For the Democrats to win in 2008, we must shed our weakness. Our handicap. Our tendency to vote with our hearts and not our heads. We must choose candidates who bring credibility to the party, a ticket with the experience in all facets of government, experience this country needs to correct the rocky course set by the Bush Administration after September 11.

This duo must roar out the West, where Democrats have found new success, or the South, where Democrats are in need of electoral respect. Or both. The ticket must be long on governing, diplomatic, and domestic and foreign policy experience. Combined, these Democrats must have the respect of the Democratic left and the Democratic center. They must be able to carry a big portion of swing voters and pick off a few Republican voters, too.

Does this ticket exist? A better question – would the Democratic party have the balls to pick them? I believe the answer is yes.

At the top of the ticket, I present to you New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson – a man whose resume is so impressive one might expect him to be a no-brainer, yet he is seldom spoken of in presidential discussions. Sunday he announced the formation of a Presidential campaign exploratory committee, with the clear intention of seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. Salem-News has a run down on what is perhaps the most impressive resume of any presidential contender in 2008:

Born November 15th, 1947 in Pasadena, California to an American father and Mexican mother, Governor Richardson grew up in Mexico City… He has dedicated his life to public service, as a United States Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, and now as Governor of New Mexico.

This past November, Richardson won re-election to his second term as Governor of New Mexico with a resounding 69% of the vote, the largest margin of victory in state history.

He was supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents, winning in both urban and rural counties.

New Mexicans overwhelmingly endorsed Governor Richardson’s aggressive efforts to improve education, cut taxes, build a high-wage economy, expand health care access, invest in renewable energy and make New Mexico safer.

Bill Richardson’s fiscally responsible governing style has allowed New Mexico to tackle important priorities, while maintaining a balanced budget and the highest reserves in state history.

He cut $230 million in bureaucratic waste, invested in new opportunities for New Mexico’s children and returned more than $1 billion dollars in taxes to working families.

His innovative policies have turned New Mexico’s economy around, with 84,000 new jobs, rising personal income and a growing high tech sector that includes manufacturing, aviation, and renewable energy.

As Secretary of Energy to President Bill Clinton, Bill Richardson implemented tough efficiency standards to save energy.

And as Governor, he has made New Mexico the Clean Energy State by requiring utility companies to produce energy through renewable resources and reduce carbon emissions.

Before becoming Governor, Bill Richardson served in Congress for 15 years and helped President Clinton pass the economic plan that created millions of jobs and led America to its first balanced budget in 30 years.

Appointed by President Clinton as the Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson worked with world leaders to build alliances and help prevent the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea.

Bill Richardson has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the release of hostages, American servicemen and political prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, and Cuba.

Governor Richardson recently negotiated a 60-day cease fire in war-torn Darfur following direct talks with rebel leaders and the President of Sudan.

As Chairman of the Democratic Governor’s Association, Governor Richardson raised more than $28 million for gubernatorial candidates and helped elect the first Democratic majority of governors since 1994.

Governor Richardson also served as Chair of the Western Governors Association, Border Governor’s Conference and the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Bill Richardson has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for 33 years. Richardson received a BA from Tufts in 1970 and a MA from Tuft’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.

Impressive, yes? But how about the VP slot? Let’s go with Retired Four-Star General and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark. A veteran of the Viet Nam war, Clark commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War during his term as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000. He had a distinguished career in the Army and the Department of Defense, receiving many military decorations over the course of his career along with several honorary knighthoods and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Clark was valedictorian of his class at West Point, was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University where he earned a Masters degree in Economics, and later graduated from the Command and General Staff College with a military Masters degree in military science. (source: Wikipedia)

While it is certainly too early in the process to endorse a candidate, and it remains to be seen whether Richardson could win in the primaries, I’d wager he would do better than anyone else in the general provided his campaign staff does a good job in making his qualifications known. And the addition of Clark to the ticket makes it that much stronger. Long on experience and regionally strong, a Richardson-Clark ticket just makes sense.

(For Centrist news and opinion, visit DonkeyDigest) 

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