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Russ Feingold: Bucking Convention All the Way to the White House?

"Cautious" is not a word that comes to mind when writing about Russ Feingold.

Sen. Russ Feingold
Feingold is tired of what he says is Democrats' softness on issues. "[W]e lost because we were perceived as unable to take the tough stands," he says. (Reuters)

The Wisconsin senator was the first member of his party to propose a timeline for withdrawing American troops from Iraq last fall, and when news broke about the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping campaign, Feingold introduced a resolution to censure the president for violating U.S. law.

Political suicide, says the Democratic political establishment. Phooey, responds Feingold.

"I've heard these pundits, they are people that are paid by Democrats, many of them were in the Clinton administration, these are paid political pundits and paid political consultants who make their living coming up [to] the Capitol and telling the Democratic leadership this is a loser," Feingold says. "It is bad advice. It is advice we got in 2002 and 2004. And we lost because we were perceived as unable to take the tough stands that are needed to change the course in the fight against terrorism."

That's Russ Feingold at his finest. An anti-politician contemplating a run for the highest political office in the country. (Read the full transcript of The Fix's interview with Feingold; watch the interview video podcast.)

For much of the past year, Feingold has traveled the country, stopping in presidential hotspots like Iowa and New Hampshire to lay the groundwork for a presidential bid. Feingold said he has picked up anecdotal evidence along the way that his views on the war and wiretapping reflect the broad sentiment within the Democratic Party's rank and file.

"There is a deep sense, especially in the base of the party, that we don't have firm principles or that if we have firm principles, we're not stating them firmly," said Feingold. "And it is amazing to hear people, almost as if they've had the same script, saying we are tired of Democrats looking weak."

That kind of anti-Washington rhetoric is already drawing comparisons between Feingold and Howard Dean, whose call for a populist uprising within the Democratic Party catapulted him from little-known former Vermont governor to icon during the 2004 presidential campaign. Dean ultimately lost the nomination fight in dramatic fashion, but the energy he created helped him win the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee in early 2005.

While he praises many of Dean's positions on issues -- against the war in Iraq, against the Patriot Act -- Feingold offers an implicit criticism of the way the former governor framed the 2004 debate.

"What people are looking for is a general approach that is not necessarily confrontational but one that shows that we are strong, that we've got bold ideas," said Feingold. "It is saying, 'Look, if we took over Congress or took over the White House we would do a better, more strategic job of fighting terrorism,' for example. So it's not just negative. It's not just raising hell."

Feingold, one could say, is Dean 2.0 -- more substance, less growling.

Feingold's political career began with his 31-vote upset victory over state Sen. Cy Bidwell (R) in 1982. In the legislature, Feingold drew attention for his fight to ban the use of bovine growth hormone. He launched a seemingly quixotic bid for the U.S. Senate in 1992. Defying conventional wisdom with the use of wacky television ads (one featured Elvis Presley offering an endorsement), Feingold won a three-way Democratic primary with 70 percent of the vote and went on to defeat two-term incumbent Bob Kasten.

In the Senate, Feingold focused on the outsized role that money was having on politics, leading him to team with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to try to expand public financing for elections. Years later -- 2002 to be exact -- the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA, for short) was enacted, a landmark piece of legislation that banned from federal campaigns so-called "soft" money, or unrestricted contributions to political parties.

In the midst of the fight over campaign finance reform, which many within his party privately opposed for fear that it would hand Republicans a massive fundraising advantage, Feingold cast several other votes that showcased his willingness to take the political road less traveled.

First came his "no" vote against the USA Patriot Act in October 2001, becoming the only senator of either party to stand against the measure. Explaining his decision, Feingold cited concerns about the law's potential impact on Americans' privacy. When the act came up for renewal late last year, Feingold sought to rally his colleagues against it. And even after the Senate won concessions from the White House on the bill's scope early this year, Feingold remained an opponent. The law was renewed, but Feingold believes his opposition was a success, saying that 400 communities in seven states have passed resolutions asking for changes in Patriot Act.

A year after the Patriot Act was first passed, Feingold was one of 23 senators to vote against the use of force against Iraq resolution; on the other side of the vote that day were a who's who of potential 2008 Democratic candidates: Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), John Kerry (Mass.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Joe Biden (Del.), Chris Dodd (Conn.), Tom Daschle (S.D.) and John Edwards (N.C.). It is this vote, more than any other he has cast in his 14 years in the Senate, that gives Feingold a foothold in the presidential race.

Little has changed since that vote. Ask Feingold about the current Democratic positioning on Iraq and the most common response is: "I don't understand." As in, "I just don't understand why Democrats are so meek about basically associating themselves with the number one issue in America, which is to find a way to end our huge military involvement in Iraq."

Feingold believes the lack of a unified position on the war will hurt Democrats at the ballot box in the fall. Party elders, he said, believed the elections in 2000, 2002 and 2004 would see glorious comebacks for Democrats, but found that each time the party was unable to convince the American public to entrust them with the country in a time of war.

A spark of optimism came last fall when 40 senators (38 of whom were Democrats) voted for a resolution expressing the need for a reassessment of the Bush Administration policy in Iraq. Feingold was intimately involved in the crafting of the language of that resolution and believed at the time it was a step in the right direction.

But in the new year, Democrats retreated back into their "foxholes," according to Feingold, cowed by Republicans who cast the minority party's dissent on Iraq as unpatriotic. Feingold dismissed the current Democratic compromise position of making 2006 a year of "significant transition" in Iraq as "milquetoast" -- an attempt by his party to "have their cake and eat it too."

Looking for an analogy to describe Democrats' positioning on Iraq, Feingold reaches back to the early 1990s when then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton began a push for universal health care, a campaign that ultimately collapsed amid attempts at compromise. "It came in with strong language but by the end there were so many compromises," recalls Feingold. "We didn't want anybody mad at us."

Feingold doesn't have that problem -- as evidenced by a recent altercation with Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (Pa.) over a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Feingold has also clashed with his own party regularly -- scrapping behind close doors with Sen. Clinton after the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and with campaign strategists during his 1998 reelection race over his refusal to allow soft-money to finance issue ads bashing his Republican opponent.

Despite those clashes, Feingold insists he is not simply a bomb-thrower but rather an experienced legislator who knows when to cut a deal. "I think it's fair to say I am one of the most experienced legislators in the United States right now," Feingold said without even a trace of sarcasm. "I know exactly when to hold them and when to fold them."

As evidence he points to McCain-Feingold -- the result, he said, of an "excruciating eight-year process of compromise." He also included last fall's Iraq timetable resolution, saying it "not was strong as I wanted but I thought it was good move in the right direction."

Questions remain about Feingold's temperament as well his personal life (he has been divorced twice), which some Democrats worry could make it difficult for the Wisconsin senator to speak to so-called "values" voters. (In the wake of Feingold's second divorce, announced in April, University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato pronounced it the "end of his presidential hopes.")

The biggest hurdle for Feingold, however, is his ability to compete financially and organizationally against fundraising titans like Clinton, Kerry and Bayh. Feingold has been extremely active on the money front of late, collecting nearly $600,000 in the first four months of this year for his Progressive Patriots Fund. Since winning reelection in 2004, Feingold has raised a solid $1.9 million for his Senate campaign committee and at the end of March had $1.1 million in the bank. Even so, he has yet to prove he can raise the $25 million-plus he will need to compete in Iowa, New Hampshire and elsewhere.

Feingold is well aware that he is not (and never will be) the frontrunner for the nomination, but he said his own political career shows that the conventional wisdom is often wrong. He will not, however, run for president solely to prove a point. "I would have to feel that I could actually win it for Democrats," said Feingold. "I sure don't want to get the nomination and not win."

It's that mix of passion and pragmatism that Feingold hopes will appeal to Democratic voters looking for a fresh-faced truth-teller come 2008. Feingold's career has been defined by his crusader nature, but it's his skills as a conciliator -- with conviction -- that may be most important for his hopes of capturing his party's nomination.

Read The Fix's past Insider Interviews with potential 2008 presidential candidates:

* Sen. George Allen (R-Va.)
* Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana)
* Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)
* Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.)
* Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa)

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 5, 2006; 7:55 AM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Eye on 2008 , Insider Interview  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Fix Podcast: Sen. Russ Feingold
Next: Gore Joins Calif. Special Election Fight

Comments

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Posted by: JaneLoan_B | September 18, 2006 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Feingold is one of those not-so-often cases where I wouldn't actually feel like I'm voting for the lesser of two evils. He's a maverick, and not in a bad compromising centrist way, but in an honest way. After eight years of Bush, this country won't drown itself again by voting in another GOP. Why not put the most liberal candidate out there?

Posted by: Feingold-Warner | September 4, 2006 10:01 PM | Report abuse

One correction, the "Put all corporate crooks behind bars" is the PR statement...but the bigger picture is that Nader is willing and able to seek the CEOs who are proven Corporate CROOKS behind bars, JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE WHO IS A PROVEN CROOK.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | June 9, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

1. End the Occupation of Iraq
2. Eliminate federal income tax for all Americans who make less than 50K...(I would adjust this...but major tax adjustment toward fair taxes, big yes)
3. A living wage of $10 per hour
4. Efficient health care for all Americans (how to implement also was offered...as taxes are the single payor...and non profits the deliverers...yes, the Nader message of get corruption and profit motive out of government at a sane and high level of smarts level of leadership with proper following and support...)
5. Put corporate CEO and others crooks BEHIND BARS!
6. End Corporate Welfare
7. 30% energy needs met with renewables by 2020
THIS WAS THE NADER/CAMEJO QUICK SUMMARY...FOR 2004...

I made minor edits, of a summary done by some paid PR people, who may have overly summarized his themes...but the essence is there, and certainly sincere support for the initial PREFERRED INDEPENDENCE of proper priorities and a discussion with the candidates themselves for fine tuning, should be done/or have happened...in the national arena...thanks to the media it did not...and more importantly, thanks to the Democrats, more accused than the Republicans, who knew the public was the priority, and the elite powermongering at an unconscionable corrupt level was their "success" (failure in my eyes, and all critics of them)...that they are there now is not a winning hand. It is a losing situation proving the public is not in charge when horror stories take office...such as Bush and Condi. Where are your taxes going? In the pockets of the rich, and the destroyers of democracy.

Are there blog audience members who would support it at the PROPER POLITICAL STAND AGAINST STATUS QUO POWERMONGERS?

