Response to the President's Weekly Radio Address Saturday, July 29, 2006 Reprinted in its Entirety...
"Good morning. This is Bill Richardson, Governor of the great State of New Mexico.
By nature, Americans are optimistic and hopeful. They believe our nation can and should be a leader in the world.
Critics say we no longer have the credibility to work with our allies - and even our adversaries – to find common ground and resolve conflicts peacefuly.
I disagree. People still look up to the United States as the world's only Superpower. They still look to us for leadership.
Unfortunately, the world around us is on the verge of spiraling out of control.
• Oil prices are at $75 dollars a barrel and gas is surpassing 3-dollars a gallon at the pump – strangling American families who are trying to make ends meet.
• In Iraq, waves of bloody violence push the country toward Civil War. There is no end in site.
• The stalemate with North Korea has dangerous consequences - this regime has quadrupled its stock of weapons-grade plutonium while we debate whether to talk to them directly or not.
• Iran is moving forward with its nuclear program and expanding its influence into Iraq and Syria, while thumbing its nose at the international community.
• If we would have had a permanent Middle East envoy in the region, we would have been in a better position to disarm Hezbollah and protect Israel, and implement a concurrent cease-fire along with a legitimate, international peacekeeping force on the ground.
Democrats know from experience that maximizing our national strength means knowing when to work with others, and when to act alone. It means knowing when and how to employ our great military.
Above all, it means understanding that military power and diplomacy are not alternatives to one another, but rather are complementary sources of strength. What the Bush Administration has failed to understand is that while diplomacy without power is weak - power without diplomacy is blind.
Democrats offer real solutions that provide a new direction for America. We need a new realism in our foreign policy, which includes the following elements:
One, achieve national security through energy independence. We need a man on the moon effort to reduce our dependency on foreign oil -- go from 65-percent to 20-percent by 2015; increase fuel efficiency; Invest in green buildings and fuel cells; and become the leader of the future economic engine of the world - renewable energy, such as ethanol, solar and wind.
Two, re-build alliances and reinvigorate our allies. A far-sighted policy would have built a coalition to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Most immediately, we need an international coalition for peacekeeping in the Middle East.
Three, focus on the real dangers. Prioritize resources to fight Al Qaeda and Jihadist terrorists and the most urgent dangers, such as nuclear terrorism. That means a new strategy for success in Iraq that allows us to redeploy our troops.
Four, don't outsource our diplomacy - we need direct, face to face talks with North Korea. We should also talk directly with Iran.
Five, we need to pay attention to Latin America - The key is passing a comprehensive immigration plan now – that includes enhanced border security, a path to legalization for the 11 million immigrants already here, and sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
The House should stop holding these silly hearings. Mr. President, your good words on immigration should be followed by deeds to pass a comprehensive plan.
Six, face up to global environmental threats - The first thing this Administration did was reject the Kyoto Treaty. America should be the world's leader, and that means owning up to grave environmental dangers, such as global warming.
Finally, respect human rights and American values - prisoner abuse, torture, secret prisons and evasion of the Geneva Accords should have no place in our foreign policy.
Every American wants safety and security. We can continue to wait for Republicans in Washington to lead. Or we can make a change.
We are Democrats and we stand for diplomacy NOT threats; bridges NOT walls; alliances NOT isolation.
Democrats have a vision for our country that can unite us and move us forward, together.
This is Governor Bill Richardson. Thank you, and God Bless."
The Republican weasel they sent out to respond to this called it "small ball politics"...I have read this a few times now and wonder what he could mean. Is it any wonder the Republicans are tanking if they think THESE issues are insignificant?
Governor Richardson, once again, shows us real Presidential leadership.