Posts filed under 'Dodd'

The Elizabeth Warren Controversy

The Democrats seem to hate her almost as much as the Republicans do…

Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who has been vocal in his opposition to selecting Warren, said Tuesday that he was “not enthusiastic” about Obama potentially appointing Warren to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Dodd has said that the agency needs a leader and that the nominee should go through the full Senate confirmation process and be subject to a floor vote. He said he particularly recommended against making a recess appointment, saying it would “be met with a lot of opposition.” Some Warren supporters had urged Obama to appoint her to the position while Congress was adjourned for the August recess.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a central player in the financial regulatory debate that eventually led to the creation of the consumer agency, also said naming Warren would be a harmful exercise.

“I would prefer someone who was not going to stir as much controversy in this first round as we establish this new consumer entity,” he said. “We should get off on a strong foot.”

Obama has every right to appoint Liz Warren to CFPB, but he should show sensitivity to the feelings of Republicans, conservadems and Wall Street and appoint her somewhere else.

1 comment September 15th, 2010 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Dodd,Economy,Obama,Politics,Wankers

No One Could Have Anticipated…

Hey everybody!  It looks like Blanche Lincoln’s surprisingly populist and progressive derivatives bill was all a sham to get her re-elected!

Earlier today I mentioned that the Senate club was working to protect Blanche Lincoln, first by allowing her to offer up a kabuki derivatives bill which was strong enough for her to counteract claims of being too tight with Wall Street, then by delaying the eventual watering down of that piece in the overall bill until after her Senate primary. I’ve heard that Lincoln couldn’t even defend the concept of forcing the big banks to spin off their swaps trading desks in a caucus luncheon; Maria Cantwell had to do it for her. Clearly, she was fed the most left-leaning derivatives package available, with the expressed intention that it wouldn’t make the bill. Nobody wants to overturn it before it serves its purpose of getting Lincoln nominated for re-election, however.

It’s not like anyone predicted this or anything…

I kind of suspect that this was the kabuki plan all along – let Blanche posture and grandstand as some kind of anti-Wall Street crusader to fend off Halter’s primary challenge, but make sure her bill gets watered down substantially by other Senators before it actually comes up for a vote so her generous Wall Street donors don’t get pissed off.

Otherwise I think Blanche would be in the awkward position of having to vote against her own bill…

3 comments May 14th, 2010 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Dodd,Economy,Politics,Wankers

Reality-Proof Democrats

So I’m reading Chris Dodd’s brilliant statement about why the FISA “compromise” is unacceptable, and how it’s just one of the many symptoms of the Bush administration’s fundamental lawlessness, and I’m having this depressing thought:

Dodd makes a very eloquent, comprehensive, and compelling argument against the FISA bill, and… no-one cares.  I doubt that he convinced even one Democratic senator to join the paltry 15 who voted against cloture, and obviously no Republicans.  The merits of Dodd’s arguments were simply irrelevant in the face of political calculation, party loyalty, and corporate money.  There was literally nothing that he could have said to sway any of them.

And that’s what saddens me: This sense that the merits don’t matter, because hardly anyone in Congress is making decisions based on them.  Dodd is pouring his heart out, and his esteemed colleagues are looking at their watches or playing with their Blackberries, saying, “Yeah, that’s great, Chris – can we get on with servicing our corporate bosses now?”

Most dispiriting of all, that group includes our presidential nominee, who couldn’t be bothered to vote, and who has already said that he will vote for the “compromise” whether immunity has been stripped from it or not (he says he’ll work to strip it, but there’s no way he can succeed).  I don’t know whether Obama’s feeling insecure about his national security credentials as compared to McCain’s, or if he’s beholden to telecom contributions, or if he simply doesn’t want Nominee Obama to mess up President Obama’s chances at extraordinary powers, but it doesn’t really matter.  None of those reasons is an excuse for Obama’s pathetic failure to lead on something this important.

