Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The dude with white hair - A Dood Tube Surge

"The guy with white hair." That is exactly how I have been referring to Democratic Senator Chris Dodd during the debates. If you are among the few of us that are actually paying attention to the 2008 presidential race (h/t Andrew Sullivan), you may have noticed that there are an awful lot of senators and ex-senators running for President. I'm guessing two or three hundred at least. Calling him the dude with white hair helped me track him among the clouds of dust kicked up by this presidential stampede. Over the last few weeks Chris Dodd has been on the tube quite a bit. This prospective YouTube debate question helped me identify him:

Every time I've see him in recent weeks I am more impressed. He appears less like someone running for President, and more like an elected representative trying his level best to do the the people's business in congress. This being so completely out of character for Presidential candidates, it got my attention.

I am calling this post the Dood Tube Surge, in order to highlight his emergence as a solid alternative to a Clinton nomination. I have already anointed one Democratic Senator as the Designated VP Candidate (see previous post), but I am not quite ready to concede the nomination belongs to Clinton. She has plenty of time to lose this nomination. Her formidable strength in the debates so far has emerged from her confidence and the perception that she "looks presidential. " Well Chris Dodd is looking every bit as Presidential lately, and has the additional advantage of, you know, actually doing things in the Senate that are important to Americans. I'm not saying he is going to strip her of the front runner title. I am not even saying that he is my favorite Democratic Senator running for President (that would be Joe "it's the war stupid" Biden). I am just saying - keep an eye on him.

The Dood Tube Surge 1 - Sub-Prime Credit Contagion:
Today Chris Dodd met with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to discuss what could be done to keep the sub-prime market crisis and the record high mortgage default rate from spinning out of control. Stepping out of the meeting he was interviewed on CNBC:

In this video Senator Dodd speaks with authority and clarity about a complex problem that affects millions of Americans facing foreclosure on badly constructed and/or misrepresented loans, as well as a panicky credit market and business community. The interview is conducted on CNBC - the business channel of record - where he has a dialog with business journalists, not as presidential candidate, but as an important actor on the American economic stage. Is there another Democratic Senator running for President that could conduct this interview at this level of specificity and authority on this topic in this venue? If so, I don't know who it is. Contrast with another Democratic Senator running for president who talks a good game empathizing with "The People" struggling to keep their homes, but was invested in a Hedge Fund whose portfolio companies created these sub-prime loans and later foreclosed on them. In New Orleans. Not good John, not good at all. Good presidential candidates just don't let themselves become such an easy target. Now, Chris Dodd has not appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine with the gushing headline "Business Loves Chris!" as has yet another Democratic Senator candidate for president. But when business journalists want an in depth discussion of a potential political policy solutions to an emerging economic crisis, it is Chris Dodd being interviewed. By contrast, when Hillary Clinton is in a business magazine, the article is not about economic policy. It is about Hillary running for President.

Dood Tube Surge 2 - America's Infrastructure
Senators Chris Dodd and Chuck Hagel worked for two years on crafting a bi-partisan bill to address the wildly under-reported issue of America's crumbling infrastructure. A couple of weeks ago they announced this important bill in a press conference that was completely ignored by both new and old media. That is,the bill was ignored until a few hours after the press conference, when a major bridge fell down in Minnesota. Then the traditional media (and the blogosphere) took notice. Dodd and Hagel on MSNBC's Hardball:

This is what I see in this video - Two dedicated Senators, working in a bi-partisan way to solve a real (if unsexy) problem, with innovative and practical policy initiatives and no real expectation of getting any recognition for their efforts. Not triangulating politics, just doing the grunt work that they think the country needs. Are these not the qualities we want in a president?

Dood Tube Surge 3 - Spanking Bill O'Reilly
This one is just fun. A couple weeks ago Chris Dodd took Bill O'Reilly to the woodshed on his own show over O'Reilly's completely asinine and mind numbingly stupid attacks on Daily Kos. Dodd is obviously having great fun doing it, while O'Reilly blows a gasket on air.

Dodd just comes across as a guy who "gets it" in terms of understanding and appreciating citizen participation in the blogosphere.

Dood Tube Surge 4 - The dude with white hair.
We started with the hair, we'll finish up with the hair. This from last Sunday's debate on ABC:

What can I say? Dodd is clearly demonstrating his respect for nature and the environment in a meaningful, visceral way. And yes, that is a bug crawling in his hair.

I am not going to update the DWSUWF Presidential stack ranking, but I do need to make one change. Dodd clearly deserves to be on the leader board. We'll call it Version 2.6B (see left sidebar). Chris Dodd makes his first appearance in the ranking in the number 10 spot, replacing Al Gore (The Ostroy Report notwithstanding).

Side note: Andy Ostroy is flat wrong about Al Gore running, but visit his site and make a contribution to The Adrienne Shelley Foundation anyway.

UPDATE: August 30,2007
Welcome to the visiting carnivalista from the Carnival of Ohio Politics and the Carnival of the Liberals. Pull up a chair and visit for while, perhaps even leave a comment or two. I guess I should disclose that I am neither a liberal, nor am I from Ohio. But lets not get hung up on labels. After all, I am not really a conservative either, and in the blogosphere, should we really concern ourselves with these imaginary lines on a map? For the visiting Progressives, I' want you to feel at home, so if you are looking for sympathetic posts, you'll probably prefer my posts on Iraq and the 2006 midterms. On the other hand, if you'd prefer to gnash your teeth, you may want to check out my views on the 2008 Election, The Fairness Doctrine, and Republicanism.

Since the original post Chris Dodd has continued to garner increased attention, although it is not clear whether this buzz will translate into momentum in the polls. We could do worse than President Dodd.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.


mw said...

You should know that you are my only fan. Please take this opportunity to question and re-evaluate all of your values in life.

Thanks for the comment. I was pissed off that this post was being completely ignored and had decided to go on strike and never post again until somebody commented here. It might have taken years before a Google employee stumbled across this blog and left a comment to see if I was still alive.

In the Native American tradition, having saved the next post - you are now responsible for it.

Anonymous said...

Mw, you do good work here. I found your blog through New Nebraska Network. Sorry for being a week late on the comment, but I want to congratulate you on it anyway.

I too have been more and more impressed with Dodd lately. I've been wondering if he might be a good Cheney-like figure in a Democratic administration (with the power except hopefully not as much controversy - and hopefully he won't shoot anyone). He's not the most exciting prospect to be the face of the government, but he sure knows what he's doing and would certainly be an asset.

mw said...

Thanks for the kind words. There are no time limits on compliments at this site. Feel free to start at the beginning of the blog 18 months ago and leave positive comments on all posts.

Yeah - Dodd has a big hill to climb, but he has been getting a little more attention lately. Glad to see it. Minimally he deserves to move ahead of Richardson in the polls. If Hillary stumbles? Who knows.

Anonymous said...

I woke up this morning to the news that chuck hagel is not seeking reelection. this is his last term. HE IS RETIRING. (on C N N ) will this news change your stack rating?

mw said...

robyn - Yes the stack ranking must change, but not sure when I'll get around to it. I'll probably move Dodd to the top Dem spot, and Ron Paul will be my top Republican.

That said, I am still holding out some slim hope for Chuck Hagel getting back into this... he did seem to leave himself a bit of wiggle room. Consider:

Chuck Hagel - "...nor do I intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008."
Larry Craig - "I intend to resign from the senate effective Sept. 30th."

Obviously the word "intend" means something different in Washington than it does in the rest of the country. I interpret Chuck Hagel's statement as Washingtonspeak for:
1) He is running for President.
2) He is gay.
3) All of the above.