The proof of the argument is growing stronger. Polls are showing high level discontent. Status quo political corruption and powermongers are NOT going to WIN.

Yay Team!

No, I would not vote for Hillary. What has she done for the Public Interest except hold up under duress and smile a lot?

Feingold has points but could have said those stronger, as he admits, well said, and that truth holds, but is not the WINNING HAND.

I demonstrated against CLINTON's bombing of Yugoslavia and DID NOT VOTE that year, the first time ever that I had not voted for a President. IF both are "evils" and one is the lesser, it is best to have a MAJORITY DECLARE THEIR INDEPENDENCE.

I told myself consciences says you have to vote for one of the two major parties, but I COULD NOT DO IT.

Clinton was not my vote, and certainly Bush and his warmongering was not. When the evidence of WHO they ARE is in front of you, you do NOT vote for them as President. The media writes as if the majority put them in office voluntarily.

We need to have the people say what they REALLY AFFIRM for a true democracy.

Do any of these blogger audience members support the platforms offered by Nader?

Since none are even bringing up the third party ticket viability...are they SUBMITTING to the RULE of the MEDIA now, in evidence, shown by the above individual comments? Who is restricting the discussion to two parties as a reality? Do the above commentators PREFER the two party restriction as REALITY without challenge? Stuck in a horrific ugly rut? Future foreseeable? Not for me. If that's all you can do with U.S. Politics, is offer two ugly parties, I will not vote. If Nader runs, I would certainly vote for him again.

To win? Majority declaring their TRUTH is it.

It is a select view commenting, but yes, the blog audience is supposed to have the FREEDOM of SPEECH and proper POLITICS for FIX level wanted.

Let's get intelligently CREATIVE.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | June 9, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Correction: There were 46 Democrats in the Senate at the time. Paul Coverdell (R-GA) had died and been replaced by Zell Miller (D-GA).

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 9, 2006 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Where was Feingold when Congress counted the 2000 electoral college votes? Ok, where was Sen. Bayh? Or Sen. Edwards? Or Sen. Kerry? At a minimum, you have to apply the same standard to all the potential presidential candidates who were in Congress then.

Then, you move on and look at the fact that Gore didn't want the electoral vote count challenged. There were 45 Democrats in the Senate at the time--Gore would've had no problem getting one to protest the count if he wanted. He probably had trouble keeping them all quiet.

Finally, you can look at 2004 when Sen. Barbara Boxer did object to the 2004 electoral college vote count, and you can go back and see the result: the Senate voted 99-1 to accept the count.

So attacking Feingold on that is really ridiculous in my estimation. QED.

Al Gore would've been in the White House had he not run one of the worst presidential campaigns in modern history, if he hadn't pulled out of Ohio a month before the election, if he'd managed to win his home state, if he'd gotten 538 more votes in Florida...need I go on?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 9, 2006 3:13 AM | Report abuse

Re-elect Gore in 08

Posted by: johnnybgood | June 6, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Russ Feingold has my vote NOW!!!!!! He is truly a man who understands that he is in Congress to represent the American people!!! He has my vote and, for the first time, a political donation to his campaign. I BELIEVE!!!!

Posted by: Marty | June 6, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

she's the perfect black stepford wive, whatever they want said...

truthful or not,


gee I know she'll say it no matter what, and back it up tooooo


oh, she's the one!

she's it!

she's got.........the ability to bs, no matter the truth...


and the darkside _needs_ that


that's why they have a paid spokesperson online saying that every day....as_if other people were agreeing with her...

.

honesty? oh yah, sure...shugah what do you want me to say...integrity? that's like in calculus right?

.

Posted by: I just love Condi... | June 6, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Likeability": King of Zouk may have picked the wrong word (above, about 5:00), but the thing is obviously real. Kennedy had it, Nixon didn't, nor did Stevenson, MacArthur, or Bob Dole. Truman could be abrasive, all right, but he appealed in 1948 a lot more than Dewey, "the little man on the wedding cake." They didn't tell jokes about a trip to the store for manure about Dewey.

"Charisma" to my mind implies more than just voter appeal; it's what says "Vote for me not because of what I say or what program I represent but because of who I am. I Know. Have faith in Me." American political history is rather thin on charisma in this sense, and a good thing too.

Posted by: Kakuzan | June 6, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Feingold has charisma. I'm a moderate who generally has an "apox on both your houses" mentality, and I find Feingold the most interesting candidate so far.

Gore has this personal quality which, I'd have to say, is the complete opposite of charisma. I don't think a word has been invented to describe Gore's personality...discharismatic? acharismatic?

Unlike an aluminum can, political fortunes cannot be endlessly recycled.

Feingold may, in fact, be the "New Clinton". Dems seeking to replicate Slick Willy's success may not get there by treating G.W. with kid gloves on terrorism/national security/domestic spying, etc.


Posted by: Independent Woman | June 6, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine a better candidate for these times than Russ Feingold. I am confident that given time to become familiar with him, people will begin to flock to his campaign. It's may be a plus that he isn't taken seriously by the mainstream, it means the attacks won't start so soon. The things that supposedly make him a loony lefty sure are playing well in the rural red county where I live.

Posted by: Sharai Pollock | June 6, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Love Feingold but he will scare the bejesus out of the locals.

Not HIS fault. Theirs. Still, the general population isn't running at the same evolutionary zip Russ Feingold is and his bravery may do him in. Bold pioneers make history but history punishes them, too.

I worry about Feingold's level of stress. His face and voice are more strident in recent months than last year this time. I would hate to see him burn out. I'd prefer to live in a time when he's imminently electable but I'm afraid that time may not be now.

Love him. We need him. But we can't ask him to shoulder all the chores. Does he have a good field team in Iowa already? My thought is he probably does.

I don't like the negative comments on Dean in the original piece. Disrespectful.

Hillary Clinton's big bank account isn't going to be enough to forestall a groundswell for Feingold in New Hampshire and Iowa. Edwards is far more electable than Clinton, and probably some others, too -- and my notion is she's underestimated Feingold as well. I don't like Evan Bayh that much on the issues, but I like his chances in Iowa better than Senator Clinton's. Could be that a bunch of Democrats finish ahead of the current media-crowned front-runner.

Posted by: The Grizzler | June 6, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Where was Feingold in 2000 when Bush was ending democacy in America? He was hiding in his cushy, ivory Washington tower along with the rest of the don't fight back democrats. If Feingold had sponsored the Congressional black caucus's resolution challenging the fraudulent vote count in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would now be in the White House and our country wouldn't now be in this terrible mess. I guess that didn't go along with Feingld's plan to ru himself. Let's also not forget that Feingold also voted for Miami mob rioter John Roberts to be chief U.S. Supreme Court judge. Feingold's efforts to now exploit Bush's ending of democracy in 2000 for his own selfish purpose is shameful. It's time to restore democracy in America and that means, Al Gore in 2008. Al Gore is the only democrat who has been right on all of the major and critical issues. He said Iraq would be a disaster 6 months before the start of the war. He's right about global warming. He was right about Bush giving away the budget surplus to his wealthy campaign contributors. He was right about Bush being for the powerful and not the people. He very correctly predcted that Bush would be the disaster that he's turned out to be. Al Gore is the only democrat at the national level who has consistently stood up to Bush the thief while the rest of the democratic cowads have hidden in their cushy, ivory Washington towers. The people were right in 2000 when they chose Al Gore. It's time to restore the will of the people in 2008.

Posted by: Gore 2008 | June 6, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

If the Dems win in 08, DEA would be a good place for Biden. He'll make sure the war against marijuana and medicinal marijuana is fought with full strength and that's a lot more important than any of this other stuff.

Posted by: mike | June 6, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"any politician that ignores moderate Americans WILL NOT be elected president."

You mean like George W. Bush??

RM, Paul Wellstone was similarly purist on banning his staff from accepting gifts. A soda from another congressional staffer would not have been a problem, however. Both also prefer(ed) to be called solely by their first names. Kerry treats his staff in a very elitist/patrician way. Clinton seems to be between those two.

Meredith: I voted for Kucinich in 2004, but what did the party leadership do to block him? I think he killed his own chances pretty effectively without help from anyone else. His campaign was embarassingly bad.

lol, KZ says Bill Clinton was a centrist Democrat. That's one to keep handy, folks! Let's not forget that Clinton campaigned heavily on universal health care in 1992. THAT is a moderate, centrist position. But I don't think KZ would tell you that.

I think B2O has a good point on marriage hypocrisy among conservatives. Don't forget Newt Gingrich is on his 3rd marriage, to a former 23 year old staffer in his office! Someone should be pressing any divorced/remarried member of Congress, or one who's had an affair or illegitimate children, if they vote for the gay marriage ban. Rep. Dan Burton has an illegitimate child. Rep. Mike Ferguson (married, 2 kids) lost his House Member pin in a Georgetown bar hitting on coeds. What kind of protection does marriage really need?? Probably pay equity, paid FMLA, universal health care and child care, and an end to domestic violence for starters.

Jeff, can you post links to the Gore speeches you reference?

I love the whole appeal of Bush being a guy people would like to have a beer with--given that he is an alcoholic and hasn't had one since 1988 or 86 when Laura threatened to stop having sex with him otherwise. That's when he found Jesus, you know. I guess the sex was better sober. ;)

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 6, 2006 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Looking for "Republicans for Feingold"? Count me in.

Posted by: Hugh O'Donnell | June 6, 2006 2:26 AM | Report abuse

On war and peace, Progressive Punch lists Feingold tied at #8, Clinton at #34, and Kerry at #44--behind Lieberman (which should tell you something about the limitations of these kinds of ratings) and dead last among Democrats.

http://www.progressivepunch.org/members.jsp?issue=W0&member=HI1&search=selectScore&chamber=Senate&zip=&x=54&y=9

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 6, 2006 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Colin, Kerry also comes out as the 24th most liberal Democrat in the Senate on Progressive Punch, behind Feingold.

