David Sirota has a very good post on the interesting coalition of votes that is emerging against the re-confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman on the Senate Banking Committee. He thinks Chairman Chris Dodd “shouldn’t be impossibly movable to “no,” but probably is,” citing Dodd’s historic ties to the banking and finance industry when it comes to fundraising.
It’s very hard to properly capture Dodd’s place on the Wall St vs Main St spectrum. While he’s from Connecticut and has clearly had close ties to banking when it comes to campaign support, he also was the strongest opponent of the Bankruptcy Bill in the Senate and created the Family and Medical Leave Act, the most important piece of social policy since LBJ. Many people presume that because he is from Connecticut and on this committee, he must be in the pocket of the finance industry. But it just doesn’t stand up. Dodd has shown an incredible ability to take money from this industry and still vote his conscience and author progressive legislation.
I don’t know that his recent legislation on credit cards, debit cards, and housing is so easy to pigeonhole as coming from electoral vulnerability as Sirota says it is. It certainly is an easy story to tell. But it has never struck me as true, given what I know about Chris Dodd and his voting history on these issues.