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Feingold: Liberals' Ideal 2008 Candidate?

As President George W. Bush seeks to tamp down the furor caused by revelations of a secret domestic spying program, his primary adversary is not a high-profile senator like Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Harry Reid (D-Nev.).  Instead, it's Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who entered his third term in the Senate this year.

Feingold has emerged as the most outspoken critic of the Bush administration's decision to do an end-run around the courts and order the National Security Agency to monitor overseas calls and e-mails made by U.S. citizens with suspected terrorist ties.  "The President does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow," said Feingold in a statement. "He is a president, not a king."

Feingold's comments on the spying program came just one day after he led a successful effort to block the renewal of major provisions in the Patriot Act before they sunset at the end of the year. "Nobody wants these parts of the Patriot Act to expire -- we want to fix them before making them permanent by including important protections for the rights and freedoms of innocent American citizens," said Feingold.

In a press conference Monday, Bush repeatedly called the filibuster threat "inexcusable," adding: "I want senators from New York or Los Angeles or Las Vegas to go home and explain why these cities are safer."

Feingold's history as the lone "no" vote against the Patriot Act in 2001 has become a regular talking point as he begins to lay the groundwork for a presidential bid in 2008. In October, Feingold received a standing ovation from a New Hampshire audience when he was introduced as the only senator to oppose the controversial law.

In addition to his outspokenness on privacy issues, Feingold also voted against the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq -- the only one of the five Senate Democrats considering a presidential bid to do so. He was also first Democratic senator to propose a specific timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.  Altogether, these stands provide Feingold with a campaign pitch likely to have real appeal to the party's liberal wing.

The key to Feingold's viability as a presidential candidate is whether he can raise the millions necessary to stay within financial shouting distance of people like Hillary Clinton, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh. If Feingold can tap into the Internet fundraising effort that powered Howard Dean's 2004 campaign, he could be well on his way to becoming a serious factor in the Democratic nominating process.

For further reading on Feingold,  read this George F. Will column and Michael Crowley's New Republic profile.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 20, 2005; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

I think most would agree that Russ Feingold is the most honest Senator. He really stands up for the Democratic Party and doesn't back down in the face of political pressure (Patriot Act, Iraq, censure resolution). I hope he is the Democratic nominee in 2008.

As for Vice President, how about Mark Warner? He was an extremely popular governor of a potentially competitive state (assuming he is on the ticket). I think he would attract Southerners and moderates.

In my mind, this could be an ideal ticket.

Posted by: bbdd087130 | August 5, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Jew, Liberal, Midwesterner, blah, blah, blah.
Get a spine, VOTE RUSS!

Posted by: Baraboo | January 5, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I am impressed with Feingold. He does very well on TV. Harry Reid will make an excellent senate majority leader. Hillary can't win unless she's running against Condi. If she were to run against McCain, the men would vote for McCain and the women would be split. Then there are the 40% who always vote the way their church tells them to.

Posted by: ljm | December 27, 2005 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually, no one *had* to dream of a Republican Congress in 1960; we elected one in 1946 and another in 1952 (I can't remember about 1950)--how else would Joe McCarthy (R-WI) have been able to chair all those hearings? Sixteen years of Governors in one state is nowhere close to 16 years of presidents of the same party. Democracies have a need to shift back and forth in order to remain healthy. FDR and Truman had the White House because of the extraordinary circumstances of the Depression, followed immediately by WWII. Before that, the Republicans had the presidency for 20+ years during and after the Civil War (a period during which most of the Democratic states weren't part of the union). It would take events of that magnitude and duration to give us 16 years of the same party controlling the White House again.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 22, 2005 8:50 PM | Report abuse

sandwich, the midwest gave corzine his values. you can't take that away from someone. the fact of the matter is corzine grew up on a farm and he's the only candidate who can say that to the farmers who populate the midwest.

the reason why corzine is the best candidate is because he's got an all-american story that will energize the progressive base and have cross-over appeal in the heartland. let's not forget his initials are JC and that might have a subtle affect on some christians.

he's clintonesque when it comes to one on one campaigning and he's also like clinton because he's brilliant and humane. he's got an added advantage that clinton never had because he was a ceo of a good company (all based on his merit as composer pointed out..his dad didn't get him into business school like in W's case. JC was also sober and awake during class).

