What We Look For From Our Presidential Candidates
by Big Tent Democrat, Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 06:33:56 AM EDT
Of the presidential candidates, some currently hold office (Senate: Dodd, Obama, Clinton, Biden; House: Kucinich; Governor: Richardson) and some don't (Edwards, Gravel ).
For the ones who actually hold office I've been much more interested in what they do as officeholders than what they do as candidates. They all say they're great leaders, but some of them currently have the office, stature, and especially for Clinton and Obama, the hefty soapbox from which they can actually ... lead. They have the power to take something which is an issue right now and run with it, instead of thinking about all the wonderfully yummy things they'll do... if they win... 15 months from now.
This has been my approach:
I never expected to be supporting any of our fine candidates for President at this point, much less Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). I was not shopping for candidates. Indeed, I insisted (insist?) that the Netroots has spent 2007 too focused on the 2008 horserace instead of being focused on the pressing issues of today, especially the Iraq issue.
But that actually explains how Chris Dodd won my support. Chris Dodd is leading on the issues of today as well as discussing his vision for the issues of tomorrow. Take Iraq for instance. While Dodd thoroughly explains his views on what he will do about Iraq as President, he has spent just as much time explaining and stressing the critical importance of Democrats doing all they can now to end the Iraq Debacle. This is not an issue that can wait 18 months. Thus Dodd argues that we must:End the War in Iraq Decisively. Chris Dodd understands that ending the war in Iraq makes America safer. He strongly supports the Feingold-Reid proposal - the only responsible measure in Congress that sets a timetable to end the war in Iraq by March 31, 2008 - and he has urged all the candidates in the presidential race to join him. It is time to stand up to the President's misguided Iraq policy.
(Emphasis supplied.) More than anything else, this position won my support. Instead of introducing a "Dodd plan" for getting us out of Iraq, to buttress a stump speech, Chris Dodd put the issue first, he put the nation first, and he argued for what Democrats (and any Republicans with wisdom and courage) should be doing NOW, not in January 2009, to end the Iraq Debacle. With this one act, Chris Dodd demonstrated the type of leadership, political courage, selflessness and wisdom that we need from our future President.
Last week, Chris Dodd's fight against the FISA Telco Amnesty captured the attention of the Netroots and progressives. And Dodd continues the fight:
The way I see it, there are three ways to get this provision stripped from the final bill:
1.) The first step would be to make sure the idea doesn't make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- where it will be considered shortly.
If we can get it stripped there, it will have to be offered as an amendment to the overall bill where it will be a lot easier to get 41 votes against retroactive immunity than 41 to sustain my filibuster if necessary.
Take a moment and call up members of the committee, let me know what they said, and join others in tracking our progress in stopping the provision right there.
The other two ways:
2.) If retroactive immunity does make it out of committee, Senate leadership can honor the hold I've placed on any legislation that includes retroactive immunity.
3.) If leadership does not honor my hold, I remain committed to filibustering, and working to get the 41 votes necessary to maintain it.
This has the potential to be a long fight -- so let's build a solid foundation for our effort today by asking members of the Judiciary Committee to vote against any FISA bill that includes retroactive amnesty.
And so it has been with Dodd on any number of issues. He is leading now. On Iraq. On restoring the Constitution. On Iran. On energy independence and global warming. On the mortgage crisis and bankruptcy reform. And now, on saving the mountain:
I oppose Bush's proposal to relax environmental rules on mountaintop removal. This rule change is an example of special interests, in this case coal companies, running the government. When big coal companies make the rules, worker safety and the environment suffer.
Instead of expanding coal companies' right to destroy the environment while mining for coal, the government should be working to develop truly clean and safe coal technologies. This means protecting our climate with new technologies, protecting mine workers by enforcing safety rules and standing up to the big companies, and protecting communities and our natural landscapes by using only safe and clean extraction methods. This can only be accomplished by opposing mountaintop removal.
Leadership now demonstrating the leadership we will need from our next President. Chris Dodd is providing that. He should be our next President.