The Problem with Chris Dodd

This op-ed makes a point I've been hearing a lot of over the last few days:

Meanwhile, with the power to give out our money as they wish, congressmen take campaign money from lobbyists and industries they regulate. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is only the latest poster boy for that, but boy is he a good one. There may be no one who better represents all that is wrong with Washington. The powerful Senate Banking Committee chairman got a sweetheart mortgage from Countrywide; he has received $280,000 in campaign contributions from troubled insurer AIG; and he made sure that AIG executive bonuses were untouched by Congress -- then claimed for 24 hours that he knew nothing about it, before reporters forced him to admit the truth.

Polls show Dodd is in re-election trouble. But don't hold your breath: Despite record-low approval ratings for Congress last year, we continued sending our congressmen back at about a 90 percent retention rate.

We have, sadly, been corrupted.

I have to say, the worst allegation I've heard about Chris Dodd is not that he's in the pocket of banks and insurers--financial companies naturally seek to curry favor with the Senate Banking Committee, but I don't really see the case that he's sold us out for his benefit.  No, the more damning case is that the Senate Banking Committee was basically non-functional in the early part of the crisis, because Dodd was running for president.  Even if early action could have saved us money and pain later--and that's a big if--I recently heard a plausible case made that such action was made impossible by his presidential campaign.  But somehow, no one finds that offensive, or even notable.