A lot of this is slippery to nail down, because what's liberal or conservative is somewhat in the eye of the beholder, and what votes you rate and don't rate has a significant effect. Plus, I don't think you can rate someone's ideology just from their voting record alone. There's an awful lot that doesn't account for, like what bills they're willing to introduce or cosponsor, or what public statements they're willing to make. Senators do a lot more than just vote. Admittedly, some of the other important factors are difficult or impossible to quantify.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 6, 2006 2:11 AM | Report abuse

National Journal on Hillary CLINTON:

Group Ratings (More Info)
ADA ACLU AFS LCV ITIC NTU COC ACU NTLC CHC
2004 95 78 100 100 67 11 50 0 5 0 --
2003 95 -- 100 89 -- 21 35 10 -- -- --

National Journal Ratings (More Info)
2003 LIB -- 2003 CONS 2004 LIB -- 2004 CONS
Economic 90% -- 7% 63% -- 36%
Social 85% -- 0% 82% -- 0%
Foreign 79% -- 14% 58% -- 41%

Russ FEINGOLD:

Group Ratings (More Info)
ADA ACLU AFS LCV ITIC NTU COC ACU NTLC CHC
2004 100 89 100 100 42 22 35 8 13 0 --
2003 95 -- 100 89 -- 17 26 25 -- -- --

National Journal Ratings (More Info)
2003 LIB -- 2003 CONS 2004 LIB -- 2004 CONS
Economic 90% -- 7% 90% -- 7%
Social 79% -- 15% 67% -- 31%
Foreign 90% -- 0% 86% -- 8%

John KERRY: (lot of missed votes while he ran for Pres)

Group Ratings (More Info)
ADA ACLU AFS LCV ITIC NTU COC ACU NTLC CHC
2004 25 100 100 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 --
2003 85 -- 100 53 -- 14 0 13 -- -- --

National Journal Ratings (More Info)
2003 LIB -- 2003 CONS 2004 LIB -- 2004 CONS
Economic 93% -- 0% * -- *
Social * -- * * -- *
Foreign * -- * * -- *

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 6, 2006 2:02 AM | Report abuse

According to National Journal's 2005 composite scores from their vote ratings last year, Kerry is the 8th most liberal senator (86.7%), Feingold is 14th most liberal (85.2%), and Clinton is not in the top 15.

http://nationaljournal.com/voteratings/pdf/Fringes.pdf

MOST CONSERVATIVE:

Wayne Allard, R-Colo. 90.8
Tom Coburn, R-Okla. 90.8
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. 90.8
Jim Bunning, R-Ky. 89.2
Trent Lott, R-Miss. 88.0
Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. 87.0
Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. 86.7
George Allen, R-Va. 85.8
Robert Bennett, R-Utah 84.8
Orrin Hatch, R-Utah 84.8
Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. 84.8
Thad Cochran, R-Miss. 83.2
James Inhofe, R-Okla. 83.2
John Ensign, R-Nev. 82.3
Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. 81.8

MOST LIBERAL:

Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. 96.7
Jack Reed, D-R.I. 95.2
Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. 94.3
Paul Sarbanes, D-Md. 91.0
Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. 89.3
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa 89.2
Richard Durbin, D-Ill. 86.8
John Kerry, D-Mass. 86.7
Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. 86.3
Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. 85.8
Jon Corzine, D-N.J.* 85.7
Carl Levin, D-Mich. 85.5
Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. 85.3
Russell Feingold, D-Wis. 85.2
Mark Dayton, D-Minn. 83.5

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 6, 2006 1:56 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Feingold is the best choice for the Democratic nomination.
I read someone criticizing him because he held a fundraiser after his NO vote on the Patriot act. SO WHAT?

It is a sad fact these days that money is needed to mount a political campaign. LOADS of it. Until this country recognizes that public financing of elections is the only sure way to get honesty back in politics, it will continue to be a system which devours money at incredible rates.

as for this post:

"To RMill, I agree, Condi would be a great VP. Now we just need to find out which Republican leader is best to run in 2008. She is so fabulous and brillant. Our nation needs a diplomat like her in the next adminstration. Go Condi!!"

Swill of the most putrid kind! Does anyone remember her testimony at the 9/11 hearings? The one about the PDB titled, "Bin Laden determined to strike within the U.S." (Or similar)

Her infamous reply about how that was a "Historical Document"? That alone should have been enough to raise serious questions about her ability to do her job effectively. And when Bush not only keeps her on the job, but praises her afterward, it should have caused this entire nation to rise up in opposition to this regime.

In any nation whose population was AWAKE, it WOULD have!

Posted by: Order in the Kort | June 6, 2006 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Gore-Feingold in 2008

Posted by: big dave from queens | June 5, 2006 11:59 PM | Report abuse

To RMill, I agree, Condi would be a great VP. Now we just need to find out which Republican leader is best to run in 2008. She is so fabulous and brillant. Our nation needs a diplomat like her in the next adminstration. Go Condi!!

Posted by: Slim Girl in Pearls | June 5, 2006 11:39 PM | Report abuse

mr feingold would be:

"what friggin terrorism are you talking about fighting?"


what use is a president that pushes the same crap...


that we're in a war on "terror," when somehow...

12 frickin million joses' walk across the border and terrorize our blue collar people,

any _illegal_

could have been a friggin terrorist...


what's that about? complicity? comity?

.

Posted by: I guess my question to | June 5, 2006 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Go Russ! ON WISCONSIN!!!

Posted by: SB | June 5, 2006 8:42 PM | Report abuse

right?

because,
we all know, the rumour of a violent military power that is out to get us, that has been injected-into the American Public

through covert psy-ops...actually straight ahead propaganda...just yankin your chain a little bit...washingtonian cleverness aside..

Paul Wolfowitz, a PNAC inspired congressional agenda? a falsehood, slammed down the throats of the American public by a complicit Democratic and Republican congress....if you look at McCain, you know he was in the inside of this deal...


those beady little eyes, focused on Fallwells chubby cheeks...


yes, it was known ahead of time, you were going to "war," an opportunistic invasion to support the Arabic holders of the black gold, before this president was elected....did Gore really lose? did he? or is it an electronic illusion...voter fraud?

or did the nation?


all that aside,
would GORE have been this bad? are you fricking crazeeeeeeeeee?


would he have been positing gay marriage as the reason the country was failing?


as he tried to sneak estate tax ban through the congress?


is gay marriage just a "look over here,?" what else could it be? Does it make sense? Is there any illusion of "higher purpose," to his actions? hardly.


is he pandering to the demagoguery vote? yeparoo.......

is little Georgie Bush, creating hatred? damn right.


give it back to him, arrest him, and terminate his ability to do this again...ever, this lifetime or his descendants...


speaking of perpatrators,


do you mean the false flag perpatrators,


the CIA/HAYDEN/CHEYNEY/RUMSFELD/NEGROPONTE/NSA


you know the DOD, monied cabal that wants to have war for life so they don't have to worry about the future....


you mean the people that served alongside George H.W. Bush with the cia/mafia/bayofpigs fiasco, which became the Nixon watergate fiasco?


and how did we get into Iraq?


oh yeah, April Glaspie talking to Saddam Hussein while we let the Kurds burn in hell after Desert Storm....women, children freezing without food on the border between Iraq and Turkey after we said we'd support them if they helped us in the invasion of Iraq?


so we could gain control of a region and assist our friends


THE FRIGGIN SAUDIS AND UAE who risked their lives flying planes into the world trade center for us so we could have a rallying cry that was cool....


remember 9/11....so many died....right,


like about 1/4 of the number that died in firearms related crimes that year...


kiss my a-ss


what a load of crap.

.

and who trained Al Quaeda...the friggin CIA DID...


you gotta problem with that, them being on our friggin side?

because they are....they're the presidents boyz...they're going bass fishin this weekend...


after he damages a few qu_eers...

.


Posted by: we all need to be afraid of enemy terrorists... | June 5, 2006 7:36 PM | Report abuse

tell the truth,

it's not a gay marriage issue, this president holds hands with rich arabs and they make movies about it.....


he's not homophobic, he uses it, he su-cks off BIG money on a daily basis...


and asks Condi to hold IT for him...

he gives your children to line the wallets of his arabic brothers....as he smokes cigars in private and asks them over to his place to go bass fishin....

what's the issue then, ?


it's a caste issue.

it is a caste issue...


we are a plutocracy, an oligarchy...


we have been mislead, and given our democracy away


like good children....


when someone askes us to "do the right thing,"


like support homophobia, burn him to hell.


you can't get scrooge to work for you, you either have to take him out, or show him something to make him change.


I suggest, arresting and liquidating the properties of someone prominent.


cia/fbi/nsa/negroponte/cheyney/rumsfeld/agency/angry/destruction

(get a clue boyz)


having the United States Government attach the properties of the president or his family members and reducing them to poverty....so that they can learn how the other half live....

like these citizens:
jobs outsourced, future disposed of, shipped overseas when they're just trying to get some college money by joining the effing National Guard who everyone knows _never_ gets involved in wars...


take a few obviously corrupt congress people and make an example of them,


say, "this could happen to you,"


destruction so deep they can't recover from it.....no nest eggs, no properties exempt, seize and destroy....


reduce them to the plight of the common man....


let them go to emergency rooms for healthcare, if they can find a way to get their after thier cars have been taken and their medical abilities reduced by $30 a month when they only bring in a thousand to live on through SSI


let _them_ find out what it's like to go to a homeless shelter because their friggin jobs got outsourced, and they lost their home, their marriage and one of the kids killed themselves because they got caught up in the emotional firestorm of two parents in meltdown...


let them taste hell.


now.

.

be a real citizens, show them how to accept responsibility for their actions...


make them.

.


make the world a better place to live in..

Posted by: make the world a better place to live in.. | June 5, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Ooops, didn't sign my name.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 5, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"I really don't get the love for Al Gore. Seeing him on This Week yesterday was a great reminder for me of why I didn't support the guy in 2000. He just rubs me the wrong way. He's too slick and patrician, and way, way too wonky. Let the guy run the EPA, but don't nominate him for the Presidency. Take this test. Watch a clip of Edwards being interviewed by Stephanopolous. Then watch a clip of Gore yesterday. One of them comes across as being full of himself. See if you can figure out which."

I've already taken the test, saw both Gore and Edwards. I like Edwards and thought he was quite good on Stephanopoulos. He thoroughly dispelled the charge that he is a lightweight. If Gore doesn't run, he is my choice.

Gore, however, is the best prepared person to be president. Its been said that he much prefers governance to politics and its true. His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge on a large variety of issues, makes it almost criminal not to have him (or at least attempt to have him) as our president.

Stylistically, Gore can be off-putting to some, that's what comes from someone who is not naturally an extrovert. In small groups he is every bit as nice and decent as anyone you would like to meet.

