Bil Browning

An open letter to Bill Richardson

Filed By Bil Browning | November 30, 2007 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Bill Richardson, Democrats, election 2008, Nobel Prize, presidency, President, primary, support, White House

Dear Bill,

It’s time we had a little talk.

I’ve been meaning to bring this up for some time now, but it hasn’t ever felt quite right. You’re busy campaigning all the time and I’m always blogging. We’re like two ships in the night.

I realize that you’re the most qualified candidate currently in the race. Your resume is impressive. After all, who wouldn’t want a man who’s been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize after eight years of the Bush regime?

Al Gore thinks he’s something special now, doesn’t he? Global warming, global shwarming… That’s nothing compared to international peace mediation, hostage rescue and a commitment to justice, is it?

Your plan for peace in Iraq is spectacular. I have a real problem voting for a candidate that authorized this endless and unnecessary quagmire. You want to remove the troops now and I know you’d turn to diplomacy before violence.

Your ideas on the energy crisis are visionary. (Your old position as Secretary of the Department of Energy really helped with that one, eh?) We really need to shake our addiction to oil.

You have a great plan for health care – including a focus on HIV/AIDS, cancer and autism. In fact, you want your vice-president to chair the HIV/AIDS Commission to assure the issue gets the attention and leadership it deserves. Why don’t Republicans care about AIDS, Bill? You do.

I know you realize that women aren’t a “special interest” group. You’re the only candidate who has sworn to support only Supreme Court nominees that will uphold Roe v Wade. You want to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and you support both pay equity and paid family leave.

As far as LGBT rights go, you have a stellar record of championing equality. When you became the Governor of New Mexico, you fought for my community. You brought New Mexico their first hate crimes law and extended the state’s civil rights protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. You gave state employees domestic partner benefits.

You fought against a Defense of Marriage law in your home state and appointed several gays and lesbians to positions of authority in your administration. Heck, you even voted against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell while you were a Congressman and you've sworn to remove it when elected President.

I don’t understand why you’re not gaining more traction in the LGBT community. No one else has your track record of fighting for our rights. It probably has something to do with that awful case of “foot-in-mouth” disease you had earlier this year.

That’s what I wanted to write you about, you see. I love you too much to enable bad behavior. My therapist says I need to stand up and claim my own experiences.

So when you say things like “Maricon,” it really hurts me, Governor. While you said “faggot” in Spanish, the word cuts deeply no matter what language you use. I know you didn’t really mean the gentleman was gay. You meant it like those darn teenagers do when they say, “That’s so gay.” But that isn’t cool, Bill.

I know, I know. You apologized immediately. You called the LGBT leaders in New Mexico right after it happened and offered up a mea culpa. You took responsibility for your own actions. (The therapist would be proud of you!)

I think this gaffe is really hurting you in my community, Bill. While we can overlook your performance at the HRC/Logo debate since you’d had an incredibly hectic schedule that week and weren’t feeling well, you’re going to have to step up your game. As a community, we’ve been used too many times not to be especially wary anymore.

I’m willing to forgive you for that screw-up. After all, everyone makes a mistake occasionally. I don’t expect you to be perfect. You apologized right away and you were sincere.

Just don’t let it happen again. While I think you are superb on all the other issues, so are a lot of the other candidates. I’m willing to allow a one-time mistake, but anymore will make me re-think my support.

Bill, we have something special, you and I. I think you can move America back to its roots as the most generous and respected country on the planet. I believe in you.

Now that we’re square, let’s get back to working on getting you elected to the job you were born for. Let’s turn America in a new direction. Together - as a team where everyone is respected and valued – we can do this thing.

After all, I’ve come to expect that from you.

This post is part of series called Meet the Candidates in which Bilerico contributors write about why they are supporting their chosen candidate.

[EDITOR'S NOTE:] Governor Richardson has responded with his own guest post, "I Screwed Up."

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Where is the letter to that silliness named Anderson Cooper standing on the stage of the most important debate taking place in this country promoting the image that he is a heterosexual aging white haired man while essentially stabbing us in the back with some jargon about how unimportant it is to come out and what a private matter and individual choice it is? Spare me the bullcockie( is that word ok to use Bill and Alex?) We are being systematically attacked and none of us are dragging that fashion designers gay son out of the closet to address real issues that he intellectually dances around as just another question posed. Hear the anger folks. Call CNN and tell Anderson Cooper to shift his thinking from enriching his own bank accout to acting on behalf of the american people.

I can't help but think of Bill Richardson like Ralph Kramden, a guy who means well and has a good heart, but somehow never quite reaches his goal because he screws it up when the chips are down. Yes, I know that he's had some major successes as Governor of New Mexico, but to be honest, that's over 2000 miles away from me and not something I've really followed. He's not a very compelling orator at all...the most popular Richardson quote I've heard in the media is "I screwed up.".

I'm sure he's an excellent Governor of a southwestern state, but leader of our entire country? I far, I've really not seen anything to from him to lead me to believe that my current image of him is inaccurate in any way.

Ellen Andersen Ellen Andersen | November 30, 2007 3:43 PM

I agree with you, Rebecca, that Bill Richardson isn't the most compelling orator on the planet, but I think it's hard to contest the point that he's got more relevant experience than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican:

-- He served 14 years in the House of Representative, with extensive committee service on the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the Interior Committee. He was also part of the Democratic Leadership.

-- He served for 3(?) years as Ambassador to the UN under Bill Clinton, and both before and after that time he's been an important figure in diplomatic circles. He's got experience in negotiations in a wide range of contexts-- from Iraq to Sudan to North Korea.

-- He served for 2 years as the Secretary of Energy, also under Bill Clinton.

-- He's served for 4 years as Governor of New Mexico.

You may or may not agree with his policy positions, but the man's got experiential cred. And to cap it off, Richardson's got a pretty darn fine record on LGBT rights, as Bil noted. I share his suprise that Richardson doesn't have more traction among the LGBT electorate.

That "maricon" thing was, well, just atrocious. He lost me, then, forever. That told me he just hasn't thought deeply about what it's like to be a gay person. His empathy had/has not been sufficiently developed. Staking out a political position is not the same thing as having an emotional understanding. There are other candidates who also have substantial experience and would nneeeevvvveeerrr say such a thing (or its English version), or accept anti-gay bait like he did on that radio show.

Holy cow, Batman:

So when you say things like “Maricon,” it really hurts me, Governor. While you said “faggot” in Spanish, the word cuts deeply no matter what language you use. I know you didn’t really mean the gentleman was gay. You meant it like those darn teenagers do when they say, “That’s so gay.” But that isn’t cool, Bill.

A candidate supporter who can admit that his fave Dem isn't perfect? This is quite refreshing to hear.

Seriously, Bil, good post!

You know we all use words from time to time we regreat laters at least Gov.Richardson appoligized then and there.So to toss the Dems best candidate for the fluff of Hillary and Obama gee get real people and grow a harder shell and accept an appolige thats given.

You know as I have said in my own little personal blog at least with Republicans you know where and how they stand on issues like them or not.But over the years I have noticed Dems tend to tear up the own and then wonder why the candidate of fluff loses in the general elections.
Done museing for now.