Dodd Makes It Official
Here's the retirement announcement by Chris Dodd (D-CT) on YouTube:
Ed Morrissey adds, "With Dodd on the ballot, Republicans have a winning argument in the election based on Dodd’s corruption and incompetence; without him, the GOP may be punching at air just a little bit":
Before anyone starts cheering this on the Right, keep in mind that Dodd would not have likely lost a primary challenge, but almost certainly would have lost the general election. Whispers have come out of Washington for months that national Democrats have been quietly pressuring Dodd to retire in order to clear the field for a better candidate. With Dodd on the ballot, Republicans have a winning argument in the election based on Dodd’s corruption and incompetence; without him, the GOP may be punching at air just a little bit.
That still doesn’t make this bad news. Dodd’s corruption and incompetence will not be missed in the Senate regardless of how he chooses to exit. If this is a less ignominious end than losing an election in a state that regularly elects Democrats and liberals, it doesn’t miss by much.
Besides, it doesn’t have to mean a lost opportunity for the GOP. They have a couple of well-funded candidates vying for the nomination in Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon, while the Democrats will get a late start on the cycle, thanks to Dodd dragging this out as long as possible. Even if Dodd’s not on the ticket, Republicans will most certainly make Dodd and his Friends of Angelo graft Exhibit A in the general election, and Harry Reid and the radical Democratic agenda Exhibits B-Z. It will make for a tougher campaign, but not necessarily a futile one, even in Connecticut.
But how’s this for irony: who would have guessed three years ago that Joe Lieberman would have outlasted Chris Dodd?
So who will replace Dodd on the Demcrats' ticket? That's Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, about whom Jim Geraghty writes:
The news in Connecticut is genuinely good news for Democrats — Attorney General Blumenthal is leading the three GOP possibilities — but I suspect this race will grow more competitive once the nominees are clear.
Sure, a lot of the anti-Dodd animosity was based on the senator's personal failings and scandals — his sweetheart mortgage from subprime lender Countrywide under the “Friends of Angelo” program, his work to add the provision in the stimulus that allowed firms receiving bailout funds to keep giving out employee bonuses, his lie to CNN reporter Dana Bash about adding the provision, his sudden revision to Senate financial-disclosure forms about the value of his cottage in Ireland, his moving his family to Iowa in 2007 — but the same dissatisfaction that has brought down the approval ratings of incumbent senators and governors all over the country was undoubtedly at work in Dodd's numbers, too.
Unemployment in Connecticut dipped a bit last month, to 8.2 percent, but the state still lost jobs. The state's economy is probably going to face a rough 2010, with the drop in personal income doubling. It's always been a state with a high cost of living, and while Blumenthal's position as state attorney general doesn't put him in charge of the whole state government, he's an incumbent and part of the system as it stands. Blumenthal will be hard-pressed to paint Rob Simmons, Linda McMahon, or Peter Schiff as part of the status quo.
The message of "Had enough?" is still likely to resonate, even if it doesn't resonate quite as much as it did when Dodd was the face of the status quo.
In early 2009, Blumenthal and Glenn Beck had a rather spirited chat debating the role and limits of the Connecticut attorney general's office:
Update: So what's next for Dodd himself? Hey, how 'bout treasury secretary?!
Update: Mickey Kaus adds, "Now Angelo Mozilo can safely title his autobiography 'Dodd is My Co-Pirate.'"
Update: Yid With Lid has a higher-res, but shorter clip of Beck's interchange with Blumenthal.