I think the attention he's gotten for his film and that this is a major issue (which may make him seem self-important to some) obscures the facts that he made hundreds of slide presentations, on his own nickel, on global warming. Carried his own bags, stayed over in cheesy motels, because he felt the issue was that important. Self-important? I don't think so. If you want examples of folks who are self-important look at Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush. The latter may have the common touch, but has a tremendous sense of entitlement in private. You don't want to work on his staff, unless you want to constantly feed his fragile ego.

Gore has a sense of responsibility and is a very decent guy in private. He's smart and he knows it. So what? Live with it. Read his speeches on Iraq (prior to invasion), his MLK speech on constitutional protection of free speech, on media concentration. He brings a depth of understanding unparalleled among potential candidates of either political party. Good enough reason to be his supporter. Besides I love Tipper.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I am soooooo tired of the Republican-light Democratic Party. I am tired of their general lack of principles on any issue, I am tired of their endless chatter about how to win the South or Evangelicals, I am tired of their bragging about who has how much money already stashed away, and needless-to-say I am particularly tired of Hillary. I WANT THE DEMOCRATS TO SHOW SOME PRINCIPLE AND INTELLIGENCE -- exactly what we have NOT had from the current administration in the past 6 years. I don't care if it comes in the form of a twice-divorced senator from Wisconsin or a wonky (so, he can read a chart? what's wrong with that???) former VP from Tennessee. I do NOT want a president that I can comfortably chit-chat with over beers; I DO want a president who wows me with his or her subtle, down-to-earth intelligence while commanding my respect. Russ Feingold is looking pretty good right about now; Al Gore always did. How about Gore-Feingold in '08??

Posted by: mydog2 | June 5, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

For those of you that are aware of the reputation that Texas A&M has for being a very conservative university, you can just imagine what I go through everyday as a liberal person at this institution. I am sick and tired of hearing people talk about George W. Bush, as if, he is God.

In my opinion, Senator Obama is incredibly intelligent, charismatic and articulate. When Obama runs for President (he will easily win, what can I say, I am very optimistic), the senator will make the person on the other side of the aisle look like an idiot during the debates. What do you all think about Barack Obama?

Ags for Barack Obama in 2008!!!

Posted by: Ignacio Castillo | June 5, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Who is this Bobby person badmouthing Condi? I am from Alabama, her hometown and where a former classmate of hers died in that horrible church bombing. Deep inside Condi, I think she experienced a trauma which tugs at her heart when people speak so nasty like Bobby. Sounds a bit racist to me.

The people (over 100,000) of Alabama cheered Condi earlier this year when she brought British Foreign Minister to see a football game. My gals and I wore our Condi in 2008 t-shirts and people begged for bumper stickers until we handed out over 100 of them. Condi is loved in the South, and perhaps that is the real fear of the Democrats, that Condi would win if she was on the ballot in those Southern states.
Nice try, Bobby, but I think you are just jealous of the power of Condi.

Posted by: Cheryl | June 5, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Nixon the only unlikable presidential success? What pray tell is likable about Bush 41 or Bush 43: their eating of pork rinds; their adolescent humor; their locker-room antics. Hell, Truman wasn't likable and he was one of our best presidents.

Posted by: candide | June 5, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

If Feingold does have presidential aspirations, he would be aiming at 2012. Bill Clinton gradually started building a national network in the 80s.

I think it is more likely he would be considered a vice presidential candidate to a Red state Democratic Governor.

Posted by: mgm | June 5, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

there is most certainly a "likeability" factor which can't be discounted. Al Gore doesn't have it, Kerry didn't have it. Warner may have it, he governed VA for 4 years and I still don't know him. hillary doesn't have it, but bill has it. Mccain has it, Allen has it at times, Edwards might have it. don't know about Feingold yet. Nixon was the only unlikeable candidate to win in recent history.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 5, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Zouk - Stop wasting other people's time with your drivel!

Posted by: Duh! | June 5, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

zouk-- you're right about one thing Hillary will not win a single state that Kerry lost. that alone is the main reason she should not get the nom.

Posted by: rokkyrich | June 5, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Rick--"way too wonky". I guess you perfer a blubbering idiot who wou'd enjoy having a beer with

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

..Ultimately it all boils down to whether we have clean elections for the first time since 1996.

Doesn't matter who we nominate if crooked e-voting machines are used. I urge everyone to work to be sure you have verifiable technology in your own state. It's one of the most critical issue we face right now.

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"I think President Bush will handle whatever comes up".

Now that is funny.

Posted by: Maria | June 5, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- It sure will be interesting when Republicans sweep the mid-terms and then win in '08 too, despite the fact that the entire country seems to disagree with the hard-rights entire agenda. You CLEARLY know something that I don't, so I guess I better go put some money on your predictions. Thanks for the inside info!!

Posted by: Colin | June 5, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It still goes back to the money - stupid. Kerry loaned himself the money to stay in the race last time. Mr. Feingold does not have this option since he is committed to public financing of elections - let's see if this sticks when the going gets expensive. as a result - hillary will be the nominee based on this perceived centrist stance on the war (no other option if you want to be elected) and her massive fundraising abilities. but ultimately it all boils down to whether she can take FL and OH. I don't think she will crack 45% against any R. Result - Liberal ideas further decline in history and another R President.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 5, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I really don't get the love for Al Gore. Seeing him on This Week yesterday was a great reminder for me of why I didn't support the guy in 2000. He just rubs me the wrong way. He's too slick and patrician, and way, way too wonky. Let the guy run the EPA, but don't nominate him for the Presidency. Take this test. Watch a clip of Edwards being interviewed by Stephanopolous. Then watch a clip of Gore yesterday. One of them comes across as being full of himself. See if you can figure out which.

Posted by: Rick in Cincy | June 5, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

A little harsh but King, you should lay off the hyperbole.

In your opinion, what Dems consider centrist may be wacko but the world is very large, you are not their appointed spokesperson (unless I missed a vote by the UN) and the "rest of the world" is hardly enamoured with the Bush administration.

Being a centrist myself, I have some conservative and some liberal issue stances. Considering that only about 1/4 of the voters vote in primaries where the party line red meat works, it takes much more to get through a general election, when the sometimes party faithful and the independents come out in force.

McCain is not the darling of the conservative wing of the Republican party but he has plenty of appeal and if he is the nominee, the GOP voters will certainly come out. Same goes for HRC. Not the first choice of some or even many Dems, they will come out in support if she is the nominee.

It is never about who appeals to the select few die hard party folks but the middle ground that only thinks about this stuff around October every four years.

But considering we are talking about who the party faithful pick for 2008 and whether Feingold can be that candidate, I believe he is earning his stripes beyond the blogsphere legions but at this point, he has a lot to prove both on substantative policy and campaign mechanics.

Posted by: RMill | June 5, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

On an unrelated topic concerning the 2008 hopefuls... Am I the only reader who finds it PATHETIC that the Post is still obsessed with the apparently successful Clinton marriage after all these years - yet hasn't once done an investigative expose on the the FAILED MARRIAGES of the three leading candidates of the party who would SAVE OUR MARRIAGES from the maurading gays and lesbians who want to harm them?

Yes, McCain, Allen and Giuliani. All DIVORCED. Given that they're divorced, how tortured and *possibly farcical* must be their current marriages? I really don't know, because the Post hasn't submitted them to the same rigorous, unrelenting daily investigative coverage that they have blessed the Clinton marriage with. How's an enquiring mind supposed to know about the marriages of these Holy Marriage Saviors if we never see anything on them?

Just scandalous, if you ask me. Am I alone on this?

Posted by: B2O | June 5, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

king of puke-- the rest of YOUR world is what you mean. I think you'll find the pendelum has begun to shift back to the left. Bush has destroyed the right and it is now inhabited the WACKOs (religious fanatics, neo-cons trickle-down fantasizers etc.

Posted by: rokkyrich | June 5, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Drindl and Colin,

If anyone on this planet understands the anger towards the Reputricans I do - Texas is putrid in its rot brought on by the Reputricans - the seeds though were planted by the likes of Democrat Ann Richards - here the Democratic Party still runs South Texas - and the stench in unbearable

South Texas will go with a moderate centrist new party faster than anyone can imagine

Discussing electability at this point is silly - in fact after the Kerry mess discussing electability ever is stupid

I think mainstream American will vote for ideas which can solve problems and unite people - I do not care one IOTA about Russ' divorce and find it quite irrelevant.

As to Unity08 - I am sitting back and watching - they have some good people with a lot of experience in Washington in their organization -

This discussion will not get interesting until after November - then we shall see - I will bet the farm that the first real victim of November elections will be that Hillary women - she will become Hillary who? when Clark, Russ or Richardson take the platform - Kerry, Biden, and Edwards will rapidly become less than footnotes.

Personally I hope Condi runs - we can ask her if she was too stupid to identify faulty intelligence which got us into a mess of a war what makes her think she is smart enought to run the country - she is like Colin Powell - pretty on paper put ugly as 666 when the substance comes out.

raise your hand if you think South Carolina in the Republican primaries will vote Condi - Now how much are you willing to pay for the bridge?

Run COndi Run - and I mean back north of the mason dixon line - Condi's run will expose the underbelly of the Republican party - ignorant ignorant cool aide drinking incest ridden puke.

(Give me a break I am in a mood - I had dairly for lunch)

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | June 5, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

There are many good comments about Feingold here, both pro and con. I think his positives outweigh the few negatives raised here. Posturing is not necessarily a negative, although his vote for Ashcroft is still a mystery to me.

I have followed Democratic politics for 50 years, and Feingold's character and charisma seem a good mix for a majority of Democrats who fit the conservative mold, while his uncanny honesty and foresight fit into the progressive mold of the party.

I am sure that both Bill Clinton and Karl Rove are deeply concerned about a Russ Feingold candidacy surfacing anytime soon.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: GH | June 5, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

My point exactly. what is considered centrist by dems is considered Wacko by the rest of the world. Bill was a centrist Dem and stole many R ideas to get elected. the rest of the party has now wandered far from these positions. the people who got Bill elected are trying hard to get hillary and other "centrist" Dems on the ticket. but the labored front put up by hillary is just too much for most people. she will never be considered a "centrist" by the majority of the US voters, despite whatever the NYT and WaPo try to print to the contrary. the voting records are there. Feingold is even further out in left field, but the interest in him shows that the heart of the Dem brigades are beginning to see the light. they will do what the Rs did in 2000, hold thier nose and try to win, even with an imperfect candidate. The Rs are taking the other route, try to find a perfect candidate - It's not going to happen and many will be dismayed. Mc Cain has no appeal in conservative circles.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 5, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"He's not a patrician policy-wonk. He talks to people in a direct, clean prose. He doesn't give voters Washington-ese (like Gore's esoteric reference to "Dingle-Norwood" legislation in one of the debates years ago)."

