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View Diary: Frameshop: Feingold Now Leads Democrats [UPDATED] (462 comments)

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  •  I will probably support Feingold in 2008 BUT (none)
    I think Russ Feingold has been the best Democrat in the Senate for several years. And if 2 years from now he is a candidate for President, I will likely support him. But he does have two electablity problems. 1. Being single. Yes Reagan was Divorced. But by 1980 that was old news and his children from the 2nd marraige were adults. A lot of casual voters, especially women, look at the spouse as some kind of cipher into the person's soul. I don't think George W. would have done as comparitvely well with women if not for Laura. Women like her and the casual, not political type are inclined to say "If he thinks she's worth a damn, he can't be that bad." It is the same principle as a man going out to a bar with a wedding band on. Women are more likely to talk to him not because they are hoping to be his Mistress but because on some level they think, he must have some qood qualities. So he's worth talking to. (The adultery comes around "Last Call for Alcohol!" 2. Being Jewish There are a lot of people in this country who just think it is INSANE to not KNOW that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. And not just kooky abortion clinic bombers. Normal, slightly ignorant people. The common theme behind both of these issues is relatability. I think women have a hard time being comfortable with a man who hasn't yet found a woman who he can share his life with and lots of folks have a hard time truly deeply trusting a person whose religious faith is different from their own. Forty two people have been elected President. 41 Protestants and one Catholic. 40 married or widowed men one bachelor and one who managed to be elected as both. (Grover Cleveland, a bachelor in 1884, a married man in 1892.) But I want to reiterate that I personally will support Russ in spite of these petty considerations. I voted for Tsongas in 92 and Bradley in 2000 and felt good about it. Last time around I voted Kerry solely because he was likely to beat George Bush. I felt dirty rather soon.

    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do." Oscar Gamble, 1980.

    by Spider Stumbled on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 10:43:20 AM PST

    •  maybe we should (none)
      get him married.

      was it a millionaire who said "imagine no possessions."?/a poor little schoolboy who said "we don't need no lessons."? -- macmanus

      by BiminiCat on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 10:48:02 AM PST

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      •  I Diaried (none)
        about that a month ago. My nominee is Dana Reeves.

        "They don't think it be like it is, but it do." Oscar Gamble, 1980.

        by Spider Stumbled on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 10:59:20 AM PST

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      •  Twice divorced? (none)
        I thought Feingold was twice divorced...on top of him being Jewish, I don't want to see the type of smear campaign the GOP would run against him.  That said, I would like to see a divorced, Jewish cheesehead in the WH.      

        Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

        by AMcG826 on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 11:10:50 AM PST

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        •  Blowback (none)
          A smear campaign against Russ Feingold for being Divorced (not uncommon in this country) and being Jewish would backfire BIGTIME!

          Russ' rapid response team would turn the story around to focus on anti-semitic Republicans who have no ideas of their own and are so desparate that they have to lower themselves to the basest of attacks. The Republicans would lose all voters except their base - give me an independent voter who would vote against someone for being divorced and Jewish, and I'll give you one who wouldn't vote for McCain because he fought in Vietnam.

          Where the DEVIL is Greendale?

          by ozretiro on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 12:09:22 PM PST

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    •  yes and no (none)
      Being single will hurt Feingold. I'm not sure it will hurt him enough to hobble him. It's probably worth a point or two in the primary and in the general.

      Being Jewish has a more questionable impact. He does very well in a state that has a slightly lower jewish percentage than the nation as a whole and has goten the votes of men I knwo to be "softly" anti-semitic. Hard core anti-semites aren't going to vote for any Democrat other than a hard Dixiecrat and they're nearly extinct. I do know that "President Feingold" may sound differnet to those ears than "Senator Feingold" but, Joe Lieberman, who comes across as much more ethnically Jewish than Feingold managed to get a plurality in of US votes to be just a heartbeat away. Ultimately, I think that his Jewishness will be a net wash.

      His singleness (not divorcedness, but singleness) is a real concern and the reason I will drop Feingold if Obama gets in and would give Gore or Clark a very serious look.  

