divisive as renewable energy to hate crimes laws. You also support domestic partnerships.

      My question is two-fold:

      1. How will you work with State Governors and Legislatures to bring about the changes that are necessary, in a timely way?

      2. Will you or the Office of the President participate in the various state-wide campaigns that will undoubtedly come up that require leadership and attention in order to realize you vision of what is right?

      [I have one on health care and one for Hillary, when you come round to her ...].

    1. Amicus on Aug 3, 2007 9:11:23 PM:

      better for #1 above:

      1. What are the lessons of your success in a divided state like N.M. that you can share with us and how will you work with State Governors and Legislatures to bring about the changes that are necessary, in a timely way?

      [the follow-up is to be specific. Will there is a "liaison" office, will he commit to working one-on-one with key Governors/States, will there be a roving ambassador, a Presidential Commission, or just leave it to the Dem party apparatus.]

    1. Amicus on Aug 3, 2007 9:13:30 PM:

      drat, revision/edit for #2 as well:

      replace:
      "...to realize you vision of what is right?"
      with
      "to realize your vision of what is right for America?"

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