Gore has gotten much better. Part of the success of An Inconvenient Truth is that Gore has mastered, at least on the issue of global warming, a way to describe complex scientific matters in layman's terms. This takes practice.

Gore's appearance on Stephanopoulos last Sunday was very solid. He might not be as talented stylistically as Barack Obama, but as for substance (experience, competence and judgment) he should be at the top of every Democrat's wishlist for presidential nominee in 2008, IMO.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 5, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- The next Democrat, other than Ben Nelson (who is essentially a moderate Republican) you consider "centrist" will be the first. Among DEMOCRATS, HRC and Schumer ARE considered centrists. Given that we're talking about whether Feingold can win the Democratic nomination, why don't you sit this conversation out if all you have to add is that "all Democrats are liberal." That's just not very interesting.

Posted by: Colin | June 5, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Feingold's success hinges on the media. Right now, Feingold is a 3-dimensional candidate in a world that's been lessened in the aftermath of 9/11...a 2-dimensional political world.

He's not a patrician policy-wonk. He talks to people in a direct, clean prose. He doesn't give voters Washington-ese (like Gore's esoteric reference to "Dingle-Norwood" legislation in one of the debates years ago).

Feingold is only "extreme" in the post-9/11 world where the Bush administration has repeatedly lied to the people and faunted the Constitution, unchecked by real opposition (and supported by the propagandists at Fox News). This is the 2-D world.

I don't think Feingold is capable of dumbing things down like "The Decider" has. So, he won't devolve from 3-D to 2-D (like, say, McCain has). But maybe...just maybe...the media and the voters will return to the "3-D" poltical world we once had.

It's starting to happen. People are starting to ask questions. We're starting to notice the Emperor has no clothes, starting to see that the great Wizard of Oz is really just a man behind a curtain (insert metaphor here), etc.

The success of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report show that people cannot be fooled forever.

Posted by: Independent Woman | June 5, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I second the thanks for the soda anecdote -- i do reallly respect Feingold. I also think it's possible he might have problems because of his name, same as Rudy Guiliani. Or Condi Rice because of her race. I was raised in the South by angry, working class Christian fundamentalists and so I'm pretty familiar with the belief system. They don't like Jews, blacks or Catholics much. And that applies to rural areas all over the country.

Why was Bill Clinton, a Democrat, able to win? Because he talked like a regular guy and didn't scare white men. Unless Dems have a candidate that white men don't feel threatened by, they can't win.

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

A "non-confrontational" War on Terror..This is why this man will never be President.

Posted by: J. Staley | June 5, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The title of this Cilizza column is "Bucking Convention All the Way to the White House?", and so for that reason, I bring up the numerous states which have activists organized to get Condi on the ballot in their state's primary for 2008.

Getting people to sign petitions, raising money for TV and radio ads, and building support in Iowa will be the way to get Condi on the ballot. Ok, she might end up being VP, but if the people who are excited about her now in the Republican party maintain that momentum, she just might win enough delegates to be nominated.

Bucking the system is also being able to stand up against the media who won't report to their readers what is going on in their nation. The Americans for Dr. Rice group made a huge splash in Nashville, major buzz with money and support, BUT the reporters from Nashville are owned by Gannet, which refused to give the Condi movement any mention. BUZZ is money, BUZZ is message, and BUZZ is momentum. So if Cilizza really wants to walk his talk, he would be including Condi on his list for 2008.

This is all testing the waters, and when Huckabee is flying to Iowa, you know he is running for president. But he is low in the polls in key states and in national polls. McCain said he is not making up his mind about 2008 until next year, and that is just as fair as Condi saying she is not running. Right now, she is busy doing the work of our nation on the international stage.

For the Democrats who don't like Condi, I say fine. Just the same as I don't like the Democrats. No matter who they put on their ticket in 2008, it will be a battle of leadership, a battle of solutions for our nation, and which political party offers the best plan for our nation. That is the debate, not the smear campaign of tossing mud. I am record of saying the Democrats offer no solutions, that is not mud, it is my opinion.

A lot will happen over the next year, and I think President Bush will handle whatever comes up. But all this talk about censure and impeachment offers nothing, and it will just drag down our nation. That is why I say the Democrats don't have a solution. Stopping the House and the Senate in order to see the Democrats try to punish President Bush over Iraq is just plain silly and a waste of time.

Posted by: Tina | June 5, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

RM, I love your soda anecdote, it has "fizz."

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 5, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Those Democrats that remain faithful to wars and the termination of constitutional protections to minorities are wearing nothing but horseblinds and are out of touch with our entire society.

It appears that their traditional decisions are based in superstition, therefore, are unable to provide progressive solutions for people who seek integrity and principle in their government. Senator Geingold represents that: principle and integrity. Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership will block him the way they did to Congressman Kucinich.

May we suggest that the progressive leadership seek for a third party to join instead of the outdated one that they have tried so hard to reach out without much to accomplish?

I see this opportunity to lay my criticism on both parties. This has been a bipartisan failure to the American people. I see no difference between them any longer, it seems to me that they both rely on praying to pass and lobby faulty laws which are desenfranchising large communities and is affecting us all with their passages: women's rights, gay, lesbian and transexual rights, immigrant rights, affirmative action, civil rights and liberties, and so on.

I see a deterioration of our Constitutional Rights and our Bill of Rights. The war has taken most of our money and people die every day; in addition, we keep spending in more hostile resources and less social programs (closure of schools, labor laws brokerage, etc.). There is not an end to this situation since the same party leaders will be in power again.

But that's the way it is, isn't it? and many of our votes will not be counted. We are trapped in the same game for two (the less of the two evils), unless Senator Feingold gets the opportunity and support he deserves from Democrat independent thinkers to change this madness or bad nightmare.

Political labeling as a result of a critism to a malfunction is unimportant when integrity and principle is in the content of the message sent by a real leader.

Posted by: Meredith | June 5, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Feingold offers the Democrats a mid-western, earthy integrity that contrasts with the pointy-headed liberalism our party normally projects to middle America. In this post-911 world, where threats are perceived as real and ever-present, we need a strong, intelligent realist to bear our standard in 2008. Feingold more than fits the bill and would give Mc Cain a run for his money. His Jewish name, however, may be his downfall. I have no doubt that West Virgina went for Bush in 2000 because of Joe Lieberman's religion and gave Bush the White House. Maybe America can finally bury that old prejudice, but, I doubt it.

Posted by: PA Dave | June 5, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Feingold would be fabulous. The fact that he is Jewish but not a neocon also gives him a redemptive quality considering what we've been put through in the last few years by the AIPAC lot. I hope he runs.

Posted by: Manfred W. | June 5, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

That's the thing FH the dems have been trying that since Clinton ran for election. Where has it gotten us? Nowhere. Russ Feingold is a Democrat so he has some liberal views (gay marriage, Iraq, patriot act etc.), but on alot of issues he is in the middle of the road because he thinks it is the right place to be (ie balanced budget, fair trade, gun control). Now I disagree with him on his stance on gun control STRONGLY, but I support him because he votes what he thinks is right. If I wanted a candidate that agreed with me on everything, I would run for president.

Posted by: Andy R | June 5, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

on the hilary and kerry versus feingold on liberal, i found thi interesting
http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=97

Posted by: college kid | June 5, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

As a former Congressional staffer, I can say that whatever you think of Feingold's positions on policy, you can never question his committment to his principles. We all know that the Senator is a strong proponent of campaign finance reform, but he takes his committment to new highs, banning his staff from accepting gifts from anyone. That is no gifts. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I once offered a staffer a soda and she declined saying that they are not allowed to accept anything from anyone even though we were in a Congressional office building and I was a fellow Congressional staffer. At the time I thought it was extreme, but with the current reports of widespread corruption on the Hill, I think it says a lot about Feingold's committment to clean government.

Posted by: RM | June 5, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

As the Texan saying goes, the only things in the middle of the road are squashed armadillos

Actually...the only thing in the middle of the road are most Americans. Even if Feingold goes Lefty during the primaries and wins...his rhetoric will get much more Centrist during the general election. Bill Clinton learned this lesson, and any politician that ignores moderate Americans WILL NOT be elected president.

Posted by: FH | June 5, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

If Fiengold were the nominee I'd re-join the party.

Unfortunately Pelosi, Reid, Clinton, and Dean are allll loser dinasaurs... The reason I quit the Dem's.. but they THINK they're the "leaders"...

Go Russ!

Posted by: EX Democrat | June 5, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Finnnnnnnalllly, Feingold!!!! Yessss! To me, he is much more like Gene McCarthy, than Howard Dean in that he is soft spoken AND strong. He had the anatomy to take unpopular stands because they were the right thing to do, instead of doing the safe political posing that others with Presidential hopes do. He is the only candidate I could support in good conscience. Go, Russ.

Posted by: Kathleen | June 5, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

If anyone is interested in reading what a Feingold nomination acceptance speech might sound like, click on the link below.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com/2006/04/my-liberal-fantasy-russ-feingolds-2008.html

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | June 5, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

hillary and Schumer are centrist? when did you go back on the pipe? I suppose most Dems are centrist according to you and all Repubs are far right wing. get real.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 5, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Sandwich Repairman -- According to the most recent progressive punch scores, Feingold was the 19th most liberal Democrat in the Senate, which makes him right in the middle of the caucus. For comparisons sake, Hillary was the 10th most liberal and Schumer was the 15th most liberal, even though both are seen as centrisits.

http://www.progressivepunch.org/members.jsp?chamber=Senate&party=D&x=37&y=11

Posted by: Colin | June 5, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Just one word - McCain-Feingold. reason enough to shun both those power hungry clowns. should have been called "guaranteed reelection bill". there is nothing principled here. Why is it I should be banned from political speech 30 days before the election, just when someone with an open mind might be listening? I will not forgive for this.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 5, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

If you're a democrat who listens for even one second to anything said by a Republican about the electability of your candidate, you are a fool.

It's like listening to Osama Bin Laden's advice about world peace.

