Thursday, January 11, 2007

The “Ifs Ands And Buts” Of Dodd’s Presidential Campaign

This is no joke. US Sen. Chris Dodd announced his bid for the White House, according to a report in the Hartford Courant, “on the Don Imus radio show.”

Dodd's Connecticut campaign will feature the ubiquitous Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as his state chairman, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, once Dodd’s Chief of Staff, will serve as the senator’s national co-chairman – further proof, if any were necessary, that incumbent politicians now have become petite political parties.

Is it not possible to recruit the state Democrat Party chairman to serve in the role assigned to Blumenthal, who certainly is not in need of further press coverage?

Dodd, who has about $5 million in his campaign kitty, is on the campaign road to Iowa and South Carolina. One way to win political support in such important campaign states is to purchase it, and $5 million will come in handy for this purpose. The Journal Inquirer of Manchester earlier reported that Dodd has spread his largess around in local races both in New Hampshire and Iowa.

The Courant report indicates that “Dodd will stress his 32 years in Congress, including long stints on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - and his detailed knowledge of Latin America…”

The reddening of Latin America, a part of the world that historically has tended to swing like a pendulum between half hearted experiments in capitalism and a ruddy socialism, has been much commented upon by the media, but Dodd, known as an expert in the area, has been silent on the Castroization of Venezuela, Bolivia and, most recently, Nicaragua.

Dodd’s constituents – if they do not write for the Courant -- may recall his many trips to the area during the Sandinista/Contra hot war. No reporters were present to make a record of their discussions during Dodd’s secret negotiations with then communist leaders in Nicaragua; and recently, when Dodd and former Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry of Massachusetts had a tête-à-tête, with Syria’s leader, Hezbollah's facilitator Bashar Assad, there were no reportorial embeds present to make a record of their negotiations.

Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas, deposed by force of arms and a muscular diplomacy, recently won the presidency in a democratic election. Ortega campaigned as a born again Catholic who had managed to escape the gravitational pull of communism, but some not-born-yesterday observers of Latin America doubt his new bona fides and suspect Ortega and his brother will, on achieving power, slip into the usual Latin America rut of denouncing the United States and nationalizing the means of production; Hugo Chavez has just announced he indends to nationalize Venezuela’s oil industry, and a free press is next on the dictator's execution block.

Some Connecticut wits think that Ortega surrendered all hope of Dodd’s approval when during his campaign he embraced the views of the pope on abortion rather than those of more enlightened Catholics such as Rosa DeLauro and former pal Chris Dodd.

Dodd, the Courant report adds, will be touting himself during his presidential campaign "as someone who can work across party and philosophical to get things done. He likes to tell audiences how he has worked with conservative senators over the years to win passage of social legislation, and how he has supported Republican presidents' nominees except in the most extreme circumstances."

In view of Dodd's unprincipled opposition to John Bolton as US delegate to the United Nations, that posture, as someone once said about a pretzel-like position in the Karma Sutra, is ridiculous.

Bolton’s success or failure as a UN delegate cannot be determined without knowing what part he and the Bush administration played behind the scenes in convincing third parties such as China to curb the ambitions of the “Dear Leader” of North Korea, Kim Jong Il. It is at least possible that the United States is pursuing a similar course with Syria and Iran. Saudi Arabia and Egypt would be more effective than the United States in persuading these two countries to stop harboring terrorists and supplying groups like Hezbollah with munitions and money.

If such back-door negotiations are in process, private negotiations between senators and the heads of Syria and Iran would be counterproductive and destructive.
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