Bill Richardson to Replace Rice at State?

Politico.com says that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a big supporter of space tourism, could be on a short list to become Barack Obama’s Secretary of State:

“If the soon-to-be 44th president wants to draw on the expertise of the Democratic Party’s foreign-policy establishment, three names likely would be at the top of his State Department short list: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former United Nations ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry.

“Richardson, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this election cycle, has one of the longest diplomatic resumes of any elected official. A seven-term veteran of the House of Representatives, Richardson served in the Clinton administration as ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy.

“Though Richardson stumbled in the Democratic primaries, wounding his candidacy with verbal slip-ups and poor debate performances, he developed a reputation in the 1990s as a hard-edged hostage negotiator, and even as governor of New Mexico he maintained his involvement in foreign affairs, visiting crisis hot spots such as Darfur and North Korea. He endorsed Obama late in the Democratic primaries, but as a former Clinton administration official, his support carried extra punch.”

That’s not sitting well with everyone. Slate.com’s Timothy Noah puts both Kerry and Richardson on his do-not appoint list, the former because “the 2004 election demonstrated that nobody likes him. That isn’t disqualifying for a senator, but it is for a diplomat.”

As for New Mexico’s governor, the objections go deeper:

“Richardson took his sweet time before embracing Obama; he dropped out in mid-January and didn’t cough up the endorsement until late March. Richardson’s résumé includes Clinton administration stints as energy secretary and as U.N. ambassador. He didn’t perform either job particularly well. As energy secretary, Richardson rashly accused Los Alamos official Wen Ho Lee of espionage—a charge later proved false. As U.N. ambassador, Richardson didn’t do anything anyone can remember except offer Monica Lewinsky a job three months before the story of her affair with President Clinton hit the Internet. ‘He has no great beliefs,’ observed Slate’s David Plotz in June 2000, ‘which may be why he didn’t mind flattering despots.'”

Oh, Arnold Schwarzenegger also made Noah’s list of elected officials whom Obama should not promote to run the Energy Department:

“The supposed reason would be that Schwarzenegger is the rare Republican governor who’s doing something serious about global warming. But if there’s a shortage of Republican governors addressing climate change, can we really afford to remove one from state government? There’s no shortage of Democrats who are at least as committed as Schwarzenegger to reducing greenhouse gases. Pick one of them.”