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View Diary: UPDATED: The Case for Russ Feingold (282 comments)

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  •  Russ is a great senator (none)
    I agree with many of his positions, I like his passion, and even when I disagree with him I find that I respect his differing view.

    I would be thrilled if a progressive like Russ were elected President.

    But . . . . . .

    I'm having a really hard time envisioning Russ winning states or regions that neither Gore nor Kerry won.

    I think his Senate record can be twisted, distorted, and misconstrued just as much as Kerry (or any other Senator for that matter).

    I just can't imagine there are many red state voters out there who would say, "I voted for Bush twice because didn't like Gore and I didn't like Kerry; but that Feingold guy -- now there's a Democrat I can identify with.  Yeah, I'll swicth this time and vote for the Dems because they finally nominated a principled progressive.

    Enough with the hari kari.  Let's win for a change.

    •  So what you're saying is (4.00)
      that we are helpless before the big bad scary repukelican spin machine?

      So if Feingold's "Senate record can be twisted, distorted, and misconstrued just as much as Kerry (or any other Senator for that matter)" we should hand them the ball and go home? Not put forth really good candidates because someone will find a way to twist and distort their record?

      Hell, they twisted and distorted Kerry's military record.  They took Boy Scout Al Gore and made him look like a liar.  The took the biggest so-pampered-can't-wipe-his-own-ass idiot on the planet and portrayed him as some sort of "man of the people".

      Yeah, yeah, they're good at spin.  But selecting our candidates based on avoiding any possibility that they'll spin him or her negatively is a non-starter.  They can spin ANYONE.  

      Why not pick the best man or woman and build a defense around him or her so strong they can't spin?  Why not get tough (unlike Kerry) and go after their bullshit, not let it stick to our great candidates?

      I say we throw a wrench in their g.d. spin machine and select the person we think is best suited to be president, to represent us, to care for this nation.

      Let's not let the repukes' willingness to wallow in and fling slime determine who we choose to represent us.

      •  Being a senator provides different (none)
        challenges for a nominee than say, being a governor. As a Senator, you're casting a ton of votes, many of them on procedural matters, on Amendments etc.

        That kind of thing makse it very easy for an opponent to say "so and so voted against giving poor orphaned children food so that they didn't starve to death 19 times" while omitting the circumstances of those various procedural votes.

        It makes winning the presidency from the Senate difficult.

        Daily Kos: turning unanimity into discord since...well...I frickin got here

        by AnnArborBlue on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 01:23:15 PM PST

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        •  I still say that shouldn't (none)
          stop us from putting up a candidate who's a senator.

          People here are talking as if McCain's going to be the candidate - not if rovie has anything to do with it but with their right wing b.s. losing steam it might be him.

          SENATOR McCain.  So two senators?  Let's go!

          FGS it's worse for us to have some sort of centrist waffler as our candidate.

          And let's say we choose a governor.  Then they attack him or her for not having foreign policy experience.  We choose a veteran who's against the Iraq war - that ought to shut them up, eh?  Except then they say he was "for war before he was against it".  Or they find a way to make a war hero look like a loser . . .

          We shouldn't dismiss good candidates out of hand just because they're senators.  Let's get better at talking to the nation about our candidates.

        •  Also, senators don't tell anybody what to do (none)
          ... at least if they're competently staffed. Three or four good subordinates tell them what to do. [Some exceptions for a cmte chair or ranking member]

          They deal in long-winded, hair-splitting nuance ending in compromise ... because that's the nature of the work.

          It's very much unlike the work a President (or a Candidate) has to do, and it trains them to think differently from the ways a President has to think.

          None Dare Call It Stupid!

          by RonK Seattle on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 01:38:01 PM PST

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      •  I'm scared of the smear machine!!! (none)
        That's why I would rather nominate someone without a lengthy senate record. Feingold voted against the patriot act which will be a firestarter for the repubs.
        •  eh (none)
          That's what they said in 2004. That his vote for the Patriot Act was suicidal. Then he went out and campaigned on it.

