Swine flu is more popular than Dodd
So says the latest Quinnipiac poll. Headlines like that are a major part of why I really hope Sen. Chris Dodd gets shellacked next year. As his ethical troubles have mounted, it’s gone from a minor, ir-regular irritant to an almost-daily source of annoyance.
Sadly, even with such headlines, he almost assuredly lacks the introspection or good sense to step aside gracefully (or even rather ungraciously like, say, Jim Bunning):
Sen. Dodd suffers from what we call Barbara Kennelly Syndrome, a fatal political affliction named after the former congresswoman and “proven Democratic vote-getter” who got her clocked cleaned when she ventured out of her safe district in 1998 to challenge then-Gov. John Rowland. After all, Sen. Dodd’s presidential bid failed spectacularly in 2008; meanwhile, he’s never had anything resembling the sort of tough re-election fight he faces in 2010. But to suggest Sen. Dodd might “get out gracefully” for the good of his party or accept a face-saving appointment as U.S. ambassador to Venezuela vastly underestimates his ego and fails to account for what drives the man.
[H]e can’t quit because that would be interpreted as an admission of guilt, and his permanent stain would outlive him. No, voters’ approbation — re-election — is the best spot remover. They denied his father, corrupt Democratic Sen. Thomas Dodd, that vindication in 1970 after his censure by the Senate for stealing campaign donations to pay for personal expenses, and he died a broken man.
The memory of that disgrace drives his son. Sen. Dodd has spent his adult life trying to mend his father’s image while attempting to maintain a spotless record of his own. He has succeeded at neither, and without unambiguous victory in 2010, Sen. Dodd would be remembered most for his corruption and ethical bankruptcy. Like father, like son.
That would almost be a sad story if it weren’t so banal in its typicality. Here’s hoping the voters in Connectiut have finally had enough.