The conquering hero, US Sen. Chris Dodd, returned this week from the field of battle after having won .02% of the Iowa straw poll vote. He was warmly received by his friends in the Democrat Party, minus US Sen. Joe Lieberman, who were at some pains to account for what reporters are calling his dismal showing.
In blogdom, where Dodd is esteemed because of his adamantine opposition to the war in Iraq, the reaction to his poor showing was sympathetic and understanding. Home state Democrat politicians friendly to Dodd were churning out excuses to account for his rather dramatic loss; in the Iowa straw poll, Dodd won only 1 of 1,781 reporting districts, a total of 4 votes.
US Rep. Joe Courtney, who won office in a squeaker election against former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons, thought Dodd peaked too late in his campaign. Near the end of his campaign, Dodd waged a successful filibuster to block amnesty for those telecommunication companies that gave the administration of President George Bush in the absence of a court order phone records putatively relating to terrorist activity.
Dodd’s campaign, Courtney said, “found its voice around that moment and connected him to the insurgency feeling. But by then the die was cast.”
Dodd’s dedication to the anti- Iraq war effort was less acceptable to activists in the Democrat Party than that of Barack Obama, the Eugene McCarthy of the movement to end the war in Iraq, who is also running for president. The anti-war movement during the Vietnam war period crystallized around McCarthy, some of whose most ardent supporters, now writing for newspapers, consider Obama a more enticing presidential prospect than, say, John McCain, an early critic of President Bush’s strategy in Iraq who now is basking in the glow of a successful surge of troops that he said should have been introduced into Iraq much earlier in the war.
US Rep. John Larson thought the Dodd candidacy was swept under by the Obama surge in Iowa. “When you get hit by a tsunaimi,” – something that will affect Larson in the dependably Democrat 1st District only when Hell freezes over -- Larson said, “it’s hard.”
Virtually no one in Connecticut’s largely liberal media attributed Dodd’s crushing defeat to his ideas or his program.