      •  Paradox (none)
        I think Lieberman didn't get the anti-Semites as fired up because he was an observant orthodox Jew with some bona fides as a cultural conservative. The new anti-semitism is most pointed when directed against "secular" Jews. I have no idea how religous Mr. Feingold is in his private life but I know he doesn't skip votes for the sabbath. And his social record is permissive. Needless to say, this helps him in my eyes but I think it is a net minus. Of course people didn't vote for Lieberman in 2000, they voted for Gore. And we all know how far Joe-mentum went on its own.

        "They don't think it be like it is, but it do." Oscar Gamble, 1980.

        by Spider Stumbled on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 11:03:06 AM PST

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        •  Feingold would be an attractive candidate... (none)
          but I have to disgree with those who say his two divorces don't matter.  They will matter to midwesterners, southerners, to women, and to many Christians and not just evangelicals.  Sorry, but they do say something about his values that will not resonate well, even with many divorcees, especially at a time when voters are fed up with politicians who don't keep their word or honor their promises.  
          •  I just don't see how (none)
            I'm a midwesterner and I don't care.  And Reagan was divorced.  I think a few Christians voted for him.  

            Maybe some Catholics may be offended.  But they weren't going to support Feingold anyway.

            •  Reaganw as divorced once.... (none)
              and many years before he ran.  But the main point is, why nominate someone who starts with a negative?  Haven't we Democrats had enough of spending an entire campaign on the defensive?  
              •  I don't see it as a negative, per se (none)
                I think saying "Sure I was divorced, and it saddens me.  I'm sure many Americans can understand how difficult divorce is.  But Americans are more interested in healthcare, national security, and the economy."  etc.  Every candidate will have negatives.   I don't think the solution is to run from them, but to figure out how to speak honestly about them.
              •  Because (none)
                Everyone has a negative. Everyone. We all have to vote for the person we think would be the best President and hope that he can beat the other guy. If you do otherwise, you compromise yourself and wind up with someone that you can't really get behind.

                "They don't think it be like it is, but it do." Oscar Gamble, 1980.

                by Spider Stumbled on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 12:07:44 PM PST

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                •  Wow, what a concept! (none)
                  Actually participating in democracy as it is meant to work rather than engagin in machiavellian gaming. I do agree that one must support the candidate who would be the most effective POTUS rather than trying to suss out mysterious, unkowable "electability". Anything else is simultaneously cynical and naive.

                  That said, all things being equal, I would prefer a candidate who is a great communicator, looks good and has a nice family for the cameras. The thing is, things aren't equal. Russ may be a bit dorky looking (though not so much as Kucinich) and now lack the wife to show the cameras, but nobody has yet shown combination of policy insight and political courage he has. Year after year after year.

              •  and who doesn't (none)
                start with a negative?

                A Senator YOU can afford
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                Masel for Senate
                1214 E. Mifflin St.
                Madison, WI 53703

                by ben masel on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 12:36:41 PM PST

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          •  Let's see,,,,, (none)
            I was born and lived as a child in the South (still have the southern gentility on occassion), I'm a female, I'm Catholic, and I live in WI, generally considered part of the Midwest, no matter the geographical location.  And I have voted for Russ every time he has run for office.  

            Russ will get my time, my money, my whole-hearted support if he runs for President.  

            "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 2100+ dead Americans. Jesus Christ, make it stop already.

            by Miss Blue on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 12:33:16 PM PST

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            •  Lest anyone forget... (none)
              the last election, marriage proved to be a significant topic during the campaign.  Whether or not you personally don't care about it isn't the issue.  The issue is: A lot of people do care. Marriage is very serious to many, and for a candidate to have failed at it twice shows, it can be argued, either very poor judgment or a casual disregard for what vows imply.  Neither one is exactly a ringing endorsement for presidential material.  Again, I don't much care if Feingold has been married eleven times, but why pick a candidate who will come out of the starting gate with a handicap.  
              •  For one thing,,,,, (4.00)
                I seem to recall GAY marriage being a topic of the last election, not marriage in general, nor divorce.

                Secondly, why pick Feingold?  Gee, I think the list of reasons is well-documented here and in other threads, and as far as handicaps, unless you plan on nominating Jesus Christ, I'm thinking we won't find a candidate without some.  Hmmm,,,forget that,,,,I'm sure Jesus Christ himself will be smeared for being single, hanging out with a group of unmarried men, and being a rabble-rouser.  Oh yeah,,let's not forget that religion thing too.

