Is Dodd Really the "Resume Candidate"?

For those of who you saw Sen. Chris Dodd on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, you’ll recall that he called Dodd the “resume candidate.” Stewart mentioned, “You have a very solid resume. You’re a guy who people should look at paper and go that guy’d be a good president.” This idea has been repeated by others; the Courant once called Dodd the one with the “golden resume.” But, is Sen. Dodd really the “resume candidate”?

Part I: Early Life and Education

In theory, the perfect presidential candidate would have had a childhood in which he had to overcome certain obstacles so we know that our president is able to overcome challenges and hasn’t had an easy and privileged life. After graduating from a public high school, he then would have attended a top university, haven gotten in by his merit, preferably a top school with universal name recognition, in order to demonstrate intelligence. A further degree would be a must; either a M.B.A. or a J.D. would be best, if not both.

Of the three major candidates and Dodd, Dodd’s early life resume is the weakest. Edwards grew up in a middle-class family; he was the first one from his family to attend college. He attended public universities for both his bachelor’s and law degree, so while not ideal, certainly shows his middle-class background. Hillary, also middle-class, attended Wellesley, fairly prestigious, after public high school, and finished her education with the very prestigious Yale Law School. Obama, with his degrees from Columbia and Harvard, has a great resume too, though his confessions of drug usage, including cocaine, will tarnish his accomplishments. Dodd’s father was a U.S. Senator, so Dodd hasn’t really had to overcome anything in life. In fact, he was pretty much handed everything. He attended an expensive private high school, yet attended Providence College as a legacy. While not a bad school, for the son of a U.S. Senator coming from private school, it isn’t great, and I’m curious as to why he didn’t try to go to (or couldn’t get into) a better-known private school, or at least a cheaper public school.

Part II: Career and Accomplishments

For the second half of life, until the presidential run, the ideal candidate would have been a war hero and would be successful in the real world, perhaps a self-made businessman, before finally showing competence in a high-level government position. Thus, he would have military experience, imperative for the Commander-in-Chief, as well as experience in the private sector. Dodd is the only one of the four with military experience, albeit only the Army Reserve. He also is the only one who served in the Peace Corps, certainly a plus. So, I would say he might have an edge in this second half. Obama worked his way up from lawyer to professor to state senator to U.S. Senator, an admirable path of self-improvement. Hillary certainly falters here, as she rides on the success of her husband. Edwards made the jump from successful trial lawyer (though his medical malpractice suits have irked doctors across the nation) to U.S. Senator. All four are U.S Senators, and while Dodd has served the longest, Dodd hasn’t become known for anything. In fact, he hasn’t really done a whole lot in the Senate, given how long he has spent there.

Part III: Overall Perspective

So, while many people have called Dodd the one with the best resume in the race, I don’t agree. The first half of his life is decidedly less impressive than those of of competitors’, and while the second part may be somewhat better on paper, there isn’t much substance to it. For example, it was only the Army Reserve, he was in the Peace Corps for only two years and has had few legislative accomplishments in a long career full of regrettable votes on issues like Iraq. While I do not mean to detract from his success, he does not unquestionably have the “golden resume,” and some of his competitors arguably look even better on paper. For example, Dodd has not show any ability to be successful in the private sector and his familial ties make me question how much he would have done without influential parents.

Don’t vote for Dodd just because you think he has the best resume. If that’s all your after, vote for Mitt Romney, who has the best resume I’ve seen, as an honor student at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School and an extremely experienced businessman, among other accomplishments. But a resume shouldn’t be all you’re after, and while it is definitely important, it should be in context of a candidate’s character and values, and that is mostly a decision each voter will make for himself.


Wikipedia links referenced with the candidates own webpages


39 responses to “Is Dodd Really the "Resume Candidate"?

  1. Chris Dudd has quickly become just another DC insider candidate. Sadly.

    He’s had every chance to position himself as a Democratic McCain maverick. But at each turn, he’s taken the safe road to obscurity.

    If, across the nation, Dem primaries were “open”, Dudd might do alright, — as the safest, most boring candidate. But…

  2. “preferably a school like Harvard or Yale” huh? Did you go to one of those two schools?

  3. No I didn’t. But if you look at Clinton, Bush, etc. all H or Y. However I did not mean to give the impression I think you are taking away from that, so I will alter it…

  4. Actually, I will edit it because I feel as if I may have spent too much time micro-analyzing education, but not because there is anything wrong with my statement. It flows better without the clause. H and Y are the two schools that have produced the most presidents, so I’m not sure why you are arguing with the veracity of my claim. I could have substituted in a number of schools for either of those two (e.g. MIT, Princeton, etc.) but those two are the best-known from producing politicians.

  5. Experience as a governor is ideal for a presidential resume. Bill Richardson’s resume is far superior to that of Dodd.

