I thought so at the time, that Commerce was a "C" level position. I didn't understand why Richardson would take it. So too did Team Obama:
Bill Richardson withdraws; controversy swirls over pay to play. You'd never know it, but the Obama team did not expect Richardson to take the Commerce job in the first place; they saw it as a demotion. But Richardson surprised them by saying yes.
We should transition into a world where people are judged based on merit. This is possible under an Obama administration because I'm presuming there isn't any hidden bias by the ulimate decider. In other areas we still need to take into account past historical patterns, and other things. But Richardson was clearly the "latino" and he was shunned from a real "A" level cabinet because he wasn't of high enough quality. Specifically he was too liberal for the State Department and not qualified for the other "A" level spots.