It truly is unfortunate that Chris Dodd, the senior Senator from Conneticut did not seek the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 2004. Due to his outstanding service in the Peace Corp, United States Army and Army Reserves Chris seems to me to be John Kerry with a lot more engaging personality and without the baggage of the inflammatory comments that Kerry made following his tour of duty in Vietnam.
Now you may ask, if Dodd were so outstanding then why didn’t he run in 2004? Well, the answer to me is simple, but it may be on several planes nonetheless. Senator Joe Lieberman, the junior Senator from Connecticut was also seeking the Presidency following Lieberman’s close defeat as Al Gore’s running mate at the hands of the Bush/Cheney ticket back in 2000. Chris Dodd felt obligated to give his friend another shot at the White House after such a tight election and of course two Senators can not run from the same state, that would leave the fine people of the Nutmeg State without representation in what many people consider to be the greatest deliberative body in the world and that just wasn’t acceptable in anyone’s mind.
The next point being that Chris is a family man, his wife having just given birth the day after September 11, 2001 to two wonderful little girls who Chris says inspired him to run for President this time because he wants them to have a fluorescent future in a sometimes uncertain world that we live in. Chris, being a relatively new father (for the first time) when 2004 rolled around wanted to see the first precious years, memories of Grace and Christina’s lives that he will cherish for as long as he lives. Chris Dodd is willing to sacrifice to preserve the future and that is what the theme of his campaign really seems to be about. Finding a way so we can all protect ourselves from enemies both foreign and domestic be it a terrorist plot as we continue to find for freedom around the world or from a natural disaster such as the devastation that is felt along the southeast every hurricane season.
The one plank or proposal rather, that really excites me about Chris Dodd’s campaign is his call for national service for all young people for at least a year either in high school or college or after one of the other, depending on your preferencewhether it be in the Peace Corps, Americorps, Vista, or probably the most important segment of them all in this twenty first century, that being the Armed Forces. This would be mandatory service, but of course exceptions can be made on a case by case basis say, if a parent is sick and the child has to stay home to help fend for the family as one of the sole providers or if we’ve got a budding farmer on our hands who has to stay home to bail hay for example and do chores on the farm to supplement the family’s income. The thing that gets the endorphins percolating for me when the idea of a national service is mentioned is the fact that it would bring back a sense of shared purposed where you had children collecting metal and rubber to help with the war effort. Some may disagree with me on this, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like there is enough concern about the threats that we face from terrorists or the energy crisis or the unfair trade practices of a China. The main concern of many seems to be whether they get their tax cut in order to buy their new boat in Costa Rica. Chris is a longtime admirer of the late former President John F. Kennedy who inspired a generation to get up out of their chairs and something for the nation. Chris was deeply touched by Kennedy’s inaugural address which Chris saw as an actual attendee given the fact that Thomas Dodd (Chris’ dad) was an experienced U.S. Senator himself. Chris also spent time in the Dominican Republic during his time in the Peace Corp and is fluent in Spanish. He fully grasps the importance of bilingual education.
I tend to believe that the Senator seems to be offering one of the more aggressive proposals on how to deal with the issue of climate change. To be perfectly honest with you, I’m agnostic at this point when it comes to whether human activity is the main cause in the shifts in temperature that we’ve for decades and whether all the dire scenarios are going to happen, but the debate is certainly worth having. Senator Dodd offers a plan to implement a United Kingdom style carbon tax in my judgment, thus in an attempt to cap CO2 emissions greatly and he has a goal of getting us completely off Mideast oil by 2015, which is awfully aggressive. Now some of you may say that this guy is a looney tune if he wants to go along with that carbon tax and he’s trying to turn us into little Europe. In response to that all I can is say is don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just trying to deliver some information. Scaling back greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050 is something that will be reversed by the time that gets considered, but that is still worth consideration. Plus given the fact that Chris is the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee with Richard Shelby of Alabama as the Ranking Member Chris has probably discussed his proposals with a significant number of leaders within the business community nationwide.
For the record as far as the reference to John Kennedy goes, it is a valid criticism to say that the Democratic Party has gotten away from the ideal of you doing something for your country instead of your country doing something for you. I think the candidacy of Chris offers Democrats and more importantly the whole country a chance to get back to that. I think the main reason however that Chris is struggling to gain ground in many circles is that one people don’t know who he is, two people don’t see change coming from another white guy from the Northeast (I think they are sadly mistaken on this point) and three the media has already crowned frontrunners so it is hard for other candidates to breakthrough. On the point of whether Dodd can bring change though, I think he can. He is known as a very cordial man who works in a bi-partisan nature and is adored by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Chris even participated in a forum with known social conservative and Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback at Boston College and both men said it was a constructive dialogue. As a side note Chris has longtime friend and supporter legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel fame touring Iowa with him. This may help Chris in the quest for all the important jockeying for the baby boomer demographic.