Monday, May 25, 2009

Off The Wire, Memorial Day Edition

First, let me add my thanks to those who have served and are currently serving this country in the military. Having the opportunity to explain Memorial Day to a child who is just getting to be old enough to understand it gives one a refreshing perspective and a renewed appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf. A few lines in a blog post are not much to offer in light of what I have received, but there they are.

So anyway, Chris Dodd got his credit card bill passed this week after thirty years in Congress. While there may be aspects of the law that make sense, like increasing transparency and requiring adequate notice when rates change, much is just more government meddling, which is what got us here in the first place. And I don't want to hear it when credit card companies stop extending credit to people with average to poor credit and begin charging "unfair" or "excessive" annual fees. This editorial from the Richmond Times-Dispatch discusses the downside of Dodd's new law.

Dodd even got a literal "shout out" from President Obama. Imagine, people made fun of Bush for the way he spoke. At least his gaffes were a result of him misspeaking. Obama reads everything he says, so someone on his staff thought it sounded appropriate for the President to issue a "shout out" at a press conference for a major bill signing. Next thing you know we'll have Slo' Joe Biden "raising the roof" in the background of bill signings.

Dodd's efforts also apparently earned him 100,000 fundraising/image-rebuilding emails from The One. Perhaps Dodd will be able to convert more than four of them into in-state donors?

So is all of this helping Dodd? It's not hurting, but an editorial in The Day wonders whether his image-enhancement campaign is doing much with the average voter.
In all of this, Dodd appears to have forgotten, or prefers not to acknowledge, that appearances mean so much in politics, especially the appearance of a conflict of interest. During his long Senate career, Dodd has happily and legally taken millions of dollars from the big business he and his banking committee are responsible for regulating. He insists and may even believe that their dollars have not influenced votes, but no opponent, especially a Rob Simmons or one equally experienced, will ignore those appearances.

Unlike Lieberman, who ran and won reelection without the Democratic party, Dodd seems to have retained the strong loyalty of the party and all the organizational support that goes with it. Even though he's been business' boy in the Senate, he also seems to have retained union support, or at least the support of union leaders.

It's the rank-and-file, also known as the voters, he's in danger of losing.
We'll see.

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