    The job of a U.S. Senator is a particularly good one. Dodd has enjoyed a great job and has not at all prepared himself to be President of the USA. However, every U.S. Senator sees a potential President in the mirror …

  6. Great point. A governor is a president on a smaller scale. A U.S. Senator is literally jump job descriptions and branches. I thought about mentioning that, but because no major candidate is one for the Dems this year, I thought it was not that important. However, I do believe a governor is more qualified that a senator in nearly every circumstance, and voters agree (reagen, bush, clinton, carter, etc. etc.). Another reason to support Romney…

  7. I hope Romney wins the Republican Nomination because there is NO WAY the Christian right is voting for “a devil worshipper”.

    They’d vote for Clinton before Romney.

  8. CT Keith: The people on the Christian right that I know would vote for Satan himself before they would ever vote for Hillary! I guess they would view the prince of darkness as the lesser of 2 evils.

  9. Ah, now see, I could never really differentiate between Billary and Beelzebub. Kinda like one of those “Ditka vs. God” conundrums.

  10. “the ideal candidate would have been a war hero and would be successful in the real world, perhaps a self-made businessman”

    How I wish that were almost a requirement….. It would rule out all the lifetime politicians.

  11. >>I hope Romney wins the Republican Nomination because there is NO WAY the Christian right is voting for “a devil worshipper”.


    Sorry Keith, wrong again.

    People of faith will vote for others of faith regardless of whether it’s their own or not with only one caveat; the individual must be respectful of the faith and beliefs of others.

    As an active member of the largest Evangelical congregation in central Connecticut I may be in a position to know from whence I speak.

    We hosted a concert last week by a 50% Mormon chamber music ensemble. Further, within the past couple of years we’ve hosted interdenominational prayer services that have included all sorts of other Christian clergy as well as Islamic and Jewish.

    Your ignorance of the Christian community is appalling.

  12. I view myself as a social conservative (equivalent to “Christian right”) and I would eagerly vote for Romney. I’d be more willing to vote for Barack Hussein Obama than for Hillary. Hillary and Hussein both apparently say that they are Christians and that homosexuality is not immoral. Interesting.

  13. I hate coming to Chris Dodd’s defense but from my perspective he has been a much more effective and honest US Senator than Lieberman but unlike Lieberman he isn’t constantly sticking his face in front of the camera. He actually has had some very good legislative accomplishments that involved reaching across the aisle. One such accomplishment was recent federal legislation to get to the bottom of the ever increasing medical diagnoses for autism and autism spectrum disorders that we see here in CT and elsewhwere in the United States. I find Dodd to be way to the left on many issues but I also find him to be rational and reasonable in agreeing to evaluate a problem before trying to solve it.
    All these guys want to do is form a new agency::

  14. >>Experience as a governor is ideal for a presidential resume. Bill Richardson’s resume is far superior to that of Dodd.


    The Dems are ignoring him as they always ignore rational, viable candidates.

    John Glenn in 1984 is a perfect example. The movie “The Right Stuff” was just coming out; matched with Ernest Hollings the ticket could have regained most of the south…but the Dems just HAD to hand us 49 states holding one by less than 2600 votes.

    Now that it’s clear that the crowd is making itself known to the Dems to a point of intimidation they’ll surely wind up fielding someone so radically left that those that swore to never vote for a Republican ever under any circumstances….will.

  15. Noreaster

    Obama is a member of a UCC affiliated church.

    Take a look at this site from a member of the UCC and you’ll get a better picture.

    Unfortunately the UCC has become more interested in left wing politics
    (gun control, pro-choice, anti-tobacco, etc.) than in anything that would be considered normal for a mainline Protestant denomination such as teaching people to read, speak English, etc.

  16. >>Not all Christians like war either; Hmmmmmmmm

    Only the authentic one’s I guess.


    When Christians (at least in the tradition of Aquinas and Calvin) fail to engage in just war, it may involve all of these natural failures as well, but it will also, and more significantly, involve a failure of charity. The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence, Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God.

  17. There’s actually an “International Church of Christ” which is generally viewed as a cult. It had a devastating effect on one of my friends (well, former friend — she was not willing to continue to be in contact with me after she joined the “church” …). The ICC was a spin-off of the United Church of Christ something like twenty years ago …

  18. GreatSantini

    Does Senator Dodd have a brother? A long time ago (back in the 1960’s), I met a student at a prep school near Philadelphia who was introduced to me as “Senator Dodd’s son”. This was when Thomas Dodd was a senator. I don’t think it was Chris Dodd that I met, but it may have been.

  19. Yes ACR and since you linked to them, here from the American RC Church website you see specifically (as opposed to generallY) on Iraq.

  20. Chris Dodd, as per some internet research, is the fifth of six children. The names of the six children are Thomas J., Jr., Carolyn, Jeremy, Martha, Christopher, and Nicholas.

  21. >>Yes ACR and since you linked to them,

    I linked to the 1st thing I found when I googled “Darrel Cole Good War”.

    As a 20+ generation Protestant, it’s not my job to obey the RC.

  22. NO kidding ACR, just admit you got caught with your reference suggesting any Christian sect against the war ain’t authentic like you – such as the RC Church.

