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This is what makes Joe Biden, supposedly the Democrats’ vanilla option, so interesting. More than any presidential nominee since John McCain, he hearkens back to that more decorous era. Biden entered the Senate in 1973. For historians of congressional clubbiness, that was after Sen. Everett Dirksen was keeping a clock in his office on which every number was a five, but before Sens. Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd were cruising around town like two rakes in a buddy comedy. This was the age of New England Irish eminences like Dodd and Kennedy, of Southern good ol’ boy segregationists like James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. And those were just the Democrats.

That whips had to keep in line such different personalities shows how tricky legislating could be. The political parties weren’t yet organized into coastal elites and deplorables, but they also weren’t still divided along Reconstruction lines of North and South. Within each coexisted a hodgepodge of opinions and regional interests, with amiability often the only common denominator. Also, whiskey. ‘I suspect,’ Sen. Talmadge once wrote, ‘alcoholism is as much of an occupational disease among politicians as black lung is among coal miners.’ He was speaking from personal experience: in 1979, he admitted publicly to having a drinking problem. Dirksen, meanwhile, was known for plying obstinate holdouts with booze.

This more genial Washington helped ratify some of the most consequential legislation of the 20th century. It’s largely gone now and for largely understandable reasons. Yet it’s also essential if you want to understand Joe Biden, a man from the ancien régime struggling to adapt to the new order.

It’s a fun read, but surprisingly, the conservative Spectator USA omits Joe’s own role in the transition from the clubbable, pubbable old days of Congress to our present (well, pre-Wuhan Virus) moment: Joe Biden Owes Clarence Thomas an Apology. “After all, it was Biden who helped turn Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into nasty, hyper-politicized smear-fests that set the precedent for the Kavanaugh hearing.”



Intermittently, and for the TV cameras, you might be able hear a Sen. Dodd or a Sen. Schumer raise their voices in indignation over the predations and the self-dealing of the moneychangers. But then you remember that this is the same Chris Dodd who accepted two “courtesy” mortgages from Countrywide’s Anthony Mozillo, and that this is the same Chuck Schumer who backed Wall Street deregulation as he was collecting fat checks from the Street to fill the coffers of his Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Yeah, it’s almost like they’re two-faced weasels or something.

At least we got rid of Dodd.

POLITICAL HACK UPDATE: MPAA Head Chris Dodd: I’m Willing To Discuss Copyright Reform As Long As Nothing Changes.

I say, repeal the Hollywood tax cuts!

THEY HAVE LEARNED NOTHING AND FORGOTTEN NOTHING: Clintons Still Hate Obama-Supporting Democrats.

Forgive and forget? Not Bill and Hillary.

A system of political rewards and punishments devised by the political power couple set aside “a special circle of Clinton hell . . . for people who had endorsed [President] Obama,” according to “HRC,” a new book by Politico former White House bureau chief Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes of The Hill.

The most helpful Clintonistas were rated “1” under the Clintons’ rating system, while turncoat former allies, such as John Kerry, received “7’s.”

The Clinton camp would later “joke about the fates of the folks they felt had betrayed them,” the book said.

“Bill Richardson: investigated; John Edwards: disgraced by scandal; Chris Dodd: stepped down; . . . Ted Kennedy: dead,” an aide quipped, according to the book.

Ready for Hillary?

INSTEAD, MAKE HIM DEFEND THE HOLLYWOOD TAX CUTS: Chris Dodd is going to tell you how search engines are the devil.

IN AN EDITORIAL, the Boston Herald endorses my revolving-door surtax on post-government employment.

As a senator from Connecticut, Democrat Christopher Dodd earned $174,000 in his last year in office. In 2011 he became head of the Motion Picture Association of America at $1.2 million a year. U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) earned $158,000 in his last year in the House, 2004, and $2.06 million the next year as head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Congress is not unique. The regulatory and executive agencies display this behavior too. What the employer is trying to buy is knowledge, connections and influence. You could think of these as intangible capital, and the Reynolds tax as a form of capital gains tax.

It’s nice to have my ideas noticed.


Twice, Bush tried to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and twice Democrats (Obama included) moved in to stop him. Especially culpable were Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Dodd claimed that the institutions were “fundamentally strong,” and Frank said he wanted to “roll the dice a little bit more in his situation” rather than impose stricter regulation on Fannie and Freddie. He did roll those dice, and they came up snake eyes at the end of the Bush years. The same could have just as easily happened in the Gore or Kerry administrations, had they existed, and it would not have been due to their policies, either. It was due to bad sense, bad judgment, greed and a lot of misguided good will.

Bush didn’t create the conditions that led to the crash; he inherited them from Bill Clinton, and a large cast of thousands all played their own parts. Republican policies had no role in the crash; and the Democrats’ policies would have had no role, either.

This was not a case of free markets run wild; it was a case of government policy distorting the markets by removing their built-in restraints. This case has been made by a handful of columnists and two serious books — “Reckless Endangerment” by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, and “Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac” by Oonagh McDonald — but not yet by the silent and clueless Republican Party. How many more times must it lose till it does?

Plus, a mention of “Reynolds’ Law.”

HATING BREITBART: Director Andrew Marcus discusses his documentary look at Andrew Breitbart in a 23-minute audio interview at Ed, including his struggles with the (Chris Dodd-led) MPAA to receive a PG-13 rating, and get the documentary out into theaters before the November election.


