Senator Chris Dodd toyed with the idea of making a run for the presidency in 2004 but allowed the chance to pass him by. Now as the 2008 campaign heats up Dodd finds himself in what seems to be an ever expanding pool of Democratic candidates for the presidency. At the head of the pack are Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Dodd has been stuck at the back of the pack, where the interest on the part of the media is minimal and from where it seems difficult to do or say something that will effectively vault him into the top tier of presidential hopefuls.
There are at least 4 reasons why Dodd might be successful in doing exactly that.
1. Experience. The Democratic pool of contenders is large this year and it is also unusually qualified. Included in the group are candidates who at various times have served as governors, senators, representatives, ambassadors, and cabinet officials. But even in this exemplary group, Chris Dodd still heads the field in terms of national experience having been elected as the U. S. Senator from Connecticut for 6 consecutive terms. While in the Senate, Dodd has made his mark as knowledgeable member of the international relations committee. He is especially knowledgeable about our relations with Latin America and is fluent in Spanish.
Americans have watched as the national respect that once was a source of pride has been toppled. Throughout the world America’s actions and in some cases inaction have been held up to ridicule and have divided us from some of our oldest foreign friends and allies. It is possible that a man with the international affairs experience that Chris Dodd possesses might be just the right choice for the presidency in 2008
2. Style Chris Dodd came to his present position as a U. S. Senator as if by hereditary right. His father Thomas Dodd had held the political spotlight in Connecticut for years and his son Chris moved into the political limelight with ease and grace. Perhaps this is part of the reason why Chris Dodd has always demonstrated a laid back, relaxed and conciliatory manner among U. S. Senators. While he will strongly forward his own position on issues ,there is a lot about his nature that seems to seek a middle ground and a workable solution.
During the last six years we have been led by President Bush, a man who has too often shown a lack of flexibility and a desire to have his own way. It is possible that people who have a chance to see a little more of Chris Dodd may hear and see in him a replacement at the president level that would bring a conciliatory tone back into vogue in American politics.
3. Age. It is likely that at some juncture of the Presidential campaign the issue of age will come to the surface. Among the full candidate field, older candidates may not find that their experience is undermined by their age. Barak Obama the youngest candidate may find the going tough simply because his age makes him seem inexperienced and untried. At 62 years of age, Dodd would seem to be appropriately located in the age spectrum to be judged acceptable and appropriate as a candidate for the presidency.
4. A Sense of Humor. Something that Americans appreciate, even from their President,is a sense of humor. There has been scant little to laugh or even smile about on the American political scene of late. The air waves have been filled with savage attacks by one group of party extremists or the other with little room for actual good spirited humor.
The American public wants to laugh again, to feel relaxed about its political self. Certainly they don’t want a stand up comic for President but a man like Chris Dodd who can see the humor in a situation, who has demonstrated a willingness to laugh at his own shortcomings and then move along might be good for what ails us as a nation.
It may be that the war in Iraq will allow Chris Dodd to find his break through issue. At the beginning of the war in Iraq Chris Dodd appeared to be almost a hawk in his attitudes. In 2006 he voted against withdrawing troops from Iraq. But of late Dodd has reevaluated his own stance. This fresh look has led Dodd to demand that American troops be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible.
In a variety of venues Dodd has told Americans that the idea that American troops were being asked to win a civil war being fought in someone else’s country was utterly ridiculous. He has backed up his observation with his vote in the Senate. With a small group of Democrats Dodd stood strong for the Senate bill that would cut off funding or war operations and encouraged others to do the same. Other candidates in the U. S. Senate, Clinton, Obama and Biden, stood back and appeared to wait until the wind stopped blowing to take a position. Dodd on the other hand gave the candidates clarity of position and took a real leadership role among Democrats.
When the vote was actually taken other Democrats including candidates followed along. But it was Dodd who had taken the risk and who had led the way. This issue may prove to be the first step in getting Dodd the coverage he has so far lacked. If he does get more visibility it will give all Americans a chance to see what Chris Dodd brings to the race for the presidency . Every real candidate deserves that chance.