The more I listen to Bill Richardson, the more I fear we are all (big media, new media, citizens et al) jumping too quickly to conclusion about who the "legitimate" presidential candidates are. If we continue to focus exclusively on Obama, Clinton, Edwards, McCain and Giulliani, the "A-List" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is simply not healthy.

I'm reminded of a story Barry Crimmins tells about being asked to write for NPR (buy his book for this and more). They were doing a piece on how many Democrats were running for president. The hook was "isn't it just ridiculous! Look at all these different people trying to be president. When will it end?!"

His response, essentially, was "that's a GOOD thing you assholes." We want many different points of view. We want a wide candidate field. We want a broad based debate. Limiting choice is not democratic.

Today, we've got a situation where there are again, a lot of Democrats (and Republicans) who've declared their candidacies, yet we are being pressured to limit our conversations (if not the candidates themselves) to a chosen few. The result is the same as cutting the field prematurely. I'm not against Obama or Clinton or Edwards, but neither am I for them at the expense of a well-rounded exchange of ideas.

Of course in the end, we've got to settle on just one, but right now we're very much at the beginning.

In the spirit of showing some love to other candidates, check out these two videos featuring Richardson. This is one smart, experienced cat, and he may have the best perspective on energy of the candidates I've seen so far. Isn't it better to spend your time on this than agonizing over John Edwards' $400 hair cut?

And here's a longer interview by CitizenTube with Richardson.

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