THE BLOG

Richardson's Withdrawal from Cabinet Consideration Could be a Blessing in Disguise

02/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The news that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew his name for consideration for Obama's Cabinet is leaving those of us who advocated for his inclusion with huevo all over our faces.

Now, it appears it was a blessing that the Gov. wasn't awarded the Secretary of State position that so many in the Latino community wanted him to get. If he had been, chances are media pundits would still be talking about him. But seeing that it was the Commerce position, a position that many of us didn't see as an ideal fit utilizing his experience and attributes, it's a topic that has gone on the back burner while all eyes have shifted on whether or not the Senate accepts Obama's replacement.

In the meantime, we must all wait to see if the New Mexican Grand Jury decides whether or not Richardson or any of his aides are as innocent as they claim in the latest "pay-to-play" allegations.

If he's found guilty, then another great political hope for the Latino community has let us all down. There will be reflections of how Latino politicians are either very bad at playing this game of politics or have just become too drunk with their own power and greed that they develop a Superman complex that makes them think nothing can touch them or bring them down.


New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

If the guilty verdict should arise, then it will be time for the Latino leadership to seriously address the lack of ethics among our politicians and take a cue from the Obama administration and get everyone into the practice of making their relationships -- political, business and personal -- as transparent as possible to avoid any embarrassing downfalls like this in the future.

If he's innocent, then it's likely that Richardson may join Obama's Administration once his term in office is over. Yet, instead of awarding him a position for the sake of only appeasing Latinos, there should be a new position created for which Richardson would be a perfect fit -- and one which may not be able to wait until the Governor finishes his term in office.At the time most in the Latino community were advocating for Richardson to be Secretary of State, Latina Lista saw Richardson's role in an Obama White House as heading up the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We felt it was a perfect fit for his diplomacy, mediation and executive state leadership skills.

But Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano assumed those reigns and now the dilemma for Obama may be where to place the Governor.

Yet, it just so happens that there is a new development transpiring in Mexico that is just beginning to impact the United States, and if it continues will greatly impact our country. It will prove to be more than Napolitano can address given her other responsibilities with DHS and so it would call for a new department to be created with a new director.

The trend is a consequence of the lawlessness that pervades Mexico these days. In addition to the extreme drug cartel violence that exists, kidnappings are escalating and they are reversing much touted brags by the current DHS administration that more Mexican immigrants are leaving the United States.

It seems Mexican kidnappers see easy money in kidnapping people who have children or spouses in the United States. Zacatecas, Mexico is reporting hundreds of families emigrating out of the country to come to the United States to live with those same relatives because they are afraid of being kidnapped or have money extorted from them.

If Zacatecas officials are seeing this budding trend, chances are it is not an isolated one nor one that will trickle and fade.

It is clear that the Mexico-US border is the next "war zone" that our country must face. Yet, a border wall is not going to keep us safe. It only prolongs the inevitable.

It's going to take a never-before-seen partnership between the two countries to help eradicate the drug cartels, put a stop to the kidnappings and ensure that violence and the criminals that perpetuate it don't breach our border to continue their heinous crimes here.

The situation with Mexico calls for its own department headed by an individual with all of Richardson's attributes: speaks Spanish fluently, knows the culture intimately, knows the laws, how to mediate and how to work towards solutions.

At this point, it would seem Mexico would be open to creating such a partnership that could seriously reduce the criminal element in their country that not just threatens the safety of its citizens but the economic prosperity of its economy. Because of the violence in the country, people are less willing to travel and the loss of tourism dollars is a big blow to Mexico.

Someone like Richardson could be the bridge between our two countries.

More than ever, it is time for a reality check. The situation is not going to improve in Mexico in the foreseeable future and if it's not addressed soon then the traditional #1 reason for illegal immigration -- jobs -- will be replaced by a reason for which it is a lot harder to remove undocumented immigrants from a country -- fear for their lives back home.

If such a department were created and Richardson assumed such a position, it would be the greatest challenge of his political career and one that would prove it was a blessing in disguise that he didn't become Commerce Secretary.