Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) will tell the world this afternoon that he won’t run for reelection. Right after he does, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s attorney general for the past two decades, will announce his candidacy for the open seat. Blumenthal is immensely popular, and various commentators note he is likely to win in November. Is it too late to start calling Blumenthal “The Jewish Kennedy” again?
For Blumenthal is an almost laughably perfect politician, “blessed,” Slate’s David Plotz argued in a memorable 2000 profile, “with every political virtue except recklessness and luck.” After Harvard, a stint in the Nixon White House under Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Yale Law, and a Supreme Court clerkship, Blumenthal was named Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney at the age of 31—making him the youngest lead federal prosecutor ever. As state attorney general, he got ATM fees banned and helped lead the Big Tobacco lawsuits. He is one of the hardest-working retail politicians to boot.
A generation or two ago, a politician with Blumenthal’s brains and drive would have been reserved a Senate seat because Democratic Party elders would have ensured it. But in today’s more chaotic politics, the prudent Blumenthal has kept waiting and waiting and waiting for his turn.
Richard Blumenthal’s turn has finally arrived. If he is elected in November, he would become (by our count) the 14th Jewish senator, and also the 14th Jewish senator who either is Democratic or, if we wish to include Connecticut’s other senator, at least caucuses with the Democrats.