The Case Against Russ Feingold
The Case Against Senator Feingold
Frank Byrne – citizen, www.heartlandmurmurs.com
The people must remain ever vigilant against tyrants masquerading as public servants.
In his entire 18-year Senate career the only substantive legislation to his name, McCain - Feingold campaign finance reform, did not pass constitutional muster. This assault on the first amendment was based on the ridiculous idea that limiting campaign donations would not limit speech. For the most part Wisconsinites like the free speech part of the first amendment. Feingold should be replaced for betraying of his oath to protect and defend the constitution.
A U.S. Representative represents a portion of the population geographically. A Senator represents the entire State. One measurement of a Senator‘s effectiveness is the ratio of how many federal dollars sent to Washington are returned to their state. Currently Wisconsin ranks 47th of the 50 states in federal dollars returned. According to taxfoundation.org the highest rank Wisconsin ever reached under Feingold’s watch is 37th back in 2000. In all but 3 of his 18 years Wisconsin has been among the top ten biggest saps. One would have no choice but to conclude this measure is of little priority to our Senator Feingold, or if it is he is painfully ineffective at correcting the trend.
As the birthplace of both Kindergarten and Head Start, Wisconsin has a well earned reputation for making education a top priority. You could never tell that by looking at the Milwaukee Public School system where for years the achievement gap between the 4th and 8th grade minorities has lagged behind the rest of the country and for the last two years ranking 50th of all states. The high school graduation percentage is somewhere in the 30’s year after year after year. When a consistently devoted and generous donor sector*, education, is so heavily invested in maintaining the status quo, we learned what to expect from a political careerist Democrat Senator in terms of genuine education reform - - absolutely nothing - - and we got it. (*source: opensecrets.org)
His Ivy League and Rhodes education is certainly respectable, even though the phrase “shall not be infringed” was apparently beyond his grasp on that campaign finance thing, casting a tinge of doubt on the quality of those degrees. Seems to me your average Wisconsin native coming out of one our fine state schools could have managed that. Much of Wisconsin, after all, is still a place where you are just as likely to be judged favorably by the calluses on your hands as by the letters after your name.
The company one keeps:
The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.
If you were to put Feingold’s resume’, or voting record for that matter, anonymously, in front of a typical Wisconsin voter and ask them to guess whether he was from the Midwest or the Northeast, 10 of 10 would guess the latter.
When it really matters he is a solid lefty voter right along the party line. Liberal interest group Common Cause, along with more left, self-proclaimed “radical” even, progressive netrootsalliance.org, both gave Feingold a 100% ranking.
Judging someone by the company they keep, as grandmas the world over are correct to remind us, is fair, and in this case very telling; among other nitrite 100%ers are such liberal luminaries as Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Emanuel Cleaver of Georgia. Also of note is that by their standards at least, Feingold is further left than Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and Charles Schumer.
All well and good, and believe me, I have many friends who see this as a positive, but as a reality test, compare the company he keeps legislatively to your version of a typical Wisconsinite. Unless you are a union leader, college professor, or trial lawyer, you get my point. There is a lot more to being from Wisconsin than maintaining a local address, and being from here doesn’t necessarily make you one of us.
Here are some of Feingold’s rankings by various interest groups, courtesy project vote smart:
National Education Association A
AFL CIO 94%
Alliance for Worker Freedom 0%
National Latino Congress 100%
National Association of Government Contractors 100%
Business - Industry PAC 0%
Consumer Alliance for Energy Security 0%
Chamber of Commerce 24% lifetime
Military Officers Association 0%
National Association of Manufacturers 8%
Citizens Against Government Waste 40% National Taxpayer Union 23%
National Gun Owners Association F-
National Retail Federation 0%
National Restaurant Association 28%
National Right to Life 0%
English First 0%
American Conservative Union 13%
National Council of LaRaza 100%
Busting the maverick myth:
Then there’s the “maverick” canard. American Heritage Dictionary defines maverick as follows:
NOUN: One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.
ADJECTIVE: Being independent in thought and action or exhibiting such independence: maverick politicians; a maverick decision.
This brings to mind another, more accurate, definition:
NOUN: One who affects a particular attribute, attitude, or identity to impress or influence others.
Wisconsin folks know shinola from that other stuff and, unlike the Oxford preppie; many of us have actually stepped in it once in our lifetime. Feingold’s highly touted maverickocity serves only to bolster his moderate claims, but never, not so amazingly, seem to be of any consequence. Why, it’s almost as if by calculation!
Feingold never fails to remind us of votes against his party, once the camera time and a TV interviews are lined up, but also never fails to omit the inconvenient fact that his vote had absolutely no bearing on the outcome. A vote against your caucus takes courage only if it can affect the result, otherwise it’s nothing more than cowardly political posturing, a specialty perfected by Feingold.