i compare him to clinton because it's important to highlight JC's similarities to the last democrat who's been the only two-term president. african americans and other minorities love corzine and proved it by voting for him in large numbers.

keep in mind that despite what the numbers say on the surface, the economy is not going well for a lot of people. the economy is also based solely on a leverage consumer who has easy access to credit because rates are low and his house is inflated. no market ever goes up and up and up. when the housing bubble starts to cool off, it's going to act like a car brake on the economy.

in 08 the race is going to be about the economy, security, and the cost of energy. jc a top mind on finance, economics, and the US treasury and he'll be able to feel the average man's pain and talk about what he would do to help. (he's got sarbanes-oxley on his record to back it up).

his policy on the environment and alternative energy sources are amongst the best in the senate. he's very skilled at communicating how the governmetn can help the private market reduce energy costs, pollution, and bring the US some sort of energy independence. he shows that it's good for business and job-creation as well as the environment and national security.

on the security front he's served on the intelligence committe and fought for 4 years to try and get a homeland security bill requiring chemical companies to guard their toxic facilities passed. the only reason why he failed is because the chemical industry owns stock in republicans inc.

politcal campaigns are all about marketing and approaching the citizenry as a market of voters (no one knows this better than karl rove). it's simple economics and as everyone has pointed out on this blog, different candidates are good for some markets but not good for others.

jc appeals to a universal electorate, knows how to raise money, and MOST IMPORTANTLY knows how to SPEND it on a campaign.

Posted by: sam | December 21, 2005 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"Liar in Chief" ... ha ha I love cracking my moobat self up. It took me the whole afternoon to come up with that one.

By the way .... Bush Lied, People Died!
No Blood for Oil!

Damn I'm on a roll now.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | December 21, 2005 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Sixteen years of Democratic presidents??? The last time either party had the White House for that long was Roosevelt and Truman 1933-53. That's extremely unlikely...Sandwich Repairman

Never say never, if Dems set the terms of debate and the people agree, it is very possible. Its going to be a lot of work but the only people I can see doing that are Warner and Bayh...(note that Bayh set 16 yrs of Dem rule in IN) and had Warner had the option to run again, he might very well have done so with Tim Kaine. Nothing is impossible...45 yrs ago, nobody ever dreamed of a GOP congress..let alone one that has lasted over 10 yrs now.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 21, 2005 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Corzine is a Midwesterner, but he's been gone for a long time. And he lives in about as non-Midwest a state as there is. I was thinking less of reality than the perceptions of Midwest voters. Had he come back home and run for office in Illinois or another Midwestern state, it would be different. But he adopted NJ as his home. When I try to get into the mind of the Midwestern voter, I see Feingold as having that appeal over Corzine.

Sixteen years of Democratic presidents??? The last time either party had the White House for that long was Roosevelt and Truman 1933-53. That's extremely unlikely.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 21, 2005 2:24 PM | Report abuse

People People!!! Let's come down to earth. The truth lies in almost all the posts here...we could say that there is an undercurrent of anti-Semitism in this country but you can never know if we will elect a Jewish president until one runs and wins! Same goes for a Woman, Latino or African-American..you never know until one runs and wins. The problems I see with Feingold is (1)his supposed idealism is not truly suited for today or 2008's political climate. He's considered a progressive and has some strongly held views, but the problem is that (like someone said about psychology), most people don't make rational votes (see 2004 election results) and there is a difference between the candidate and how the media/opponents/party presents the candidate that makes it hard for someone like Feingold to break through as a general election candidate (2) The GOP has literally DESTROYED the fabric of honest and open government in this country that it will take 16 years of uninterrupted democratic rule in the White House to fix it. Ask yourself, knowing the current political climate that we are in, who is more likely to get in there and get it done and who is able to continue it after the initial 8 yrs. Personally, I am voting for Gov Mark Warner all the way. But I hope he selects Sen Evan Bayh as his running mate not because there are no other good candidates but because Bayh has the experience and political testament to finish what Warner will start from 2016-2024. It sounds like a tall order, but 8 yrs is not enough

Posted by: Friend of the People | December 21, 2005 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Sandwich Repairman, to be fair, Corzine is also a midwesterner. He was born in southern Illinois, and went to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for both undergrad and M.B.A. He's a self-made man who rose through the Wall Street ranks on his own merit, without any fancy Ivy League degrees. So, he's got some populist cred, too. But, you're right about Feingold having an advantage in terms of actually representing a midwestern state.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | December 21, 2005 9:58 AM | Report abuse

My earlier point about liberalism had to do with the influence of corporate power influencing the agenda, through campaign contributions. A Representative House chosen by lottery would begin to break down the stranglehold of corporate domination over the agenda (through think tanks, lobbyists), etc.