                "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 2100+ dead Americans. Jesus Christ, make it stop already.

                by Miss Blue on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 02:38:46 PM PST

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            •  You are atypical (none)
              of Wisconsinites, most born in Wisconsin and of those not born there, very few in the South.

              Of course, you are typical in being Catholic in one of the most Catholic states -- and in being in the majority of Wisconsinites, women.:-)

              So your example may have some reliability -- but it's hardly one from which to generalize.  

              The question never is how a candidate would do in his home state.  It's how he would do in the states as different from his home state as can be. . . .

              "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

              by Cream City on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 12:30:40 AM PST

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      •  leader of the Democratic Party? (none)
        If the only two choices for leader are Feingold and Kerry, then Feingold did better today.  If you thought Kerry was the leader of the Democratic Party when you woke up this morning (I didn't) you might be right in thinking he was "unseated" from that perch by Feingold in comparing their responses to Bush's speech.

        But anointing him leader of the Democratic Party?  Based on one speech in comparison to someone who couldn't make a clear political statement to save his life (or to save the lives of all the people who have been hurt by the second term actions of BushCo)?  I'm not ready to go that far, although the Feingold information I've gotten from dKos recently has made me consider him much more favorably as a presidential candidate than I would have a couple of years ago.

        I also want to echo what pHunbalanced said about singleness being the issue rather than the two divorces.  Various people on this thread keep citing prominent divorced Republicans, but NONE of them ran for office when he was single.

        Like it or not, a man who is single over fifty is an anomaly in this culture.  It fits with Feingold's maverick image, and maybe he can make that work.  But I think it has the potential to make the heartland very uneasy.

        Without making any statements directly about Russ Feingold, whom I do not know personally, or any older single men reading this, whom I do not know personally, I will say that all of the heterosexual single men over 50 that I do know have serious personal issues: aversion to compromise, fear of personal commitment, an inability to consider other people's needs as equal to his own, general antipathy toward the institution of marriage, or even more thorny psychic troubles that make them impossible to live with.  The ability to sustain a healthy adult relationship is an issue that separates the men from the boys.  Staying married is hard to do.

        You Feingold cheerleaders sound like the loving mom telling the ugly duckling child that "it's what's inside that counts."  Yeah, maybe in an ideal dream world where apparently some of us live, but that's not a way to get a date for the prom and it's not a reality-based piece of advice to give a presidential candidate.  Being short will matter.  Being Jewish will matter.  Being single will matter.  People will not be honest about the religious issue in polls because they don't want to admit their prejudices even to themselves.  I'm glad he's friends with his ex-wives and that does speak well of him in my opinion, but I'm not Joe Sixpack or Susie Soccer Mom.

        Can't we please, just this once, with everything on the line, try to find an '08 candidate who doesn't need excuses made and doesn't have unusual personal choices to be explained?  Someone who is accessible to as many people as possible right from the very first day?  Someone who comes to the starting line with no glaringly obvious impediments to political success?

        Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 02:25:24 PM PST

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        •  I disagree (none)
          I think singleness AND two divorces will be a problem with the swing voters we need, as will his faith.

          I'm sad to say it, since I married a much-divorced Jewish man.  But I'm a diehard liberal, not a swing voter.

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 08:30:15 AM PST

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    •  I tried to understand (none)
      My head is spinning after reading your post. I was wondering if I am a single Jewish man, and I spoke to you in a bar until last call, would you even start a conversation about Jesus as the Messiah? Would you vote for me as President or would you want to go out with me. I am so confused. "I think women have a hard time being comfortable with a man who hasn't yet found a woman who he can share his life with and lots of folks have a hard time truly deeply trusting a person whose religious faith is different from their own". If that is the case, at my age, I am in serious trouble. Maybe I was too busy raising children, or providing for them, or I am not attractive to women. Not speaking for Feingold, but you just scared the hell out of me.
      •  sweetheart (none)
        you're not alone.

        as a woman not remotely seeking to "share her life" or "settle down", i don't know wtf the commenter is talking about.

        but i guess if you're going to broadly paint women, what better image than a commitment seeking woman who wants to secure her life through a man.

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