Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Democrats Dodd & Dorgan to Depart Senate

Within hours of each other two longtime Democratic Senators abruptly announced their intentions not to seek re-election this fall.

First, Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota made his announcement and then came word that Christopher Dodd of Connecticut would be doing the same. Dorgan was first elected to the Senate in 1992 while Dodd was first elected to the upper chamber in 1980.

The only reason Dodd and Dorgan have come to this abrupt decision is because they know they aren't likely to be re-elected.

Of course, Dodd didn't help his own cause during his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. It was Dodd that proposed assisting subprime lenders like Countrywide Financial. It is the same Countrywide Financial where Dodd received favorable terms to refinance his mortgage for his homes in Connecticut and D.C. He came under similar criticism concerning the financing of vacation property he purchased in Ireland with a partner who had ties to Edward Downe, Jr. of Bear Stearns. Dodd was instrumental in persuading President Clinton to pardon Downe, Jr. who had been convicted of insider trading in the early 1990s.

Like Barney Frank, Dodd didn't see the implosion of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. But his role in the AIG bonuses controversy might have the straw that broke the camel's back. But no doubt it probably took him months to be able to read the writing on the wall. When you've been in office that long the prospect of electoral defeat seems inconceivable. Dodd appears to have spared himself a considerable indignity.

Dorgan doesn't have the sort of problems that have plagued Dodd. In his case, it appears that the policies of President Obama have rendered it impossible for a liberal like Dorgan to be re-elected in a red state like North Dakota.

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