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Local Albuquerque news alerted me to an AP article, in which Bill Richardson praises Bush' policy of "spreading democracy" in the Middle East, citing Syria's pullout of Lebanon as a success.

Richardson also said:

"I believe the Bush administration deserves credit for putting pressure and saying that authoritarian regimes have to go," Richardson said on NBC's "Today" show.

He seems to be triangulating for a presidential run, and not making much sense doing so. Citing Syria as a success? Sure, pressure was put on Syria to pull out, but I'd also like to think that the massive protests in Lebanon itself had something to do with it.

Ok, so this is too wishy-washy for me, but not an unknown strategy to appeal to Republican voters and position yourself.

However, Richardson stopped making sense when he said:

In the past, "U.S. policy has winked at Saudi Arabia and Egypt" because of America's stakes in the region, such as energy interests and military bases, Richardson said. "We kind of said 'OK, it's all right not to be democratic.' "

"The president, in talking about freedom and democracy, is sparking a wave of very positive democratic sentiment that might help us override both Islamic fundamentalism that has formed in that region and also some of the hatred for our policy of invading Iraq," he said.

Now wait a minute. Bush is very chummy with Saudi Arabia, as he has always been, and hasn't peeped about democracy there. And the idea of "spreading a wave of democracy throughout the Middle East" is the old PNAC idea that started the whole Iraq mess in the first place.

Well, in any case, despite mentioning a few negative points in there, Richardson is in the headlines now as "praising Bush' MidEast policy". A good start for an '08 run? Maybe not.

Originally posted to Frank on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:31 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And Richardson blocked the New Mexico recount... (none)
    which was closer than Ohio...
    something fishy about him...
  •  Richardson (none)
    Recently, the very conservative libertarian Cato Institute has praised Richardson, who is second only to Schwarzenegger.  Granted, it's for his fiscal conservativism, but praise from the Cato folks isn't something a Democrat wants.  That news release was also on NewsMax.com, a favorite of the freepers.

    Oh yes, and for those of you who doubt that the Cato Institute is conservative, you need to check out their stance on Social Security.  That might as well be on the RNC website.

    Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods. -- George W. Bush

    by Page van der Linden on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:30:30 PM PST

    •  Arnold "Deficit Spender" Schwarzeneggar (none)
      Please tell me they didn't rate him highly on fiscal conservatism?  

      I swear, to some of these Redumbs, being fiscally conservative just means cutting taxes.  Doesn't matter if you keep spending into deficits.  

      In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

      by Asak on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:13:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our guys can't help themselves (none)
    They continue to give credit to the office.  Unbelievable.

    George Bush has done nothing to "advance democracy."  He started a war to stop weapons of mass destruction from getting in the hands of terrorists.  I have my doubts that Syria assassinated Lebanon's former PM.  Why hit the former pm?

    Iraq is falling apart at the seams right now.  Should we give this clown credit because they held one fucking election?  South Vietnam held some elections too, fat lot of good it did them.

    When Iraq completely implodes, will any of these Democrats have the balls to tell the truth and say George Bush made us less safe and has set back the US image in the world for decades?

    Doubt it.

    A nation afraid of the world cannot lead it. JW

    by Velvet Revolution on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:31:08 PM PST

  •  Once again (none)
    Instead of arguing, we simply cave in to the pressure to declare Bush a "Great and Humble Leader." I diaried this last night- The GOP is trying to seriously make the case that the war was right because we are spreading democracy, after all, we can't argue AGAINST democracy, can we? I think we should rightly point out that if I trip you and you fall and break your leg and you're in the hospital, if you find out you have cancer and it's in the early, treatable stage, you are not going to thank me for breaking your leg! Just because something good came out of this doesn't mean it was the rightthing to do!

    Bush is stealing credit from the people in the Middle East and elsewwere that are standing up and making their voices heard, and if Bush would quit supporting these horrible regimes, maybe we'd have more democracy. Maybe they'd have had democracy sooner if Rumsfeld hadn't been selling chemical weapons to Saddam.

    •  Weird (none)
      You can sell chemical weapons to someone but that doesn't force them to use them.  And Saddam chose to use them.  Let's put some of the blame on the lack of democracy on Mr. Hussein while we're at it ok.

      I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

      by diplomatic on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:49:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit! (none)
        It's a known fact (at least for those who bother to look at these things) that we were giving chemical weapons to Saddam in a quest for revenge against Iran daring to depose the Shah. Meanwhile, we were also supplying weapons to Iran in order to help destabilize the entire region. We knew Saddam was a murderous thug when Rummy shook hands with him. We looked the other way when he gassed the Kurds (possibly as an accident in trying to attack the Iranians or possibly even the result of Iranian attacks). The point is that democracy is impossible when someone is supplying WMD to the dictator of your country. Saddam did not exist in vaccuum. He received aid and comfort from the GOP and the Pentagon. The bigger picture is that the US foreign policy has held as it's goal, the destablization of the entire region so that Israel, and our other allies in the region, could get a leg up on the competition. Who fucking helped Mubarrakget where he is an didn't mind him staying there for decades? Huh? Weird!
      •  Irrelevant to conversation (none)
        Reasoning is totally flawed, to say the least.  This has nothing to do with the "spreading of democracy".  

        In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

        by Asak on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:14:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  why Lebanese didn't drive things in Lebanon (none)
    Actions by Lebanese don't mean anything, because... Well, we're the center of the universe... damnit!

