Saturday, November 29, 2008

I don't get why some Latinos are upset about Richardson cabinet appointment

I read an article today where some Hispanic leaders are upset that Governor Bill Richardson, who endorsed Obama (though late in the campaign, when it was clear which way the tide was moving) and dearly wanted the Secretary of State's job, will instead be getting a less prestigious and less influential cabinet post, that of Secretary of Commerce. Hillary Clinton will be the next Secretary of State.

Now I will give one point that the dissapointed Hispanic leaders are making. There is no question that Richardson is more qualified in terms of his foreign policy experience, having actually sat across the table from some pretty tough characters and hammered out real agreements with them. Clinton has never done that. But that isn't the same as saying that she can't, she is certainly smart and capable enough to do it (and she will of course have the advice of her husband, who has done plenty of direct negotiating.)

However, when I was working with the Richardson campaign (yes some longtime readers of this blog may recall that I was a former Richardson supporter,) I remember that polling never showed that he was getting near the support that Clinton was getting among Hispanics in states like California, even before he dropped out. His support among Hispanic voters rarely polled above 10%.

So my question is a simple one: How can a group of voters be upset that a candidate doesn't get a position, when they themselves never really got behind him (and the person they did support gets the position instead?)

There is no question that Bill Richardson broke new ground by becoming the first Hispanic to run for President in a major party primary. But I don't see how Obama is somehow obligated to choose him for Secretary of State based on some combination of his resume, his demographic and his endorsement that came so late it seemed opportunistic (Joe Biden, who at one time was also talked about as a potential Secretary of State did far better by not endorsing either Obama or Clinton at all.)

1 comment:

Jamie LaJolla said...

Latino voters picked Clinton because at the time she was the probable next President and the Clintons have always reached out to Hispanic voters. And this is really making a mountain out of a molehill because I expect that if you polled Latinos today (especially Latino Democrats) they would overwhelmingly say that Clinton is an excellent choice. That's not a knock on Richardson. Obama had two excellent choices and he picked one of them.