L to R: Breitbart, Glenn Reynolds, Driscoll at 2008 GOP convention.

HATING BREITBART: Director Andrew Marcus discusses his documentary look at Andrew Breitbart in a 23-minute audio interview at Ed, including his struggles with the (Chris Dodd-led) MPAA to receive a PG-13 rating, and get the documentary out into theaters before the November election.

THEY DON’T WANT IT OUT BEFORE THE ELECTION: Andrew Breitbart Documentary Release Delayed Over Rating War With MPAA. I saw a screening last night, and if I were a shill for Obama — as the MPAA is — then I wouldn’t want this in theaters before the election either.

UPDATE: Michael Walsh emails: “Interesting, isn’t it, that head of MPAA is now… ta-da! Chris Dodd.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Money Mismanagement Storm at the National Weather Service. “When whistleblowers sounded the alarm, the inspector general let the potential wrongdoers investigate the alleged wrongdoings.” Kinda like letting Chris Dodd oversee Wall Street — oh, wait . . . .

CHANGE: Northeastern Republicans Show Signs Of Life.

Connecticut might be the last place you’d expect Republicans to pick up a U.S. Senate seat this November, but it may happen. In the race for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman’s seat, Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the highly profitable World Wrestling Entertainment, leads Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy by three points, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

Those numbers terrify Democrats, so much so that at the party’s convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week they frantically shuttled Mr. Murphy around town to meet deep-pocket Democratic donors.

Connecticut hasn’t had a Republican senator in modern times—with the exception of Lowell Weicker, who was so liberal that the Democratic Mr. Lieberman unseated him in 1988 by running to his right. Barack Obama carried the state by 23 points in 2008.

But Nutmeg State voters today are cranky, and even Mr. Obama is up only seven points on Mitt Romney in the latest Quinnipiac poll. One reason for their angst is tax-happy Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has raised income, sales and 70 other taxes and fees while insisting that taxpayers would be glad to pay the higher charges. They haven’t been—in part because the budget remains steeped in red ink and the unemployment rate remains persistently above the national average. Barron’s recently rated Connecticut the worst-run state in the country.

Hard to believe that the state that gave us Chris Dodd could have sunk to such depths. . . .

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: CBS, AP: Dem chair of House Oversight covered up ties to Countrywide for himself, colleagues, and staff. “How did Countrywide end up as one of the worst villains in the housing-bubble collapse, which cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and nearly crushed the financial sector? Simple: they bought political connections by offering sweetheart deals to people like Chris Dodd, who headed the Senate Banking Committee, and Towns, whose committee was supposed to keep corruption out of federal regulation of the market. When the entire mess collapsed, people like Dodd and Towns were in position to manipulate the investigations in order to avoid detection. Dodd was less successful at that effort than Towns, who got away with it as long as Democrats remained in charge of Congress — and the White House, which has been mighty incurious on the whole issue since running on populist outrage over the housing-bubble collapse.”

Plus: “Towns announced his retirement in April. He should be expelled, and his pension benefits stripped for this coverup.”

THEY HAVEN’T LEARNED: MPAA Chief Dodd Hints At Talks To Revive SOPA.

Christopher Dodd, the former Connecticut senator who now leads the MPAA, hasn’t given up on his dream of censoring the Internet. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, he said that Hollywood and the technology industry ‘need to come to an understanding’ about new copyright legislation. Dodd said that there were ‘conversations going on now,’ about SOPA-style legislation, but that he was ‘not going to go into more detail because obviously if I do, it becomes counterproductive.’ Asked whether the White House’s decision to oppose SOPA had created tensions with Hollywood, Dodd insisted that he was ‘not going to revisit the events of last winter,’ but said he hoped the president would use his ‘good relationships’ with both Hollywood and the technology industry to broker a deal.

You can’t trust these guys. The GOP should overcome its reluctance to criticize a big business and go after Hollywood hammer-and-tongs. It would be a good issue for them, and it’s the right thing to do. But I’ve been pointing this out for a decade, and they’re still not listening.

MORE SUPPORT FOR MY REVOLVING DOOR TAX on former government officials: “The New York Times reports that the chief of the securities fraud unit for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, Christopher Garcia, is leaving to become a $1.2 million-a-year white collar defense lawyer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges.”

But wait, there’s more:

The Beacon focuses on Ron Klein, a former Democratic Congressman from Florida who is a registered lobbyist for Spirit. The Holland & Knight press release announcing Mr. Klein’s hiring says, “As a member of the House Financial Services Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, he was instrumental in drafting and passing major pieces of legislation including the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010. Due to his background with healthcare businesses and regulation, Klein was also an active participant in the negotiation and passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” It also says, “Holland & Knight is pleased to announce that former U.S. Representative Ron Klein (D-FL) has joined the firm’s Public Policy & Regulation Group as a partner. Klein will play a major role providing strategic counsel to clients in the area of government regulation and compliance in the financial services, healthcare and energy sectors.”

This is a textbook example of how the revolving door works. The congressmen pass these pieces of legislation that are so complicated and burdensome that one of the only rational ways for businesses to respond is to hire one of the people who wrote it to advise them on how to either comply with it or legally get around it.