Republicans aren't interested in Democrats getting elected.

Unity 08' is a crock, a transparent attempt to tempt Democrats into passing on a crushing victory that they have the strategic environment to take for themselves. It's probably financed by Richard Mellon-Sciafe.

Posted by: glasnost | June 5, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Senator Russ has the character of conviction...the conviction that there is everyday people behind his positions. Here is a Democrat who has clearly branded himself by being, among other things, an independent thinker, which is the quintessencial quality of the American leader, and who is at the opposite end of a wishy-washy, middle-of-the-road, bland, poll-driven, politician. As the Texan saying goes, the only things in the middle of the road are squashed armadillos...I sincerely hope he goes the distance in the next presidential race, if anything, he will keep the Democrats true to their base.

Posted by: Enrique N. Vega | June 5, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Colin is mostly right--the only thing I disagree with is that Feingold won't be able to raise the money in the primaries. I think he may be able to, because unless Gore runs (unlikely), many of the liberal donors will give to Feingold, and he's doing very well in the blogosphere polling, and they're a financial boon to Democrats. But, I think his stance on gay marriage will wind up hurting him among black and latino voters, so Feingold
against Allen would wind up looking like Bush against Kerry.

I also agree that Feingold would wind up doing better to emphasize his libertarian/maverick stands, but would wind up playing more on his doctrine liberal stands, but he's unlikely to play the game.

Posted by: college kid | June 5, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse


Bush fails to offer leadership, so instead he uses the Rose Garden to rally up his gay-hating base on legislation he knows will not pass. Here is your "political warfare" designed to drag out the die-hard wackos. And you whine about Feingold and Conyers? You should be very afraid of investigations because your party has much to answer for and it's not going away.

And meanwhile, Bush happily sends more 18 year-olds and national guardsmen off to get maimed and killed. Bush deserves every attack he gets and it is pathetic that you can't get past your partisan blindness to see the damage done. Tell me what the Republicans are offering as a party these days? Fake battles with straw-man issues or bills to protect the flag? Unwavering support for a "festering" incompetent in the White House?

I would take Feingold in a heartbeat over any one of them, including the lying Ms. Rice.

Posted by: maria | June 5, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Condi Rice is not a politician. I believe her when she says she will not run. She has 0 chance if she did run. All she could ever be is an apologist for the current bunch of incompetants. tina go back to sleep

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Feingold appears to be such a decent man, I don't think he has a chance. From everything I've read, he actuially listens to the voters, would ban guest worker visa's and curtail outsoucring, using high taxes as a disencentive for companies doing it. So, he is my kind of candidate. There are a few others like him, too - Oregon's Ron Wyden comes to mind - but people like this are all too rare.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | June 5, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"I agree with those who comment here that Dems should stop trying to chase 'values voters' "

Hmm. I don't. Most of the people I've seen who are pushing values voters are actual priests, ministers, and lay clergy - how can they be "pushing values"?

They are values voters. They are Dems. Just because neocons think they're values voters but stand against everything Jesus stood for doesn't make their opposition any less qualified to speak.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 5, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I've met Senator Feingold, and been in groups that wanted to hear him, and it seemed to me that many of his fans have been in fact the Deaniacs that the red commie neocons like to portray as ultra-liberal.

- aside: how can people who talk about fiscal discipline, balanced budgets, trade imbalances, and the like be ultra-liberal? i mean seriously? -

So it seems to me that looking at people as if they were "one group" when in fact the two "separate" groups have a high degree of overlap, is not a good way to view it.

That said, the current quagmire in Iraq is a total insane disaster, and the sooner we pull the plug on this nutso neocon notion, the better.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 5, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Russ Feingold is the only Democrat I can vote for at the present time - I am not happy with my two Senators Schumer and Clinton and my feelings about Sen Lieberman who is a Republican as far as I can see (vote Lamont) is unprintable. I am absolutely fed up with the Democratic hierarchy - Harry Truman said it a long time ago that Democrats who want to be Republican Lite will get what they wish for. We liberal Democrats want somebody like Sen Feingold who speaks his mind and represents us. Let's try to raise the funds for Feingold!

Posted by: Margaret Sullivan | June 5, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Tina

I don't think GWBush needs Russ Feingold's help to "drag him down." How much lower can he go? Sorry, just struck me funny.

I think Condi Rice is a top VP candidate, along with some others (Liz Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchinson), especially if HRC runs. There is definately a growing buzz. However, it will be difficult for her to seperate herself from the Bush administration and whomever wins the GOP nomination will likely be running on a "new agenda".

As far as Unity 2008, for it to work would take established party members to defect. Like I stated in the thread regarding Unity'08, I was surprised the McCain-Feingold ticket did not get discussed.

In theory, were both these men as principled and idealistic as both or often portrayed, this would definately pose real problems for the establishment parties.

Posted by: RMill | June 5, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Virginia republican states 'please elect Feingold'. I'd like to remind republicans that that is exactly what dems were saying about Reagan in '80. This just may be time for as dramitic a shift as then as repubs have proven more inept than Carters' dems were then

Posted by: rokkyrich | June 5, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Virginia republican states 'please elect Feingold'. I'd like to remind republicans that that is exactly what dems were saying about Reagan in '80. This just may be time for as dramitic a shift as then as repubs have proven more inept than Carters' dems were then

Posted by: rokkyrich | June 5, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

We had troops on the ground in Vietnam and they had an election and transition of power.

I agree that the Bush administration has shown great disdain towards the Constitution and the law, but this is quite a stretch.

You would have a howling mad US Congress. Look what happened when an FBI raid takes place on a Democratic member of the House who is the centrpiece of the GOP scandal counterattack.

Posted by: RMill | June 5, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

tina, Were you one of those people at t he convention in texas? The one where 'East Texas evangelist Rick Scarborough exhorted Christians at a "values rally" to get involved in elections: "We must do more than pray. We also must put sweat to our tears."Delegates sought him out, taking snapshots and having him sign his book Liberalism Kills Kids.'

The republicans have no agenda--just attacking democrats and robbing the treasury. 'Liberalism' is a code word for 'Democrats' --so what he's saying is 'Democrats kill kids'. What a joke.

Last time I looked it was Republicans sending american kids into a war that was arranged by oil companies. You don't see the solutions Democrats are offering because you're too brainwashed.

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

There is not a Unity 08 campaign, it will be a group of has-beens trying to drag down the Democrats and the Republicans instead of presenting the best leadership for our nation. Colin Powell is a Republican and so is McCain, so who else do they think could unify the nation?

Speaking of Condi, the group promoting her for president was at the Texas Convention over the weekend and hundreds of delegates collected data and spoke with them at their booth. In state polls, when she is listed along with other Republicans, she comes out on top or tied with Rudy and McCain.

The party activists are gathering in support of Condi on the 2008 ticket. She would be a good president or VP, and with her 55% job approval rating, she will unite the Republican party.

Regarding Feingold, his censure is just pay back, totally political warfar to drag down the President. Feingold fails to offer leadership, so instead, he offers no solutions.

Feingold reminds me of the impeachment issue promoted on John Conyers website. Tim Russert pushed Nancy Pelosi into the corner on Meet the Press about investigations after investigations from the Democrats if they get their grubby hands on Congress to control it. Again, no solutions, just payback and gridlock.

The Democrats have to attack the President in order to win, instead of offering real solutions. Again, their anger at lossing more power since 2000 has festered with less power in 2002 and less power in 2004.

Until the Democrats figure out who they are as a party and what they offer our nation as a party, they will be stuck in minority status. That is what I see and so far, nothing else is being presented to show me otherwise.

Posted by: Tina | June 5, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm another resident of madsion, WI where they go crazy for this guy. So it will be hard for me to say that though i like the guy and love his views on basically everything, except maybe gun control, I'm still leaning towards Biden. Biden also is a senator with positions and would do a far better job than hillary or many of the other nominees. I do think Biden is more electable because though people are starting to distrust Bush more and more, people's views are still moving more and more right. So yes, i think the wacky liberal is not as electable as somebody like joe biden. But if Feingold does get the nomination, its gonna be fun in Madison.

Posted by: randy | June 5, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Do you think social conservatives (i.e., "values voters") have never gotten a divorce before or don't at least have a friend who's gotten a divorce?

Take this little gem, top ten states with highest divorce rates: Nevada (clearly), Arksansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming, Indiana, Alabama, Idaho, New Mexico, and Florida.

http://www.divorcereform.org/94staterates.html

Besides, it's not like John Kerry's divorce (or subsequent gold-digging) kept him from getting the nomination and coming damn-close to a win.

Find something else to try to pigeon-hole Sen. Feingold. This isn't it.

Posted by: John Hamilton | June 5, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone cite an example for this idea that Feingold is not as liberal as Kerry or CLINTON??? Feingold voted no on the Patriot Act and the Iraq war resolution, Kerry and Clinton voted for both. Feingold has been a leader on campaign finance reform, on abolishing the death penalty, on blocking congressional pay raises...

If you're going to claim Feingold isn't liberal, I'd like to see some examples rather than rhetoric.

Dan: The Vice-President's term expires at the end of 4 years just like the President. There's no reason why they'd be treated any differently. What would more likely happen is that the Speaker of the House would become president, which would force him to give up his/her House seat.

I do think the martial law claim is too out there to be credible, but on the other hand this president/administration have proven their lack of qualms about violating laws.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 5, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

NE,
Your right that Warner does come off very well and he will benefit in my eyes everytime that Feingold speaks. Everyone says that the Dems are looking for the Anti-Hillary candidate. The thing is that Feingold will be the anti-Hillary candidate. Warner can then swoop in as the Not either of those guys candidate.

Posted by: Andy R | June 5, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Dan W, A lot of people might say that we are having a constitutional crisis moment right now. The American Bar Association, for instance, which is commencing hearings on whether bush is breaking the law with his signing statements. There's also the little matter of his contempt for the Fourth Amendment. What makes you believe that bush and his cronies think they are bound by the law? bush thinks he's on a mssion from god.

I think they are capable of anything and that they have no intention of surrendering power--ever. And what is anyone going to do to stop them, call out the military? It's a story as old has history, and nobody should be naive enough to think it can't happen here.

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter: The posts would go to people the President elect feels are qualified, then confirmed by the senate.

A Unity Pres would be able to choose a Rep/Dem/Unr to fill each post. Do you really think a Condi would refuse Sec of State just because a Rep isn't the Pres. OK, you hate Condi, so bad example. Would Clark turn down Sec of Def from a Unity08 pres?

