Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Capitol Idea: Will Dodd Take Up Kennedy’s Health Care Mantle?

Capitol Idea: Will Dodd Take Up Kennedy’s Health Care Mantle?

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

With the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the fate of health care reform could fall on the shoulders of a lesser-known Democrat who is more associated with the corporate world of credit cards and big-dollar bailouts.

One of the Massachusetts Democrat's best friends, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut is the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee after Kennedy himself, who chaired the panel.

Both gregarious New Englanders of Irish descent, Kennedy and Dodd have been friends throughout the decades they served together in the Senate.  That's where comparisons begin to break down, however.

A member of one of the world's most famous families, before his death from cancer last week, Kennedy was instantly recognizable as the "liberal lion" of the Senate.

Dodd has been in Congress nearly as long as Kennedy was, but he never became an icon the way Kennedy did. The chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, he is more known for helping pass credit card legislation and last year's massive financial bailouts than for any causes dear to the left.  Indeed, this year Dodd finds himself in his first seriously contested reelection bid since he first came to the Senate nearly 30 years ago. For all of that, however, Dodd may be the natural senator to step in to finish the health care reform so dear to Kennedy's heart.

No official announcements have been made on who will take the chairmanship of the HELP Committee now that Kennedy is gone, and Dodd has given no word as to whether he wants to move from Banking to HELP.  But in the more than a year before he died, as he was ailing from cancer, Kennedy rarely made it to the Senate. In his absence, Kennedy named Dodd as his chief deputy on health care reform.  When the HELP Committee passed its version of health reform before the August congressional recess, Kennedy issued a statement singling Dodd out for thanks.  "No man has ever had a truer or more generous friend than he has been to me, and no cause has ever had a more able leader than he has been in the great effort to enact health reform," Kennedy said at the time.

Although the HELP Committee approved its version of health reform, there is still much work left to be done if only Dodd wants to take it on. The Senate Finance Committee is yet to produce its version of reform, and because Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is more interested in attracting GOP votes, the Finance reform plan is likely to look much different than that from HELP.

Dodd could play a key role in helping reconcile the different versions of reform to create the final reform bill that the full Senate votes either up or down. Then, of course, there could be the opportunity to negotiate the differences between the reform versions that would be approved by the House and Senate to create one ultimate reform plan that would go to President Obama for his signature.

Getting all of that done in the current uncertain atmosphere filled by angry town hall protesters will take much leadership if only Dodd wants to be the one to provide it.

This summer, Dodd  published an opinion column in a Connecticut newspaper, outlining his vision for health care reform:

For me, the bottom line is that we need to preserve the ability for people to choose their own doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans. If you like what you have, you can keep it; if you don't, you'll finally have affordable options available to you. In my view, that must include a public health insurance option in addition to private options.

It's that public option for a federally run health plan that's generating much of the contention around getting a reform plan that can pass.

Dodd may find that if he takes the lead on health reform, he may well do well by doing good. Dodd's currently locked in a tight race for re-election in 2010.

There is much affection for Kennedy in New England. If Dodd is seen as being a linchpin on finally delivering health care reform,  the one major piece of Kennedy's legacy left undone,  Dodd could well find himself the beneficiary of a Kennedy-sized sympathy vote come next year.

Powered by

About Scott Nance

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Thankfully, there’s some hope that the people of Connecticut are waking up and they may finally remove Dodd from office and show that sometimes our most corrupt lawmakers ARE held accountable by the voters.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    First off Ct is only part of New England on a technicality, a line on a map. Most of it’s culture is closer to that of NYC than New England.

    Second. You’re grossly overexagerating the the sentiment people have for Ted Kennedy. His death and the ensuing sentimental bullshit such as this article, will not make one damn bit of difference in health care legislation or next year’s midterm elections.

    Third..Dodd is a piker and a corrupt one at that. He’ll be lucky to save his own ass in Connecticut never mind lead the cavalry for passing Obama’s socialist agenda.

    Scott you are as out of touch with reality as Nancy Pelosi. That’s no small feat. Congrats!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Archie, being out of touch with the political reality of the country is the new hallmark of the democrats and the left in America.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Considering the election results last November, #3 has to count as one of the most supremely ironical statements yet seen on Blogcritics.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Actually, DD, considering that the Amrican president is tanking in various polls, comment #3 is rather astute (though Dave generalizes too much) – and you own comment is – less astute….

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    November 3rd is a very long time ago in political terms. Obama won primarily because disgruntled Republicans and Independents who were pissed about Bush and his spending and wars voted for him out of protest. Now they see that Obama is spending more than Bush and escalating the stupidest of the wars and there’s a backlash and they are turning on him. Not a surprise, really.