Well, I’ve got a proposal to address this. Shared sacrifice!

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, CHRISTIANISTS WOULD CONTROL THE GOVERNMENT. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Obama: I Pushed Dodd-Frank And Health Care Reform Because Of Christ. “The president said he often falls to his knees in prayer, and emphasized the role of his religious values in determining where to lead the country.”

WHITE HOUSE REFUSES TO COMMENT ON PETITION TO INVESTIGATE CHRIS DODD: “The White House has issued a statement in which they refuse to comment on the petition to investigate Chris Dodd for bribery from the MPAA to pass legislation. The reason given: ‘because it requests a specific law enforcement action.'”

And that’s not all they won’t comment on.

DIRTY HOLLYWOOD: The Hill: Consumer group accuses Hollywood of ‘threatening politicians’. “Consumer group Public Knowledge on Friday accused the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its head, former Sen. Chris Dodd, of trying to intimidate lawmakers into supporting a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills.”

I say, repeal the Eisenhower Tax Cuts!

REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-HOLLYWOOD): Unbowed by protests, Lamar Smith to move ahead on piracy bill. He’s an honest politician: He stays bought.

UPDATE: Speaking of SOPA Phonies: Chris Dodd’s paid SOPA crusading. “It’s behavior like Chris Dodd’s that makes it rational not only to be cynical about our political culture, but outright jaded. What makes Dodd’s shilling for this censorship law so galling is that, during the 2008 presidential campaign, he postured as the candidate who would devote himself first and foremost to defending core Constitutional freedoms and civil liberties. When Dodd led the 2007 fight against warrantless surveillance and amnesty for lawbreaking telecoms as part of the FISA debate, I, along with several other blogs, helped raise close to $250,000 in a few days from small donors for his flagging presidential campaign. . . . Apparently, the person Chris Dodd scorned back then as someone ‘wanting to be president of a trade association’ was . . . Chris Dodd, who is now President of Hollywood’s trade association.” Hey, Rube!

A more serious point: You can scorn bought-and-paid-for shills for Big Media like Lamar Smith and Chris Dodd. But the real problem isn’t their lack of morals, but an oversized government that inevitably lures people with loose morals. When government has the opportunity to make or break industries, industries will find people to lobby it to make their industry, and break their competitors’. The solution is to return the government to its — much, much smaller — intended constitutional scope.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION (CONT’D): Four More “Friends of Angelo” in Congress. “With Congress about to wrap up its year-end business and head home for the holidays, there probably won’t be too much news made on Capitol Hill until next month. Why not conduct a whodunit instead? House Oversight chair Rep. Darrell Issa resurrected the Countrywide Financial influence-peddling scandal by informing the Ethics Committee that four current members received sweetheart deals on loans through the infamous Friends of Angelo program that sent former Senator Chris Dodd into retirement … perhaps to the Irish mansion he now owns.”

It’s a “cottage.” It just looks like a mansion to the untrained eye.

CLEAR-EYED ANALYSIS: Scott Ott, author of Laughing At Obama, reviews Frank J. Fleming’s new book, Obama: The Greatest President In The History Of Everything.

Fleming and Ott are still sandwiching Bill Maher. Does Chris Dodd know about this? (Bumped).

#OCCUPYFAIL: PR Expert: “The whole world is watching. And it’s generally repulsed by what it’s seen.”

Related: ‘Frothing Degenerate Mob’ Would Make a Great Name for a Punk-Rock Band. “What the MSNBC crowd refuses to recognize is that the offensive aspects of the Occupy movement are not incidental to it, but an expression of the movement’s anti-social essence. The mobs who are attacking ‘Wall Street’ are anti-wealth and anti-capitalism and, if you understand what wealth and capitalism represent, you understand that the Occupiers are also anti-work, anti-thrift and anti-enterprise. That is to say, they are fundamentally hostile to bourgeois values.” For some, of course, that’s the primary appeal.

Plus this: “Stipulate that wealthy interests have gamed ‘the System’ to their own advantage, so that Goldman Sachs, General Motors and other corporations deemed ‘too big to fail’ have received windfalls at taxpayer expense, in repayment of their support for the bipartisan corruption in Washington. But the Occupiers aren’t reading Peter Schweizer’s shocking new expose of crony capitalism or demanding criminal prosecution of Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, et al.”

THE LION OF THE SENATE: Carrie Fisher: Ted Kennedy once asked me if I’d have sex with Chris Dodd. Make me a sandwich!

#OCCUPYFAIL: Occupy Wall Street, Jon Corzine, and Other Failed Human Beings:

Yet what will soon become apparent is that the movement was never intended to be financial. It was entirely ideological.

In short, liberals would be given a free pass while conservatives would be burnt at the stake.

Many Occupiers claim that Wall Street received special treatment. That those who caused the financial meltdown deserve to be tarred and feathered. Yet when actual names are named, liberals go silent when they realize that the evil corruption they rail against can be located in the political mirror.

Democrats Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank were at the epicenter of the 2008 economic collapse. They have never nor will they ever be held accountable. Christopher Dodd retired rather than face questions about his sweetheart deals with Countrywide. As for Barney Frank, several crimes have been committed in his very home, from prostitution to drug running. He has always claimed ignorance.

