I was starting to blog about Bill Richardson when I started to get emails by Chinese Americans protesting against him becoming a cabinet member in the Obama administration. Well, today, Obama formerly announced that he was nominating Richardson for Secretary of Commerce. Why all the fuss against Richardson? The San Jose Mercury, again, does an excellent job of reporting issues regarding Asian American:
“a group of Chinese-American activists in Silicon Valley … is upset at the New Mexico governor for his handling of the nearly decade-old case of Taiwanese-American Wen Ho Lee, a former nuclear scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. But the Chinese-American group insists that Richardson’s refusal to acknowledge making serious errors in the case makes it a moral imperative to oppose his nomination to Obama’s Cabinet … And there was a feeling among many Chinese-Americans, particularly in Silicon Valley, that Bill Richardson did a lot to promote the notion that all Chinese-Americans are potential spies.”
I have to agree. Richardson seemed to have it all out for Wen Ho Lee, trying to make him an example. Just because you are Chinese or Taiwanese it doesn’t make you a spy, even if I joke about it. I remember watching a 60 Minutes segment on Lee and was disgusted at how Lee was being prosecuted. The news coverage was so biased, with the government leaking rumors to news outlets, that Lee eventually won a settlement not only from the government, but also news organizations. Activists have compiled a video on YouTube capturing the essence of the whole Wen Ho Lee – Bill Richardson debacle:
I have mixed feelings about Richardson: he was an extremely qualified candidate for president, but as a speaker, he was never able to capture the public’s attention. And when Richardson bailed out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president and endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, I was extremely disappointed. The Clinton’s made Bill Richardson and he would not be where he is today without their help – appointing him first as energy secretary and then to be the ambassador to the United Nations.
But Richardson should also account for his sins and apologize for how he treated Wen Ho Lee, even though I think he is qualified to be nominated for Secretary of Commerce; it’s seen in D.C. as sort of a step down from Secretary of Energy however, and certainly a big step down from Secretary of State,which Bill Richardson was widely campaigning for. Kind of ironic that Obama chose his rival Hillary Clinton over his supporter Richardson.
If you feel strongly against Bill Richardson, you might want to sign an online petition asking for an apology on the Wen Ho Lee issue.