The recent Finance law is a perfect case in point. As soon as there were enough Republican votes to offset his, he voted against it. Once assured his vote had no bearing on the result he, with Pavlovian predictability, voted to prove himself a maverick, like he always does. It’s the same thing on the Clinton impeachment vote, and last year’s bailout package.
Seriously, does anyone actually believe Mr. Feingold had the cajones to cast the deciding vote, against his party, on any of these issues? Please. They were all free, maverick-imaging votes and utterly devoid of impact. The only time Feingold has the courage to be a maverick is when it’s a done deal. He only does it to placate the gullible when he runs away from the left, pretending to be a moderate, every six years.
Again, as far as it goes, I don’t mind a progressive voting with these folks routinely. It’s what I expect; it’s voting his conscience, and what they do. What I do mind is insulting his constituency’s intelligence by posing as some kind of moderate come election time. I only wonder whether his assumption that we are a bunch of rube idiots is more the result of the elite education, or a career in politics. Either way, it isn’t very Wisconsin like.
The other conundrum is how allegedly brilliant liberals like Feingold who so passionately pursue their leftwing agenda during their term, never formulate a compelling argument to advocate their true governing philosophy to persuade voters. I guess it’s over our heads, that, or he is smart enough to know it would never sell.
Sorry, yeah, abortion, this, like all elections since 1973 is about abortion. As a limited pro-choicer I part company with many conservative allies in this regard. It is, unfortunately, settled law, though questionably established at best, and as such it needs to be dealt with as the political reality it is. Me? Until someone convinces me that government jurisdiction over the collective uteri of the entire female population is not the most egregious example of government intrusion ever I will remain pro-choice, on that conservative principle.
Even though in a strict sense I might side with Russ Feingold on the yes or no part of the abortion issue, we are as far apart on the same side of the spectrum as we can be. I hold that the first choice in pro-choice should be life, and just as importantly, none of my taxes are used to fund abortion. My gut tells me I am more aligned with the majority of Wisconsin on this issue than Feingold.
Anyone examining Russ Feingold’s track record on the abortion issue could only conclude his stance is not pro-choice but pro-abortion. It is so extreme that to call it infanticide light would be fair and accurate. He has been an ardent supporter of late term abortions, arguably the most heinous and gruesome medical procedure ever devised by mankind, voting against its prohibition 7 times. (source: www.votesmart.org)
But nothing I can describe about Feingold’s extreme position on abortion could be more powerful than his own words from a Senate floor debate on late term abortion. Read it for yourself:
Sen. Santorum: Will the Senator from Wisconsin yield for a question?
Sen. Feingold: I will.
Sen. Santorum: The Senator from Wisconsin says that this decision should be left up to the mother and the doctor, as if there is absolutely no limit that could be placed on what decision that they make with respect to that. And the Senator from California [Sen. Barbara Boxer] is going up to advise you of what my question is going to be, and I will ask it anyway. And my question is this: that if that baby were delivered breech style and everything was delivered except for the head, and for some reason that that baby's head would slip out -- that the baby was completely delivered -- would it then still be up to the doctor and the mother to decide whether to kill that baby?
Sen. Feingold: I would simply answer your question by saying under the Boxer amendment, the standard of saying it has to be a determination, by a doctor, of health of the mother, is a sufficient standard that would apply to that situation. And that would be an adequate standard.
Sen. Santorum: That doesn't answer the question. Let's assume that this procedure is being performed for the reason that you've stated, and the head is accidentally delivered. Would you allow the doctor to kill the baby?
Sen. Feingold: I am not the person to be answering that question. That is a question that should be answered by a doctor, and by the woman who receives advice from the doctor. And neither I, nor is the Senator from Pennsylvania, truly competent to answer those questions. That is why we should not be making those decisions here on the floor of the Senate.
So there you have it. Given the opportunity to stand for life and protect a newborn Feingold opted to dodge the question. That, or in the view of Senator Feingold even a full term human being, for the crime of having accidentally survived a late term abortion, should be denied government protection, or life. One wonders, does the Senator envision any circumstance in which the government is obligated to protect its citizens, even if it is only a newborn baby, or does it all depend on whatever the biggest campaign donors decide?
I have endeavored here to build case against keeping Senator Feingold as our Senator. Admittedly I have a right of center point of view. Even so, I think if you consider the track record honestly you will find ample reasons to show him the door and let someone else go to work on our behalf. Perhaps even more importantly though, I also hope to have shown that while there is no denying Feingold represents Wisconsin, he is a whole world away from being a representative sample of Wisconsin.
Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.