Maybe it's due to six years of the Bush II administration. Maybe it's a reaction to the in-coming Democratic Chair of the House Intelligence Committee not knowing which branch of Islam Al-Qaeda is affiliated. Maybe it's a response to Bayh bowing out, leaving us with a media focused on HRC and Obama.
But having the Democrats nominate a seasoned, knowledgeable pol, like say, Bill Richardson, sounds a bit better to me than it did just last week. There's obviously a long way to go here, and I've already been all-over-the-map on the 2008 field. So, no endorsement. Just a thought.
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My reservations about Richardson include: he's not particularly telegenic; his ethnicity may be a deterrent for some angry white voters; there was some problem while he was the Sec of Energy having to do with the security conditions at Los Alamos laboratories, which reflected pretty poorly on him several years ago.
Counter observations: I may be wrong about Richardson's popular appeal, but even if I'm not, a candidate's visual appearance or verbal qualities shouldn't necessarily dictate who the nominee is; a large portion of angry white voters that won't vote for a Hispanic probably wouldn't vote Democratic anyway; the Los Alamos controversy didn't hurt Richardson's gubernatorial ambitions, and my recollection of the aftermath of the situation there was that there may have been more smoke than fire.
Ideally, the primary and caucus process would contribute to a substantive and reasonably fair opportunity for qualified candidates to be heard and make an impact. The reality is that impressions, media coverage, money and other factors tend to influence or outweigh a simple straight up or down policy evaluation. So whether Democrats will be able to put forward their most qualified candidate two years from now is tenuous, but the long lead in before the primaries might end up benefitting second-tier candidates, who stand to gain from any other candidate's slip-ups or over-exposure.