Blue America: A Chat with Senator Dodd, Part II
Yesterday Senator Chris Dodd refused to back down when Beltway Establishment symbolism and nonbinding advocate Joe Biden tried to pressure him to withdraw his legislation to force Bush to ask Congress for permission to escalate his war in Iraq. Biden joined the Republicans to defeat Senator Dodd's muscular proposal so he could substitute his own weak and ineffectual resolution, which Cheney was on television making fun of almost simultaneously.A majority of Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee– Kerry, Feingold, Boxer, Obama, Menendez– joined Senator Dodd to vote for what a clear majority of Americans are asking for: that Congress rein in Bush's incompetent and venal policies.
The day before that, Senator Dodd joined the Blue America community at Firedoglake for a live blog session. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called a snap vote, he had to leave sooner than he had hoped. However, he said he was really impressed with the quality of the questions and promised to get back with answers asap. We've heard that from well-intentioned guests before. It doesn't always happen. Less than 24 hours later, in the midst of all the debate and intrigue about the Iraq and right on the heels of Bush's divisive SOTU speech, Senator Dodd sent Blue America this e-mail before 7AM today:
kristinejoy @ 30 & 50 Peterr & azureblue @ 98: I can't speak for the rest of my colleagues in the Senate, but as chairman of the Banking Committee, I will be holding several hearings on the practices of the credit card industry, payday loan operations and predatory lending, including one today. The banking committee also has jurisdiction over housing issues. I will be looking into the fact that millions families with sub-prime loans made since 1998 have faced or will soon face foreclosure. I will continue the Committee’s oversight of Katrina recovery efforts.
Susan in Iowa @ 33: While I believe the President should leave all options on the table, There is no doubt that all avenues must be explored first. As we have learned, the use of force should only be an absolute last resort. As I have said, with regard to Iraq, we should have a dialogue with all countries in the region, including those who we strongly disagree with. As President Kennedy said, we should not negotiate out of fear, and we should not fear to negotiate.
neurophius @ 56: I find President Bush's practice of issuing signing statements extremely troubling. It is a challenge to the separation of powers doctrine, and infringes on Congress' roll as a co-equal branch of government. Let me share with you what I said before I voted against the nomination of Justice Alito: "President Bush and his lawyers adopted an expansive interpretation in their view of executive power, particularly in relation to the War on Terror and the conflict in Iraq. In fact, President Bush has cited the 'unitary executive' theory in several recent instances to override congressional provisions he finds objectionable. I am disturbed that the President has claimed, for himself, the authority to overrule the will of the Congress in passing its antitorture legislation–legislation which received the overwhelming support of congressional Members. This undermines the separation of powers and democratic principles."
Dru @ 89: While the President has been focused solely on Iraq, we have been losing the battle all around the world. Beyond Iran's nuclear ambitions we have allowed the success in Afghanistan to slip away and the Taliban are actually making a comeback. We now have seven times more troops in Iraq than in Afghanistan—and that’s certainly one of the main reasons why Osama bin Laden is still at large.
Derek @ 150: I regret my vote to authorize the Iraq war. That is why yesterday I offered legislation in the Foreign Relations Committee to put teeth into a non-binding resolution which would force the President to seek authorization before any additional troops could be sent to police the civil war in Iraq. Limiting the troop level to that on the ground in mid-January would allow us to begin re-deploying our forces within and out of Iraq. I strongly believe this is not the time for Senators to simply state their opinions. This is the time for Congress to take meaningful action. While my legislation did not pass yesterday, I hope the Congress takes action when the debate comes to the full Senate.
It's been a great pleasure dealing with Senator Dodd and his responsive and cooperative staff, especially the two Tims. You can tell a lot about a public official from the kind of people he hires to work for him. There's a lot about Senator Dodd's record we like, a lot about his courage for standing up for his convictions and for representing the American people over the Insider interests that permeate Washington politics. We look forward to continuing the conversation with him over the course of the campaign.