Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bill Richardson in Claremont, a Campaign Event

Well, Beth was working this morning, so I was left to my own devices. After taking the recycling to the local recycling center, I popped into Shirley's Restaurant in Claremont for a Bill Richardson "Meet and Greet", which I knew from the local paper was scheduled for this morning.

The owner of the restaurant, Dan Fillo, was quoted in the paper as having said, "We've been told by the campaign not to expect a question and answer format. He's probably just going to come in and speak, giving a brief 10- or 15-minute speech about his platforms."

So I was quite pleasantly surprised when after giving his talk, Richardson did open the floor to questions. In my last blog post, I mentioned that Beth got in the last question from the floor at our session with John McCain. I didn't say anything about what she asked him, however. So here I'll mention that she asked him about Darfur. We were both bothered that it took until she got in (right under the wire) for Darfur to be mentioned. McCain did respond pretty passionately, and it was clear that the genocide in Darfur was something he has thought about and that he does seem to care and want to do something about it. But still, it seemed clear from his not having taken the initiative to mention it himself that it is not terribly high on his agenda.

Well, I'm pleased to report that Richardson mentioned Darfur as part of his opening remarks. No prompting required. There's a point in his favor.

I was very disturbed by one thing Richardson said this morning. (In regards to what to do about illegal immigrants, he mentioned something about whether they were embracing American values/culture, and he mentioned as part of the criteria on which that judgment is to be made, "Do they go to church?".) I called him on it. (Frankly, I view that as a horribly scary test. "Do you go to church?" being one small step removed from "Which church do you go to?", which (in terms of whether someone is embracing American values/culture) is terrifyingly close to "do you worship the way we want you to worship?". (See: sectarian violence in Iraq, Sunni vs. Shia, religious persecution, Holocaust, Salem witch trials, Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, the Crusades, etc.,...)). To be honest, I was disappointed that when I called him on it, he didn't take a stronger position and admit that it was the wrong thing to say. Instead, he justified mentioning it, by citing that it's one of many criteria in already existing legislation. There's a point against.


Calling him on that was secondary to the real question I posed to him, which was about not only reducing our dependence on foreign oil (emphasis on foreign), but rather on reducing our dependence on oil. I'm very concerned about using up our natural resources. If reducing our dependence on foreign oil means simply shifting our focus to more domestic drilling and refining, well that's no solution at all, is it? To his credit, Richardson is firmly in the camp of those who want to move to renewable resources. "New sources of energy" rather than old. He's pro-coal, but pro-responsible-coal. That's a step in the right direction, as the current administration isn't pro-responsible-anything. Richardson is clearly very much pro-solar and pro-wind. I'm guessing (although he didn't state it) that he would also be pro-tidal/wave energy. And if not, then I would at least feel reasonably comfortable in assuming that he's not anti-tidal/wave energy. (Point in favor.)

Richardson is opposed to "No Child Left Behind" (he calls it "an unfunded mandate"). Another point in favor.

He's making real a point of being boldly, strongly pro-education, particularly in science and math. (Multiple points for.)

He's pro-science in general, and I believe if he gets elected, there will be a 180 degree turnabout in our electoral branch's stance on science. That is, I believe the war on science would come to an end. (Point for. (Exuberantly!))

He's also pro-arts education, as he sees the arts as a vital way to open young minds! (Another point for.)

He requires no prompting to talk about autism. (Point for.)

I'm not really on board with Richardson's views on illegal immigration. But then again, I haven't heard much I do agree with on that topic from any of the contenders.

In the end, I've come away from this morning's event as more a Richardson fan than I had been going in. I'm still not endorsing him. But at the moment, I'm thinking that I could imagine being happy with him as our next president. I think he's a pretty solid choice.


  1. By the way, if you want to read more on today's event, you can go here for Sarwar Kashmeri's blog entry.

  2. I am curious - do you believe the government should be spending money on science? Seems to me that any government run program is just a waste of money and that private innovation in science and, well, everything, is the way to advance.