Enjoying an Underdog

Why are underdogs such fun? New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is having a great week, and it is far more entertaining than the exhausting Clinton/Obama rivalry marathon we will be subjected to all year. Not only did Richardson raise more money than his second-tier colleagues, Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), but he got President Bush to bless his trip to North Korea, creating an opportunity to remind everyone again that he is the Foreign Policy Stud of the Democratic contest.

Richardson will visit Pyongyang to collect the remains of American troops who died in the Korean War. He will be accompanied by former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi, but it is Richardson's trip — after all, he is the one with an open invitiation to visit and confer with the North Korean government. He has earned his stripes not only as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations but has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the release of political prisoners in Iraq, Cuba and North Korea.

Richardson promises to play an interesting role in the '08 primary narrative by virtue of his bona fides, which are unmatched by the other contenders. Sure, he may be the only governor whose lieutenant governor went on the record to say he touches her too much, but he there's no getting around his usefulness to this race and ultimately to a Democratic nominee for president.