Okay, I watched Sen. Dodd speak to the winter meeting of the DNC on C-SPAN this morning (for reports from people who are actually there, go see this and this at MLN), and I must admit, the man gives a good speech. The membership seemed alternately enthused and a little bored, but there were sign-waving Dodd supporters somewhere near the back of the room that cheered on all the appropriate lines. He got a standing ovation at the end, however, and he seemed to hit a lot of points that the crowd liked.
It wasn’t exactly a fresh message (Bush bad, Dems need to stand for something, my father did the Nuremburg thing, health care good, torture bad), but he delivered it well. He didn’t do the thumb-pointing drone that a lot of candidates seem to favor. Dodd delivers old-fashioned barn-burners. Sometimes they bomb. I watched a Dodd speech fall flat when he encouraged the 2006 state Democratic convention to “stand up for Joe” (no one stood), but when it works, it’s exciting and interesting to watch.
It’s almost too bad that he’s competing with the margin of error, as he himself quipped last week.
Candidates remember that Dean got noticed because of his performance at the winter meeting in 2003. I’m sure Dodd was trying to do something similar, but it’s very difficult to be heard this time around because Hillary, Obama and to a degree Edwards (unimpressive, by the way–just a slightly less boyish version of himself from 2004) suck up all the media attention.
We’ll see. Maybe Dodd can find and deliver a fresh message, if he can cut through the clutter.