As a Wisconsinite, I'm deeply disappointed that Russ Feingold won't be demolishing Scott Walker in January's recall election. He has the strongest record of any Progressive and is one of the few people that could bring the State of Wisconsin back together following Walker's divisive regime. However, Feingold's main focus as a Senator was on foreign affairs and campaign finance reform, both national issues that he would be ignoring as governor and unlikely to affect as a Senator in our inept Congress. Which is why Russ Feingold would make a perfect Secretary of State.
As a full-fledged Obama apologist, I understand that the economy he inherited and the inevitable 2010 midterms required the strategy of compromise that we see today. During the debt debate, he calmed Progressives by explaining the need to address the debt before instituting new spending measures to stimulate the economy and job growth. Which is why I still believe Obama's second term will be one of the most progressive in our nation's history. What better way to pivot towards the Progressive agenda than to bring the country's most beloved Progressive into your cabinet?
As a fellow Harvard Law grad and Rhodes Scholar, Russ Feingold would be the perfect choice. As a Senator, he served for 18 years as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and was Chairman of the African Subcommittee. He was also a member of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Committee, which includes China, and the Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Committee, which includes Egypt and the rest of North Africa. In short, Russ Feingold is an expert in the Arab Spring and Chinese politics.
His work has been especially prescient in regards to Egypt, as he was one of the few U.S. politicians to call for the end to its oppressive regime before anyone had to light themselves on fire to draw attention to the issue. In May 2010, he criticized the extension of emergency law in Egypt, which had been in place since 1981. He said:
"I believe we must engage more broadly with the Egyptian people and support efforts in the country to push for human rights and democratic reform. This is especially important in the coming months as Egypt prepares to hold parliamentary elections, which will be followed next year by a Presidential election. This period could be one of transition, possibly one of tumult. The Obama administration should begin engaging now with the Egyptian government and other stakeholders to make clear that we support a fair, free, and peaceful process. Continuing to provide uncritical support to an authoritarian regime undermines our credibility as champions of political and civil rights and creates tensions, particularly in the Muslim world, which are ripe for exploitation. Those tensions, in turn, threaten our own national security."
He was also the only Senator on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Judiciary committees, which makes him uniquely qualified to fight the modern wars we now find ourselves involved in.
Russ Feingold has also been one of the most outspoken critics of the Patriot Act and the erosion of our individual liberties. His new book, "While America Sleeps," will fully explain his strong opposition to warrantless wiretapping, secret law, and human rights abuses committed by our government since 9/11. Obama has not been able to institute his view for America's military because, as Commander-in-Chief, he's had the responsibility of concluding the wars he inherited, but I fully expect his second term to reflect his true views on America's role in the world.
Lastly, Feingold's message that he will not be running for "elective office" leaves plenty of room for him to be appointed Secretary of State. He's already promising to play a role in getting Obama reelected, "I was especially thinking of the need to reelect President Obama. I will be working to reelect him and hope to play a significant role in that effort." The Citizens United decision didn't discourage Russ Feingold. He's not going to sit on the sidelines as a law professor for much longer. Rather than bring progressive change to the State of Wisconsin, which has proven to be able to stand up for itself, he's going to help President Obama make progressive change globally.