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

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  •  yes, but ... (none)
    my problem with the well-defined scale of progressiveness is that it almost certainly doesn't properly take into account bad legislation that suits progressive tastes. and it probably doesn't take into account leadership on progressive legislation. and, without having gone to investigate, i'd be astonished if it took into account the non-legislative but still relevant progressive actions of the candidate -- such as Feingold's rejection of soft money, rejection of raises, "naive" ethics requirements for his staffers (when he started, they were not allowed to accept so much as a cup of coffee from a lobbyist -- don't know whether he's managed to maintain this standard, as nobody discusses it anymore.).

    I understand why you want such a thing as some sort of useful benchmark, but my point is that it is really just a starting point. The mere fact that Feingold placed in the middle of the pack is, to me, prima facie evidence that the benchmark has some big flaws. Feingold is far more progressive than Hillary Clinton. Period. If this benchmark indicates otherwise, it is seriously broken. Period.

    •  progressivepunch.org ratings (none)
      "The mere fact that Feingold placed in the middle of the pack is, to me, prima facie evidence that the benchmark has some big flaws. Feingold is far more progressive than Hillary Clinton. Period. If this benchmark indicates otherwise, it is seriously broken. Period."

      The word for this part of what you said is Faith.

      You'd need a proper, and then a more rigorous and thorough argument when repudiating what could be the most extensive congressional record database and analysis tool that there ever existed.

    •  It would be faith for you to take my word ... (none)
      I agree that it would be Faith on your part, because (and here I'm making an assumption) you are not a Wisconsinite, and so have less familiarity with Feingold's political history and philosophy.

      It isn't faith for me, because I know enough about Feingold and Clinton to compare them qualitatively, without resort to a blunt statistical measure. For example, does the PP rating weight the votes? How much is a vote against the PATRIOT act worth? The same as a vote to support some porkbarrel social program that soothes the progressive conscience while throwing dollars in the wastebasket?

      I voted for Nader in 2000, not because of his "lies" that Bush and Gore weren't much different, but because B and G weren't much different on the issue that mattered most to me: American corporatism and imperialism. Were you surprised when the planes hit the towers? Were you outraged when people suggested that the event might have been tied to American economic policies abroad? Did you wonder, however briefly, as did the Atlantic, "Must we torture"? Did you think the hijackers were "cowards"? If you (this now being a rhetorical "you", not necessarily you, NeuvoLiberal) answered yes to 2 or more of those three questions, then congratulations: You are not a progressive. You're a neoliberal american imperialist. Okay, I admit it, I'm just making that up to get your goat, I have no idea what you are. Don't take it too seriously. But the point is this:

      a. By the late 80s, I had begun to believe this nation was headed for a terrible accounting -- I could not contemplate the state of the world without considering Jefferson's famous, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

      b. Neither Clinton nor Gore ever said or did one thing to suggest to me that they recognized either that American international political and economic policy was morally wrong, or that it was going to bring down on our heads a grievous reckoning.

      c. The only hope I had was to drag the Democrats back to some reasonably leftward place before that grievous reckoning ensued. As it turned out, it was too late. Although I admit, one thing (among many) I did not anticipate was the shocking incompetence of the Bush Administration.

      But all that said, there isn't one reason Al Gore failed to become President. His failure required a complex set of interwoven factors, including:

      a. his essential conservatism, which alienated people like me.
      b. his personal stiffness.
      c. the BJ.
      d. the distortions of his senate voting record
      e. the lies about his lies
      f. his refusal to fight back, hard and ugly.

      I've heard it suggested that (f.) is a common problem for candidates from the Senate -- they've learned a culture of "comity" (whatever).

      But here's an  observation. You and I are simultaneously arguing different ends of the same principle.

      Me: Senators don't win. The statistics make that clear.
      You: The statistic is a blunt, oversimplification that doesn't get at the important factors that decided these elections.

      You: Feingold is not all that progressive, and in particular, no more progressive than Hillary. The statistic makes that clear.
      Me: The statistic is a blunt, oversimplification that doesn't get at the important factors that drove this vote or that vote.

      In any case, if the party chooses Hillary in 2008, I won't be lending a hand or a dollar, and I'll be casting yet another "wasted" protest vote.

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