Mr. Frank admitted that he had “ideological blinders” on when dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet Mr. Frank still has his job, and former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines was given a platinum parachute of over 90 million dollars.

Nice to point that out.

IN THE WASHINGTON POST, JOHN TAYLOR REVIEWS Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner’s Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. Excerpt:

While many economists — including this reviewer — have argued that government actions caused the crisis, Morgenson and Rosner use their investigative skills to dig down and explain why those actions were taken. To avoid reckless policies in the future, we need to understand their causes, and the authors’ identification of government-industry links deserves careful consideration by anyone interested in improving the economy. . . .

The book then gives examples where Fannie’s executives — Jim Johnson, CEO from 1991 to 1998, is singled out more than anyone else — used the excess profits to support government officials in a variety of ways with plenty left over for large bonuses: They got jobs for friends and relatives of elected officials, including Rep. Barney Frank, who is tagged as “a perpetual protector of Fannie,” and they set up partnership offices around the country which provided more jobs. They financed publications in which writers argued that Fannie’s role in promoting homeownership justified federal support. They commissioned work by famous economists, such as Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, which argued that Fannie was not a serious risk to the taxpayer, countering “critics who argued that both Fannie and Freddie posed significant risks to the taxpayer.” They made campaign contributions and charitable donations to co-opt groups like the community action organization ACORN, which “had been agitating for tighter regulations on Fannie Mae.” They persuaded executive branch officials — such as then Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers — to ask their staffs to rewrite reports critical of Fannie. In the meantime, Countrywide, the mortgage firm led by Angelo Mozilo, partnered with Fannie in originating many of the mortgages Fannie packaged (26 percent in 2004) and gave “sweetheart” loans to politicians with power to affect Fannie, such as Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. The authors write that “Countrywide and Fannie Mae were inextricably bound.”

It’s interesting to me that there has been so little law enforcement — or journalistic — interest in the rampant corruption relating to these institutions’ collapse.


My Sunday Washington Examiner Column: The Nigel Tufnel Presidency.

Plus, more Spinal Tap prophecy. And Obama’s vision for America.

A political epitaph for Chris Dodd: Brought down by his own shady dealings.

The “Repeal Amendment” and its critics.

The sexual politics of sex and politics.

The Obama Administration’s War On Science.

China’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. Can nuclear paeans from Tom Friedman be far behind?

Faculty sabbaticals on the chopping block?

They told me if I voted for John McCain, the feds would be warrantlessly tracking Americans in their daily lives. And they were right! “Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.”

Camera and video gear on sale.

Was this the worst year for movies ever?

DODD HARRIS: I Don’t Really Care If GOP Takes Back The Senate. “I’m a libertarian, but not one of the hard core that seems to exist mainly to make any perfect the enemy of every good. As such, despite his mushiness on some issues I care about, I could say that I had a mild preference for Castle and a GOP Senate over O’Donnell and no GOP Senate. But, as I’ve already said, nothing I’ve seen convinced me that Castle was the key to a GOP takeover. And there’s plenty to like in O’Donnell’s victory.”

Plus, O’Donnell has raised half a million three quarters of a million dollars since yesterday, which is something I doubt Mike Castle could have done.

JONATHAN ADLER: Did Chris Dodd Read His Own Bill? Nah. They have lobbyists for that.

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS: Masculinity was to blame. Yeah, when I look at Barney Frank and Chris Dodd — and Tim Geithner — all I think of is testosterone.

CORRUPTION WATCH: First Chris Dodd: Now his wife?

SENATE VIP LOANS MOUNT: Countrywide Dealt With More Lawmakers and Staffers Than Previously Known. It’s not just Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, then.

STOLEN VALOR: Democratic Senate candidate lied about serving in Vietnam:

Not just any Democratic Senate candidate, either. It’s Richard Blumenthal, current attorney general of Connecticut, whom Chris Dodd made way for by retiring earlier this year. He’s been leading all Republican challengers by upwards of 20 points in the polls and was considered a mortal lock to win the seat in November. Until now.

Read the whole thing, as the Professor would say. And incidentally, if by chance Blumenthal is elected, he wouldn’t be the only Democrat in the Senate caught lying about serving in Vietnam.


SHOCKER: Chris Dodd’s Carve-Out For Cronies.

KA-CHING: Wall Street Cashes Out Investment In Chris Dodd. “The financial industry built Dodd’s career, so why shouldn’t it profit from the demise of it? It’s like a political credit-default swap. It’s a perfect fit for the Goldman Sachs era on Wall Street: No matter who loses, they win.”


But I suppose GOP groups — seeing how this worked against Palin in Alaska — should be ginning up lame ethics complaints against Democratic targets, too. Turnabout is fair play.

WILL CHRIS DODD destroy Silicon Valley?

WATCHDOGS WITHOUT BITE: “After a 14-month investigation, the Senate ethics committee decided it was OK that corrupt Sen. Christopher Dodd took sweetheart mortgages from Countrywide Financial, despite his role as a congressional overseer of the nation’s lenders. The committee accepted his implausible explanations because the ethics code is a massive gray area, intentionally so. The code mostly exists to give the public the impression senators are serious about weeding out corruption. They are not.”

REALLY, WORKING WITH CHRIS DODD ISN’T A GOOD IDEA: Dodd-Corker Fed Bill May Contain Left-Wing “Shareholder” Power Grab.

