by Charles A. Monagan
Dec 1, 2010
10:41 AMOn Connecticut
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd made his farewell remarks to the chamber where he has represented the citizens of the state of Connecticut for the past 30 years. It was a memorable speech (full text here), not because Dodd chose to look back on his own career, but because he focused on the future of the Senate itself, and the need to protect the institution.
From the speech:
What will determine whether this institution works or not, what has always determined whether we will fulfill the Framers' highest hopes or justify the cynics' worst fears, is not the Senate rules, the calendar, or the media. It is whether each of the one hundred Senators can work together—living up to the incredible honor that comes with the title, and the awesome responsibility that comes with the office.
Politics today seemingly rewards only passion and independence, not deliberation and compromise as well. It has become commonplace to hear candidates for the Senate campaign on how they are going to Washington to shake things up—all by themselves.
May I politely suggest that you are seeking election to the wrong office. The United States Senate does not work that way, nor can it, or should it.
The speech was widely lauded, including by minority leader Mitch McConnell [R-Ky], who hailed Dodd for his "wonderful personality" and ability to work with anyone. Connecticut's full Washington contingent was in attendance, as was his replacement, senator-elect Richard Blumenthal. In the hours leading up to the speech, Dodd held court with local media members who made the trip, looking back at his career and accomplishments as well as looking forward to life after Washington. And as he comes up to the actual end of his term in a few weeks, the accolades and news stories will only continue.
Although he got emotional on occasion, Dodd seemed to relish his last big moment in the Senate spotlight, and as he bows out, very few think that he's leaving the public stage for good, despite proclaiming, "My moment is now at an end." He has already been suggested as a possible candidate as president of UConn, and there has also been talk of him becoming a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association, which would be fitting given that he has never met a microphone or camera he didn't like.
Like KISS, Michael Jordan or Brett Favre, people who have spent decades in the public eye and have repeatedly "retired" only to come back time and time again, there's no doubt that we will continue to see plenty of Chris Dodd, most likely in a capacity that will capitalize on his good-term departure from his distinguished Senate time. To paraphrase the recent Shinedown hit, "Sometimes goodbye is a second career."Farewell Tour