Atlantic Monthly

Hex President

Few politicians are as accomplished as Richardson; even fewer are as accomplished while projecting his air of bumbling and incompetence. By many accounts this impression is just a lack of charisma, and he has “substance” to make up for it. But the endorsement, embraced publicly by Obama, should provoke private shudders: This man is hexed.

His campaign won an initial gust of favorable wind from his ethnicity, but it quickly sailed to nowhere, with even Latinos voting for him in unimpressive numbers. (Do Latinos care about electing a Hispanophone? Sen. Christopher Dodd speaks better Spanish than Richardson, and his campaign foundered among all ethnicities, despite getting the crucial David Mamet endorsement.) And his business entanglements with Kissinger McLarty and various energy companies made him — a former Energy secretary — look crooked, even though he probably wasn’t. On the campaign trail he committed weird flubs, and even if they were only superficial, they didn’t look especially presidential. Richardson’s may well bring superdelegates to the Obama cause; for that, Obama will be grateful. In exchange for the gratitude, can he get Richardson to agree not to campaign?

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