When it’s virtually impossible to tell “anti-war” Democrats apart from pro-war Republicans, does it matter if Democratic Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico is a Republican at heart? Probably not. Yet, that may be the case.
If Richardson is a Democrat, how does he explain forging a business partnership with notorious Nixon era mass murderer Henry Kissinger?
If Richardson is a Democrat, how does he explain stopping a recount of the 2004 presidential vote in his state where fraud may have twisted the tally giving President Bush his narrow 5,988-vote victory over Democrat John Kerry?
“Why didn’t this Mexican-American Democrat ask for a recount?” Greg Palast inquires in his new book “Armed Madhouse”(Plume). “He (Richardson) actively did everything in his power to stop a recount.” And there was every reason to make one. Palast reports that 4,217 absentee ballots were not counted, 6,593 provisional ballots were not counted, and 21,084 votes were marked “spoiled” and not counted, among others.
Dr. Philip Klinkner, political scientist of Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., found if you’re a New Mexican of Hispanic heritage, the chance your vote will not record on the machine was 500% higher than if you are white. It turned out that “nine out of ten votes uncounted were cast by non-Anglo voters,” Palast writes. That’s 18,765 missing minority votes --- three times Bush’s “victory” margin.
A Richardson spokesperson who said this column is riddled with “errors and half truths” responded the governor has lobbied for and “passed paper ballots-voter verifiable paper trail in N.M. last year.” That’s what he stands for now. But apparently what Richardson did, as sitting governor when faced with a possible election fraud crisis, was nada.
The spokesperson said he would respond to other issues raised in this column but has not yet done so. According to Palast, Richardson also “demanded the legislature pass a ‘reform’ law that would require anyone wanting a recount of a suspicious vote to put up a bond of over one million dollars. As a result, ‘free and fair elections’ are now effectively outlawed in New Mexico.” The law also requires photo ID for new voters, one more stumbling block to voting for thousands of New Mexico’s poor who are not drivers or do not hold passports.
Then there’s the troubling matter of Richardson’s ties to Henry Kissinger, President Nixon’s accomplice in overthrowing the democratically-elected government of Chile, the slaughter in Viet Nam, and the secret bombing of Cambodia, alleged to have killed 600,000 peasants, etc., etc.
Officials in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France and Spain would like to ask Kissinger a few questions about unsolved atrocities, but he’s too busy chatting with clients Atlantic Richfield, Hunt Oil, Merck & Co., Chase Manhattan Bank, and American Express, etc.
Kissinger reportedly has also been giving foreign policy advice to President Bush akin to Kissinger’s column in The Washington Post of August 12, 2005: “Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.” So every time he passes a butcher shop window, Kissinger just has to go in.
Richardson For President Web site omits any mention of Richardson’s business association with Kissinger. Why? Is it embarrassment? Author Christopher Hitchens says Kissinger’s firm is linked to Red China’s rulers “and the oil oligarchies of the Gulf.” Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman put it more baldly, stating, “The firm of Kissinger, McLarty & Richardson epitomizes Washington, D.C. at its worst --- sleazy ex-administration officials, feeding off special influence and power and then pretending, with the help of their enablers, to be fine, upstanding and respected gentlemen.”
Of course, there are Democrats and Democrats. For generations the Democratic Party sheltered under its wing racist Dixiecrat vultures that could spot a scrap of military-industrial road kill from a mile over the highway. None of these birds of prey, though, attained the stratospheric heights of odium achieved by Kissinger, whose talons drip with the blood of murdered Vietnamese, Cambodians and Chileans.
Yet this is the one man on the planet Bill Richardson chooses for a business partner? Explain, please.
New Mexico Democrats that back Richardson contend he is an excellent diplomat who has tackled tough overseas assignments successfully, and that may account for Kissinger’s interest in his talents. In describing Richardson, Associated Press observed: “He brings a wealth of experience in international affairs that has extended even into his governorship of a small but politically important swing state.”
Richardson recently switched his stand on Iraq to favor a total pullout of U.S. troops. “I believe that our troops have become targets,” Richardson said. “They’ve done a magnificent job, but when 60 percent of Iraqis say it’s OK to shoot an American soldier, none of the serious diplomacy can happen.” On June 19, AP reported Richardson’s new approach “comes as he is moving up in polls in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, thanks to a successful television ad campaign.”
The wire service noted Richardson is attempting “to differentiate himself in the primary race by stressing that he would leave ‘zero troops’ in Iraq.” And he charged his Democratic rivals in the Senate endorsed a timeline “that had deliberate loopholes.” Now that the overwhelming majority of Americans want U.S. troops pulled from Iraq, Richardson has followed public sentiment to politically safe ground. It doesn’t take a weatherman to predict the voters are poised to give pro-Bush Republicans an awful drubbing at the polls next year. His Iraq stand hardly qualifies Richardson, though, as a humanitarian.