Inside the Capitol

Monday, September 14, 2009

9-18 A Laid Back Bill Richardson?

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Count me as the most inept political prognosticator in New Mexico.
Earlier this month, after it was announced that Gov. Bill Richardson would have no grand jury charges filed against him, I made some predictions about what comes next for our governor.
In that and other columns during the past few months, I have predicted Gov. Richardson will want to get involved in tasks that are exciting, that offer maximum publicity, a chance to make some money, to live on the East Coast again and as soon as possible.
So what happens? Gov. Richardson grants an interview to the New York Times late last week and says he's looking forward to finishing his term and remaining in New Mexico after that.
What's more, Richardson said he's not planning his next move to Washington. "That used to be an agenda of mine, but no longer." Furthermore, our governor says the private sector holds no appeal. He has no interest in lobbying and no interest in making money.
That makes my predictions about 0 for 6. I couldn't have been farther off base. I probably should turn in my reporter's notebook and accompany Richardson on his road tour to every major league baseball stadium in the nation. He says he wants to do all the driving. That's fine with me.
I'm a big baseball fan myself. Back in the late '40s and early '50s, my father and I went to every major league stadium in the country. All but one are new now.
The trip would allow me to get in touch with the new Bill Richardson. I used to know him quite well. A few months after I started writing this column back in 1987, Richardson asked me one day where the leak was in his office. He said I had his every thought pegged so well that I must be getting inside information.
But Bill has changed. It's probably living in New Mexico that did it. The ambition and enthusiasm is gone. He wants to kick back and enjoy life.
I can remember his excitement about moving to New York City when he became United Nations ambassador. He could go to Yankee baseball games and major prize fights. And he could get to know the local politicians and personalities. First lady Barbara was excited too about art galleries, antique stores and museums.
I remember when Richardson left his cabinet position at the end of the Bill Clinton administration. He was anxious to get into the private sector and make some money for a change. He used to note that he was the poorest of the cabinet members.
Richardson did well for himself during the two years between has cabinet position and being elected governor. And he could do equally as well after his terms as governor.
But now we're looking at mellow Bill. That is so difficult to imagine that I may hold off on turning in my notebook just yet. He hasn't specifically ruled out accepting a really exciting offer if it happened to be presented.
* * *
I understand my journalistic career may have recently passed a significant milestone. I received an e-mail a few days ago from John Ackerman, chairman emeritus of Public Service Company of New Mexico and currently president of the New Mexico Ethics Alliance.
Ackerman said his calculations indicate I have now been writing Inside the Capitol longer than the founder of this column, Will Harrison.
My checking indicates Harrison began the column in 1944 and ended sometime around 1965. I have written the column since June 1987 so it appears Ackerman is correct.
Those writing the column in between were Charlie Cullin, Fred Buckles, Fred McCaffrey, Bob Huber and Carroll Cagle. What is unique about this column is that the legal rights to it have been purchased by the new owners each time it changed hands, giving it a continuity that has lasted 65 years.
FRI, 9-18-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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