          You have the power, so start using it.

          by peacenik23 on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 01:31:28 PM PST

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        •  So what you're saying is that (none)
          we should nominate Edwards?  So they can blast him for not having foreign policy experience?  And only 4 years in the Senate and no other gov't experience?  And they can blast him for voting for the IWR but not to fund the $87 billion - which they spun as voting against body armor for god's sake?

          If you're afraid of the spin machine, nominating Edwards won't protect you.  And I like Edwards.  But we've already seen what they have in store for him.

          Whoever we choose they will spin like crazy.  They will have us convinced he's satan himself if they have to.  We could nominate Jesus and they'd trash him.

          There's no candidate on earth or in our imagination that they can't put the spin to.  

          I say let's break the spin machine instead of bowing before it.  It's all smoke and mirrors anyway.  

          •  Six Years In The Senate (none)
            Just for the record.

            9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

            by NewDirection on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 01:48:59 PM PST

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            •  I stand corrected. (none)
              He was elected in 1998 but didn't take office until 1999.  His senate term expired in 2004.  

              So pretty damn close to 6 years.  

              And still they will spin and attack.

              Again, no matter who it is, they will attack.  So let's pick the best candidate, WHOEVER IT IS, and stand by that person.  

              Let's not let fear of spin determine who it is, because there's no escape from it.

              I really like Edwards, too.  I'm waiting to hear what they all have to say.  

              Except Hillary, Biden, et al, who want to ride the fence and take no responsibility for their votes and their positions.  Ass kissers.

              •  Exactly Six Years (none)
                The elections are generally at the end of even years, and then the pols take office early in the following odd-numbered year. He announced his retirement in 2004, but did not leave office until his term was up. His last vote in the Senate, at his last opportunity to vote, was in December of 2004.

                Six years to the day.

                9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

                by NewDirection on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 07:27:15 AM PST

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          •  <snark> (4.00)
            Of course they wouldn't elect Jesus, He was JEWISH.

            Sunlight is the best disinfectant

            by historys mysteries on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 02:03:07 PM PST

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          •  Rove feared Edwards the most... (none)
            It was well documented in the last campaign that the Bush campaign wanted any dem but Edwards to go against. Edwards had a short senate record, and they knew the ambulance chaser thing wouldn't work since he defended mostly children. Edwards has the Iraq vote, which he denounces now. Edwards voted for the Patriot Act which they can't bash since they voted for it too. The 87 billion is tired and I highly doubt they'll be bringing that one up again. As for the foreign policy experience, he probably has as much as Feingold, maybe I'm wrong? Edwards was on the senate intelligence committee, he is on the board of foreign relations to Russia. He has met with the leaders of Nato, Blair, Brown and encouraged many leaders of UAE to invest in poor areas of the middle east. The leaders of NATO said that when they met Edwards they weren't expecting much. But he actually did something that no other American politician did, he listened to them.
            •  well-documented? (none)
              please provide documents, then. as far as i know, the only dem who got republican ads run against him in the primaries was dean.

              crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

              by wu ming on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 03:30:30 PM PST

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              •  They weren't ads... (none)
                Journalists were commenting on what they heard from different sources within the white house. Did you never hear those things? I read that story about Rove not wanting Edwards in many articles back during the primaries and election season. It seems like most of my fellow libs never payed any attention to Edwards during the primaries. Barely any libs even remember Edwards saying during one of the primary debates that he regretted his Iraq War vote. I'm going to spend some time getting the footage of the debate, articles about Edwards being the most feared amongst repubs and the control group that PBS did showing that Edwards would have whipped Bush in a head to head match up. I'll post it when I have some spare time to gather everything. I'll post a diary here soon. :)
                •  so let me get this straight (none)
                  rove hints to journalists that he'd be really scared oif this edwards guy, the reporters report it as fact, and we're supposed to take it as uncomplicated fact? or the converse, that rove leaks to reporters that he thinks dean will be a cakewalk, which gets reported as well?

                  given the source and the MO, do you think that ann richards was a lesbian, or that valerie plame pulled strings to get joe wilson a job? why be so credulous when it comes down to your guy, then?

                  crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

                  by wu ming on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 06:50:01 PM PST

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            •  Why are we making such a big deal (none)
              out of foreign policy experience?  George Bush became president(note I did not say was elected)without ever being out of the country.  The only foreigners he probably even knew were members of the Saudi Royal family.