As for America not supporting Feingold for being a "liberal". I was not saying this because of his views, which really are "moderate" in the context of the world. But, in the demonization of the term by corporately sponsored interest groups. That is why I think he might make it as VP and with exposure to the American public eventually be able to run on his own account. Sorry about my short-cut way of approaching this issue, above, I was just thinking out loud to myself.

Posted by: Jeff | December 21, 2005 6:06 AM | Report abuse

Feingold/Boxer, 08'

Posted by: John Patterson | December 21, 2005 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Feingold is a real liberal. Howard Dean is not, and has never been, a liberal. Furthermore, Feingold comes from a Midwestern swing state (hello--Iowa? Ohio?), while Dean came from a state in a corner of the country which is irrelevant in presidential politics and ranks 49th in population.

I don't think being Jewish would hurt a candidate these days. The states where you might lose votes for being Jewish are lost causes anyway (e.g. Mississippi). What it would do though, is excite and galvanize Jewish donors across the country. If Gore narrowly won or narrowly lost Florida with Lieberman as his VP candidate, Feingold's religion/ethnicity could be what puts him over the top there. (Imagine a Democrat who can win Ohio and Florida...Bill Clinton?)

As a 3 year veteran of the Senate myself, I'm going to have to call Sato on his accusation about Feingold treating his staff badly. I've never heard anything like that. I've heard that he lets staffers call him by his first name (which Lieberman once fired someone for doing) and is very approachable and down to earth. All accounts I've heard about Feingold's office are that it's a pretty good place to work and his staff are generally happy there. His turnover is not particularly high. (unlike, for example, Barbara Mikulski who's known for throwing things at people). As for "class or social graces", do you think they helped Kerry last year? Or are you seriously going to argue that Bush beat him in that category?

Sam, Corzine is a great guy, and I think it'd be really neat to have him running for president as well (though I'd worry about him splitting the liberal vote with Feingold). But all those everyman things you listed from Corzine's resume don't add up to what Feingold has in the way of attractiveness to Midwesterners: actually being one. Feingold was born in WI and lived practically his whole life there. Corzine's been gone from the Midwest for a loooong time.

Feingold is unquestionably intelligent, but I have to say Bill Clinton and Al Gore would certainly rival him in that department. I also have to say that I disagree with Feingold's vote to confirm Ashcroft and support for a balanced budget amendment (something I also differed with Paul Simon on despite loving him). But one thing I learned working on Capitol Hill is that outside yourself, there is no politician with a perfect set of positions on the issues. EVERY one of them has SOME issue you're going to think they're wrong on. But if that's all you don't like about them, they're in the top tier possible, as close to perfect as you're going to get. You're better off getting excited about excellence than holding out for perfection.

I think Feingold is a more passionate and charismatic speaker than Dean. Dean showed exactly that he wasn't a real populist and didn't really know how to do it with his infamous Iowa concession speech (boy, do I feel bad for Harkin having to stand behind him on camera). Governors govern, senators speak. Feingold's been doing that for 13 years on the Senate floor, plus a few years in the WI Senate before that. Feingold is a real populist and a more effective speaker and debater than Dean. I definitely think the small dollar, online, grassroots funding spigot is open to him. The Nation, truthout, Alternet, MoveOn.org, DFA, Michael Moore--they would all be far more enthusiastic about Feingold than any other candidate. They would help him raise a lot of money.

My rule of thumb is to support the candidate who best represents my views in the primary, but support the Democratic nominee in the general whoever that turns out to be. Of the potential candidates we're looking at right now, there's no question I have to go with Feingold.

