What We Look For From Our Presidential Candidates

Atrios writes:

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.

Tags: Chris Dodd, Election 2008 (all tags)



Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

Dodd's a good guy... If Obama can't win it, I sure as hell hope its Gore, Edwards or Dodd who gets the nomination... All 4 of those candidates are MUCH MUCH MUCH better than Hillary.  

I'll be curious to see if Dodd can catch any fire in  Iowa or New Hampshire...

by yitbos96bb 2007-10-25 06:45AM | 0 recs
I've been lacking a second choice...

but I think Chris Dodd could be him.

by Robert P 2007-10-25 08:03AM | 0 recs
I like Dodd

He is not really exciting like Obama.  But he has great experience.

He is not a creature of Big Finance like Biden.  He is familiar with corporations.

Generally, I like him quite a bit.

by dataguy 2007-10-25 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: I like Dodd

I get "excited" by leadership and standing up for Democratic values.

That is why I think Dodd is more "exciting" than Obama.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-10-25 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: I like Dodd

I like Dodd too, but Edwards is standing up for Democratic values and has been speaking out strongly since last year.  He came and supported Lamont before Dodd finally supported the Democratic nominee.  I acknowledge that Dodd did support Lamont.  

Edwards has led on the issues and actively campaigned against the appropriations with the Support the Troops/ End the War and the We the People campaign.  Dodd came out with his ad after.

Having said all of that, Dodd IS in the senate and IS showing leadership on these issues compared to Obama and Clinton.  I give him kudos and he has moved to my #2 spot.

The biggest plus was voting against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

by pioneer111 2007-10-25 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

Dodd is a terrific Senator, but I worry a) that supporting him is merely a way of indirectly helping Hillary by denying support to Edwards and b) his close ties to the insurance industry would make it impossible for him to enact a health care plan that would, like Edwards, includes a significant portion of publicly financed insurance -- so that when companies dump health care plans for employees, there is a non-profit alternative that they can turn to, and so that we will have a path to an eventual single-payer system.

by desmoulins 2007-10-25 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

I like Edwards and Obama but I worry that support for them is merely an indirect way of draining support from Dodd.

Tell your candidate to drop out if you believe that.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-10-25 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

"tell your candidate to drop out" -- what an odd, self-important and belligerent response to what I intended to be an honest statement of how I felt in response to the article.

More and more this site is becoming a waste of time.

by desmoulins 2007-10-25 11:18AM | 0 recs

I honestly can not believe you think your comment deserved something better than I gave it.

Arrogance about your preferred candidate is something that you ewxhibit in a candidate's diary and you wrote something ridiculous.

Indeed, I responded honestly. Dodd would have a better chance if Obama and Edwards dropped out.

What arrogance you displayed and apparently have no self awareness about it.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-10-25 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Amazing

Whatever. I had considered Dodd my #2 candidate, in case Edwards isn't viable in my precinct. Now I won't support Dodd because of your snotty and insulting response.

by desmoulins 2007-10-25 10:54PM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

Dude, that barbershop commercial was so bad!

by Steve M 2007-10-25 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

What we look for in our Presidential candidates - good commercials?

Dodd's commercials are what he is doing in Congress now.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-10-25 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

What's your substantive response to this diary?

The diarist does seem to have an interesting point regarding Dodd's choice of priorities.

by Steve M 2007-10-25 07:36AM | 0 recs
That diarist

is in the midst of a severe case of Primary Disease. He has lost his marbles.

Now, if he wanted to say that Dodd should have led on the Southwick and the Restore Hope issue issue and whipped for more votes against cloture and FOR the bill, he might have a point. But since his candidate did not either he can not say that.

You are a smart guy and know how cloture works. It takes 60 votes. There were 62. Dodd's being there meant nothing to that one way or another.

The votes for cloture were the issue. And that required loud leadership PRIOR to the vote.

All the candidates failed there.

As for the haircut, sure, I'll condemn it. Stupid joke. Not worthy of Dodd. Should not have been done.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-10-25 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: That diarist

Well, you're right about the diarist of course.  But here's the argument as I understand it.