              If someone could make a president out of George Bush, who actually had a shitty record as govenor, probably sent to death innocent people, never held down a productive job-let alone a job his dad didn't get for him and help clean up his big mess after he ran them all into the ground,was investigated by the SEC a couple times(never charged but never exonerated)he also was a deserter with a serious drug and alcohol problem, an arrest record, was a cheerleader in high school and college in addition to being a crappy student who only got in because he had a rich daddy,and to top it off his grandfather was a documented nazi sympathizer, if they can 'sell' this clown to the American people  what the hell is wrong with the Democratic party?!  

              I would think that the Democratic party should be able to 'sell' a guy who is smart, well educated, principled, who didn't grow up rich or look to public service as a way to get rich.(he is by far the least rich guy in the United States senate-yet he still doesn't take COLA raises). He has shown in actions and words that he cares about his country more than his career.(I don't know his personal life but I suspect that his dedication to his country may have also contributed to his divorce)  If the Democrats can't(or won't try)to sell that after this country is neck deep in corrupt political scandals, no-bid contracts, a stupid incompetently planned war that is killing our soldiers and weakening America. Huge budget deficits, torture, and a goverment that is now more into our personal decisions than ever in recent memory, more poverty, less health care, ect...we deserve to loose.  

              Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

              by strengthof10kmen on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 04:06:18 PM PST

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    •  I think you're assumption is wrong (none)
      I think there were a lot of voters out there who basically said, "well, Bush and Gore or Bush and Kerry are basically the same on issues that I care about, so, I might vote for the guy I'd rather have a beer with." Or the guy who was more likely to go out there and "kick ass" or somesuch. I think that Feingold would create a contrast, so that the debate would be on the issues, rather than on "who you would rather have a beer with." We need to stop letting Republicans and corporations trivialize politics. And we need to create a contrast, not an echo.
      •  You're absolutely wrong (none)
        Only those on the delusional far left thought there was little difference between Bush and Gore, and between Bush and Kerry.  Bush played hard to his conservative base, and right wing reactionaries came out to vote in droves.

        Creating a contrast isn't enough.  Winning in politics is about building coalitions and finding common ground with those with whom we disagree.  We need a candidate who can both energize the base and reach out to those in the center who have not voted Democratic the last two go-arounds.  Clinton was able to do that; Gore and Kerry were not.

        If all we do is create a contrast -- left vs. right -- we lose, end of story.  Unfortunately, there are more conservatives then there are liberals, and the electoral map favors the conservatives.

        •  Disagree (none)
          While it has become clear that Gore and Bush would have been very different Presidents, Nader was not talking out of his ass when he said there's no difference between the two parties. If he was, he would have never filled the spoiler role in that election. Gore ran a pretty centrist campaign (except around the end, where he started talking about "the people vs. the powerful). Bush simultaneously appealed to rightwingers (usually using code words) while he spoke about "compassionate conservatism" which was a pretty centrist move. So, Nader's accusations had a certain ring of truth to them. I bought it, personally. Of course, I was voting in a solidly red state, so it didn't really matter.

          Building a coalition should not be at the expense of your identity as a party.

          •  Wrong (none)
            There was a huge difference between Gore and Bush, and only the 1.7% who voted for Nader didn't see that.  Taxes, judicial appointments, the environment, the right to organize, health care, affirmative action, are just a few of the issues that Gore and Bush spelled out completely different views.  Nader offered you the Booklyn Bridge, and you bought it.  He was a spoiler because the country was split down the middle, not because the county thought there was any truth to what that asshole was saying.

            Building a coalition is necessary to winning.  Yes, we need to reach out and find common ground with SOME of the voters who rejected the Dems in 2000 and 2004.  A party that appeals only to progressives will never win an election; it's a recipe for disaster.  

            The only way progressives get a seat at the table is if the Democrats win.  Winning isn't everything, but it's the necessary first step.

