Dodd for Obama

Video via Scarce.

A bit over a month ago I wrote a post on the upsides of Dodd as a vice presidential pick for Barack Obama. I thought it’d be worth going through the upside of that again today.

Dodd’s experience would be a tremendous asset for any of our nominees. From two and a half decades on the Foreign Relations Committee and extensive work negotiating ends to wars in Latin America and Northern Ireland, to one of the longest resumes of landmark domestic legislation with his name on it, to longtime experience monitoring the financial sector, Dodd brings tangible experience as a guy who gets things done in Washington. If a large part of Obama’s critique of DC partisanship preventing our government from getting substantive results for the good of the country, Dodd stands clearly as an example of someone who has been able to build bipartisan consensus around progressive Democratic principles. That strikes me as valuable.

A post-Cheney VP will have to redefine the role of the office (as well as reaffirm its existence as part of the executive branch). But that doesn’t mean that we need to regress to Dan Quayle contradicting school children on the spelling of “potato.” I don’t see inherent harm in structuring an administration in such a way that the other elected member of the executive branch plays a formative role in governance outside the halls of the Senate.

If I were Barack Obama, I would establish the role of his VP in advance of being elected and use it as a hammering point on the campaign trail. In the case of Dodd, the natural role would be as the person tasked with bottom lining the success of Obama’s legislative agenda. Obama and his policy team should pick what they want to get done in his first term and then hand the ball off to Vice President Dodd to get it done. Be up front about it: Dodd will quarterback Obama’s legislative agenda and he will get it done.

I think it’s an easy sell (but then again, I’m something of a partisan). In Obama’s narrative, change is a means to secure results. The Dodd campaign was largely framed around his career of getting results, so he could slot in on the back-end of the Obama message with relative ease while not taking away from the primacy of Obama’s change candidacy. In this scenario, Dodd is Obama’s answer to how he will ensure that an Obama presidency can bring change. Obama will be able to answer questions of his ability to get results in DC with extreme confidence, “What, are you kidding me? Dodd’s my guy – together we’ll get it done. I trust him and he’s extremely well respected on both sides of the aisle in DC. If you don’t think VP Dodd will get it done, you don’t know a one thing about Washington.

In short, I agree with [Douglas Burns of the Iowa Independent] that Dodd probably adds a tremendous amount to an Obama ticket. I’m not going to go into the comparative merits of Dodd over any other Democrat out there (though I cringe at Burns’ list including two prominent Republicans, Dick Lugar and Bobby Jindal). This is an exercise in pure political speculation.

I’ll say now what I said a month ago: I do not know if Dodd would seek or accept a spot on Barack Obama’s ticket (or Hillary Clinton’s). This is just my analysis of what makes Dodd an attractive VP pick for Obama and what role Dodd could play on the campaign trail and in an Obama administration.

A look at some of the likely downsides of Dodd as the lower-half of an Obama-Dodd ticket can be seen here, though I’m mostly rebutting likely Beltway press narratives.


Dodd on being VP:

Dodd told ABC News he has no interest in the second slot on the Democratic ticket.

“Who would want to be vice president?” Dodd chuckled.

But remember the rule for vice presidential candidates is they’re not allowed to every show the slightest interest in the job until it’s offered to them, remarkably out of the blue as if no one had realized that the VP would have to be selected from a small number of qualified Democrats. It’s profoundly silly, but that’s those are the rules and Dodd is playing by them.

Update II:

Here’s the full video of Dodd’s speech

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