I think a McCain-Feingold race would be unusually serious and honourable. I think it would give Americans a level of discourse a notch higher than they're used to, without the soulless attack ads and insulting sound bites, and make us all prouder of our country and system, and maybe restore some people's belief in them. That's a presidential race I'd really love to see.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 21, 2005 12:58 AM | Report abuse

"Deserve? Deserve's got nothing to do with it. (name that Eastwood movie)"

If I get it wrong, will I be "Unforgiven?"

Posted by: scootmandubious | December 20, 2005 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Check a recent poll, my whistful friends, then rethink the weight you place on "policy platforms."

51 percent of Americans do not believe in evolution and that humans were created by God as described in the bible.
No offense, honestly, because I imagine that you're well-intentioned, but ... take your head out of the sand and take a deep breath of America.

Deserve? Deserve's got nothing to do with it. (name that Eastwood movie)

Posted by: Marty | December 20, 2005 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The issue is not about being Jewish or divorced, it is about being liberal. It's liberalism that has been demonized. Understand that according to this script Republicans are for the "little guy." Democrats are for the "big guy" those with advanced graduate degrees. Not those who benefit from Halliburton Contracts like Cheney or from his father's contacts like W. Decent guys like Feingold don't have a chance as long as big money rules politics. The implication of this is that the House of Representatives be replaced by a Representative House chosen by lottery. Then Tom Delay, Denny Hastert, will be a thing of the past. And folks, like you and me, "reluctant leaders" will take over, a definite improvement.

Posted by: Jeff | December 20, 2005 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with "rkb" about the finding the "candidate that can win" issue. We're making the Senator's religion an issue, but it doesn't have to be. Feingold is a perfect example of someone who is a Jew in his house, but an American on the street. Reform Jewish values are embodied in every position that Senator Feingold takes, but he does not preech about his religion like a Joe Lieberman for example, and frankly, that's refreshing. Feingold won't win the Eveangelical Christian vote, but no Democrat will. Feingold would win a new block of voters, the moderates that want a charismatic, honest, principled, intelligent, courageous candidate who has real ideas to solve problems in this country. Feingold is unlike anyone who has run for President recently. He cares more about what is right than the politically wise decision. He is the exact opposite of the type of politician that has alienated the electorate and made our election day turnout miniscule compared to Iraq's. Stop being self-loathing Jews and have the courage to give Feingold a chance -- he deserves it.

Posted by: Political Mind | December 20, 2005 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"people who vote take voting very seriously and are looking for GOOD candidates with GOOD ideas about domestic and foreign, social and economic policy."

Seriously? Are you being sarcastic? Wishful thinking my friend. Hey, I like the sentiment, but that's all it is. People don't give a squat about policy, let alone take it seriously ... half the voters are keyed up about gay marriage, abortion, and whether they get to buy an uzi.

What if the party wanted to run an Arab-Amerian with GOOD ideas? No shot, and that's not "ridiculous," that's the truth. Accuse me if I care about who "can" win, I guess you'd preferr it we run the Arab-American with a great "policy platform" and let Jeb saunter into the Oval office. Sweet.

But, I agree, it gets old, so those who are interested should talk about "policy platforms." Why don't you start RBK.

Posted by: Mar-tay | December 20, 2005 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I am SO tired of hearing about the fact that people won't vote for a woman or a Jew or x,y,z. Sure, there are those who will have a knee-jerk, negative response to HRC or to Russ or to Obama or Condi because of sex/religion/race, but I think that people who vote take voting very seriously and are looking for GOOD candidates with GOOD ideas about domestic and foreign, social and economic policy.

I wish that Democratic voters would stop being so concerned about "who can win" and start talking seriously about who's got the innovative and interesting policy ideas. And not just about Iraq. In 2004 Dems wrote off interesting candidates with interesting platforms, like Dean and Gephardt, and rallied behind Kerry because "he could win." And look what happened. He was a terrible candidate. And many people I know who think Bush is a total disaster voted for him anyway because they thought Kerry was a totally vacant candidate.

So could we please stop playing this ridiculous sex/religion/race elimination game and start having a serious discourse about candidates' policy platforms? I would happily vote for a divorced, childless, Muslim, black, unionist, woman if she had good ideas and a dedication to bipartisan leadership. And you know what? I bet a lot of others would too.

