The dude with white hair – A DoodTube surge.

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Justin has been giving one of the second tier Republican presidential candidates a lot of ink (electrons?) lately, how about a little preemptive Fairness Doctrine action for a second tier Democratic candidate – “The guy with white hair.” That is exactly how I have been referring to Democratic Senator Chris Dodd during the debates. If you are among the few of us that are actually paying attention to the 2008 presidential race (h/t Andrew Sullivan), you may have noticed that there are an awful lot of senators and ex-senators running for President. I’m guessing two or three hundred at least. Calling him the dude with white hair helped me track him among the clouds of dust kicked up by this presidential stampede. Over the last few weeks Chris Dodd has been on the tube quite a bit. This prospective YouTube debate question helped me identify him:

Every time I’ve see him in recent weeks I am more impressed. He appears less like someone running for President, and more like an elected representative trying his level best to do the the people’s business in congress. This being so completely out of character for Presidential candidates, it got my attention.

I am calling this post the DoodTube Surge, in order to highlight his emergence as a solid alternative to a Clinton nomination. I have already anointed one Democratic Senator as the Designated Democratic VP Candidate, but I am not quite ready to concede the nomination belongs to Clinton. She has too much time to lose it, and I’ve got a feeling she’ll figure out a way to do just that. Her formidable strength in the debates so far has emerged from her confidence and the perception that she “looks presidential. ” Well Chris Dodd is looking every bit as presidential lately, and has the additional advantage of, you know, actually doing things in the Senate that are important to Americans. I’m not saying he is going to strip her of the front runner title. I am not saying he is my favorite among the herd of senatorial presidential stock (That would be Chuck “now is the time” Hagel). I am not even saying that he is my favorite Democratic Senator running for President (that would be Joe “it’s the war stupid” Biden). I am just saying – keep an eye on him.

The Dood Tube Surge 1 – Sub-Prime Credit Contagion:
Earlier this week Chris Dodd met with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to discuss what could be done to keep the sub-prime market crisis and the record high mortgage default rate from spinning out of control. Stepping out of the meeting he was interviewed on CNBC:

In this video Senator Dodd speaks with authority and clarity about a complex problem that affects millions of Americans facing foreclosure on badly constructed and/or misrepresented loans, as well as a panicky credit market and business community. The interview is conducted on CNBC – the business channel of record – where he has a dialog with business journalists, not as presidential candidate, but as an important actor on the American economic stage. Is there another Democratic Senator running for President that could conduct this interview at this level of specificity and authority on this topic in this venue? If so, I don’t know who it is.

Dood Tube Surge 2 – America’s Infrastructure
Senators Chris Dodd and Chuck Hagel worked for two years on crafting a bi-partisan bill to address the wildly under-reported issue of America’s crumbling infrastructure. A couple of weeks ago they announced this important bill in a press conference that was completely ignored by both new and old media. That is,the bill was ignored until a few hours after the press conference, when a major bridge fell down in Minnesota. Then the traditional media (and the blogosphere) took notice. Dodd and Hagel on MSNBC’s Hardball:

This is what I see in this video – Two dedicated Senators, working in a bi-partisan way to solve a real (if unsexy) problem, with innovative and practical policy initiatives and no real expectation of getting any recognition for their efforts. Not triangulating politics, just doing the grunt work that they think the country needs. Are these not the qualities we want in a president?

Dood Tube Surge 3 – Spanking Bill O’Reilly
This one is just fun. A couple weeks ago Chris Dodd took Bill O’Reilly to the woodshed on his own show over O’Reilly’s completely asinine and mind numbingly stupid attacks on Daily Kos. Dodd is obviously having great fun doing it, while O’Reilly blows a gasket on air.

Dodd just comes across as a guy who “gets it” in terms of understanding and appreciating citizen participation in the blogosphere.

Dood Tube Surge 4 – The dude with white hair.
We started with the hair, we’ll finish up with the hair. This from last Sunday’s debate on ABC:

What can I say? Dodd is clearly demonstrating his respect for nature and the environment in a meaningful, visceral way. And yes, that is a bug crawling in his hair.

excerpted and x-posted from “Divided We Stand United We Fall”