A couple of days ago, a Richardson fan posted a diary wondering where was the love for his Bill? I replied with an off-the-cuff, snarky, unsupported, smartass wisecrack about him being the governor of New Porksico, for which I received an entirely appropriate round of raspberries. However, I do feel that Richardson would be utterly wrong as a Democratic candidate for President, so I started to write a diary on why I will NEVER TRUST ANYONE WHO HAS SUCCEEDED IN NEW MEXICO POLITICS
as a candidate for President or any other office that has any power worth mentioning.
Then today, Richardson himself, or someone representing him, showed up and posted a form letter over his signature, which is on the list of recommended diaries even as I write this. I decided to stop writing the diary and just post a couple of notes instead, not because I've written anything particularly good, but because it's timely.
It's about nuclear weapons.
The main idea is that New Mexico is vastly overdependent on military contracts, especially huge contracts for nuclear weapons. New Mexico is home to two of our three large nuclear weapons labs, Los Alamos and Sandia. Anyone who is successful in New Mexico politics is necessarily close to the nuclear weapons establishment and necessarily supports it. Indeed, Richardson himself was Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) during the second Clinton Administration. To a first approximation, the "Department of Energy" is a euphemism for the "Department of Nuclear Weapons" - nuclear weapons represents the biggest fraction of the department's portfolio.
Nuclear weapons are bad, not good. They attract extremely bad people, the kind Eisenhower warned us about. The nuclear weapons establishment is corrupt and abusive. You cannot begin to imagine the damage they've inflicted on the environment, and on people. Here is a letter I wrote almost four years ago, to a young man considering a position at Los Alamos, citing piles of evidence on how DOE and its contractors abuse their employees (thankfully he found work elsewhere). Some of the links in the letter are broken now, but many are still ok.
But you might reasonably object that even though Bill Richardson has been chummy with defense contractors and bomb physicists for a very long time, it is not evidence of any impropriety, and you would be right. I have no evidence that Bill Richardson is in any way personally responsible for or involved in anything improper. I've never met him, and for all I know he might be a great guy.
But Bill Richardson is the governor of a state that profits uniquely and enormously from nuclear weapons. It is necessarily the case that he has and will continue to aggressively support the nuclear weapons establishment, that is, his home state. As President, his scientific advisors will inevitably hail from that deeply corrupt and corrupting tradition.
That's nothing I'd like to see. I don't want Los Alamos lab managers running the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. They've already done enough damage, please at least keep them where they are.