Is Dodd Done?

To me it has always seemed Connecticut is an address of convenience for Senator Dodd. He’s from Connecticut the way ships are registered in Liberia and Panama or businesses are incorporated in Delaware and the Cayman’s.

Christopher_Dodd_official_portrait_2-cropped.jpgJust as I was getting set for bed the Twitterverse started going a little nuts with word Senator Christopher Dodd will announce he’s not running for reelection to his Senate seat. The announcement, if true, is a shocker even though I’ve been telling anyone who’d listen he was unelectable.

Unelectable candidates run all the time. They lose. I assume he figured that out.

He’s run and won six times. Thirty years in the Senate. Quite a record. Alas, here in Connecticut the bloom is off the rose.

Every time a sleazy rock is turned over concerning banking or finances there seems to be signs Chris Dodd has been there. His mortgage deal with Countrywide, sweetheart or not, never seemed like the kind of deal I’d get.

In the NY Times Gail Collins wrote of his opportunism and Connecticut’s skepticism:

The trouble began with Dodd’s presidential campaign when he famously attempted to win over the voters in the Iowa caucus by moving his entire family to the state and enrolling his daughter in an Iowa kindergarten. Iowa, you may remember, responded enthusiastically and awarded him nearly 1 percent of the vote. Connecticut was mortified.

Mortified. Exactly.

I’ve only met Chris Dodd three of four times in my 25 years here. At a UCONN basketball victory parade I jumped on the back of a flatbed truck and interviewed Dodd and Joe Lieberman on live TV.

The truck began to move as I was clumsily climbing on. Senator Dodd leaned over and reached out to help. He has the softest hands I have ever felt on a man!

A few years ago I walked into the conference room as Ann Nyberg was getting set to interview him. I looked at the Senator and said, “I’m just a typical American boy from a typical American town.”

Nyberg was confused. She flashed a quizzical look. Too young to understand.

Dodd smiled and continued, “I believe in God and Senator Dodd and keeping old Castro down.”

We were doing lines from Phil Ochs’ “Draft Dodger Rag.” The Senator Dodd in the song was Chris Dodd’s dad, Tom. Being in the Senate was like being in a family business.

To me it has always seemed Connecticut is an address of convenience for Senator Dodd. He’s from Connecticut the way ships are registered in Liberia and Panama or businesses are incorporated in Delaware and the Cayman’s.

427px-Richard_Blumenthal_at_West_Hartford_library_opening.jpgMore than likely this opens the door for Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to run.

For Republicans this is a worst case scenario. Dodd was weak. Blumenthal is strong and well liked. It will be tough to muddy this consumer oriented former Marine.

Dick Blumenthal is a retail politician appearing and pressing the flesh at more events than any three other pols in Connecticut. I suspect more Connecticut residents have had personal contact with the AG than any other elected official. That kind of stuff pays off.

Now I can go to sleep.

Dodd’s Goose Is Cooked

Dodd’s goose is cooked. He’s in a pretty deep hole.

We had Senator Christopher Dodd on Channel 8 this afternoon talking about the AIG bonuses. This isn’t a Channel 8 website. I am writing for myself alone, but I thought Mark did a really good job.

Dodd danced around Mark’s tough questions but it was obvious he had little wiggle room. At one point during the interview, while Dodd was obviously obfuscating, Davis raised his voice to put the Senator back on track.

A fuller admission by Dodd came out in his next interview seconds later with Wolf Blitzer. I suspect it was because Dodd realized he had no believable defense as Mark grilled him.

Dodd’s goose is cooked. He’s in a pretty deep hole. He was already facing a serious challenge from Rob Simmons and others. Two years out, his chances look bad.

This is also a deep wound to the Obama administration. Trust is graded pass/fail. Today they failed.

It’s Time To Turn Down The Incendiary Language

What is wrong is to fire up zealots through incendiary language and vitriol. That can’t be turned off and could easily become a ticking time bomb.

Zealot –noun

1. a person who shows zeal.

2. an excessively zealous person; fanatic.

Zealots are easy to fire up. They are much more difficult to calm down. It looks like the McCain campaign has realized that and, at least John McCain himself, is getting a little uneasy with what’s been unleashed.

Sam Stein/The Huffington Post: McCain was responding to a town hall attendee who claimed he was concerned about raising a child under a president who “cohorts with domestic terrorists such as [Bill] Ayers.” Despite the fact that McCain and his campaign have repeatedly used Ayers to hammer Obama in recent days, the Arizona Senator tried to calm the man.

“[Senator Obama] is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared about as President of the United States,” he said, before adding: “If I didn’t think I would be one heck of a better president I wouldn’t be running.”

