Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg had soft words for yet another retiring Democratic politician in her Sunday Week in Review piece on Sen. Chris Dodd's abrupt retirement: "When Politicians Call it Quits."
When former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle was ousted by South Dakota voters in November 2004, Stolberg providing multiple tributes full of fulsome praise like this:
The soft-spoken leader has often been described by his fellow Democrats as a man of decency. On Wednesday, Senator Jon Corzine of New Jersey, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called him 'a patriot and a statesman,' and said he would be 'remembered as one of the giants to ever grace the Senate stage.'
Stolberg's marking of the departure of Dodd, whose 2010 reelection was in jeopardy, was not quite as unctuous as her Daschle sendoff, but it still marked a "poignant" moment for the Times reporter:
Mr. Dodd's poignant departure points out the difficulty of leaving a life in politics, especially in Congress, where lawmakers often serve for decades and their identities become deeply entwined with their jobs. Mr. Dodd saw his father, Senator Thomas Dodd, run for re-election - and lose - after being censured by the Senate for financial misconduct. In leaving, the younger Mr. Dodd renewed an old Washington debate over when to call it quits, and how to do it gracefully.