Thursday, October 18, 2007


One frustrating thing about the current crops of senators-as-presidential-contenders is that there's been a real lack of leadership in the actual senators. This was a bit more understandable when they were in the minority, but one would like to see them take it up a few notches. One thing I think Democrats have lost is the ability to get out in front of an issue and try to persuade people that their position is the correct one, and then use their position in Congress to make it happen. There's a kind of "everything is a behind closed doors deal" from which a compromise emerges dynamic, which is fine when it achieves something but not fine when it fails.

Greenwald writes:

Dodd's emphasis in his campaign on constitutional issues -- along with his excellent voting record this year -- has generated significant positive feelings towards his campaign. But demonstrating real leadership on this incomparably important issue would almost certainly generate real, tangible support for his campaign in many circles.

Telecom amnesty implicates not only all of the issues raised by warrantless surveillance and the rule of law, but really calls into question the basic fairness of our entire political system, i.e, whether the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in Washington can literally buy their way out of lawbreaking. Anyone who boldly impedes what would be this bipartisan travesty -- and a "hold" on an issue of this magnitude would, in the context of Senate customs, be very bold -- is someone who will have demonstrated genuine leadership on a truly critical issue. There has been precious little of that thus far in the presidential race.

Dodd's uniquely placed to do something. He isn't a current frontrunner, but he is respected enough and enough of an insider that he can get on the teevee a bit. He has made these issues a relatively central part of his campaign. And, what do you know, he's actually in the Senate.

He can put a hold on this, and then take the case to the public. I don't know why Democrats think they need to stand with Mr. 24%, but it's time for other Democrats to make them defend why they feel the need to do so.