And I’m not going to give one whit of credit to anyone who voted for cloture and then votes against the bill so they can grandstand about how awful it is.  “This bill is a grave threat to our constitutional liberties and the rule of law… but I felt that it deserved an up-or-down vote” is spectacularly bad messaging.

I’m going to be pissed and resentful about this for months, and refuse to give time or money to the Obama campaign.  Way to depress your base in a presidential election year, geniuses.

1 comment June 25th, 2008 at 10:32pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Dodd,Obama,Politics,Terrorism,Wankers

I Can Haz Leadership? (Updated)

As I understand it, the presidential primaries are supposed to be all about demonstrating to the voters of your party that you have the leadership qualities necessary to be President of the I-think-still-just-barely most powerful nation on Earth. We’ve heard all kinds of back and forth between the top three candidates about who can best effect Change.

Well, there’s this FISA vote coming up, wherein Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will attempt to ram through a bill granting telecom corporations retroactive immunity for turning their customer’s calls over to the Bush Administration without warrants. Reid intends to do this over Chris Dodd’s dead body, and will dispense with the courtesies that he granted to Republican opponents, such as honoring holds and not requiring actual reading-from-the-phone-book-until-you-keel-over filibusters. As if this were not bad enough, it appears that this is actually the outcome that the Senate Democrats want, and the only Democrats willing to stand with Dodd in support of a filibuster are Teddy Kennedy and Russ Feingold (of course).

The first time FISA almost came to a head, Hillary and Obama refused to tear themselves away from their campaigning, which was a non-response worthy of our current Ignorer-In-Chief. If Hillary and Obama really want to show voters, especially Democratic voters, that they have the mettle to lead our country, then they need to get their asses down to the Senate floor and help Dodd out. Vote against cloture, ask Dodd long rambling questions so he can take breaks, and perhaps most importantly of all, use the megaphone of your presidential campaigns to let the American people know that the Bush administration (with the active collusion of the Democratic leadership) is once again trying to chip away at the rule of law to let themselves and their corporate henchmen escape accountability.

If you want to show leadership, then lead, don’t hide. If you want to demonstrate your ability to effect change, then change something. If you want to show that you’re not beholden to corporations and lobbyists, then tell the telecoms who have been pelting you with money that you appreciate their support, but you have to follow your conscience and do the right thing.

Of course, even if you do all that, you’ll still be following Chris Dodd, who despite polling in the low single digits in his bid for the nomination, still managed to display more leadership in a week than either of you has shown in the entirety of your brief, cautious Senate careers. But at this point I have to take what I can get, and I’d rather have a fast follower for President than someone who hides under the desk every time Republicans shout “9/11.”

But what about Edwards, you ask? After all, he is the Officially Endorsed Candidate Of Multi Medium, is he not? He most certainly is – but what he is not is a sitting Senator. I would love to see him go down to DC in a show of support and solidarity, but Edwards can only affect the outcome indirectly, either by focusing the meager spotlight the media deign to give him onto the immunity issue, or by shaming Actual Sitting Senators Hillary and Obama into showing up so he can’t lord this over them for the rest of the campaign.

And as long as I’m on the subject of leadership, where the hell is ours in Congress? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is actively facilitating an enormous gift to the Bush administration, and Nancy “Impeachment Is Off The Table” Pelosi still refuses to call a vote to hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt, over six months after they blew off Congressional subpoenas to testify on the US Attorney firings. If covering for a lawless, out-of-control Republican President is the kind of “leadership” our Democratic Representatives and Senators actually want, then God help us all, and we need better Democrats. Much, much better Democrats.

UPDATE: I forgot to ask: Why can’t Reid just say, “Sorry, fellas – as much as I’d like to help you with the whole shielding-corporations-and-Bushies-from-accountability thing, my hands are tied as long as that mean ol’ Mr. Dodd persists with his hold. And since it doesn’t look like he’s going to change his mind anytime soon, you might as well just pass the version without telecom immunity. And, I might add, the absence of retroactive immunity for telecoms does not in any way impede our ability to catch terrorists, regardless of what the Bush administration may say.”?