            •  Progressives.... (none)
              ....don't necessarily win, even when they do. Clinton got us excited, but he only looks good becasue Bush has been so bad. Clinton was no friend to progressives. I don't want table scraps. We need another FDR, that's for damn sure. Or a Kucinich who campaigns like Clinton.
              •  So I guess (none)
                you'd rather stick with ideological purity, not build a winning center-left coalition, and continue to lose elections.

                Fuck that.  I want my party to win.  That's the only way to move the country towards a positive agenda.

                •  ironically (none)
                  what you're calling for is ideological purity in a "coalition" led by the center that relegates the left to the attic like a crazy aunt. it is not accepted fact that running from the center is the only way to win; the last several election cycles suggest that it in fact is a losing proposition.

                  face it, we're in a factional battle, and you want the center to be calling the shots. all this coalition talk is just boilerplate.

                  crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

                  by wu ming on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 10:49:09 AM PST

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                  •  Wrong (none)
                    You can't read.  Never said anything about the center calling the shots.

                    I think the progressives need to reach out to those in the center and convince them that they are better off tossing their hat in with us rather than with the right-wingers they have been voting for the last election cycles.

                    I think that progressives and moderates agree on more things than they disagree, and I think that through respectful dialogue, we can find even more common ground.

                    If we continue with your "factional battle," we lose.  There are more of them than there are of us.

                    You apparently want to engage in left-wing litmus test politics.  That's a loser strategy.  

                    We're never going to move the country forward until we get the Democrats back in power.  You want a strategy for losing, and I want to win.  That's the difference.

                    •  I think that.... (none)
            're just reading what you want to read. No one said anything about litmus tests. We clearly want to win more than DLC centrists do. We will win by creating a contrast. People respect you when you're straight with them, not when you pussyfoot around important issues. Now, I'm not saying that we should march into Utah and stage same sex weddings as a campaign event. But what I am saying is that we have offer a genuine, progressive alternative to the people, particularly on economic issues.
                      •  Wrong (none)
                        There are more conservatives in this county than there are liberals.  If we put forward a progressive-only agenda, the moderates and conservatives vote against us, and we lose by a landslide.

                        Energizing the base is not enough.  Our base is smaller than theirs.

                        •  wgat? (none)
                          conservatives put forth a conservative-only agenda.  if progressives put out a progressive-only agenda, moderates will side w/ conservatives?  why?  your logic escapes me, considering how successful principled conservatism has been for the right-wing in the last 11 years.

                          the whole liberal v. moderate v. conservative argument is nonsense.  self-description by the electorate does not match absolutely to policy positions or voting patterns.


                          •  If, as that article says, (none)
                            45% of the electorate consider themselves moderate, why have they been voting with Repbulcians?  Because Democrats aren't progressive enough?  That makes no sense.

                            I think there is plenty of room for common ground between those on the left and those in the center.  There is more upon which to agree than disagree.  I would like the Dems to reach out to those who haven't voted with us in the past, find common ground, and leave the Republicans in the dust..  

                            I just don't think you can do that with a progressive-only agenda.  If we play my-way-or-the-highway politics, the numbers favor the Republicans ... we lose.

    •  iowa (none)
      nevada, ohio, colorado, new mexico, florida, and arizona are all places where russ might run ahead of kerry and gore. ohio and florida alone would do it, as well as any two of the others.

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 03:29:20 PM PST

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      •  What is your basis for saying that? (none)
        Are you privy to demographic data showing voters in those states who voted for Bush would be inclined to support a liberal northern Senator, who is a twice-divorced non-observant Jew?

        Yeah right.

        •  iowa and ohio are northern, to start with (none)
          i would be surprised if they were hostile to a senator from a neighboring state out of regional pique. feingold's success running in the northern counties of wisconsin, which are similar in their libertarian bent and their tourism + extractive industrial base to arizona, nevada, colorado and new mexico, especially given his record on guns and the PATRIOT act. the jewish vote in florida got a boost in 2000 from lieberman being on the ticket, and i imagine that it would benefit feingold as well. as for the nation's rampant hatred of liberals, jews and divorcees, it certainly didn't hurt feingold in wisconsin the last time around, and wisconsin is not new york, it's pretty purple with a fairly small jewish population.

          do you have any evidence to the contrary besides your own assumptions? which kerry or gore states would feingold lose?

          crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

          by wu ming on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 07:50:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, where to start (none)
            -- People who voted for Bush in Ohio will vote for Feingold because of regional pique?????  What on earth makes you think that those voters have even heard of Feingold much less identify with or admire him?

