Chris Dodd earned my respect in opposing the petty Democratic revenge plot to prevent John Ashcroft from being confirmed as Attorney General. He saw through the misleading statements and baseless criticisms of a man who is eminently qualified for the job he now holds. For many it was their way to express their outrage at Bush's victory after a bitter recount battle. For others it was simply hatred of anyone who could possibly hold the most reasonable consistent pro-life view that being caused to come into existence by a crime doesn't rob one of one's (relative) innocence. Either way, the two Democrats who retained their spines were Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold.
So it's with a note of sadness that I have to label him a hypocrite. He's pulled a Trent Lott, this time with Robert Byrd's racist past (involving the KKK many years ago and the n-word on CNN not too long ago) replacing Strom Thurmond's segregationist policies during the mid-20th century. The statements of both Lott and Dodd revealed something, but it wasn't any outright racist attitude on the part of either senator. What it showed is that the concerns of many black people are not on the mind of either senator enough to prevent them from saying such things. John McWhorter cogently argued this with Senator Lott's case, and I think it's true of Dodd as well.
Now if only black voters would start seeing that Democratic lip service to civil rights values is too often no more than lip service. Dodd's case shows at least that the myth of Democratic caring and Republican indifference can often be mistaken. The fact that Democrats are more inclined to continue destructive policies (such as resisting the recent welfare reform requiring more responsibility) along with resisting the truly progressive ideas Republicans are offering (regardless of the fact that they may not be the best versions of those ideas around -- at least they're offering them, which I can't say about most Democrats) shows that the indifference will be found among more than just this one senator showing his indifference in a moment of devotion to an honored party member.
In Dodd's case, his comments about Lott are now coming back to haunt him (see the links above for more on this). At least Lott didn't have that to deal with. This smacks of a much stronger hypocrisy than simply spouting off civil rights phrases but not doing anything about any real problems. Now he's made the exact mistake he had criticized Senator Lott for making. His call for Lott's resignation brings his own condemnation down on himself.
Or is this just something about their names? If so, I guess it's a good thing we don't have any senators named Fogg, Hopp, or Momm. (Check out Instapundit for more on this.)