Richardson and I aren't the only ones who were disappointed in the rules. As Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote in his commentary for CNN:
Univision had prohibited the two candidates who speak fluent Spanish -- Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd -- from answering questions in that language and insisted that all candidates answer the questions in English and have their answers translated into Spanish. Apparently, this was meant to level the bilingual playing field.
During the debate, Richardson called the network on its hypocrisy. Identifying himself as the first major Latino presidential candidate, he said it was unfortunate that Latinos in the United States couldn't "hear one of their own speak Spanish." Then Richardson accused Univision of promoting -- gasp! --"English-only."
Bravo. He's right. It was a dumb rule, obviously intended to prevent the monolingual front-runners -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards -- from being at a disadvantage.
But silly rules or not, even being cut off for speaking the language of his mother, Richardson still did a fabulous job. He reiterated the need to bring all the troops home from Iraq and to do so swiftly. He again spoke of the need to have comprehensive immigration reform. We need to have stronger border security. We need to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants. But we don't need a wall. A wall is a waste of money. As the governor says, "The wall is a horrendous example of what is wrong with our current approach to immigration reform. Congress only funded half of the wall. You know, if you build a 12-foot wall, people will get 13-foot ladders." And of course, Richardson reiterated the need to scrap No Child Left Behind.