UPDATE: More questions from Erick Erickson at RedState. “Senator Corker, this is bad stuff. Cut it out.”

MESSAGE TO BOB CORKER: Praise from Chris Dodd is not necessarily a positive.

KEVIN RENNIE ON CHRIS DODD: Dodd’s Agenda Backfired Right Before His Eyes.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES ON Chris Dodd’s poor personal decisions. “Far more troubling was Dodd’s relationship with mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, which appears to have given him a sweetheart deal on a pair of loans under a VIP program called “Friends of Angelo,” named for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Though Dodd was cleared of wrongdoing by the Senate Ethics Committee, he should have known better than to accept special terms from a company whose regulation he oversaw. And then there was Dodd’s cottage in Ireland.”

UPDATE: A reader notes that the L.A. Times waited until Dodd withdrew and the seat looked safe for the Dems to level this criticism. I think that’s right — at least, I don’t remember any LAT editorials condemning Dodd earlier. Did I miss something?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Kevin Murphy notes:

The LA Times editorial ends, however, with an incredible falsehood:

“This failure to properly account for what looks very much like a gift from a wealthy acquaintance is similar to the shenanigans that ended the political career of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska.”

IIRC, the “shenanigans” that ended Stevens’ career were those of the federal prosecutors.

Good point.

BLUMENTHAL doesn’t want to talk about TARP. Well, can you blame him? I’ll bet Chris Dodd didn’t want to talk about mortgages, either . . . .

RUMOR: Chris Dodd for Treasury Secretary?

Might as well go with Peter Orszag as Families Czar.

UPDATE: “Integrity.”

CHRIS DODD as a “Tea Party success story.”

WHY CHRIS DODD pulled the plug. “The healthcare bounce was showing no signs of making an appearance. The imminent passage of the behemoth bill is hardening, not easing, the public’s hostility to incumbents.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd to Step Aside. “Embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has scheduled a press conference at his home in Connecticut Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, according to sources familiar with his plans.” Angelo Mozilo was not available for comment.

UPDATE: Roger Kimball: “Well, 30 years with his lips sewn to the public teat was probably enough.” Ouch.

ANOTHER UPDATE: “Maybe Harold Ford Jr. can run in Connecticut, too. Will the last person at the DNC please turn on the lights.”


Sometimes I’m amazed at the speed with which highly provocative information like this GSE business can be converted into distracting propaganda in this country. In the right hands Pinto’s analysis of the GSEs — just like the revelations in the past few years about practices at AIG, Moody’s, Countrywide, Goldman Sachs, the Fed, and, hell, let’s add the offices of Senator Chris Dodd — would have been a starting point for a deeper investigation into a financial system that is clearly a complex and intimate symbiosis of state and private corruption.

I’m noticing an increasing overlap in themes from people on the left and the right here.

CHRIS DODD TOPS THE LIST of most corrupt politicians of 2009.

UPDATE: Oops, didn’t notice that the list he’s topping is alphabetical. But hey, I’d give him top billing even if his name were Zwilnik!

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd Cut Aviation Security Funding In July.

CHRIS DODD RETURNS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, only to be heckled at the airport.

READERS WRITE IN CHRIS DODD for “financial villain of the decade.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: NPR: Connecticut Senator Fights “Dump Dodd” Sentiment.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: HARTFORD COURANT: Do The Dump Dodders Matter? Well, they’re certainly not a good sign.


The Insta-Wife On New Trends Among College Women.

Ann Althouse on Health Care Cost Containment. “Although women tend to love the notion of government control more than men do, it is women who will be told they’ll have to cut back. On treatments. And years. You know we’ve been taking more than our share.”

Reposting my recipe for Thanksgiving Leg Of Lamb.

Andrew Breitbart smacks the Columbia Journalism Review.

My love for the Universal Package Opener and the handy light-bulb changer.

Chris Dodd slips through the back door to avoid protesters.

Political advice from Robert Heinlein.

Rewards for prosecutors who do wrong.

Charlie Martin explains the unfolding ClimateGate scandal.

And Saturday Night Live parodies Obama in China.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd Dodges Protesters:

Rather than face a crowd of protestors who jeered at his appearance, Sen. Chris Dodd entered LaCupola’s restaurant through the back entrance Saturday for a luncheon with Democrats.

Lining Route 202 and carrying signs that read “Dump Dodd,” more than 80 protestors underscored the political perils the senator faces as he runs for a seventh-term.

Quinnipiac polls released earlier this month show 54 percent of Connecticut voters disapprove of Dodd’s job performance. Polls have him trailing Republican challenger Rob Simmons by more than 10 percent ahead of next year’s election.

Seems that whole health-care thing isn’t buying him much popularity. . . .

LIMITED ENTHUSIASM FOR Barney Frank and Chris Dodd’s banking “fix.” “You have to hand it to the ethically challenged Dodd, he of the sweetheart mortgages from Countrywide. He possesses a unique ability to overlook the role he played, turning a blind eye to problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two former government- sponsored enterprises that were placed in conservatorship last year.”


Dodd’s lengthy record of ethical questions has clearly taken its toll.

Among his transgressions:

* In 2003, Dodd received two cut-rate mortgages totaling nearly $800,000 from subprime-mortgage lending giant Countrywide Financial.

