Barack Obama received another important endorsement last week from Governor Bill Richardson and, although most Obama supporters would have preferred it a bit earlier in the race, it is still very significant. Regardless of the fact that he leads Clinton in pledged delegates, number of states, and the popular vote, Obama still needs the super-delegates to win the nomination. Richardson, in addition to his influence over Latino voters, holds considerable sway within those ranks.
In the past I praised Richardson for his extensive experience but labeled him a “lamb amongst tigers.” I take that back. Richardson has cojones. He just doesn’t have to talk about them; his actions speak for him. Richardson is a long-time Bill Clinton confidant who held two cabinet-level positions in the Clinton administration. In addition, the Clinton’s have courted him closely throughout the campaign, including Bill Clinton traveling to New Mexico to watch the Super Bowl with him this year. But Richardson still endorsed Obama knowing that it would likely shatter his relationship with both of them. Why did he do it? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in a recent quote by a close aide to President Carter – “The Clintons will be there when they need you.” Richardson is not stupid. On the contrary, he knows when he’s being used by people who think they’re smarter than he is. So, he did what any self-respecting Latino would do -- he gave the finger to the gringos who took him for a fool.
Here’s a prediction: his endorsement will be a catalyst and an example to other super-delegates that it’s okay to go against “the family.” In fact, an Obama endorsement from Richardson implies that the Clintons have lost their grip on the Democratic Party and no longer head “the family.” Let’s hope this is the case.
Here’s another prediction: The Clintons will not go silently into the night. Instead, they will need to be forced out for the good of the party. But who, pray tell, has the motivation and influence to precipitate such a thing? Al Gore -- that’s who. You remember him, right? Al Gore, Grammy winner, Oscar winner, Nobel Prize winner? Well, he’s missing that crowning political jewel in his hat and this is his opportunity to get it.
According to the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, Gore felt slighted for eight years as Bill’s Vice President and blames much of his 2000 presidential race loss on the Clintons. I predict that Gore will descend from the clouds in all of his Hollywood glory sometime before the 2008 Democratic National Convention to endorse Senator Obama. And when he does, that’ll be all she wrote. The fat lady will finally sing (not Hillary), and it will truly be the last call for one of the most arrogant, tacky, and presumptuous families in the history of American politics -- at least until 2012.
Randall H. Miller is an American educator and blogger currently living in the Dominican Republic. He blogs at www.thecandidacy.com