Friday, October 19, 2007

Chris Dodd might be worth a closer look.

Update 1: from comments, Steve points to this from David Sirota [I haven't read it yet].
Sirota's three examples of Dodd's bourgeois attitude seem to boil down to:
  1. Dodd used a legal but possibly ethically-challenged campaign fund-raising move
  2. Dodd got legislation passed that would limit fraud suits brought in the name of stockholders
  3. Congress is even now working on expanding NAFTA [Sirota doesn't mention Dodd in particular on this issue]
Rebuttals [of a sort]:
  1. Obama and Clinton are using "bundlers" too, but I admit I haven't specifically looked into whether any of their bundlers stand to gain or lose from legislation they might or might not support
  2. The legislation essentially favors corporations over individuals, but that was 12 years ago; it's possible that Dodd's outlook on squashing the little guys has softened somewhat
  3. Dodd is definitely pro-FTAs [free trade agreements] and makes no bones about it, but he did vote against the latest CAFTA because he felt it didn't have strong enough workers' rights protection [workers in the other countries, I'll point out]. Dodd on trade issues.
On balance, Dodd is for the elite and wealthy first, and the average American second, but that's not an unexpected position for someone who was born into an elite class. The more important question is just how big a gap between his class and the rest of us he is working to mainatain. I don't have a good answer on that one, but if he only wants a moderate gap and is willing to share a fair and reasonable amount of the wealth with the rest of us, I could live with it.

Update 2: If you live on a coast, Dodd does not feel your pain. The Senate Banking committee [Dodd is chairman] has been working on reforming the flood insurance program, but they decided not to expand it to cover wind. Dodd: "We couldn't answer the implications of cost."

If you live in hurricane alley, you understand the implications of this, and if you don't I'm not going to explain it to you. The committee did decide to refer the issue a study commission at least, but I'm less than thrilled with their idea of an appropriate mix of job titles for commision members. One scientist? Scientist in what field? And if they're worried about cost implications, nowhere on that list do I see an expert in the "costs" of displacing huge numbers of people who move en masse to other cities and states because [1] they cannot afford [or even get at any price] homeowners insurance or [2] they cannot afford to fix up their homes on their own if the insurance companies weasel out of paying.

Update 3: Kenneth points out in the comments that the DNC has no actual power to refuse delegates at the convention, that power rests with the nominee. Your vote will count, no matter who you choose to vote for. True, Madam Speaker herself assures us on that first point, and I've never completely believed that they'd refuse anybody's delegates at the convention anyway.

As for my vote not counting, I admit to indulging in a small bit of hyperbole on that one. Florida is a populous state, and everybody and their cousin is going to be watching to see who we vote for, whether or not the Democratic party decides to officially count our votes. There's no way we cannot have some effect. Unfortunately, Florida has become the poster child for dysfunctional elections, leading me worry that while my vote will get noticed, it still might not count.

Original post:

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd [apologies for the white hare video] habla espanol. Fluently, from his days in the Peace Corps. Unlike both Dubya and Al Gore.

Chris Dodd on the Issues
I'll just briefly run down the list and make some random remarks as they occur to me.

Iraq: complete redeployment by April 30, 2008. Good date, not sure I like the word redeployment, since it implies leaving troops in the region, rather than bringing them home.

Foreign Affairs Policy: A Lifetime of Bold Engagement in the World. Does sound a bit like Imperialism Lite, but I haven't read any of it yet, so don't listen to me [too much] on this one.

Restoring the Constitution. He's been putting his ideas into action on this one alreaady. I like them so far, the ideas and the actions.

A Secure Dignified Retirement for Every Senior. Lots of good ideas here. I read most of this section, but I like to have time to mull over new ideas. I'm not sure any of the other candidates have put this much thought into this segment of the population and I like Dodd for doing so.

Energy and the Environment.
One of his more deatiled sections. I like that. I also like a lot of what I see, just in skimming it, though I always reserve the right to change my mind later after digging into it.

National Service.
Looks like he'd encourage everyone to do something akin to the Peace Corps, either here or abroad. The Peace Corps has certainly been criticized, often rightly so, for interfering in and foisting unworkable "solutions" onto other cultures' "problems." Still, I like the idea, especially if it results in noticeable increases in teachers, doctors, other needed services in rural and inner city areas of the United States that are grossly underserved right now.

Education. A long one, and I haven't looked at it, but includes K-12 and higher education.

Affordable Health Care for All Americans. Meh. It's the generic Demoplan [as Paul Krugman calls it]. You could just as Easily call it Corporate Welfare for Big Insurance. One thing I do like, he's got a nice table comparing his plan to everybody else's.

Labor and Economic Opportunity.
It starts of with Strengthening Our Middle Class, so his heart's in the right place. Another one I haven't read yet.

Supporting First Responders. I've been one myself [sorta] so I like his emphasizing this. We'll need this if the "security" of our "homeland" ever does come under fire [or microbes, or nukes, or... ]

He's got some other links in the sidebar on LGBT, Family and Medical Leave, Home Ownership and Prosperity, to name a few that I haven't already linked to above.

Here's more on Chris Dodd, including some criticisms. I see he's for free trade and tort reform. Gak.

And finally, some YouTube for ya. The sound quality is awful, but they're in a metal barn in the pouring down rain [I can identify]. I leave it to you to decide of some white-hared dude from the Northeast can connect with the farmers of flyover country.


Steve Bates said...

Sirota on Dodd (and a lot of other stuff you may safely ignore). It may not be what you want to hear.

hipparchia said...

i juat skimmed that post for now [and will have to read it later] but i agree with his apparent wariness of "new england aristocrat politics."

i found dodd's pro-nafta and pro-tort reform leanings to be scary indications, in spite of the other good stuff he is saying.

thanks for the link.

Steve Bates said...

It seems increasingly likely that our mission, should we be unable to refuse it, is to end the Iraq war without either Kucinich or Richardson in the White House, while saving the Constitution without Dodd in the White House, meanwhile obtaining universal health care without (who?) in the White House. Talk about "Mission Impossible" ...

(Full disclosure: I am in a frame of mind in which the phrase "a relaxing day spent taking photos on an island in the middle of the Houston Ship Channel" is not an oxymoron. Please adjust your reading of my prose accordingly, in light of what I've probably been breathing.)

hipparchia said...

houston ship channel: at least we now know why you don't do recreational drugs -- you live them.


hipparchia said...

good points. kenneth. thanks.