Am I asking too much?

3 comments January 24th, 2008 at 07:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Dodd,Edwards,Elections,Favorites,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Weirdness


Okay, so Obama and Huckabee won, Edwards came in second, and Dodd showed so poorly that he dropped out. My thoughts:

o Not sure how significant this is, but the most charismatic candidates on each side won. This could be partially a function of the whole “retail politics” thing, where Huck & Obama had the opportunity to personally charm lots of voters on an individual basis.

o I’ll be curious to see whether the media ever suggests that Huckabee’s economic populism played into his victory at all, or if it’s all faith ‘n’ folksiness. My guess is that the establishment narrative will be reluctant to acknowledge that there’s a deep hunger for economic fairness. I was hoping that Edwards would win to really drive this point home (not that anyone would notice), but he did place a solid second despite being massively outspent.

o I was really hoping Dodd would do better. I thought he was the only presidential candidate to demonstrate Actual Leadership by taking a stand against telecom immunity when no-one else could be bothered. It’s shameful and depressing that his courage translated into zero support.

o I have mixed feelings about Obama, to say the least. On the one hand, Chris Bowers points out a huge positive:

…Obama won because he did something many campaigns have claimed they would do in the past, but never until now had never actually accomplished: he turned out young voters and new voters in record-smashing numbers. This has long been the holy grail of progressive politics, and until now no one had been able to pull it off. Well, Obama pulled it off. That is a remarkable an historic accomplishment. That is why he won.

If he could deliver that same kind of energized youth and new voter turnout in November, then not only would he be almost certain to win the election, but he would also give a huge assist to other Democratic candidates on the state and local ballots.

On the other hand, BooMan (who also believes that Obama could win big in the general) provides an excellent summation of why the liberal blogosphere prefers Edwards:

…Obama hasn’t really embraced us. He’s gone his own way. And that explains why, in the end, the blogosphere broke heavily for John Edwards.

No, I don’t mean people turned their back on Obama because he didn’t pay the proper respect to the blogosphere. That isn’t what happened. Obama didn’t embrace our way of doing things. Worse, he began to use rhetoric we had spent energy to debunk. He went even further. He tossed aside one of our central insights…an insight won through hard experience: we cannot compromise with the Republican Party…we must smash them.

Perhaps because his wife is such an avid reader of blogs, Edwards’ campaign tapped right into our zeitgeist. He came out with our insight front and center. You want Edwards’ message? Here it is: ‘Fuck David Broder, fuck Joe Klein, fuck Chris Matthews, fuck FOX News, fuck Tim Russert, fuck Mitch McConnell, fuck Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Defense. We don’t need them. They won’t negotiate in good faith. They’re stacking the deck against us. And we can beat them by telling the truth and getting organized.’ That’s Edwards’ message, and that is the message we have internalized both through our successes and our failures.

What’s funny is that Obama is saying many of the same things, in his own way. The policy differences between Edwards and Obama are minimal. But Obama’s tone deaf to the blogosphere. And, as a result, the blogosphere didn’t trust him. Take Armando:

…we do not criticize Obama’s political style on aesthetic grounds; we criticize his style because we think it will not work to actually EFFECT CHANGE. We believe that despite his being touted as the change candidate, his political style is the one LEAST likely to achieve progressive policy change.

His ‘style’ will be ineffective. Why did so many of us conclude this? It’s because we have watched Tom Daschle, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi try to negotiate with the Republicans (in the minority, the majority, no matter) and it does not work. We have watched the Dems talk tough and then back down time and time again. We’re done with conciliation and we don’t believe bipartisanship is possible without first crushing the Republican Party down to a stump.

…More than anything, I want Edwards’ style to be vindicated. I want partisanship and combativeness to be rewarded. And I want Clinton/Lieberman/Ford/Carper/Carville/Begala/Penn to lose.

What’s the value of a candidate who wins election handily, and then proceeds to be conciliatory and ineffectual as a president, even with a favorable Congress behind him? And what will that do to the Democratic “brand,” which is already pretty well tarred with the collaborator brush?