    Dave

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    The Democrats have mistaken the temporary advantage of a protest vote for a mandate and acting on that assumption is going to bury them very quickly.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To tell the truth, the Afghan campaign baffles me. Is it about opium or pipe lines?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Actually, Ruvy, polls are not political reality – they are gauges of opinion.

    The political reality is that Democrats hold the White House and control both houses of Congress.

    Yet Republicans continue to act as if they still run the country. It’s rather amusing.

  • zingzing

    dave: “Archie, being out of touch with the political reality of the country is the new hallmark of the democrats and the left in America.”

    my god. you know that just because you believe something doesn’t mean the rest of america agrees with you. you believed that mccain would win, remember? but then he got his ass handed to him. that shows how out of touch you were then. now you can say it was a “protest vote” and that the political climate has changed, but do you really believe that the republicans would win the election if held today?

    the reality is that you guys are on your way out (you may yet recover), and the faithful are bitterly (and loudly) letting out death rattles. there’s a lot of noise from your side, but you are NOT, in any way, shape or form representative of “the political reality in america.” and if you think so, you’re the one out of touch.

  • zingzing

    ahh, so #3 has already sparked debate.

    there’s also this little gem from dave: “Obama is… escalating the stupidest of the wars…”

    afghanistan is now the stupidest of the wars? i thought iraq had a pretty firm grip on that one. how did afghanistan take the title?

  • Arch Conservative

    “Considering the election results last November, #3 has to count as one of the most supremely ironical statements yet seen on Blogcritics.”

    That was November. Obama’s 42% approval rating was yesterday.

    Try to keep up Dread.

    Who is on the way out zing. Is it a Republican or Dem president and Congress that can’t pass a single item on their agenda that we’re seeing right now?

    Please remind me. Oh and while you’re at it please remind me what Obama’s approval rating has been doing for the past month.

    It never ceases to amaze how detached from reality some of you moonbats can be.

    1-20-13 the end of a joke.

    You can take that to the bank bitch!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    That was November. Obama’s 42% approval rating was yesterday.

    Try to keep up Dread.

    I refer you to my comment #9.

    Try to keep up, Archie.

  • zingzing

    archie: “You can take that to the bank bitch!”

    i believe your political predictions to be pretty damn faulty, much like our banking system. so i won’t be doing either, slut.

    (dunno why i had to put that “slut” there, but it certainly seemed necessary at the time.)

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “You can take that to the bank bitch!”

    is this a mean teller you know or are you unaware of how a comma works?

  • zingzing

    eb: “is this a mean teller you know or are you unaware of how a comma works?”

    you know, he didn’t use a single one in his comment. it is rather strange. i count at least 4 missed opportunities to use one.

    archie: “It never ceases to amaze how detached from reality some of you moonbats can be.”

    well, obama’s approval rating doesn’t mean that those who voted for him suddenly became conservatives, does it? or do you have a better point to make?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD,

    The political reality is that Democrats hold the White House and control both houses of Congress – and are accomplishing nothing. Why? Because polls – which are mere gauges of opinion – are showing that folks do not have confidence in the Kenyan messiah anymore – he’s just another false messiah.

    I won’t mention the Republicans – they haven’t gotten their act together yet, and their behavior is most amusing….

  • zingzing

    “The political reality is that Democrats hold the White House and control both houses of Congress – and are accomplishing nothing. Why? Because polls – which are mere gauges of opinion – are showing that folks do not have confidence in the Kenyan messiah anymore – he’s just another false messiah.”

    so polls are in control of congress? where’d you get that idea? a poll has absolutely no power in congress. and what, other than healthcare, has he not been able to push through?

    and get off your birther/messiah shtick. it’s complete nonsense.

  • Arch Conservative

    How bout cap and trade zing. Did you forget about that?

    He has failed at his two major policy goals so far and it’s only going to get tougher after the GOP picks up seats in 2010.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Arch, your posts are beginning to look like WWE wrestling promos to me. Is this by design or do you really use a lot of spray-on tan?

  • zingzing

    archie: “How bout cap and trade zing. Did you forget about that?”

    yeah, i did. truthfully, i only heard about that on here, and only in the vaguest terms, probably because healthcare kinda took over the airwaves. so i’ll have go look at that. but cap and trade isn’t dead. it just needs to be reconfigured a bit and it’ll go through. in fact, don’t we already do it, at least on an industrial level?

    then again, i’ll have to say that you’re ignoring plenty of other “major policy goals” that i think he has made a good progress on. like torture, the wars in iraq and afghanistan, stem cell research, helping the economy turn around and other issues that are closer to my heart.