03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Connecticut's Nutty and Spicy Senatorial History

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), son of the late Sen. Thomas Dodd (D I-Conn., is expected to announce today that he will not seek re-election.

Without descending into the Washington parlor game of conventional wisdom about what this announcement signifies for the horse race of who's up and who's down, I would like to reflect on the matter.

The senatorial history in Connecticut has been interesting to say the least. Sen. Thomas Dodd (who lost in his first Senate run to Prescott S. Bush) was a staunch anti-Communist and a strong defender of due process--proving his credentials at the Nuremberg Trials. These lessons should be revisited in our war on terrorism, just as Sen. Bricker's ghost haunts our current policies. Unfortunately, he is more likely remembered for being censured for his ethics violation of misappropriating campaign funds for private use.

As a result of that censure (and rumors of alcoholism), the Democrats denied him renomination on their party's ticket, which led him to seek re-election as an independent, handing the seat to Sen. Lowell Weicker, a Republican and later turned independent, who later served as governor.

I still remember Sen. Chris Dodd showing some class in crossing party lines and in announcing his support for Sen. John Tower's embattled nomination for Secretary of Defense amidst rumors of alcoholism. Sen. Dodd specifically cited Tower's vote against censure of his father.

That Sen. Chris Dodd was the beneficiary of special mortgage treatment--even though he did not know it at the time--overshadows his other achievements and dedication to his job. I do not think he deserved re-election, not as a result of the personal attacks launched on him, but because of his defense of the bailouts for special interests.

Understanding the unusual nature of senatorial politics in the nutmeg state, Sen. Lieberman's status makes more sense. Given that nature, I would not be entirely surprised to welcome a future Sen. Ralph Nader (I-CT) to stand up for due process and independent thought against special corporate interests.