Posted by: rkb | December 20, 2005 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Feingold's a good man, no doubt. But how does he raise the money. No one has demagogued the issue of campaign funding more than Russ. Yeah, he could try the DFA small-donor route but there's a big difference between feingold and dean, namely that Dean was much more exciting. People were willing to starve their families for Dean. Feingold's great but is he capable of stirring that kind of passion in small donors?

Posted by: Lake_Michigan | December 20, 2005 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the fact that this easterner attended college in the Badger state has something to do with it, but I am extremely proud of Senator Feingold. I wish he represented New York. I would trade him for Hillary or Chuck Schumer any day.

Maybe a Jewish man is not supposed to have a chance at the presidency. But if this nation always behaved the way the pundits said, JFK would never have been elected. Weren't Catholics at one time thought to be unelectable?

And don't get me wrong, I NEVER base my votes or attitudes based on religion. Believe me, there are Jewish people in this administration that are a total embarrassment.

But if a candidate has what it takes, I will be damned if I will allow anything else to be a barrier. There are so few candidates with vision and integrity. When we find one, we need to rally behind that person.

Posted by: scootmandubious | December 20, 2005 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats can not run a Woman or a Jew. They will lose. Is it politically incorrect to say "Jew," because I only have positive biases towards Jews, but feel ashamed saying ... Jew.

Anyway, the reality is that this is not 1955, this is 2005, and there's still a healthy undercurrent of anti-Semitism in this country.

And, admittedly or not, a majority of men don't want a Woman in the Oval, and a majority of woman don't want a Woman in the Oval. We're talking psychology, not politics. You don't agree? Then where's our female president? Chelsea can try in, say, 2040. Hillary can break ground by trying, but won't get farther than that.

I mean, please, Kerry was snookered by GOP whisperings of "French." Imagine the swing voters hearing "Woman" and "Jew." Democrats have plenty of misconceptions and image problems to overcome, without dealing with deep-rooted prejudices. Be Real.

Besides, there's too many democrats who have a soft place in their heart for McCain. Search your feelings Luke, you know it to be true.

Posted by: Marty | December 20, 2005 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"The smartest candidate for the Presidency since Adlai Stevenson"? That's supposed to be a plus for being elected? Have you been paying attention to US politics in recent decades?

Posted by: KCinDC | December 20, 2005 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, he can speak English. He already has a leg up on our sitting Liar in Chief.

Seriously tho, I don't have much to add from these comments other than I have a tremendous amount of respect for the guy, I think he is a great Senator, and he would make an incredible President.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | December 20, 2005 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Russ Feingold is the ideal candidate for the Democratic Party. I hear Democrats complaining all the time that it has been so long since the party nominated someone who truly stood for something. The party has this problem where it spends the primary season finding someone who is "electable" and end up wallowing in misery and criticizing their candidate after the election season. Russ Feingold is someone who has stood on principle for 13 years in the Senate. He cannot be accused of flip-flopping. He is an amazing debater and will make a fool out of any GOP candidate during the debates (excpet maybe McCain). He would be the smartest candidate for the Presidency since Adlai Stevenson (UW-Madison, Rhodes Scholar, Harvard Law). He has real progressive roots (his father was a major supporter of Robert LaFollette). I hope and pray that Democrats will stop nominating people they think are electable and start nominating someone who captures their hearts and minds. Perhaps, that kind of candidate will be the type of person that will inspire moderates to vote and put this country back on the right track.

Posted by: Political Mind | December 20, 2005 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I really like Feingold. He really impressed me during Roberts' judiciary hearings. He was polite, which goes a long way in my book. I hate teh rhetoric of both political parties. We can be civil while disagreeing and Feingold shows that.

Posted by: Don | December 20, 2005 3:39 PM | Report abuse

all the time i read these blogs, and i get more sick of seeing warner's name there, not sure why, maybe because 2% of the people on these blogs actually know anything about him....and feingold is a straight shooter but his jewishness makes him DOA...there is still the same rampant anti-semiticism that there was when Walt Disney and Henry Ford supported Hitler, not only do they blame jews for the war on christmas but for: sex, drugs, STD, violence, anti-morals, anti-ethichs, anti-old fashioned american values, pro-world government, and last but the most imporant COMMUNISM, ya know because jews thought of it and not even to mention peoples obsession with the Protocols of the elders of Zion...someone else go on for me, the same things fox news anchors shout everyday about jews and christmas sounds the same as the former President of Pakistan in 1997 blaming the jewish financier george soros for his countries great depression style market crash, a conservative president during WWII would have listened to America First the Walt Disney led isolationshist group and allowed hitler to destroy the jews....conservative republicans are the same confederate flag waving, white supremacist, pure-christian race wackos that they were in the 18 and 1960's.

