Thursday, April 9, 2009

Is Chris Dodd Really Vulnerable?

Stuart Rothenberg wrote a piece entitled, "The Most Vulnerable Senator Up for Re-Election in 2010?" and examines why Dodd is in trouble, and more to the point Dodd's vulnerability based on who the Republicans ultimately put up against him in 2010.

Let's examine the facts:
1. Connecticut votes Democrat - they would probably elect a rock if it had a "D" etched on it.

2. Dodd is a long entrenched six term Congressional veteran and is chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. "He's got people".

3. Dodd has access to vast political and financial resources to face any Republican challenging him for re-election. He's already hired an experienced campaign manager, and insists he has done nothing wrong (see below) and is doing damage control and spin like nobody's business. He still claims he has done nothing unethical or wrong (Perhaps he needs a good course in ethics).

4. Dodd has baggage - and lots of it. Some say the baggage borders on being outright criminal. Here's an excerpt of Rothenberg's accounting of that baggage:
"Dodd's special treatment from lender Countrywide Financial - and his designation as a "friend of Angelo" ...

the Senator has also been forced to return contributions from R. Allen Stanford, a financier accused of defrauding investors, and admitted that he had been involved in the process that ultimately stripped from the stimulus bill a provision that would have limited bonuses American International Group executives eventually received.

The Senator said that his admission about his role in modifying the [stimulus bill] (at the request of Treasury Department officials) did not amount to a reversal of his initial explanation, but local and national media certainly played it as a switch.

To make things worse, Dodd's wife was also on the board of directors of IPC Holdings, a Bermuda-based insurance company controlled by AIG.

Finally, and not insignificantly, Dodd riled some Connecticut voters when he moved his family to Iowa during the 2008 presidential contest, even going so far as to enroll his eldest daughter in a Des Moines kindergarten."
5. Dodd is falling in the polls like a rock. Polls are showing Dodd with a 30 percent favorable/58 percent unfavorable rating and his job approval at 33 percent approve/58 percent disapprove. Four in 10 Democrats disapproved of his job performance. That's big. Even fellow Democrats don't like him anymore, and what's more, Dodd is losing independent voters by more than a 2-1 margin. He is trailing possible contenders Rob Simmons, Waterbury's Sen. Sam Caligiuri, and former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley.

6. According to the polls, even people with not much "name recognition", such as Sen. Sam Caligiuri, would get voters to vote for him over Dodd.

So all of this amounts to the big question - is Dodd really vulnerable? Well, sure if the people are pissed off enough with him to dump him - or force him to (gasp) resign or retire. But there is the big question of whether or not Dodd is atrocious enough for CT Democrats to (a) primary this miserable Senator within their own party or (b) vote for the Republican guy. After all, look at what other gems the voters in other states have re-elected: Pennsylvania's John Murtha who even called his own constituents a bunch of racists and rednecks, and California's Laura "Real Estate Controversy Queen" Richardson. (Actually there is an interesting list put out by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) who released its 2008 Most Embarrassing Re-Elected Members of Congress report)

The voters are not always informed enough - or caring enough - to put ethics and principles before party affiliation when in the voting booth. That is obvious. But perhaps this time things could be very different for Chris Dodd.

Democrats don't need to fret over the future of Chris Dodd, chances are if he does the right thing by either resigning or deciding to retire, the Obama administration will give him a nice job somewhere as a reward for his years of service to the party. (How unfortunate that us taxpayers would still have to pay him a salary)

Currently it looks as if there is going to be a Republican primary between Simmons, Caligiuri, and Foley, and there may even be some third party candidate, and that should not be discounted given that people are getting pretty fed up with the shenanigans of both Democrats and Republicans in Washington. There's been a pretty big movement to draft Peter Schiff to run, since he has an incredible understanding of monetary issues and has been given lots of face time on cable news stations. Money has already been raised in anticipation of a campaign for him.

But now a word to the Republican party in CT - Don't run Rob Simmons. He is despised even by many Republicans. He's not the new fresh face that this State and this party is in dire need of. Realize that name recognition can also be a negative.

CT GOP - You are going to have to prove to CT voters why your candidate is not just another run of the mill politician. You are going to have to show why your candidate is superior. You can't win this campaign in negative attack ads alone. People are jaded when it comes to politicians. Both partys have screwed us in Washington. As Rothenberg points out, you need to show "factual evidence as to how Dodd has broken his oath of office - used his office for personal gain - not served his constituents - and is unfit to serve. " You are going to have to make the case strong enough so that people will be excited and be falling all over themselves in anticipation of voting for your candidate, a candidate that is ethical, understands the issues and more importantly offers credible solutions. Above all, this candidate must show that he will be a new breed of politician, unwilling to compromise principles and even be a whistle blower to expose the wrongdoings of other Congressional delegates no matter what side of the aisle they sit on. He must demonstrate that he will abide by his oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and follow and respect the Rule of Law.

Personally, I would like to see Dodd gone. As for his politics - in my opinion, he is a Socialist. He is arrogant, nasty to his constituents at town meetings, he laughs at people who ask honest questions of him and he is in my opinion unethical and crooked. He dodges important questions and has been caught in lies. The question however is this; what good is it to elect someone to replace him who will be just another politician; just as unethical and just as corrupt?

We need to take leadership in this state to bring forth a new breed of politician. We need someone honest; someone who will truly embody what this Republic stands for. Americans are tired of lip service, and unethical behavior. We want honesty. We want someone who will own up to mistakes and someone who will advocate for Connecticut and not just their own career.