The special mortgages apparently came about because the senator was dubbed a “Friend of Angelo,” Countrywide co-founder Angelo Mozilo.

A Senate ethics committee determined last summer that Dodd violated no rules. But home-state voters appear unwilling to let Dodd off that easily.

* In 1994, Dodd purchased a one-third share of an Irish vacation home; the other two-thirds were bought by businessman William Kessinger, partner of one Edward Downe, who pleaded guilty to insider trading the same year.

In 2001, Dodd successfully lobbied the Clinton White House for a presidential pardon for Downe. A year later, Dodd took full ownership of the Irish property from Kessinger — at a mere fraction of its appraised value.

* In February, Dodd introduced an amendment to the stimulus package that guaranteed that executives from firms receiving government bailouts — including AIG — remained eligible for bonuses.

With such baggage, no wonder 53 percent of Connecticut residents say Dodd doesn’t deserve re-election.


CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Poll: Chris Dodd In Trouble. “Perhaps the real story is about President Obama. According to poll director Douglas Schwartz, PhD, ‘Barack Obama is still popular with independents, but voters say that his support of Dodd won’t affect their Senate vote.’ While Obama’s personal popularity remains high, it doesn’t appear he’s able to nudge candidates up in the polls. Despite endorsing and campaigning for New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie still won handily. A last-ditch effort to help Creigh Deeds in Virginia had no visible impact on Republican Bob McDonnell’s blow-out victory.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Poll: Dodd Approval Rating Drops. “A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd’s approval rating has declined again, and two Republicans would beat him in head-to-head matchups in next year’s election. The poll released Thursday says 54 percent of registered voters surveyed last week disapprove of the job Dodd is doing, up from 49 percent in September. Dodd’s approval rating had inched up in the polls for several months before the latest survey.”

BREVITY, BY CAPITOL HILL STANDARDS: Chris Dodd’s financial “reform” bill is 1136 pages long, and “impenetrable.” No word on whether it bans sweetheart mortgage deals for members of Congress . . . but I know the way to bet.

OBAMA RIDES TO CHRIS DODD’S RESCUE: Dodd Getting Presidential Help in Reelection Campaign.

Embattled Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Ct.), whose low approval ratings make him one of the most vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election next year, gets help from President Obama tonight.

Obama will appear at a $1,000-per person fundraising event for Dodd in Stamford.

Dodd is crucial to Obama’s hopes for getting the overhaul of the regulation of financial services passed. The House Financial Services Committee is currently marking up the measure. Yesterday it approved the component that would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. . . .

Dodd’s low approval ratings stem from several factors, including the sluggish economy and questions raised about favorable treatment he received on a mortgage from Countrywide Home Loans.

Dodd will need all the help he can get, though Obama’s record with Corzine and Deeds may worry him.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: A bumpy ride for Democrats. “Five-term Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut remains on the toss-up list as a result of the sweetheart mortgage loans he received from Countrywide Financial. The Senate ethics panel cleared him of wrongdoing, but the Countrywide investigation has been reopened by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, which keeps the damaging issue alive. Former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons is leading him in the polls by five points.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: The Countrywide Files: A revolt forces Ed Towns to subpoena the ‘Friends of Angelo’ documents. “As the largest subprime lender and valued partner of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Countrywide was at the core of the mortgage meltdown. The political class wants to blame the mania and panic on the bankers, but the bankers couldn’t have made the subprime lending mess without plenty of political help from Congress. To ensure that this disaster is never repeated, it is critical that Congress uncovers the facts about the extraordinary efforts by Countrywide and Fannie and Freddie to influence federal housing policy.”

But, of course, the phone records are “lost.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: U.S. House Committee To Subpoena Countrywide Records. Of course, some of those records have been “lost.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd: It’s time to “move on” from talk of VIP loan. I’m sure he feels that way . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Scandals, But No Censure.

Two years ago, after a scandal that centered on the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the House created an independent ethics office as part of what Speaker Nancy Pelosi called an effort to end the “culture of corruption” in Washington. The Senate also took action, setting up what it described as tough new regulations.

Since then, however, no member of Congress has been censured, the toughest punishment short of expulsion, despite a number of recent scandals involving sexual impropriety, financial dealings and conflicts of interest. The record illustrates how Congress has struggled to police itself after years in which its ethics committees were often derided as ineffectual.

I don’t think they’re “struggling.” I don’t think they’re even trying very hard to look as if they’re struggling.

Read the whole thing, but here’s the bottom-line quote: “Congress will protect its own, no matter what.”

A “PINCH-SULZBERGER-APPROVED REPUBLICAN” running against Chris Dodd? If so, that suggests that the Dems are really worried about that seat . . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd tops Politico’s list of Senators Who Could Lose in 2010.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: President Obama to Appear at Fundraiser for Sen. Dodd on October 23. Wonder if any Tea Partiers will show up?

CHRIS DODD’S EXTREME MAKEOVER. Which is genuine? “Friend of Angelo” or Tribune Of The People? I’m guessing number one, here . . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: More on those “lost” Countrywide phone tapes.