Posted by: bp | December 20, 2005 3:05 PM | Report abuse

As much as Russ is a dream canidate in representing what I believe in, he does have liabilities that include his religion, his martial status and some correct but hard to defend positions.

Still as someone who has not donated or worked for a canidate since college idealism days, I would volunteer my time and donate my money to help Russ run for Pres. He is not only the best canidate, but he has the best chance of returning this country to the greatness of its ideals. (But then really Bush has so damaged this country that we may always be a shell of what we were and will never see our potential realized).

Also Russ finally gets Nadar out of the picture.

Posted by: WOW | December 20, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

the caped composer's first post is spot on, however i think feingold differentiates himself from dean because he can communicate better and doesn't say stupid things.

he'd be a good majority leader and help change the direction of the democratic party. with him throwing his hat out there right now, he's paving the way for another progressive candidate who has crossover appeal.

i think jon corzine could be that guy. say what you want about him being from jersey or wall street and not appealing to the midwest or south but his resume and personality has got an All-American appeal: former marine reservist, former ceo, former farmer, high school quarterback, captain of his college basketball basketball team. All of these qualities appeal to heartland americans.

He's very smart, an expert on finance and economics, has good homeland security and foreign policy credentials, and a great fundraiser who runs a great campaign.

Top all that off with him being a true progressive who takes political risk and stands up for his ideals and i think that adds up to a great 08 candidate.

Posted by: sam | December 20, 2005 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Scootmandubious, the sad truth is, this year is, in many ways, similar to 1955. The political climate in this country is very conservative and very religious-- specifically, Evangelical. While I wish that anyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion, race, or gender could have an equal shot at becoming President, the sad truth can be found within voting patterns and demographics. Karl Rove (or whomever his successor might be) would have all too easy a time turning out the Evangelical base to defeat a Jewish candidate. And, the largest percentage of that turnout would be in the south. I am not implying that all southerners would discriminate against a Jew, as both prejudice and acceptance are phenomena that exist on an individual-by-individual basis, and are therefore everywhere. I'm just saying that, demographically speaking, the south is the region with the greatest percentage of voters who tend to be motivated by religious (or perceived religious) agendas, which poses an obstacle for any non-Christian candidate.

And what's all this talk about Condi Rice running for President? She herself has stated on national television that she won't do it-- plus, she's too much of a moderate on social issues (e.g. abortion) to ever get the Republican nomination. Speculation of her running is merely pie-in-the-sky for armchair pundits. If Feingold gets the nomination, his opponent will not be Rice.

Elperrosato, you are wrong when you say that Feingold "can barely win his home state." While it is true that Wisconsin barely went for Kerry in the presidential race, it re-elected Feingold by a huge margin. He is held in high esteem in the Badger State (which, I should add, is a very classy state, with a noble history of progressivism and a great public education system.)

So, if Feingold gets the nomination, I'll support him 100%. But I just don't foresee him getting there . . .

Posted by: The Caped Composer | December 20, 2005 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I was impressed by Feingold on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer last night. He is articulate, good looking, and made hash of Senator Coryn's feble defense of Bush's actions.

Is he Presidential material ... we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by: Kurt | December 20, 2005 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Excellent editorial on Feingold in his home state paper. The Madison paper below has it right, except, that he doesn't just do Wisconsin proud, but America proud, as well:

http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/editorial//index.php?ntid=65645&ntpid=2

I know that Karl Rove (as well as George F. Will) is salivating at the prospect at running against Russ. Given what's currently feasible in American politics, I think VP position is a definite possibility (with Warner, not a bad idea). This gives the public time to warm up to Russ and to accept that liberals are not the caricatures that have been hashed out of the Orwellian right-wing spin machine (nice editorial in the NYTimes on that) today.

