Christopher Dodd

The Village Voice gives out theater awards called the Obies (for Off-Broadway), and during the 1980s the Voice’s theater department voted to bestow one of those prizes on the distinguished absurdist Václav Havel, who dwelled in the faraway absurdistan known as the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. In their New York productions, Havel’s plays ran at the Public Theater, and everyone who kept up with the downtown scene knew them well. The plays were splendidly mordant.

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Our Favorite People

Welcome to TNR’s 2011 list issue. Earlier this week we named the most over-covered stories, DC’s most over-rated thinkers, and the most powerful, least famous people in Washington. Today’s installment: TNR’s Favorite People in DC. RICHARD CIZIK As the National Association of Evangelicals’ chief lobbyist in D.C. for ten years, Richard Cizik pushed evangelical-supported legislation. That is, until he was ousted in 2008 for his increasingly progressive opinions—he told NPR that his views were “shifting” on gay marriage and implied that he had voted for Barack Obama.

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One little-known fact about the filibuster is that it no longer requires the minority to hold the floor and make long speeches. It actually requires the supermajority to assemble and hold the floor to break it. Here's some good news.

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Senator Christopher Dodd obviously hasn't gotten over his doubts that the Senate would confirm Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dodd recently approached Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC, to see if she might be interested in the job. She apparently said no thanks. The Journal notes that Dodd isn't the only Democrat nervous about Warren's prospects: Many Democrats feel they need someone in the post who won't be swayed by bankers. Others worry that choosing someone seen as too activist--a charge leveled at Ms.

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Before BP

In Obama’s June 15th Oval Office speech on the oil spill, he railed against a “failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility—a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves.” Obama was getting at a real problem. As economic historian Edward Balleisen points out, the trend over the past half century has not been less regulation per se, but a greater acceptance of “self-regulation,” whereby industry funds government oversight, and government outsources oversight to industry.

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"Finding all the cliches and mixed metaphors in this Eric Alterman paragraph is like cutting fish in a barrel with a butter knife," writes Nico Pitney. After reading the paragraph in question, I think he understates: And yet even with all its proverbial ducks lined up—a populist crusade is just what the doctor ordered for a divided and dispirited party going into perilous midterm elections—the administration and its lieutenants in Congress are still shooting as many blanks as real bullets at the bad guys. It’s not that their bills are all bullshit, as the Republicans’ clearly are.

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Jonah Goldberg argues that, even in the absence of regulation, we're a lot less vulnerable to another financial crisis because capitalists are good at learning lessons: By now you’ve probably heard lame duck Senator Christopher Dodd thunder from the Senate floor (or myriad other locations) that unless his bill is passed we are just as vulnerable as ever to what happened on Wall Street. “Nothing has happened” that can prevent the exact same crisis from happening again. Except that’s not quite true. Something happened: The crisis itself. Think of it this way.

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Long before he became president Barack Obama had carved out a reasonably aggressive policy towards Pakistan and its equivocating stance towards Al Qaeda. In fact, it was early on in his candidacy (August 1, 2007, in fact) that he gave a speech to the Woodrow Wilson International Center which promised that the Americans would do to the terrorists what the Pakis would not. Of course, almost all of Obama's opponents jumped on him, including Joseph Biden, now his vice president and still taking pot shots at his policies, and Hillary Clinton who ...

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Tracy Flicks

New York’s new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a very ambitious politician. Just months after deposing a four-term GOP incumbent in 2006, she raised nearly $700,000--more than any other freshman legislator. As a sophomore in the House, she attempted to bypass more senior members for a seat on the coveted Ways and Means Committee. And she lobbied intently for the Senate appointment. “[H]er eye has been on that prize for a long, long time,” Jonathan Schiller, a founding partner of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where Gillibrand worked as a partner, told the New York Observer.

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Auto Destruct

It's been more than a month since the auto industry came to Washington, begging for a rescue. And, since that time, it's become clear just how dry Detroit's reservoir of goodwill has run. For conservative opponents of bailout legislation, like Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the U.S. auto industry is an object of scorn—"dinosaurs," he has called them. For the liberals who support a rescue, like Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, Detroit remains an embarrassment.

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