2009.07.05: July 5, 2009: Headlines: Figures: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Politico: s Chris Dodd begins a campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, his father is becoming an issue

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As Chris Dodd begins a campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, his father is becoming an issue

As Chris Dodd begins a campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, his father is becoming an issue

From time to time over the years, Dodd's political opponents have tried to raise the memory of his father as an issue against him. It has never worked. This time may be different. At the very least, Dodd's challengers can put him on the defensive by forcing him to debate his father's case in public. A losing issue for Dodd. At worst, the material makes for a potentially devastating political ad campaign for a challenger with nothing to lose. The effect of it all will run counter to all the work the Dodd family has done to rehabilitate Tom Dodd's image. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's.

As Chris Dodd begins a campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, his father is becoming an issue

The Return Of Tom Dodd

06/29/09

I write this column reluctantly. More than once, I have seen the personal and family toll taken by political scandal. When I worked as a journalist full time, I used to recoil when colleagues went after politicians without mercy, hiding behind the phrase; "They knew what they were getting into when they decided to step into the public life."

I didn't think that was the case then and I am sure of it now. No one understands the extent of the pain that can be inflicted when the news media decides a public figure needs to be brought down unless they have been through it. It can be debilitating and long lasting.

Understanding that, I'm the last person who wants to bring up a discussion of former Connecticut U.S. Senator Thomas Dodd when speaking about the current political plight of his son. But as Chris Dodd begins a campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, his father is becoming an issue.

Like most people in public life, Tom Dodd's record is mixed. He is known best for two things. After World War II, he was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and in 1967, he became the first U.S. Senator to be censured by his colleagues. Understandably, the Dodd family has done its best to highlight the good and forget the bad. The hard work of repairing the elder Dodd's image may be one of the casualties of Chris Dodd's current campaign.


Comparisons To Dad

The Sen. Dodd of today has just endured the worst year of his political life. He has been scrutinized as never before. His financial dealings, his judgment, even his wife's business connections have been called into question. And for many long-time political observers, the comparisons to the end of his father's career and ultimately his life, seems all too similar to ignore.

The issue was brought into focus best by a June article in Newsweek titled, "Like Father, Like Son." It was a very sympathetic look at Tom Dodd's case. On June 23, 1967, by a vote of 92 to 5, the Senate ruled Dodd's behavior was "contrary to accepted morals and tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute." In contrast, the Newsweek article summed it up this way: "The facts were never fully proved and remain murky - the elder Dodd apparently used fundraising dinners as a kind of home piggybank."


A Raw Deal?

Chris Dodd is quoted in the article as saying his father was "screwed" and more than 40 years later there are many who agree with him. Somehow, the ethical expectations of the day had changed and no remembered to tell Tom.

Other recent news accounts have made reference to the problems of the father and the son, but the Newsweek report takes it a step further. It makes the ethics link and it makes clear that Chris Dodd believes his father got a raw deal allowing his opponents to re-litigate the case in the court of public opinion.

From time to time over the years, Dodd's political opponents have tried to raise the memory of his father as an issue against him. It has never worked. This time may be different. At the very least, Dodd's challengers can put him on the defensive by forcing him to debate his father's case in public. A losing issue for Dodd. At worst, the material makes for a potentially devastating political ad campaign for a challenger with nothing to lose. The effect of it all will run counter to all the work the Dodd family has done to rehabilitate Tom Dodd's image.

Dean Pagani is a former gubernatorial advisor. He is vice president of public affairs for Cashman and Katz Integrated Communications in Glastonbury.




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Headlines: June, 2009; RPCV Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic); Figures; Peace Corps Dominican Republic; Directory of Dominican Republic RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Dominican Republic RPCVs; Politics; Congress; Connecticut





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