by Charles A. Monagan
Apr 14, 2010
01:48 PMOn Connecticut
(page 1 of 2)
Imagine Chris Dodd’s career if there were such a thing as sensible term limits.
He would have been required to leave the Senate in 1998 following three successful, stimulating six-year terms. Upon exiting office in honorable fashion, he would have been named ambassador to Venezuela or some other intriguing, challenging South American country by President Bill Clinton. Enjoying his work there but finding himself missing elective office, Dodd would have come back to Connecticut to run successfully for governor in 2002 (John Rowland having been forced by term-limit law to leave that office—untouched by scandal— after eight years). Right about now, Dodd would be starting to wind down his final term as governor; he’d be advocating energetically for Connecticut’s place in the global economy, working to get his last budget through the legislature and wondering what challenges might be awaiting him in the Obama administration.
Instead, with no term limits in place, we had (until he decided not to run again) the unfortunate spectacle of Dodd as the career senator, his nearly 30 years in that office weighing on him like an accretion of barnacles as—clarifying, explaining and fast-talking—he made his way from from one end of Connecticut to the other. Did he, as a member of the Senate Banking Committee, get a sweetheart mortgage deal from Countrywide Financial? Well, yes, it seems so, but he’s not sure why. Did he insert language into bailout legislation that would allow AIG executives to keep their bonuses? No . . . yes . . . well, someone made him do it. Did donations to his campaign come pouring in from AIG as he prepared to take over the helm of the Banking Committee? Yes, but he’ll give them back now. Did he actually take up residence in Iowa during the last presidential campaign and enroll his child in the public school there? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.