Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christopher Dodd for Attorney General

Kudos to Christopher Dodd for blocking telecom immunity for FISA violations, although, alas, this probably just postponed the inevitable. I have leaned toward Dodd for President for some time for no better reason than that he had the strongest resume of the candidates. But this action clinches it; if he is still on the ballot when my state holds primaries, he will have my vote. Of course, it is too late for Dodd to have any chance of winning the nomination, and even if he did, the embrace of the netroots in the primaries is still probably the kiss of death in the general election. But I believe it is worth while for anyone who cares about the Bush Administration's violations of civil and human rights to vote for Dodd anyhow. If enough people show support for Dodd, it may show the Democrats (assuming they win the election) that we are an important constituency that has to be taken into account.

Many people, knowing that Dodd has no chance of being President, are proposing him as Senate Majority Leader. I have a different office in mind -- Attorney General. In the leadup to the 2006 elections, I hosted Calling For Change parties for MoveOn.org (something very much against my basic inclination) because I believed that the election mattered. I had no illusion that Congress would pass any worthwhile legislation (Bush still had the veto, after all), but hoped that they would at least block any further grants of power and investigate the Administration's abuses to date. In that they have disappointed. Whether it is because they do not want to expose what the Administration has done or because they are too weak-kneed to stand up and have a showdown makes no difference; they have failed in their job to get to the bottom of things. As Senate Majority Leader, Christopher Dodd is unlikely to change any of this.

Some people's next hope is to win the presidency. Once Democrats control the executive branch, at last they can determine, expose, and root out the Bush Administration's abuses. Well, yes, they can, the question is whether they will want to. It seems a reasonable bet that Hilary Clinton as President will be little more than Bush-lite. Barrack Obama will probably want to reconcile and move on. Christopher Dodd would do the job as President, but he stands no chance of winning. But if our next President (assuming the Democrats win) would name Dodd as Attorney general, he would have the chance.

Granted, the worst abuses do not appear to have taken place in the Justice Department, but in the intelligence services. And, granted, Dodd is a poor choice for Intelligence Directory. Clandestine intelligence is a dirty business, and no doubt we really do need to leave it to the sort of people who should be kept on a short leash. But the Justice Department is the leash. The Attorney General holds it. And Christopher Dodd is the man for the job.

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