On the heels of last week’s dismal Quinnipiac Poll and this week’s return of the Countrywide mortgage mess, there may be a growing sense that Democrats should take the path suggested by former Party Chairman Ed Marcus on Face the State Sunday and replace Sen. Dodd on the November 2010 ballot.
But when the entire playing field is considered, is Mr. Dodd’s position really all that bad? His polling numbers, though still lousy, are improving – particularly among Democrats, who make up 40% of the electorate in Connecticut.
His campaign continues to push their messaging offensive through every medium. Though the “he makes lobbyists cry” message was derided for how laughable it was, it no doubt bolstered wobbly supporters who were happy to see the “old” Chris Dodd back in the fight.
Even the much-maligned Connecticut Democratic Party, which apparently went from October 10, 2008 to March 16, 2009 without issuing a press release, has been put on a war footing and now participates in the public debate on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, Dodd’s potential opponents continue to press their attack amid the most uncertain electoral atmosphere in nearly two decades. Many voters are losing confidence in the Obama agenda and the Congressional Democrats, but they continue to be unimpressed by the plans offered by Republicans, like their plan to . . .? Can anyone name a new idea offered by a Republican in recent months?
Retiring U.S. Senator George Voinovich of Ohio offered the following critique of the Republican Party in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch:
“We got too many Jim DeMints (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburns (R-Ok.). It’s the southerners. They get on TV and go ‘errrr, errrrr.’ People hear them and say, ‘These people, they’re southerners. The party’s being taken over by southerners. What the hell they got to do with Ohio?’ ”
The comment gets to the core of what hampers the Republican candidates against Dodd. Is there anyone who believes that Simmons, Foley, or Caligiuri benefits when Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell opens his mouth on national television? Hardly.
The Democrats have tarred Republicans with the poor performance of President George W. Bush for two successive election cycles and it has worked, sweeping out a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress and retaking the White House. And the hobby horse still has legs, as polling shows that #43 still receives 54% of the blame for the nation’s economic woes.
The reality is that other than Chris Dodd’s ample failings, the Republican have not yet identified a compelling message for the voters that transcends George Bush, Iraq, and the flagging economy. Until that message emerges – if it emerges – Senator Dodd, even with his baggage, is still very much in the game.