Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dodd Gets Real

Politico is reporting that the embattled Sen. Chris Dodd, who has not risen much above 2.5% in the polls, has slipped a dagger or two in the sides of Democrat presidential wannabes Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The presidency involves more than giving great speeches, al la Obama, or observing politics, a la Hillary Clinton Dodd said in Iowa: “It isn’t just a question of giving a great speech, giving an ennobling idea. It isn’t enough just to be sitting on the sidelines and watching your husband necessarily deal with problems over the years.”

Expanding on the idea of witnessing, Dodd said, “Laura Bush is a wonderful person, a delightful first lady, but I don’t think anyone would assume necessarily she is ready to be president of the United States. Now, Hillary Clinton has been elected to the Senate, and that adds a bit more to all this. But the idea that, for the last 10 or 15 years, because you’ve been next to events as they’ve unfolded somehow qualifies you to do this job is an exaggeration. That’s not experience. That’s witnessing experience. There’s a distinction.”

As for Obama: “Barack Obama, I mean, how — I mean, talking about the future and giving soaring speeches is very good, and it’s a good experience, But I don’t think it’s as deep as what people are looking for in a Democratic candidate that can win the election and bring our country together.”

Dodd called for a politics of realism in Pakistan, body checking Bill Richardson in the process.

“President Bush should press [Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf to step aside,” Richardson had said. “And a broad-based coalition government, consisting of all the democratic parties, should be formed immediately. Until this happens, we should suspend military aid to the Pakistani government.”

Said Dodd: “I think that is a dangerous idea, and I am sort of surprised Bill Richardson would make that recommendation. Can you tell me who is going to then be controlling the keys to the nuclear weapons in Pakistan when Musharraf is not there? And if you can’t answer that question, then be careful what you wish for. The idea of dumping Musharraf and cutting off aid, which I think Bill Richardson also suggested, is the worst possible thing we could be doing right now. That is the height of danger.”

Dodd previously has called for a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq by March, a measure that some analysts think may return the country to its pre-surge status and give jihadists the opportunity to create in Iraq the same havoc they have caused in Pakistan. Iraq has no nuclear weapons, as does Pakistan. It does have some oil.
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