It’s the Little Things Can Kill You (Bill Richardson Edition)

Cross-posted from PoliBlog:

Bill Richardson, arguably one of the more qualified candidates in the Democratic field, has an uphill battle to fight for the Democratic nomination–a fight he is almost certain to lose, as passing up Clinton, Obama, Edwards and any number of other second and third tiers types is improbable, shall we say.

He doesn’t help himself by making gaffes that become news more easily than do his resume or his policy positions.

To wit, we have getting into a public disagreement with the mother of a fallen soldier (via the AP): Richardson to Stop Using Name of Marine (also discussed of yesterday’s MTP). Despite the outrage! of some, I would note that while Richardson should stop recounting the story (and he says he will), the more important issue should be (and is) the issue of Richardson’s work to increase the death benefits for the families of New Mexico National Guardsmen/Guardswomen who die in the service of their country.

And then there’s the ever dangerous sports minefield (via the BoGlo): Contender Richardson wants to have it all

Democratic candidate Bill Richardson wants to have it all.

“I’m a Red Sox fan,” said the New Mexico governor, who was born in Pasadena, Calif., but spent his early childhood in Mexico City.


Earlier this year, Richardson said that if he were not running for president, his dream job would be playing for the Yankees. Yesterday, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he explained: “I’ve always been a Red Sox fan. But I said if I weren’t running for president, I would like to be No. 7 — Mickey Mantle — playing center field for the New York Yankees.

“My favorite team has always been the Red Sox,” he said, then added, “I’m also a Yankees fan. . . . This is the thing about me. I can bring people together.”

First, given that he was born in SoCal and grew up in Mexico City, it seems disingenuous to claim to east coast teams. Second, claiming both the Yanks and the Sox simply makes one look like one is trying too hard to be on both sides of an issue–which makes one look like a panderer who can’t take a stand.

Now, ultimately, neither of these things really, truly matters–but they are the kinds of things that can wound a campaign seriously.

At any rate, the bottom line is that these kinds of issues will get more press than anything else about the Richardson campaign.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Bithead says:

    The records of Hillary Clinton, (and for that matter, Bill Clinton ) Of Barrack Obama and John Edwards, all speak to the point that Democrats seldom worry about such gaffes, unless there is some other point of dislike involved, at which point such gaffes become a lever to pry them out of political power.

    Points of dislike such as being a Republican, supporting the war in Iraq, (See also, Joe Lieberman) and so on. Richardson certainly has his work cut out for him, But such gaffes are not show stoppers.

  2. spacemonkey says:

    He is just getting road-weary

    What he MEANT to say is “I’ve always, always, been a fan of…. what’s the popular team around here?…. and where is here anyway? Anyway always been a fan and I love it here in…this…town.”

  3. LP says:

    Actually, spacemonkey, Richardson has always said he is a Red Sox fan. He went to high school in Concord, Mass, and graduated from Tufts University.

    So perhaps his stance comes from the fact that he grew up wanting to be Mickey Mantle (as nearly all boys of his era did), but became a Red Sox fan when he went to high school in the middle of Red Sox land.

    Of course, the fact that this is being treated like a campaign breaker just shows the idiocy of some political analysts.