Also, bear in mind that a presidential campaign is just about the only time when the media will reliably report on what a Democrat is saying. I would much rather that that Democrat were the one making a powerful case against the status quo of economic equality and Republican corruption.

For what it’s worth, now that Dodd’s gone, I’m switching my endorsement to Edwards.

(h/t Three Rivers Online Guy for the BooMan post)

7 comments January 4th, 2008 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Dodd,Edwards,Elections,Favorites,Huckabee,Media,Obama,Politics

If Only

Well, here’s an intriguing notion:

As the political season reaches its Iowa caucus climax, momentum is building for Sen. Chris Dodd to parlay his presidential campaign into a bid to challenge Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, for Majority Leader.

Almost all of the support for this effort now comes from the netroots, much of which favors such a move. But talk of Dodd making a run at the post has slowly crept into the corners of Capitol Hill as well. And in light of the Connecticut Democrat’s successful filibuster threat this week over granting immunity to telecommunications firms that conducted warrantless surveillance, some in the progressive community see the framework for a potential shakeup.

“Dodd is an effective legislator, he is practiced and experienced and is articulate,” said Joan Claybrook, president of the nonprofit group, Public Citizen. “He also knows how to make the process work. I think Harry Reid has an entirely different style and likes to work things out behind the scenes. He’s had to be a negotiator and people don’t like that sometimes. They want to see someone take a stand and win, but that is hard in this Congress and with these issues.”


“I like Harry Reid enough, but it’s clear that we live in a climate in which the type of leadership we need is better provided by Chris Dodd,” Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos told the Huffington Post. “Republicans have been laughing at us all term, refusing to compromise because they know the inevitable capitulation on any given issue is always just a couple of days away. Those Republicans need to be re-taught how to negotiate, and step one is to have a Democratic caucus that will tighten the screws when necessary. Yesterday, that person wasn’t our leader, it was Chris Dodd.”

Similar sentiment has been exhibited at other prominent progressive blogs like FireDogLake.

Still, a major obstacle for a Majority Leader Dodd remains: Senate Democrats are, by and large, happy with the work of Reid. Many note the difficulties in working with a one-vote majority and say he has done the best with the hand he was dealt. In the wake of an April 2007 Washington Post column that was highly critical of Reid’s leadership on Iraq, every single member of the Senate Democratic Caucus signed a letter to the paper, challenging its assertions.

“If it were to happen, the pressure would have to come from the outside,” said an aide to a prominent senator, not from Dodd’s office. “I haven’t heard of anyone being upset with Reid. There has been, in fact, an awful lot of support.”

Those two quotes I bolded are the nub of the problem: Reid is providing the kind of leadership that the Senate Democrats want – that is to say, as little as possible. When a majority of Senate Democrats wants to take a stand, and not fold every time the Republicans hold their breath and stamp their feet, that’s when they’ll elect Dodd (or someone a lot like him) as their Majority Leader. But for now, it looks like going-along-to-get-along suits most of them just fine.

4 comments December 19th, 2007 at 06:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Dodd,Politics

That’s Great, But…

Great post by Mike Caulfield over at Blue Hampshire, and I think he might be onto something:

Obama may be the change candidate the media focuses on now, but it was Edwards, almost exactly a year ago, who gave the keynote for what the anti-Hillary campaign was going to be about.

It was going to be about the movement candidate.


Obama, meanwhile, was putting together his own movement candidacy. I’ll skip over the details — I’m sure you’ve heard about his different sort of politics once or twice. Like Edwards, Obama has focussed on building the movement which will empower the change he wants to enact.

Today, as I flipped between the coverage of the FISA debate on Daily Kos, and Chris Dodd on C-SPAN2 behind the podium doing the Lord’s work, it hit me.

We don’t need a movement candidate, because we already have a movement.

It’s there on Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, Swing State Project, Eschaton, firedoglake, and a thousand other places. And that makes 2008 different than 2004.

