What's the difference, if he votes that way?
The man who maintains one of the most progressive
voting records in the U.S. Senate
has stirred a political firestorm with his singular support for the attorney general nomination
of John Ashcroft, the defender of Confederate generals and opponent of African American
judicial nominees who is George W. Bush's choice to head the Justice Department.
On Tuesday, Feingold was the sole Democrat on
the Senate Judiciary Committee
to vote to recommend Ashcroft's confirmation by the full Senate. Feingold's
vote tipped the committee balance to 10-8 in favor of the controversial
nomination -- winning high praise from the extreme right and angry
condemnation from leaders of the broad coalition formed to block Ashcroft.
The chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party
said she could not understand
the reasoning of the man she had battled to reelect in one of the bitterest Senate contests
of 1998 -- a race Feingold won by less than 50,000 votes.
People for the American Way's Ralph Neas -- whose
group has worked closely
with Feingold's office on a host of abortion rights, church-state and
judicial nomination battles over the years -- said, "I have never been more
disappointed in a U.S. senator than I am in Russ Feingold."
Activists on behalf of civil rights, women's rights,
labor and the environment, who have
long been among Feingold's most fervent supporters, were stunned when the senator
began issuing statements last month suggesting that he was inclined to vote for an
attorney general-designee whose views are anathema to progressives.
What is the point of supporting for Feingold if
he's going to vote like Jesse Helms?
Foes of the Bush Cabinet pick have argued that,
by defending Ashcroft, a
former colleague, Feingold is showing a penchant for the Washington-insider
compromises he so brilliantly skewered as a maverick 1992 Senate candidate.
They have even suggested that he is acting not out of principle but in hopes
winning Republican support for his McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill.
Feingold objects with predictable passion to that characterization.
"It is in no way inconsistent with what I have
done in the past," Feingold says of his
emergence as the leading Democratic defender of Ashcroft's nomination. Feingold argues
that, by rejecting easy partisanship in favor of more complex and controversial values,
he is maintaining the maverick stance that has defined his entire political career.
Voting with Helms and Inhofe is "too complex" for us to understand?
remember, this is the ONLY Senate democrats who had to have another look
at the Monica "evidence" instead of getting on with the nation's business.
It's time Feingold started looking for a job.
"I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing on this nomination
if I didn't think it was right,"
Feingold says. "I'm sure it would be a lot better for me politically to just come out against Ashcroft."
You bet your ass, Rush, I mean Russ.
I hope the voters in Wisconsin remember what you've done to them.
Whatever shit Ashcroft gets into, I'm going to remember that you, Russ Feingold,
were one of his loudest cheerleaders when your party needed you.
Feingold explained his thinking to this reporter
in his only extended
interviews regarding the Ashcroft matter, and he was clearly trying to
identify his stance one that was in keeping with his carefully nurtured
reputation as a progressive reformer. He did the same in a tortured
eight-page long statement prior to the Judiciary Committee vote that, to his
frustration, won far more compliments from conservatives than liberals.
Is that what it is, Rush?
We're all too goddamn stupid to understand your "progressive" thinking?
Feingold argues that his support for Ashcroft
is motivated by a desire to defend the
prospects of future presidents to appoint not just conservatives but also progressives.
Excuse me, Tamara Baker would like to say a few words, here:
He says he did it because he feared GOP reprisals
when the Dems re-took the White House??!?!
This is a joke, right?
HE, of ALL PEOPLE, should have known that the
Republicans have and will
oppose ANY nominee by ANY Democratic President from now on, period.
Appeasing Nazis didn't work in 1938, and it doesn't work now.
If he really believes what he said, he's too
stupid to be in our party. But
I still think is that he was promised a quid pro quo on McCain-Feingold
(which he will never get, just as Shrub turned down his sniveling plea to
nominate Ronnie White). Think it might be time to pull a Tom DeLay and run
someone against him in the primaries?
Feingold acknowledges that Ashcroft's selection
was "an incredibly
unfortunate choice by Bush," who is still struggling to heal wounds from a
divisive election battle. But, the senator adds, "Let's face it, (Ashcroft)
reflects the views of the guy who got elected” - sadly enough. We have to
respect the right of a president to select a Cabinet that reflects his views."
Why have a confirmation process if you're an automatic green light?
Jesus Christ, Rush, that's the third time you've insulted our intelligence.
Wouldn't it be better if you retired to Wisconsin and phoned in your vote
for whatever Smirk wants from now on and save the taxpayers some money?
Perhaps, four years from now, a Democratic president
might choose to appoint a prominent
progressive senator as attorney general - a Pat Leahy, a Joe Biden, even a Russ Feingold.
Leahy told Ashcroft he was in before the hearings started,
Biden called Anita Hill a "liar" this week
and Rush Feingold isn't even a Democrat.
The Wisconsin senator says he worries that if
Democrats move to block Ashcroft
on ideological grounds, then no one with strong views - be they on the right or left
- could ever be considered for the Cabinet.
What an idiot!
He assumed the right will play fair?
They impeached Clinton because he won two elections!
Bob Barr looked up impeachment proceedures before anyone knew who Monica was.
Rush Feingold is too goddamn stupid to be a Democrat.
Rush - go ahead and change to an "R."
We don't need any more stupid traitors on our side.
"Look ahead to what this means," contends Feingold.
"What this means is that
you will never have anyone in the Cabinet with views that are outside the
centrist mainstream in Washington. There will be a dumbing down in terms of
having people who have ideals making policy."
Rush - would the ditto-monkey right vote for AG
Ultimately, says Feingold, who is one of the Senate's
bitterest critics of
the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and other centrist groupings, that
dumbing down would move future Democratic administrations to the right. "It
would guarantee that we'd never have any Democratic Cabinet members who
didn't come out of the DLC orbit, or even to the right of them," argues the
two-term Wisconsin senator.
Koresh - am I confused...
Rush Feingold is a "progressive" who hates the DLC but votes for Ashcroft?
Feingold admits that Republicans such as Ashcroft
- with their vicious and
ungrounded attacks on Bill Clinton-s African-American nominees for Justice
Department posts, surgeon general and federal judgeships - have not adhered
to so conciliatory an approach. But he asks, "What do I do? Act like they do?
Or do I try to establish some sort of standard?"
Rush, this is war.
If they sink one of our ships, what are we going to do?
Act like them and sink one of their boats?
Wouldn't it be easier to crawl to them and beg them not to sink any more boats?
Jesus Christ, we need fighters in Washington, not weak-minded simpletons.
Feingold says the standard that he has applied
to Ashcroft is a generous one.
"Certainly, in regard to Cabinet appointments - as opposed to judicial
appointments - ideology has to have the lowest priority," the Wisconsinite explains.
Rush - you comdemn Ashcroft for "vicious and ungrounded
attacks on Bill Clinton,"
and then vote to impower his vicious ass. How surprised will you act when Ashcroft
combines his religious insanity with the power of the federal government?
<snip a whole lot of similarly insane Rush Feingold excuses>
He closed the interview with this:
"I want to walk out of this job believing that
I did not diminish the Constitution
or the office to which I was elected," explained Feingold.
Rush, I'll do my best to see you get to walk out
at the very next election.