            -- Feingold's success in northern counties of Wisconsin is of little relevance.  He runs as an incumbent Senator.  Incumbents rarely lose.  That doesn't translate at all to how one would run as a Presidential candidate in another state.

            -- The Lieberman support in south Florida in 2000 would not necessarily translate to Feingold.  First, there's a big difference between the two.  Lieberman (obnoxiously in my view) wears his religion on his sleave, and the elderly jews in south Florida were attracted to that.  Feingold is not an observant jew and believes that his religion is his own personal business.  While I find that admirable, it won't appeal to the same segment of the population that was attracted by Lieberman's religion.  Further, the elderly jews in south Florida will be 8 years older in 2008; who knows if they'll still be alive or healthy enogh to vote?

            -- Regarding his divorce, the last time he ran for re-election he was only divorced once; now he's twice divorced.  Moreover, the power of incumbancy far outweighs any signicance of a divorce.  If he runs for President, he won't have the power of incumbancy, and you can be sure that the press will act like vultures in digging up every ugly detail of his divorces and marital life (I can see Michael Isikoff licking his chops).  His campaign will be very busy dealing with questions arising from these stories, and it will present an obstacle in getting his message out on the real issues.

            •  you really ought to read more carefully (none)
              what i said was
              iowa and ohio are northern, to start with (none / 0)
              i would be surprised if they were hostile to a senator from a neighboring state out of regional pique.

              this is a response to your unfounded assumption that red states wouldn't like a northerner on a regional basis; i was pointing out that two of the red states that i think feingold might have a shot at - iowa and ohio - are in fact northern states themselves.

              i don't think that the observant v. secular jew is going to make a bit of difference in florida or elsewhere, and in fact his lack of sactimonious piety for the cameras will be an advantage in those parts of the country (the west) and the electorate (gens x and y)that don't value such things; avoiding a green split alone puts a lot of swing states well into the safe side of the column. besides, his sister is a rabbi.

              again, feingold's voting record on guns and civil liberties and his plainspoken manner will resonate with voters who don't trust less libertarian candidates like gore or kerry. i know of several republicans who liked dean, but couldn't being themselves to vote for kerry because of guns and "the way that he talked." i think feingold if anything has a stronger record than dean here, and i think it carries a real advantage.

              finally, his divorces were both quite amicable by all accounts, and feingold is on good terms with his ex-wives and children. everyione will have mud flung at them, but feingold has the advantage of being as clean as politicians come.

              crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

              by wu ming on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 10:45:27 AM PST

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              •  Great , capture the Dean vote (none)
                Now there's a great strategy to win in the red states.  

                The Greens are totally insignificant now.  Avoiding a Green split gets us nowhere.

                I'll give you Iowa; any Dem who can't win Iowa isn't going to win, period.

                You still haven't explained why the Ohio voter who voted for Bush would be more inclined to vote for Feingold.  Because of guns and civil liberties?  Gotta disagree there.

                If you think that the Jewish reaction to Lieberman would be the same as the Jewish reaction to Feingold, you know nothing about the Jewish community.

                And besides, the Christian right will have a field day with Feingold; not because he's Jewish, but because he doesn't practice his religion.  

                Great Senator, would be a great President, but totally unelectable.

          •  The question isn't (none)
            which Kerry or Gore states would he lose.  I assume he could probably win most of those states.  I just don't see him winning any of the ones that went for Bush.
        •  Trade is huge (none)
          A lot of socially conservative working class voters are very frustrated by deals like NAFTA and CAFTA, which Feingold has ALWAYS stood firm against. They might be willing to look past their social views for someone who they see as really standing up for them economically. Kerry's mild criticism of unfair trade deals wasn't going to cut it. And Gore was the chieft defender of NAFTA.

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