Dodd on Ending the Primary and the Media’s Role In Prolonging It

Via TRex, my guy Chris Dodd is speaking out with an eye towards resolving the Democratic nominating process.

Look, we’ve got five more months to go before the Democratic convention at the end of August and, candidly, we cannot go five more months with the kind of daily sniping that’s going on and have a candidate emerge in that convention. My hope is that it will be Barack Obama, but if it’s Hillary Clinton, she too will suffer, in my view, from this kind of a campaign that I think is undermining the credibility and the quality of the two candidates that we have. We have two very strong candidates. So I’m worried about this going on endlessly and to a large extent, Linda, the media, a lot of these cable networks, are enjoying this. It’s what is keeping them alive financially. The fact that this thing is going on forever, back and forth every day, all night — I don’t think it’s really helping the candidates or the political institutions.

Asked about the solution to ending the race:

Dodd: Well, the solution is — look, we’ve got a contest coming up in Pennsylvania and one in North Carolina and Indiana very quickly afterwards. In my view, the outcome of those three races will determine — I think the race has been determined, anyway, at this point. I think it’s very difficult to imagine how anyone can believe that Barack Obama can’t be the nominee of the party. I think that’s a foregone conclusion, in my view, at this juncture given where things are.

But certainly over the next couple of weeks, as we get into April, it seems to me then, that the national leadership of this party has to stand up and reach a conclusion. And in the absence of doing that — and that’s not easy, and I realize it’s painful. But the alternatives, allowing this sort of to fester over the months of June, and July and August, I think, are irresponsible. I think you have to make a decision, and hopefully the candidates will respect it and people will rally behind a nominee that, I think, emerges from these contests over the next month. That’s my suggestion. That’s what I would do. [Emphasis added]

Dodd has endorsed Obama and though he’s honest about that support here, I think he’s also recognizing a reality of the numbers that the Clinton campaign has largely resisted. I agree with Dodd that if there is a way for the Democratic Party’s national leaders – Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Chris Van Hollen – to step into the process and bring it to a resolution that gives clarity as to who our nominee is based on the results of the primaries, they do have an obligation to do so and failing to do so would be “irresponsible.” Keep in mind that Dodd was the DNC Chair from 1995-1997, so he knows what he’s asking of the Party’s leadership and I am certain that he does not take this challenge lightly.

I also think Dodd’s media analysis here is incredibly sharp. Here it is again:

the media, a lot of these cable networks, are enjoying this. It’s what is keeping them alive financially. The fact that this thing is going on forever, back and forth every day, all night — I don’t think it’s really helping the candidates or the political institutions.

I don’t recall any elected Democrat putting this sort of argument forward. It sounds more like Digby or Eric Boehlert than, say, the final two candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. If more Democrats had this sort of analysis, what campaigns choose to make issues with each other (such as who must be fired today and who must be denounced) might look different than the way things currently work. Kudos for your sharp analysis Senator Dodd.

One thought on “Dodd on Ending the Primary and the Media’s Role In Prolonging It

  1. It seems to me that there is no nominee until the convention names one. Contrary to the popular belief, the campaign rhetoric each is engaged in, is less harmful than hurtful.Everyone is getting to see the mettle of each of the candidates. It is still a long way till August. When the party names a candidate it will be on to the races. Unfortunately for Mr. McCain, by the time this summer is ended, “Republican” will be one of those barred expletive deleteds you can’t mention on network TV.

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