I want to start this post off by saying that I genuinely like Christopher Dodd. Of late, whenever Democrats have needed real leadership in the Senate on issues important to the country, he’s stepped up. Because of this, he has leapfrogged over many other current Democratic Presidential candidates to the number two spot behind John Edwards on my list of desired candidates.
On the surface, Dodd doesn’t stand much of a chance, but he does have the IAFF union behind him for organizing in Iowa, which could make his candidacy very interesting as the Iowa Caucuses draw closer if that can translate into numbers.
Then came this morning……
Everybody’s favorite racist radio has-been, Don Imus, debuted on WABC in New York this morning, fresh off a short-lived exile for mean-spirited remarks directed at the women’s basketball team at Rutgers University. Among his new touches (which on the surface look more like transparent attempts at insulation) are a black female co-host who’s about as funny as a picnic table, as well as a simulcast affiliation with some far-flung rural cable channel called RFD (why do I picture Ken Berry and "Goober" Lindsay when I type those letters?). Among his old touches are the many members of the Washington Establishment who find nothing wrong with Imus’ long history of racial and ethnic intolerance, as long as there’s a microphone in their face. For his first show back, today’s guests included aging DC prostitution circus act Carville and Matalin, everybody’s favorite intemperate lapdog John McCain and, unfortunately, Chris Dodd.
In a presidential election season, every move is a calculation. Chris Dodd is barely recognized during televised "debates" on cable news networks. One could make the argument that as a candidate with a visible absence of big money and debate recognition, you take your exposure wherever you can get it. Anywhere you hang you soapbox is home.
Having said that, as a Democrat, why Don Imus?
Dodd is more than likely making the calculation that appearing on a radio program that is attempting to appeal to rural America is more than likely a good thing if he wants to finish strong in Iowa. Yet based on Imus’ history and the type of guests he has on his show, the only thing rural about Don Imus is his horrible cowboy hat and his borderline KKK sense of humor.
Making a conscious decision to align oneself with Don Imus for free publicity can’t be seen as a good move in attracting primary voters from the Democratic Party. Primary voters tend to be the most motivated and dedicated to a given party. I’ll venture a guess that Don Imus doesn’t have much of a rabid following among regular readers of Daily Kos or other major players in the left wing blogosphere. I’d also venture a guess that the primary voting patterns of those same readers are heavier than the rest of the Democratic population, though I lack statistical proof to back up that argument. I leave it up to those more capable to study that hypothesis.
Don Imus trying to reinvent himself as some kind of leather-faced Paul Harvey Everyman will be interesting for about one week while the mainstream press looks in on his "rehabilitation". After that, he’ll go where all short-syndication talk radio goes; straight into the abyss of a 1.5 share. His time as any type of major mover and shaker in the radio industry passed in the early ‘80’s. For anyone to appear on or to sponsor his siesta of a radio show now, in my opinion, lends tacit approval for the kind of behavior that’s gone on before. I still think positively of Chris Dodd, but today I’m stunned at how his need for publicity in a primary season leads to horrible decision making. It’s not what I look for in a President, and he just lost a chance at getting my vote.