Posted by: Dan W | June 5, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Andy R failed to mention the speaker who followed Feingold on C-SPAN; Mark Warner.

He made a lot of sense without having to attack the opposition.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 5, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

While there are times when I listen to Feingold and hear greatness, he never fails to toss a curve ball into his rhetoric thus destroying a great speech. It is almost as if he can't help himself. While he walks down the middle of the party line, he never fails to defeat himself by making at least one hair-brained comment. Yup, shades of "The Howard"-neither one is safe from a small but potent force-themselves.

The Democratic Candidate needs to be an "America person, first." Being about themselves should run a distant second. Feingold may be a smart guy from Wisconsin, but he is not the right guy for either the Party or the nation.

Posted by: onepilotsword | June 5, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Bobby W-C: If Unity08 succeeds, where will they find the experienced skilled people it takes to fill the jobs which get the real work of government done? Each of the major parties has a cadre of those people who are able to transition not only the power but the ability to implement each time there is a turnover to the opposition.

Leaders elected without the skilled supporting cast would be a disaster waiting to happen, as all of their appointee/senior managers are on the learning curve of what their jobs are, all at the same time.

It takes people who know the machinery of government to run it, as well as somebody at the top to provide the direction.

Unity08 sounds nice in theory, but you have to be able, and ready, to govern if elected.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 5, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Driindl: "We can make all the predictions we want for 2008, but here is the most likely scenario:

The US invades Iran, we get hit by a wave of terrorist attacks, bush invokes marshal law, no elections."

The Constitution makes no allowance for the failure to hold elections. At the expiration of 4 years, the President ceases to be the President.

This would probably be considered a Constitutional Crisis and my take on the Constitution is that the VP would serve as acting President until such time as a new President is elected.

Posted by: Dan W | June 5, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If Huckabee makes the list for Republicans (Friday Line) then Feingold should definately be on it. I still don;t think there is much chance he will make it through the primary season to win the nomination but at this point, he has earned a TOP 5 spot.

PRIMARY PRIMER:
Tuesday June 6 Primaries
Alabama
Riley* vs. Moore (R) Gov
Survey USA 5-25 Riley up 64% - 33%
Baxley vs. Siegelman (D) Gov
Survey USA 5-25 tied 43% - 43%

California
Special Election CA 50
Busby (D)vs Bilbray (R)
Survey USA June 2
Bilbray up 47% - 45%

Primary
Angeledies v. Westly (D) Gov
Survey USA June 2 Angeledies up 41% - 37% (tightened considerably since May 25 when Angeledies was up 44% - 32%)

Iowa
Culver v. Bluin v. Fallon(D) Gov
Des Moines Register June 4
Culver 36% Blouin 28% Fallon 21%

Research 2000 May 22-24
Culver (D) leads Nussle 49% - 41%
Nussle (R) leads both other Dems Blouin and Fallon 42% - 39% and 46% - 35% respectively.

IA-1
Braley v. Dickinson (D)
Dix v. Kennedy v. Whalen (R) US House

IA-2
Leach* v. Loebsack (R) US House

Mississippi
no contested competitive races

Montana
Morrison v. Tester (D) US Sen
Mason Dixon 5-28
Morrison 42% Tester 41%
Burns* v. Keenan (R) US Sen
Mason Dixon 5-28
Burns 66% Keenan 18%
Burns not likely to lose primary but the protest vote will be an interesting thing to watch

New Jersey
no contested competitive races

New Mexico
no contested competitive races

South Dakota
no contested competitive races

Posted by: RMill | June 5, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I should have said Anti-This War for Gore. That's the more important one to most Americans for a myriad of reasons.
Can't beat Gore's resume, his position was right on Iraq and it's undisputed that he won the popular vote in 04. Most people wish he got the nod in FL/the Supremes and 08 is a chance to "re-elect" him.

Posted by: Steve Mac | June 5, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Bobby, I hardly think I myself am responsible for all the problems in this country. Flattering, but you give me too much credit.

I apologize, sincerely, for calling you a republican. I understand what a rank insult that is. And you are indeed right that the country is bitter and partisan. But do you honestly think that the national mood is for reconciliation? I just don't see it.

Sure, I'm angry. Why wouldn't I be? Democrats have been relentlessly attacked for years--and I'm sorry, but I believe elections have been stolen from us. I mean, Republicans control the frigging voting machines, don't they?

But even if I wanted to 'reconcile? How could I, when the attacks on us are only escalating? Did you know that the GOP party platform in Texas declares that 'America is a Christian nation'? What do you think that portends for those of us who are say, Jewish or Hindu, or god forbid, Muslim? Where is the reconciliatory impulse in republicans?

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Bobby W -- I for one certainly don't think you're a republican and am sympathetic to your view that the country really does need someone that can bring it together. However, I question your conclusion that Feingold is incapable of doing that.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure I do not personally think that Feingold can get elected. Unfortunately I doubt he'll be able to raise the amount of money necessary to compete in the primaries and I do think that his divorce baggage will end up being a significant liability, whether it should be or not. But I don't doubt for a second that this guy could bring republicans and democrats together if he actually was elected.

First, Feingold really is not as liberal as people think he is. If you look at his progressive punch score, Hillary and Kerry are both far more liberal than he is despite their perceived moves to the center. Moreover, the issues that he's staked out high-profile stances on aren't truly ideological either. Being a strong supporter of civil liberties and against unjustified war are issues that truly do cut across the political spectrum. If he had enough money to make this point, I imagine the guy could ultimately appeal to the libertarian sect of the Republican party and Perot independents.

Secondly, the guy really has worked across the isle to get legislation passed. That's certainly more than Kerry has ever done during his term in the Senate and a sign - I believe - that if he actually were elected he would be able to govern.

Finally, as another poster noted Feingold has won elections by getting real folks in rural Wisconsin to vote for him despite disagreeing with him on atlesat a minority of issues. As the party that nominated a robot like Kerry last time, the idea of putting someone on the ticket that is actually able to connect with folks who have manufacturing jobs, are farmers, etc. would certainly be a plus if the goal is to unite the country.

Posted by: Colin | June 5, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

That's fine Jeff, but you can't call Gore anti-war when he supported the Persian Gulf War, which I opposed then as I do now.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 5, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Gore is not anti-war. He voted for and was a leader in getting other Democrats to vote for the Persian Gulf War in 1991."

And he was right both times. Sometimes war is justified. The trick of it is to realize when as a last resort it is necessary. Sometimes aggression and national interest make intervention necessary. Being proactive with soft power (diplomacy and foreign aid) makes it less likely things will come to a boil, but does not mean that war can be eliminated altogether.

I distrust more folks who cannot make this distinction then those who are either reflexively belligerent or reflexively passive. Being reflective, not reflexive seems to me the key to presidential leadership. A president needs all the tools-- soft and hard at his disposal to promote world peace and progress. Sometimes war is a necessary evil.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 5, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Drindl - your comments directed at me are why we cannot solve any problems in this country.

The fact I point out a negative about Russ does not make me a Republican - It is inconceivable to me that any regular, like yourself, who has read my postings can call me a Republican.

But it easier to name call than to address the issue - does Russ' approach comport with the mood of the country of reconciliation and ending the bitter battle of words between the two parties?

Assuming my premise is correct about the mood of the country, how does your response address my point - it does not it just name calls - hence no honest and frank discussion and no solutions -

you are the epitomy of how Washington has failed to work towards the resolution of any problems.

Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Dude, I worked in the Senate for 3+ years, and there's no way Kerry is as liberal as Feingold. Nor do I think McCain is such a progressive darling pandering to the wacko/extremist base of the Republican Party like speaking at Jerry Falwell's university.

My pleasure. :) If Drindl's scenario is right, Canadian politics are going to become much more important to us--better start learning now!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 5, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

SR, thanks for the Canadia update.

The one thing I have to say to all the republicans out there is be careful what you wish for. Feingold would crush Frist, Allen, and Huckabee (much better speaker and more to the middle then all three of those guys). He would do well against Romney because of his strength in the midwest. McCain would beat him because of his strength in the progressive community, and his military experience.
I personally feel that Feingold could win the general election because he couldn't be painted as a flip-flopper. Kerry is just as liberal but has nowhere near the princples. Kerry lost simply because of that reason.

Posted by: Andy R | June 5, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

We can make all the predictions we want for 2008, but here is the most likely scenario:

The US invades Iran, we get hit by a wave of terrorist attacks, bush invokes marshal law, no elections.

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Gore is not anti-war. He voted for and was a leader in getting other Democrats to vote for the Persian Gulf War in 1991. He's a Johnny come lately to peace.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 5, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Feingold has shown contempt for the Executive Branch by voting for abominable nominees like John Ashcroft. Right.

Scott has hit an important nail on the head. How do you think Paul Wellstone got elected statewide twice (and was on the way to a 3rd)? The majority of Minnesotans are not as liberal as Wellstone by a longshot--maybe 30% max. Wellstone won because of his integrity and authenticity. The bottom line is that people trusted him and knew that he did what he did because he thought it was right, not for political expediency. In fact, he cast a lot of votes that he knew would hurt him politically--as does Feingold. I can't understand why the Democratic pundits, after so many years, still haven't gotten this. People don't demand someone they agree with on all the issues; they want someone who's genuine. Look at all the potential Democratic candidates for 2008 through that lens, and Feingold stands far and away above the others.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 5, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The more I read, the more I like Al Gore, again. I had no interest in him in 2004--past loser, move on. Now, he's the only consistent solid anti war guy other than Russ. W/Bush angst so high, I think conventional wisdom could swing to "we really should have gone w/ this guy in the first place". Global warming lead also helps.

Posted by: Steve Mac | June 5, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Next Tuesday, Nova Scotians go to the polls in a provincial election to vote for their legislature and premier. Nova Scotia has more people than AK, DE, MT, ND, SD, VT, or WY. And is much closer to Washington than CA.

http://www.cbc.ca/nsvotes2006

The NDP has 29 per cent of decided voters, according to a Corporate Research Associates survey released in March. The Progressive Conservatives lead with 36 per cent, while the Liberals trail the New Democrats slightly at 27 per cent.

http://www.nodice.ca/elections/novascotia

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 5, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The more I hear from him, the more I like him. Feingold is a *much* better option than Hillary Rodham Clinton's "back to the future," say anything route.