    Bloggin Blagojevich's Blunders: do you want to see Roddy B challenged in the Dem Primary?

    by Carl Nyberg on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:38:34 PM PST

    •  That's how they view them (none)
      The neo cons in the White House don't see the Lebanese as people at all - instead it's more like the whole Middle East is their own personal ant farm.  They're looking down at the little ants through the aquarium and saying:

      "Look if you sprinkle them with a little bit of freedom, they start to gather together and shout!"  "Look over here, we dropped a bomb and killed a little girl and 5 weeks later they held an election"

      It's like a fantastic toy!

      I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

      by diplomatic on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:57:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yup..saw him on MSNBC this evening (none)
    I thought I was having a brain fart moment when I heard him saying all this shit, but apprently I wasn't.

    He's the 2nd so called liberal I've seen who's seemed "flip" like this...in sbout a 2 wk period.

  •  Richardson and Hillary are trying to see who (none)
    ... can kiss his ass harder
  •  What a f***ing hoot. I am (or was, until I deleted (none)
    the diary the other day) on the record saying that Bill Richardson would run in 08 as a liberal internationalist playing down (a la Kerry) democratic reform in the Arab world. Well, I'll give him this: he certainly understands realpolitik better than I thought he did. But don't get all bent of shape everyone. I'm not suggesting anyone embrace the neocon agenda here, only that political reform in the mideast would become the lynchpin of presidential politics for the next few cycles. I still think that, but I also think the Democrats would be better off constantly reminding the American people of the costs of the neocon crusade - in lives, liberties, dollars, and allies - and focusing on taking back congress than betting everything on the presidency.

    "If no one seems to understand / Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman" Billy Bragg

    by spot on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:00:45 PM PST

    •  PS When it comes down to Hillary v Richardson (none)
      in the primaries, can we all promise now not to vote for this man? Yes, I know they're both smarmy, and the continuing cw is still that Clinton is unelectable (although read the great Sully piece debunking this cw if you haven't already), but unless the GOP nominates some sort of demented milquetoast like Bill Frist Bill Richardson will never, ever be president.

      "If no one seems to understand / Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman" Billy Bragg

      by spot on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:24:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I live in NM (none)
        (and Frank is with me right now)... and I can assure you, there are many, many NM Democrats who will not vote for Richardson.  Ever.

        Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods. -- George W. Bush

        by Page van der Linden on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:34:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's good to hear. My Richardson dislike (none)
          is still in its natal stages, and hasn't grown into anything resembling Mickey Kaus's hatred of John Kerry, but I could certainly see it getting there by 2008.

          "If no one seems to understand / Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman" Billy Bragg

          by spot on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:39:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My mom reserves swear words (none)
            only for the people she really despises.

            She calls Richardson an asshole.  And she's a Democrat.

            Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods. -- George W. Bush

            by Page van der Linden on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:40:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Lipstick on a pig (none)
    No matter how much the Bushists try to coat their Mid-east debacle with high-gloss varnish, no matter how much lipstick they put on their pig, their "Preventive War" in Iraq will prove to be a disaster. Everytime Bush has a "success" in Iraq the unleashed hornets' nest comes back to bite. Eg, hundreds are literally dead since the Bushists engineered their "wonderful" election under occupation.

    That said, while I of course I love politicians who just speak plainly on things like war and peace like, e.g., Kucinich, Dean and Byrd, even apparently cynical triangulators like Richardson should realize their praise of Der Leader will hurt them eventually, as it did other Dems who jumped onto the Bush-war bandwagon, like Gephardt. Or is Richardson just deluded? He seems, like John Kerry, too smart to be deluded by the Mayberry Bushists.

    I was hoping Richardson would be more than just another spineless Bush-enabling Dem. Oh well, at least we have Boxer, Byrd, Dean, and Reid.

    That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. ~Teddy Roosevelt

    by assyrian64 on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:00:46 PM PST

  •  After Bush's justifications for (none)
    the Iraq war fell through, he employed the standard republican ploy of using a Democrat argument, building democracy.   Now we all know that Bush does not care diddle for democracy.   However, once he started arguing for it as a Middle East policy, democratic forces decided to take this opportunity to challenge the established order that has traditionally relied on the US to quash democracy.  The human need for equality is ever present.  Bush lied himself into having to promote it. This is as ironic as Nixon and China.

    eschew obfuscation

    by jimG on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:30:26 PM PST

  •  Richardson (none)
    What can you expect from a guy who associated himself with excavations at Roswell (relating to the alleged UFO crash in 1947) just prior to his becoming Governor? He can be erratic and clearly demonstrates same here.    

    Be the creature. (But not a Republican.)

    by boran2 on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:56:45 PM PST

  •  The painful thing about Richardson's statement (none)
    is that it is simply pandering to the news spin of the day and is completely devoid of analysis.  The fact is that the Iraqi election hasn't made things better in Iraq. Just take a look at the mess that's been made since.

    Furthermore, the Iraq war has absolutely no connection to what is going on in Lebanon or Palestine.  People already realize this as support for the Iraq war has sharply dipped since the election.  When the Washington Press Corps finally runs with that line, you can bet that Richardson will be pandering to the anti-war viewpoint.  However, when it comes time to pull the lever for a candidate, people will respect the guy who did not appear to pander to a spin cycle and stood his/her ground and offered an argument, however weak, for his/her position.  

    The statements of Hillary and Richardson just feed into the notion that Democrats don't stand for anything.  Bush makes things happen (all of it bad) and Dems just stand there and offer no cogent argument against the Bush policy.  Only people like Dean and the Kerry that showed up for the first debate really slammed Iraq war.   Now that is taking a stand.

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