More on that here.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Secret Countrywide Phone Tapes Destroyed:

The discovery that Countrywide Financial Corp. recorded phone conversations with borrowers in a controversial mortgage program that included public officials — and that those recordings have been destroyed — has prompted new congressional calls for more information about the program.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is trying to subpoena the remaining records of Countrywide’s VIP loan program. So far, the committee’s chairman, New York Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns, has turned down that request. . . . Among the prominent VIP program borrowers were two Democratic senators, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota. Both men have denied wrongdoing, and said they never asked for favorable loan terms from Countrywide. . . .

In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Towns, the oversight committee chairman, had received two mortgages from Countrywide — one on his home in Brooklyn and the other on a house in Florida. The loan documents indicated that both had been processed through the VIP unit. At the time, a Towns spokeswoman said his decision not to subpoena the VIP records had “nothing to do with his mortgages.” If the mortgages, which were originated in 2003, came through the VIP unit, Mr. Towns was unaware of that fact and never asked for special treatment, the spokeswoman said.

Sure is convenient that those tapes are gone. . . .

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble. “With Chris Dodd keeping his seat as Senate Banking Committee Chair, the players for the battle royale on regulatory intrusion are set. When not explaining his Countrywide-related actions to the Senate Ethics Committee, the good senator has made good sport out of arguing that when it comes to financial markets, government he knows best.”

DEALBREAKER: Chris Dodd prepares for the beard. “Now that the Senate Ethics Committee has opined that Chris Dodd’s status as a VIP friend of A-Moz and associated discounts does not violate the moral high road, the Senate Banking Committee Chairman can get back to his bread and butter- playing Monday morning quarterback for the financial crisis. The Countrywide circle of trust member now wants to make it known that the Beard can expect a ‘thorough and comprehensive’ renomination hearing during which Dodd will prominently display his ability to recount revisionist history.”

What about that Irish “cottage” of Dodd’s?

POLITICO: Chris Dodd Says Obama Needs to “Step Up.”


Now, in what would be a unique parting gift, there is a chance that Kennedy’s death could elevate Mikulski to the chairmanship of a major committee for the first time in her 23-year Senate career. For her to inherit his job, though, Kennedy’s closest friend in the Senate would have to turn it down first.

The odds of that happening are difficult to gauge. They depend on a complex blend of seemingly unrelated factors, including President Barack Obama’s legislative priorities, arcane Senate rules and the political calculations of one of the most endangered Democratic senators in the country.

That man is veteran Sen. Christopher J. Dodd. The Connecticut senator hasn’t tipped his hand, but if he decides that shoring up his shaky re-election prospects is his top priority, Mikulski would remain the most senior Democrat without a major committee chairmanship.

Dodd told reporters Wednesday that he had not given “a second’s worth of thought” to whether he would take over for Kennedy as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The same day, Dodd spoke by phone with Mikulski, according to a Mikulski aide.

I question whether getting involved in the healthcare debacle will help Dodd’s reelection prospects. But he and Kennedy were certainly close.

GQ: A Sober Look At Ted Kennedy. By the late Michael Kelly. With supporting roles by Chris Dodd and a waitress.

UPDATE: Memories.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: “Gosh, what a surprise: A committee of their fellow senators has decided that Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad did nothing unethical when they took out loans from Countrywide Financial on the kind of favorable terms not available to us mere mortals without their financial or political standing – or a personal connection to the head of Countrywide. . . . The senators on the committee have a point: This VIP program – called Friends of Angelo after Angelo Mozilo, the head of Countrywide at the time – wasn’t restricted to U.S. senators; it seems to have been open to a wide, bipartisan range of politicians with pull as well as anybody Angelo Mozilo took a liking to. . . . Something else seems to have escaped these two U. S. senators – namely, that they are U.S. senators. Which means their getting a loan at a preferential rate through the head of a corporation like Countrywide, which was very much dependent on favorable treatment by the government before it came crashing down at great expense to the taxpayers, is quite different from a private citizen’s getting a mortgage at the same preferential rate.”


Election to Congress should be an opportunity for public service, not personal enrichment. But given the examples of Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, Congress needs to strengthen disclosure rules to help prevent special-interest favors from subverting the public interest.

The Senate Ethics Committee this week dismissed complaints against Dodd and Conrad regarding preferred mortgage terms they received from Countrywide Financial. Ethics rules bar legislators from accepting mortgage terms “not generally available to the public.” Yet, on orders of Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, the company in 2003 cut a half-point off the interest rate on Dodd’s $750,000 loans, saving him $75,000. Also on Mozilo’s orders, Countrywide loaned Conrad $96,000 in 2004 to buy an apartment building — a breach of company rules on residential loans.

The mortgages put off a strong whiff of unethical conduct. Dodd heads the Senate Finance Committee, which develops legislation to regulate the mortgage industry and to subsidize home ownership. Conrad leads the Budget Committee, which sets spending targets for home-ownership programs. Both were in a position to grant preferred treatment to Countrywide in exchange for mortgage favors. But the ethics committee decided that special deals were also available to “Friends of Angelo” outside of government, and so Dodd and Conrad did not violate the rules.

Seems kind of iffy to me, but the Senate Ethics Committee is a toothless watchdog. Plus this: “The ethics committee’s decision was an indictment of the rules, not an exoneration of Dodd and Conrad.” Indeed.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: He and Kent Conrad have been cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee. But there’s this: “Oh and by the way, it’s been 378 days since Chris Dodd promised to release all his mortgage paperwork to the public for examination. He still hasn’t made good on that promise. Regardless of whether the Ethics Committee has cleared him, if Dodd really had nothing to hide he’d release the mortgage documents already.”