The crowd groaned with disapproval.

Later, McCain was again pressed about Obama’s “other-ness” and again he refused to play ball. “I don’t trust Obama,” a woman said. “I have read about him. He’s an Arab.”

“No, ma’am,” McCain said several times, shaking his head in disagreement. “He’s a decent, family man, [a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

It’s important for this election to be heartily fought–for ideas to be vetted before the voting public. We should know what each candidate stands for. What is wrong is to fire up zealots through incendiary language and vitriol. That can’t be turned off and could easily become a ticking time bomb.

Do I need to go into specifics here for you to know why we need to worry? The language needs to be toned down now. Senator McCain’s answers today are a good start.

My Jesse Helms Story

As I remember, the spot paid $800, or a month’s pay for me. That was quite the incentive.

Jesse Helms died today. He was the very conservative former senator from North Carolina.

Back in 1972 I was working as a disk jockey at WBT, the 50,000 watt AM station in Charlotte, NC. This was a wonderful, old line station. Under one roof we had an AM, FM, TV and separate video and audio production companies. There were few stations like it then–certainly none like that now.

One day an open call came from Jeffersonics, the audio production house. A political spot was being cut and they needed a voice. Everyone was encouraged to read.

I don’t have now and certainly didn’t have then “pipes,” but I went nonetheless and read. As I remember, the spot paid $800, or a month’s pay for me. That was quite the incentive.

I didn’t get the job. It went to Jack Petry, our midday man with a voice so deep he once told me he couldn’t be heard over a vacuum cleaner!

The three words Jack read: “Nixon needs Helms.” In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get it.

Just Call Me Geoff

Over time, more and more people have taken to calling me Mr. Fox. It’s a little disturbing, because I don’t want to be that old.

I usually tell them, “My name is Geoff. Mr Fox lives in a condo in Florida.”

Of course Mr. is the least of the titles you can have with your name. You could be Dr., or Rev., or Senator, or… well the list is nearly endless.

A few years ago, while perusing the British Airways website I came across their choice of titles. I saw the list cited today on another website and thought I’d post it here – just for fun.

Some are so obscure, I have no idea what they could possibly be. I do know, few holders of these titles will ever be flying with me in Row 39, aft of the wing.

Click the list and choose a title. They’re free.

Good Deeds

Today I was busy being a good citizen. That’s really not a bad thing, if you can swing it.

At 5:00, the station sent me to Lighthouse Park (or Lighthouse Point Park – I’m never sure) in New Haven. Tonight’s the night they light The Fantasy of Lights. It’s a drive through display of holiday lighting at the beach… sort of unused this time of year.

Last year 18,000 cars drove through and it benefits Easter Seals.

Then I was off to the New Haven Lawn Club for the annual Gateway Community College Hall of Fame Awards Dinner. This is another one of those things I’ve been doing for a long time – 7 years I think.

Gateway is a good thing. It’s not what you think of when you think of a traditional college. There are lots of poor people. Lots of people with less advantages. Lots of non-traditional students (though that’s becoming a smaller percentage of the student body as people realize what a financial bargain this school is).

The featured speaker was supposed to be Senator Joseph Lieberman. I was prepared. I had my Senator Lieberman material at the ready, but then he canceled at the last minute. I’m sure it was something important though it never feels good when you’re left at the altar.

Larry DeNardis, former president of University of New Haven and a former congressman stepped in. I like Larry but I wanted Joe. I was prepared for Joe.

Anyway, this evening left me feeling good, like I had done something worthwhile. Even though I know what I did, to emcee both events, is easy for me, there is benefit for others. It’s not how hard I work but that I can help produce a positive outcome for others that matters.

Dirty Politics

There’s a campaign of negative advertising going on right now. It is aimed at John Kerry and sponsored by an organization which claims to be separate from the Republican Party. That’s what brings what I’m about to say to mind.

Negative advertising works.

I am not passing judgment on Senator Kerry or President Bush or even the Swift Boat Veterans group which is paying for the ads. All that will wash out over time, and it’s my intention to stay non-partisan here.

Negative advertising is the perfect political ploy because it satisfies two objectives. It puts your opponent on the defensive and it keeps him from setting his own agenda. So, a candidate is forced to abandon his strengths to shore up his weakness. Brilliant.

The fact that this is often done by surrogates (and the Democrats have their surrogates too) allows the candidate not being tarred to stay above it all.

Negative ads are used because they work. They change minds. They cause supporters to question their commitment. They sway the undecided.

You can get people to vote against a candidate. Until that changes, mud will continue to be thrown.