I too hope the Dean comparisons stop, and that Feingold doesn't try to get the "values voters."

Posted by: Jayelle | June 5, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

As far as I am concerned, Russ Feingold is the only real hope not just for the Democratic party but the nation. The Democratic Party as now constituted stands for nothing. Without Senate Democrats, the bankruptcy bill and no-help medicare prescription drug would not have passed. According to today's news, Senate Democrats will help to kill the estate tax, making the rich richer and the rest of us poorer. Front-runner Hillary demonstrated her leadership with her ridiculous health reform fiasco.

Posted by: Sidney | June 5, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The real "values voters" are the ones who value values like honesty and consistency. We want leaders, not politicians. It's ok if we don't always agree with them, because we know they are taking a principled stand. Russ Feingold is the closest thing to a true statesman to come along in many years, which is precisely what may doom his presidential campaign. However, to those who say he can't win, I invite you to talk to those who said he couldn't win in 1992, against 2 better-known and better-financed primary opponents, and a popular encumbent Senator in the general election. Another "seemingly quixotic" campaign?

Posted by: Scott values values | June 5, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

'Only in Washington can the consummate insider claim to be an outsider' -- you mean like bush, that 'authentic, down-to-earth Texas guy' who grew up in Connecticut and attended private academies?

Only a republican could be hypocritical enough to call Feingold inauthentic. He may well be too contrarian, however.

As far as, 'when it comes to effectively running the intelligence and security operations that protect my family and community and nation' are you implying that this administration 'effectively' does ANYTHING? I mean, you're joking, right?

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Those who think Feingold cannot win, should remember those oh so "electable" nominees--Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry. People are much more likeliy to listen to a candidate who actually is clear about what they stand for. Feingold's position on the war either is or is soon becoming the clear majority opinion in this county. If anyone has a problem with electability, it is those who appear wishy-washy on the war. If you want to win, you need to give people a reason to vote that is other than "s/he is not a Republican.
Feingold is not Howard Dean. He is much more articulate and nuanced--it is impossible to imagine him ever engaging in a "scream."

Posted by: Max Stirner | June 5, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

the thing i like about russ feingold is he is his own man. he won't tip toe around the issue. this guy stood up and wanted to censure the president. when he didn't have the backing from his own party he still went to floor and gave a compelling speach about why censure was nessesary. this is a man of high moral charactor and honesty. he is the man to put the backbone back in the democratic party.
president--feingold
vice-- clark
secretary of state--biden

Posted by: tylerdrew | June 5, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Only in Washington can the consummate insider claim to be an outsider - once you have drank from the well you cannot go back.

Being loud and pulling stunts like the censure motion a populist does not make -

Clark and Richardson are the outside the beltway populists -

Russ will die on the campaign trail like Dean - Unity08 speaks the sentiment of the American people

It is time to stop whining and to start to propose solutions.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | June 5, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Honest. Sincere. Politician. Really now. Every four years, and you guys start all over, looking for the next best thing. He is calculating, positioning, an opportunist, just like the rest of them; he sent out a fundraiser a week after his initial "principled" vote against the Patriot Act. I'm not shocked at all - I work in politics and saw him operate in the state senate - but quit it with the purist motives. He is tailoring his campaign and image as he goes.

As another resident of planet Madison, the place with the political tin ear, however, I tend to think he has overplayed his hand. At least I certainly hope so. Demanding a timeline, showing contempt for the Executive Branch he aspires to when it comes to effectively running the intelligence and security operations that protect my family and community and nation (even if 70 percent of Madison are whackos) - why the Senator's name ought to be Russ Neville Chamberlain Feingold, his slogan, "Peace In Our Time."

Posted by: jots2004 | June 5, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, people in this country have become so braindead after five years of bush and 30 years of winger media it's unlikely they would even understand what to do with a politician who tells the truth. I think Feingold just baffles most folks.

He's not a liar, nor a panderer, nor a crook. How could he ever get elected?

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I think Russ is a refreshing principled voice in politics. I think he might be useful in pushing the political spectrum beyond it's overly pragmatic and complacent stance. I don't think he has a chance in the world of winning the presidency in 2008 (even if he became the party's nominee).

We could skip our Goldwater Moment of crushing defeat, to rebuild the party by selecting Al Gore and have our (potential) crushing victory. Somehow that appeals more to the pragmatist in me, while the idealist in me always enjoys what Russ has to say.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 5, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I DREAM of Russ Feingold as the president. In the three years plus since Bush invaded Iraq, all national policy is driven by the war: economics, legislation, fear tactics, propoganda. Russ has it all. He's got the right ideas for our country, he's got the TV looks and charm, and he's not kowtowing to the DC Democrats who helped Kerry-Edwards lose. IF - and this is a big IF - this country can manage a totally transparent and honest presidential election, I think he's got a very good chance. Progressive voters, blog readers, political junkies like me are starved for a REAL candidate. I've written to Hillary Clinton and I've written to the DNC: NO MONEY UNTIL GETTING OUT OF IRAQ IS YOUR NUMBER ONE ISSUE. Lots of people think exactly that and will donate to Russ Feingold for his clear-cut stand against the invasion of Iraq. He's my choice.

Posted by: Violet from New Mexico | June 5, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how Feingold can be called an opportunist; he's cast all kinds of votes knowing they would hurt him politically. He's a rare politician of principle, and a progressive populist who has won 3 statewide elections in a Midwestern swing state. This is a guy who can hold WI, MN, and MI, get IA back, and most importantly, win OH. Especially if McCain is the Republican nominee (and he does seem to be the front runner so far), no Democrat would make a better pairing and give the country a more serious, principled, informative presidential race than Russ Feingold. In a field of lemmings, Feingold stands out clearly. He has my support unless something (like Obama running) changes.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 5, 2006 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I wish Russ Feingold was someone who could be nominated and win, but he isn't. You don't have to be a shameless game-player and lapdog to the Moneys to cross the finish line in first, but you can't go entirely the other way either. He would do better to stress his libertarianism over his more "doctrinaire liberal" stands, because it would show he's not what most people think he is (a looney leftist), but even doing that I doubt he has the will to play along with the system enough to ever seriously challenge for the nomination, much less graduate from the Electoral College.

Posted by: Staley | June 5, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I agree with those who comment here that Dems should stop trying to chase 'values voters' -- one of the sloppiest usages I have ever encountered. The only 'values' these people have are narrow-minded bigotry and an unquenchable desire to impose their primitive worldview on everyone else.

Pandering to this group only cheapens the national discourse, as this sickening and cynical pretense of a gay marriage ban, which is designed solely to damage the children of gays.

Posted by: Drindl | June 5, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Hello from the People's Republic of Madison. Russ Feingold is a principled, honest guy who has zero chance of being elected president. As a Republican, I hope he gets nominated. He will never rise above 35-39% in the polls. He makes Hillary Clinton look conservative. He sells in Wisconsin for the same reason Bill Proxmire did: he's viewed as reflecting Wisconsin values of progressivism. But two problems will stop him nationally: (1) he's way too liberal, and (2) no First Lady-- he's twice-divorced. (And don't point to Reagan -- he'd been married to Nancy for 30 years before he was elected).

Posted by: Mad-town Republican | June 5, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Opportunist is a pejorative? If you see an opportunity that might lead to something better, are you obligated not to take it? What should you do, focus groups? Follow someone else's lead so as to not expose your neck? Can you see Feingold nuancing Senate votes a la Kerry? Do you like McCain pandering to a sleazy scumbag like Falwell? Clinton stands for nothing, just like McCain. Or perhaps we should elect covert racists like Allen?

Posted by: math nerd | June 5, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

If Gore isn't forced into the race, without a doubt Feingold will be the recipient of every dollar I donate to a candidate for president in '08.

Posted by: corbett | June 5, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Feingold is an opportunist in a sea of others just like him. How is he different? The Democratic Party is desperate for an alternative to Hillary Clinton. He hasn't a prayer. Not a prayer. No play on words intended.

Posted by: Katemaclaren | June 5, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

A sincere libertarian progressive with a backbone. No-one in the Deadocratic or the Repungelical party comes close to being this authentic. Maybe Chuck Hagel. I would vote for this guy in a second.

Posted by: math nerd | June 5, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

A sincere libertarian progressive with a backbone. No-one in the Deadocratic or the Repungelical party comes close to being this authentic. Maybe Chuck Hagel. I would vote for this guy in a second.

Posted by: math nerd | June 5, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Please God, please let Feingold get the Democratic nomination for President.

The fight will be over before the first battle begins.

Posted by: A Virginia Republican | June 5, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Here's a man who actually says the things that grass roots Democrats think but don't hear from other politicians. I predict he will be a formidable contender.

Posted by: Jay Gold | June 5, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I saw a recent speach in NH (thank god for C-span) and it was the first time I had seen him speak in that type of setting. I found him to be articulate, intelligent, and sincere. Now I knew going in that I agreed with most of his views, but I wanted to see if he was the real deal. If he can catch on to the progressive movement train he can EASILY raise the the money he will need. Remember Dean raised 20+ mil and he didn't have anything like the gravitas of Feingold. Also Feingold is a better public speaker then all the others mentioned above except for Edwards.

Also the "value" voter who won't vote fro a man who has been divorced aren't gonna vote Democrat anyway so why bother with them.

Posted by: Andy R | June 5, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I *heart* Russ...and to compare him to Howard Dean makes me ill. Beyond opposing the war, the comparison between the two stops. The thing that I love about Feingold is that he has a very pronounced libertarian streak and that he does seem to cast votes based on principle, even when I don't agree with him (i.e. voting for Ashcroft for AG, Roberts for CJ, out of deference to presidential prerogative).

And for the love of God (no pun intended), will the Dems stop fishing for those "values" voters?? They're never going to win them...they need to fish in the bigger pond of single women, young people and the rest of the non-voting population that isn't voting.

Feingold gets this. If he runs, I'm behind him 100%.

Posted by: Greg-G | June 5, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Feingold is Howard Dean without the scream. Absolutely. He represents the public interest and not the special interests. Feingold stands up for the truth instead of the politics of expediency. His mealy mouthed Democratic colleagues in Washington are under the false impression that stength is something that can be "marketed" through focus groups and poll tested mush. Feingold understands that strength stems from authenticity. He gets it. Hillary Clinton does not.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | June 5, 2006 8:02 AM | Report abuse

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