In 2004, Howard Dean (from whom the current movement candidates stole their blueprints) created a true movement where there was somewhat of a vacuum. But that was then, this is now. The seeds planted in 2004 have already blossomed into a movement much larger than any one candidate. According to one source, in the past weeks, the Senate was inundated with more calls on FISA than on immigration reform — let that sink in for a minute.

There is no shortage of movement. Obama and Edwards don’t have to build a movement for us.

It’s here, already.

What the movement waiting for is not an architect, but a leader.

We saw that today with Chris Dodd. It wasn’t a “movement candidate” up at the podium threatening to filibuster. And it wasn’t a “movement campaign” that put together the year’s most impressive web tool for pressuring change. And it wasn’t a movement candidate that finally stemmed the tide of Democratic capitulation and gopher-moat politics.

It was a leader. Backed by the movement that already exists.

If the other candidates are watching, there’s a lesson there: Lead, and the movement will take care of itself. Senator Dodd knows that, and because he chose to lead, we will not enter the New Year with yet another erosion of our liberties passed by a Democratic Senate.

My only problem with this is, why doesn’t Dodd have more support as a presidential candidate? I think Mike’s right that he’s probably the closest we have to a Dean in the race, and yet I’m pretty sure his support is in the low single digits. Is it just because he hasn’t started reaping the benefits of his courageous stand for FISA (and the ball-less wonders haven’t started reaping the penalties for their fecklessness), or will he just never catch fire because he’s not presidential-candidate-y enough? Or because the media can barely be bothered to talk about him, even now?

I would love to see his FISA stand finally ignite his campaign and his name recognition in the broader progressive population. He deserves it, and we deserve it.

December 18th, 2007 at 09:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Constitution,Democrats,Dodd,Elections,Politics


Dodd has it.

Hillary, Obama, and Biden don’t.

We should nominate someone who can’t even be bothered to stick up for the rule of law? Yeah, that’s just what we need from our next president – we need a real good go-along-to-get-alonger.

December 18th, 2007 at 11:06am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Constitution,Democrats,Dodd,Elections,Obama,Politics

FISA Update

Holy shit! It worked! Reid backed down and pulled the FISA-with-telecom-immunity bill. I suppose this could have been his plan all along, that he would go through the motions just in case a miracle occurred and the FISA-without-telecom-immunity bill ended up passing, but I don’t trust him enough to give him that much credit.

I would love to see the Democrats now adopt a minimalist, take-it-or-leave-it position now, along the lines of, “Okay, Dubya, we’re going to pass a bill that resolves the foreign-to-foreign-via-the-US problem… and absolutely nothing else. If you don’t want to sign it, we’re perfectly happy to let the Protect America Act lapse in February, and we don’t think anyone will notice the difference. Your move, tough guy.”

Of course, this can only happen inside my head, but hey, a guy can dream, and hopefully the Democrats can get closer to that ideal next time around. If they can internalize the concept that a Bush veto and the resulting expiration of the PAA is not the end of the world, they should be in good shape.

If you want to show Dodd some… financial love, go here. I think he’s earned it.

1 comment December 17th, 2007 at 07:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Coolness,Democrats,Dodd,Politics

The Official Multi Medium Presidential Endorsement

Not that it makes a whole lot of difference, but it’s more relevant than Lieberman’s.

I’m endorsing Chris Dodd for President.

It’s long, but read the whole thing. He’s the only Democratic presidential candidate in the Senate with the balls, honor, and integrity to stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law.

It’s just too bad that Harry Reid has decided that he wants his legacy to be that he was so dead-set on granting telecoms retroactive immunity that he was willing to disregard another Senator’s hold, which is Just Not Done. And not a hold by a Republican trying to screw the country over or cover his own ass, but a fellow Democrat, advocating for something he claims to agree with???

Harry, if you’re not going to give ’em Hell, then just go there.

December 17th, 2007 at 06:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Democrats,Dodd,Elections,Politics

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