It’s time to go, Paul Richards

So Jon Tester has begun the offensive against John Morrison. In last night’s debate, Tester brought up the questions surrounding Morrison’s ethical conduct in his office’s investigation with ex-lover’s husband, David Tacke.

"I think things don't exactly smell correct there and I think what I am concerned about is that this debate between John and Conrad will … be about ethics between the two of them," Tester said.

So now the game is afoot. As Matt Singer pointed out, conservative blogger Eric Coobs is drooling over the idea of a Morrison primary win. That alone should give any sane Montana Democrat pause when heading to the ballot box this coming June.But what’s unspoken in all of this is Paul Richards’ place in the primary.

Everybody – and I mean everybody — likes what Richards has to say. And everybody thinks he doesn’t stand a chance. The Independent:

And Richards, though he’s transparently correct about almost everything, is clearly unelectable.

Pogie:

Paul Richards has been a real dilemma for me throughout the race. I admire his passion, his beliefs, and his specific positions. He just doesn’t have a chance in this race, in part because the media has ignored him, and he is too far left for the state. Throughout the debate, he was the most impressive to me on issues, with specifics for reducing oil dependence and the need for war. Moderates and conservatives often deride liberal visions of the future as urealistic, but I will take Paul Richards’ utopian hopes over the faith-based nightmare of the Bush Administration any day.

Matt Singer:

A lot of folks have said they would vote for Richards if they thought he could win. I probably wouldn’t for a few reasons, but I respect his willingness to speak up. As Jon Stewart said on Crossfire, sometimes the people who know they can’t win have the most freedom to say what they believe.

Wulfgar!:

My problem with Richards is the Utopian nature of his idealism. As Mike indicates, it borders on closet socialism, and to that degree is unrealistic in any kind of practical setting. I like Paul's idealism, and if I thought there was a ghost's chance in hell that we could implement perfect security of transport, absolutely free higher education, and a fully working socialist health care system without bankrupting the country or violating many of our civil rights, I'd probably be in the Richards camp with full throated support. Unfortunately, perhaps, I don't believe in fairy tales, I don't believe the full blown socialist utopia is possible in America, and I cannot support a candidate who will go to Washington and be ineffective.

Yours truly:

Lovely man. I truly believe that if all 100 members of the Senate were like Richards, we'd be much, much, MUCH better off than we are now. Instead of discussing whether we're going to use nukes in our upcoming invasion of Iran, we'd be arguing over student/teacher ratios, charter schools, and multilingual requirements at the elementary school level. (Note to my conservative readers: that's a good thing.) I agree if we dump all the taxpayer money we've wasted on Iraq and other quixotic military plans and invested it in education and alternative energies, we wouldn't be facing any problems with terror, global warming, or much of anything serious. H*ll, it's what we should do.

Unfortunately, we need someone who'll not only work successfully within the framework of the federal government, but also someone who can actually win this race. That man is not Paul Richards. He is, after all, the candidate that compares himself to a “little ray of sunshine” and claims he'll succeed in Washington because of his “positive mentality.” He's almost a stereotype. He can't win.

Get it? Everybody likes what he has to say. Everybody knows he can’t win. In that post on my impressions on the candidates, I noted that Richards himself knows he won’t win, or else he wouldn’t have shown up to the debate in a string tie, shirt unbuttoned, and hiking shoes.

It’s time for Richards to drop out and throw his weight behind one of the other candidates. (Preferably Tester, who will be the more electable Democrat in the general election.)

Am I cold hearted? Yes. Is this a crass political suggestion? Yes, of course.

Look, at the Missoula debate, Richards was surrounded by his supporters. They were mostly liberal Baby Boomers Paul’s age. And that’s the problem with Richards’ presence in this race. He’s a man of Montana’s liberal past. He helped write the state constitution, he sat on the legislature in the 1970s. Many of those that flock to him do so out of a nostalgic desire to recreate the political excitement of 30 years ago. Others flock to him because he’s pretty much right on.

Only this election is too important. There’s too much at stake.

There’s an opportunity to dump one of the worst, most corrupt politicians in Washington D.C. (And that’s saying something!) We have a chance to improve our government!

We have an opportunity to dump one of Bush’s strongest allies in the Senate. Burns has blindly supported almost all of Bush’s worst policies. Burns is a coward and has refused to stand up to Bush’s misdirection in Iraq, to Bush’s grab of executive authority, to Bush’s racking up of federal debt. (In fact, Burns himself has gleefully contributed to the government’s wasteful spending.)

Finally, we have a chance to hold this government accountable for its misdeeds, for torturing, kidnapping, and setting up secret prisons. For its collusion with big oil. For the manufacturing of intelligence to draw us into a war. For its inability to wage war in Iraq. For its inability to provide its citizens with the basic elements of government.

Paul Richards will steal votes from Jon Tester. If Tester loses by the margin of votes that Richards draws, and Morrison loses the general election, ultimately the race will have been decided by Richards’ stubborn refusal to bow out.

Paul, you’ve gotten your message out. We’ve heard you. Many of us support what you say. Thanks for running. But it’s time to go.

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  1. Agreed

    Not only is it the best thing for Democrats, and the state, its the best thing for Paul Richards. His 4-5% in a democratic primary will not give him any voice in the future. His helping to sway the election in favor of Tester (who he said would be a great senator except for the issue of Iraq on which they now agree though they took different routes to get there) or Morrison (who would benefit significantly from a defense from the left) will allow him to stay involved in the future.

    In fact he would probably get more credit for a swing than he would actually produce. For example, reform party candidate Gary Lee (if I remember correctly) pulled out of the race between Burns and Schweitzer and recieved a significant amount of press for helping push Burns over the top.

    This credibility would go a long way to help Richards if he set his sights on a more practical political ambition such as Secretary of State or PSC or state senate…where he could make a difference. Or maintain his position as a voice for progressive ideas.

    There really isn’t any downside for him. He need not compromise his principles or his platform…in fact it is the only way to maintain them. Its the right thing and the smart thing to do. All else is vain ambition.

  2. I don’t really think that he did get his message across, at least he has not yet had the chance to take it to anyone who isn’t a political junkie. The guy had five thousand bucks to tell a really big message and you want to shut him up a month before the election?

    I had a very good conversation with Paul a while back, he’s a good guy who knows what the stakes are and what the score is, he also knows there is more than one reason to run for office.

    Relax Kemosabe, Paul Richards is not a selfish prig like Joe Lieberman.

  3. A month isn’t very long. I like him, too. I’ll take yer word for it, granny, that he’s not going to screw anybody. But…tick, tock.

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  1. 1 4&20 blackbirds » Blog Archive » Senate primary may hinge on…Richards?

    […] Are you thinking what I’m thinking about Paul Richards? Those two percentage points tacked on to another candidate’s totals may tip a candidate into victory. […]

  2. 2 4&20 blackbirds » Blog Archive » Richards endorses Tester

    […] First to ask, last to know. So yesterday, completely unaware that Richards was set to announce his withdrawal from the race and his endorsement of Tester, I pondered the significance of the few percentage points that prefer the third candidate’s politics. I heard the buzz last night only, but thought it best to wait for the news release. […]




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