  23. Sandy:
    >>The people on the Christian right that I know would vote for Satan himself before they would ever vote for Hillary! I guess they would view the prince of darkness as the lesser of 2 evils.

    The newly elected congresscritter from CT’s 5th is running for president?

  24. toucan

    Gimmee a break – that was a play on words using my own blog name “authentic”.

    Get a grip.

    I’m not about to attack, make fun of in any way, anyone else’s religion, church, denomination, etc. & et al.


  25. OK ACR, just trying to keep ya honest – and killing time while the walk melts alittle more before I shovel it to find the news paper..

  26. Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God.

    Yup, you’ve got Jesus down. As the Good Lord told us, “It has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. I say unto you, hell yes! Kill your enemies, curse them that curse you, hate them that hate you, and persecute them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Turn your neighbor’s cheek and slap him.”

  27. wtfdnucsailor

    You do Bill Richardson and injustice by not considering him. His resume is better than either Dodd or Romney. I see him as the tortise to the Hillary and Obama and Edwards rabbits.

  28. First, I think the Dodd campaign is probably thrilled that a blog is actually discussing his resume.

    I haven’t been in a position to hire someone in a few years, but one thing I learned from conducting interviews in the past is that a good resume doesn’t necessarily translate into being a good fit for the position. Often a person who looks wonderful on paper falls flat when you actually meet them. My point is that resume alone isn’t reason enough to hire, or elect anyone.

    That aside I think you’re selling Dodd short. I agree that being Governor is probably a better prerequisite for the Presidency than holding a Senate seat, but that doesn’t mean the right Senator couldn’t do the job. Also comparing Dodd to Romney is a bit silly, especially when we’re so far away from the primaries.

  29. Bill Richardson has proven himself more willing to go abroad and negotiate in the worlds worst trouble spots (i.e. Darfur) as the Governor of New Mexico, than the President of the United States. As for Romney, I see it hypocritical to criticize Obama for his lack of experience as the media has been doing, and not point out the same about Mitt and Rudy. Mitt has only held elected office for four years, two of which he spent more time in early primary states making fun of the state he governed. He also completely lacks foreign policy experience and is willing to say anything to get elected. Rudy, did provide great leadership after 9/11, but if everyone will remember was a largely hated Mayor on 9/10, who seemed to do everything in his power to exacerbate racial strife in the city.

  30. Also, I’m a little confused why some of you seem to insist on discussion religion repeatedly on a blog called Connecticut Local Politics. If you guys would like to engage in a theological discussion in a more appropriate setting, let me know, I’ll be all for it.

  31. Adam–

    Maybe it’s because the GOP is abusing religion to advance their political agenda?

  32. MikeCT

    Simply pointing out that Christianity enjoys a wide spectrum of thought as it regards war.


    It was CTKeith that decided to tar non-Mormon Christians as bigots and it was he that (I doubt the 1st time) felt it necessary to bring his own unrealistic view of those he rather clearly knows nothing of to the frey.

  33. Ctkeith started the religious stuff by talking about the “Christian right.”

    Adam, you do understand that religious beliefs have an effect on whether or not many Americans will support specific presidential candidates, don’t you?

  34. Like it or not the entire Republican majority is built on “the Southern Strategy”.This strategy has bigotry of as it’s backbone and is very intrenched.NO WAY a Mormon is going to get the backing of the Southern Babtists and other evengelical fundementalist “Christians”.

    Romneys numbers seem to have moved up in the latest polls.Watch and listen very carefully because the Repulican operatives already have the knives out and you can expect the hatred from the pulpits to start flowing in a matter of days.

    The people who invented McCains ‘little black child” of 2000 will easily and quickly destroy the “devil worshipping mormon”Romney.Just watch.

  35. Ctkeith, you are the only person I’ve ever heard refer to Romney as a devil worshipper. Did you see him worship the devil? Did he tell you that he worships the devil? Where do your insane comments come from?

    It’s obvious that you have no respect for people who register as Republicans, but you might want to keep in mind that Romney openly says that Jesus is his lord and saviour. Romney is also more likely to help the people you so hate (those evil Christians from the South who register as Republicans) than any of the other presidential candidates from the left or the right.

  36. Watch and learn noreaster.The whisper campaign down in dixie has already begun.

    You didn’t really think those who control the Republican party were above swiftboating another Republican,did you?

  37. Trueblue,
    Yes I do, however when I’m tempted to start quoting the Book of Matthew, I feel that spills over from using religion as a political strategy to an actual debate about theology.

    Outside of Romney, who’s religion is affecting who people will support in this race? And they may not being calling Romney a devil worshipper but they are calling him a cult member that threatens evangelical christianity.

    And I don’t know if he would help the Southern Christians. I think Romney has proven through his carrer that if he think’s that appealing to agnostic child molesters would win him an election, he’d do it in a second.

  38. I can tell that Romney really gets the Dems fired up … gotta love it …

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