Richardson interview in The American Prospect

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Progressive mag TAP has an online-only interview with Gov. Bill Richardson regarding said candidate’s economic rhetoric. It’s not a pretty sight:

Here’s the good news: I no longer think Richardson is an economic conservative. I was misled by his support for a balanced budget amendment, his attempts to contrast himself with anti-growth politicians, and his constant comments that “The Democratic Party, our first solution is to tax, but I’m not of that school.” In our interview, he shredded the implications of every one of those comments, often to the point of incoherence.

Well,  guess there’s some bad news coming, eh?

Rather, Richardson is an economic opportunist. He’s adopted the conservative’s rhetorical critique of liberal economic thought in order to distinguish himself from the other candidates, most of whom are responding to this moment of mortgage crises and insecurity with a forthrightly progressive vision. Richardson’s vision, which ticks off the same checkboxes as all the other candidates (crumbling infrastructure, rising college debt, 45 million uninsured, Social Security under attack, etc.), comes couched in a superficial critique of anti-growth Democrats he won’t name and a strain of economic thought he won’t specify.

Worse, the policies that Richardson is backing, and the political promises he’s implying, actually are anti-growth. Richardson might want to carve out enough exemptions in his balanced budget amendment to render it essentially meaningless, but his emphasis on an end to red nevertheless narrows his ability to run deficits.

It wasn’t that long ago we were seeing good news about Richardson in the Prospect. In February, if you recall, Matt Yglesias was singing his praises. And though the latest interview isn’t incredibly negative, it’s not a glowing endorsement either:

At the end of the day, I believe that Richardson is pro-growth. After our interview, I even believe that his view of the economy is basically progressive. But his rhetoric isn’t good for the Democrats, progressivism, or even a future Richardson presidency. He could be more pro-growth if he were only willing to be less anti-deficit.

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