The Democratic National Committee has just wrapped up its winter meeting. The highlight, at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned, is the ten speeches by announced Democratic presidential candidates. They’re all available at this link, and they’re an excellent way to get a sense of how each candidate’s basic stump speech is going to go.
And here’s some big news: one of the bits of conventional wisdom on Bill Richardson appears to be wrong. The guy’s got plenty of charisma. His speech was funny, charming, plain-spoken, bold, passionate, and had the crowd on its feet cheering numerous times (watch it here).
And this was interesting — few if any of the other candidates talked about this issue, and he got huge applause for doing so.
In New Mexico, our fight for equality extends to sexual orientation. For the first time in state history we have a hate crimes law. We’ve extended civil rights protections to include sexual orientation. And we’re providing state health insurance for domestic partnerships.
Some call New Mexico the land of enchantment. I now like to think that we live in a state of enlightenment.
Did he come out swinging for equal marriage? No. But no one else even bothered to talk about gay rights.
Also, I thought Richardson was excellent on Iraq:
The War in Iraq is not the disease. Iraq is a symptom. The disease is arrogance.
A struggle for human rights is worthy of military intervention. A true threat to our country’s security is worthy of war. But a struggle between a country’s warring factions, where both sides hate the United States, is not worthy of one more lost American life.
As someone who served in Congress for 14 years, I know the power they hold should they choose to wield it. The Congress passed a resolution authorizing war. They need to pass another that overturns that authorization and brings our troops home by the end of this year. You would think that when the Congress realized they were lied to, they would have done something about it. Well, they still can.
On the others: anyone who heard Deval Patrick speak during the 2006 campaign could not possibly miss the startling similarities between Patrick’s message and that of Barack Obama. Big chunks of the message are almost identical: down with cynicism; up with hope; let’s agree on some things even if we don’t agree on everything. You’ve heard a lot of it before. Obama’s speech actually ended with “Together we can hope.” I don’t recall Deval ever running “Together We Can” and “Hope” right into each other that way, but otherwise, the resemblance is striking.
Hillary’s speech was, I though, fairly dull. Not much more to say. But she’s still got the money and the organization to beat.