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Punditiously speaking

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By Ned Cantwell

New Mexico pundits have been abuzz since our governor, Bill Richardson, threw his considerable weight behind Barack Obama.We pundits are proud of our line of work. It’s like, I’m a pundit and you’re not a pundit, so ha-ha on you. According to Webster’s, a pundit is “a learned man ee someone who gives opinions in an authoritative manner ee a guy who can’t get a real job.”Okay, I made that last part up, but it is pretty much true. Just like on national television, where hordes of people are employed to chat endlessly about what you already know, New Mexico pundits like to think they have particularly keen political insights.Fact is, the moment you read about Big Bill endorsing Big Barack, you immediately knew what was going on. Richardson has decided the only phone call Hillary is going to get at 3 a.m. will go like this: “Monica, stop calling. I told you he’s NOT HOME!”Oh, but there is so much more to read into this political bombshell. For instance, note the governor did not choose the spotlight of national television to make his announcement. No, it came in a simple e-mail to friends.There is a very good chance you did not receive that e-mail. That is because you are neither a pundit nor a friend of Bill Richardson. So, ha-ha again. Actually, he did not send the e-mail to me, either. But a friend of mine forwarded his copy. Therefore, I can legitimately lay claim to being a friend of a friend of Bill.Here is an observation that, I modestly point out, puts me in the Major League of Punditry, among such stars as Chris Mathews who apparently started his career as a cheerleader: “Obama, Obama, G-O-O-O- OBAMA!” My keen journalistic antenna picked up the fact this e-mail was sent out at 2:30 a.m. Bill is clearly an insomniac. This perhaps accounts for his sour mood of late.In his letter to pundits, friends and friends of friends, the governor said he chooses to support Obama for lots of reasons, including this: “Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race.”Here comes some really serious punditry, maybe just on the brink of punderosity. Obama began to look, to me at least, as a most promising leader for our country, a president of some later date, if not now. But he stubbed his toe badly by a close 20-year association with a racist preacher.You can’t hang out with a guy like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for 20 years without its doing some damage. Despite the tone and elegance of Obama’s ensuing speech, there will always be a large contingent of voters who think he should have run the other direction when he came to understand Wright’s white hatred.This corner says it could cost Obama the election, if not to Clinton, then to John McCain in November. But what do I know? When it comes to New Mexico pundits, I defer to my friend Joe Monahan who writes a daily political blog.Joe is usually right, except when he is wrong, like in his analysis that Richardson tried to fly under the radar with a stealth e-mail announcement.Joe’s theory is Bill wanted to minimize press coverage. Earth to Joe: Minimize coverage? Are we talking about the same governor?Ned Cantwell – ncantwell@beyondbb – is syndicated in 13 New Mexico newspapers whose readers seldom find him right. Leaning.