In fact, I think that E.J. Dionne had it right that on many issues liberals are downright conservative (like on issues of national service, community, and economic equity). It would be nice to see him reconstitute the good name of liberalism sooner rather than later, but I'm willing to have him slip in as number two and then win it later on, in his own right.

Posted by: Jeff | December 20, 2005 2:03 PM | Report abuse

D, I don't think you should make such a generalization based on one person's post. P.S. California dairy products are better. Just kidding ;-)

I love Wisconsin and, with the notable exception of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, have a legacy of political leaders (e.g. Sens. Feingold, LaFolette, Proxmire, Rep. Obey)in Congress to be proud of.

Posted by: Jason | December 20, 2005 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Moderate,

Hillary isn't particularly liberal. She's an opportunist with no real ideology of any kind. She's been attacking video games made for adults, she voted for the war and continues to endorse it. That's not a liberal.

Of all of the '08 Democratic candidates making any kind of noise, I would have to say that Feingold is the one candidate most likely to be able to break into the Warner vs. Hillary showdown and make it into a 3 man race. It's all a question of whether he can make that grassroots campaign finance thing work.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | December 20, 2005 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Senator Feingold is my first choice to run and one of a handful I would vigorously support with both time and money.

As for the comment (from an alleged Jew) that he could not win because he is a Jew, are you kidding me? Condi Rice, an African-American woman, is considered a front-runner for the GOP nod, but a Jewish man has no chance? Gee Caped Composer, faced between Rice and Feingold, what's a southerner to do?

What year is this? 1955?

Posted by: scootmandubious | December 20, 2005 1:35 PM | Report abuse

i can't believe i just read this, "from a state not well known for class or social graces"....precisely what's wrong with my democratic party, full of elitist coasty snobs!!!

Posted by: D | December 20, 2005 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Feingold as a legit contender? Never. The man can barely win his home state, which leads me to believe he'd bomb out in the primaries.

But here's the other factor. The secret factor with Feingold is that he treats his staff really poorly. Obsessed with the concept that all money in politics is bad, Feingold returns $1 million to the treasury every year out of his office budget. This is money taken right out of the pockets of his staffers, who are among the worst paid in the US Senate.

What is more, Feingold's insistence that he will not accept any gifts whatsoever means that he even rejects holiday gift baskets from Wisconsin's other Senator.

This leads to an office with a poor record of constituent service and a rather uncharismatic and unpopular incumbent Senator from a state not well known for class or social graces.

Hate to say it, but this man was born to run as a VEEP candidate. He would make a great balance to someone like Warner, but on his own he's got about as good a chance of winning the nomination as I do.

Cheverinsky!
EP Sato

Posted by: Elperrosato@yahoo.com | December 20, 2005 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Feingold has been my choice for the next Dem candidate since the day after Kerry lost. I'm pleasantly surprised to hear his name posited more frequently. His religion shouldn't pose too great a hurdle in states that a Dem can win, and his negatives in red states certainly trail those of HRC, the presumed heir. But hey, what do I know, I liked that moderate, Howard Dean...Jackie

Posted by: Jackie | December 20, 2005 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"MOD-ER-ATE" Say the word Chris... "Moderate".


Senator Feingold is the moderate voter's choice for President. "Hillary" is the wing-nut liberal candidate.

Senator Feingold is a moderate leader. A business oriented, white collar law and order, truth and efficiency in government, type candidate from the midwest of America.

MODERATE.

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | December 20, 2005 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Feingold's taking a stand in the Senate is terrific. I'm glad that a Democratic senator is actually stepping up and taking Bush to task. However, Feingold could turn out to be the next Howard Dean-- a candidate who appeals only to the far left, and whose image, real or imagined, will be too far outside the mainstream.

Couple that with the fact that he is Jewish (sadly, still a liability in the south and parts of the great plains states-- and I say this as a proud Jew myself,) and the fact that he's a senator (remember when he finally caved in to confirm John Ashcroft as AG?) and we don't exactly have a winner on our hands here. He should continue to be a great progressive Wisconsin senator, in the grand tradition of LaFollette, but I don't think he's destined for the Oval Office.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | December 20, 2005 12:56 PM | Report abuse

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