Dodd is having trouble raising money.  Suddenly, he becomes a loud and vocal champion of all the pet netroots causes.

On telecom immunity, which it would be nice to block in committee but won't be on the floor until next month in any event, he's out there vowing a filibuster.  But on the DREAM Act, on the Southwick nomination, both of which were on the floor right now, no sign of leadership.  No vows to filibuster, no campaigns urging people to pressure their Senators.

In a nutshell, then, the argument is that Dodd's vocal support for netroots causes is insincere and we're only seeing it because he hopes to raise some netroots cash to keep his campaign going.  The concern is that he's only the Netroots Superhero for as long as we can be useful to him.

It certainly seems to me that over the years, when I've seen individual Senators willing to get up and champion the sort of things we blog about, I don't recall seeing Dodd at the forefront all that often.  I don't think of him as a bad Senator, but I'd never confuse him for Russ Feingold.  I don't have an anti-Dodd agenda and I'm not going to go hunting for votes to skewer him with, but we all know he was wrong on the war, for one thing.

It strikes me that this argument, spawned as it may be from a bad case of primary disease, does have a certain heft to it.  I generally agree with you that what matters is what candidates actually do, not what they say or what they may secretly believe in their heart, but that point has to be tempered with the realization that dancing to our tune during primary season only counts for so much.

by Steve M 2007-10-25 07:54AM | 0 recs
"In a nutshell"

Dodd has led throughout the entire campaign on issues people in the netroots care about.

First to co-sponsor Feingold-Reid

First to publicly declare his opposition to the last blank-check supplemental

Corporate Carbon Tax

Always talking about the Constitution and rule of law.

The support for Dodd has been building for quite some time now.  It doesn't shock me that supporters of other candidates are threatened by that.

And fact is, no one knew about Dodd before this cycle.  His introduction to the netroots came in earnest when he campaigned and shot a commercial for Ned Lamont (a pre-campaign netroots cause, I'd say?).  I'd venture to say that if MyDD existed when he authored the Family and Medical Leave Act, people would have been writing about that and gathering support for the bill as well.

And as Dodd's internet director, let me just say that the contributions (in the volume they came) was a shock to me even.


by Tim Tagaris 2007-10-25 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: "In a nutshell"

Seems to me that he really stuck his neck out by supporting Lamont.  That was an interesting test for Party members.

by Steve M 2007-10-25 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: That diarist

Suddenly? ETF?

Sorry if he has not been paying aqttention. But there was nothing sudden about it.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-10-25 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

I know that brain power, intelligence and common sense aren't in high order when Senators go pandering for votes among the most deluded partisans in America, but I can't help but wonder if Dodd has stopped to consider that maybe prosecuting American companies for doing what the American government asked them to do for the "sake" of protecting national security may make them a lot less willing to help us the next time we actually need them to do something to protect our national security?

Cause, you know, using every tool at your disposal to help keep your constituents safe...that's not something anybody wants in a President, is it?

by Kujan 2007-10-25 07:53AM | 0 recs
Very good!

That's really pitch-perfect satire. I almost thought you were serious, for a second!

by BingoL 2007-10-25 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

Save your liberal-bashing for your own diaries, or better yet, take it over to Redstate where you'll feel more at home.

by Steve M 2007-10-25 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

You mean Kujan is serious? Are you sure?

I thought the quotation marks in 'the "sake" of protecting national security ...' was the clue.

And the idea at the President should use 'every tool,' even the illegal ones, is, well, y'know ...

Say what you will about the modern right, they've succeeded in the War on Satire.

by BingoL 2007-10-25 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From Our Presidential Candida

Well, I know from experience that good satire is often indistinguishable from the real thing.

by Steve M 2007-10-25 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: What We Look For From

You convinced me. Well, Dodd convinced me, but your advocacy helped. I sent him $50, and will undoubtedly send more.

So well done.

by BingoL 2007-10-25 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: dodd is ok...

Dodd's my #2...I am still mixed about the whole telecom amnesty issue because it is still being worked in the committee....

hope he can do better with fundraising..

by pate 2007-10-25 08:13AM | 0 recs


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