HARTFORD COURANT: Protesters Confront U.S. Representative At Simsbury Supermarket Meeting. “Chanting ‘Dump Chris Dodd’ and ‘No national health care,’ scores of angry constituents confronted U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy at a meet-and-greet outside the Super Stop & Shop Wednesday afternoon.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Influence with U.S. Senators Easy to Buy.

If I had an eight-unit apartment building, Countrywide representatives would have refused to provide a refinanced mortgage for me. But for Sen. Conrad, they said they’d make an “exception.”

I own two homes, one owner-occupied and the other a rental. I cannot afford to refinance my rental because the rate, points and fees on a rental are too high. Not so for Sen. Dodd. Countrywide made an “exception” and allowed him to claim his first and second homes as “owner occupied” so he could get a great rate, points and fees and he was able to refinance both homes.

These two senators did sit on very powerful committees that deal with legislation affecting the mortgage industry and Countrywide Mortgage, and they still do. Does any American really believe that Countrywide provided these special deals to these two senators and others just to be nice?

Read the whole thing.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Mortgage Issue Sticks With Dodd.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Democrat resists subpoenaing VIP mortgage records. “House Democrats have declined to subpoena available records that might reveal whether other members of Congress got discounted VIP mortgages from subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp. similar to the sweetheart deals given Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad.”


CHRIS DODD UPDATE: AP IMPACT: Dodd, Conrad told deals were sweetened. “Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation’s largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.” Oh come on — a politician lying about his finances? You expect me to believe that?

But lawhawk offers the perfect defense:

I think I have the answer.

They signed the paperwork without reading.

We already have proof of all that with every new massive piece of legislation that has been passed of late – without anyone reading for details, and members of Congress like John Conyers bellyaching about having to read for understanding being too difficult to do.

Sadly, that’s plausible . . . .


Planet-killing climate-changers brag.

Chris Dodd snubs lobbyists, but not their cash.

ACORN holds pro-Obamacare rally, Tea Party breaks out. Similar event here. Also, how to ruin a professional agitation group’s day.

Energy-wasting bureaucrats at the Department of Energy.

Robert Byrd is down on cap-and-trade. But can he withstand the giant-puppet assault?

News reports on the Richmond and Asheville tea parties.

Latest polling not looking good for Obama. Plus the CBO rains on the Obamacare parade again.

And, finally, this. Preacher: InstaPundit needs more sex. I respond with this post.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: AP: Dodd May Snub Lobbyists, But Not Their Cash. “Facing the toughest re-election fight of his nearly 30 years in the Senate, Sen. Christopher Dodd boasts about snubbing lobbyists. Yet even as he touts his independence, the embattled Connecticut Democrat is still cashing lobbyist campaign checks and rubbing shoulders with them at fundraisers and party gatherings.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: “Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd trails former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, a likely Republican challenger 48 – 39 percent in the 2010 Senate race, but he is inching up in his job approval to a negative 42 – 52 percent approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.”

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd Looks to Distance Himself From Financial Firms. But not, you know, from their money.

THE HILL: After bashing K Street, Dodd mingles with lobbyists. “After distancing himself from lobbyists in campaign ads, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) was on Martha’s Vineyard this weekend meeting with some of the most well known names on K Street. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) hosted its annual retreat this weekend at the high-class getaway. Designed for candidates to meet with senators for campaign advice and policy guidance, several high-powered lobbyists also attend and network with lawmakers during the retreat. Dodd’s attendance at the retreat follows a series of web videos his campaign released promoting his populist credentials and highlighting the frustration some lobbyists are feeling with the senator, including quotes from anonymous lobbyists in news reports. . . . According to an invitation list for the retreat obtained by The Hill, several influential lobbyists were invited to the event. For example, Ben Barnes of the Ben Barnes Group, former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) of the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group and Ed Black of the Computer & Communications Industry Association are on the list. Almost 30 senators were expected to attend the retreat, according to the invitation list, including Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) and newly swore-in Al Franken (D-Minn.). Senate candidates invited to the event were Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) and Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D). Rep. Charlie Melancon (D), who is considering mulling a bid against Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), was also invited.”

It’s like the whole thing is just a bunch of lame-ass posturing. . . .

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: HARTFORD COURANT: NRSC Asks Sen. Dodd To Return Contributions To Lobbyists. “Since Sen. Christopher J. Dodd has been criticizing lobbyists lately, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is now asking Dodd to return campaign contributions that have been given to him by lobbyists.”

RISIBLE POLITICAL LIE OF THE WEEK: Chris “Friend of Angelo” Dodd posing as the Scourge Of The Lobbyists.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Mozilo Meets MacBeth.

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: “Dodd Continues To Mislead People About the Value of His Irish Property.”

WHO WOULDN’T BELIEVE CHRIS DODD? “Given Chris Dodd’s existing problems, you really have to wonder how smart it is to have him release the news of yet another could be health care plan said to cost much less than previous estimates at $610 billion over ten years. In another item below, it took the Washington Post less than 24 hours to throw water on the news and reveal even more troubling problems for the Obama administration as regards health care reform.”