Saturday, March 18, 2006

Feingold Still the One

E. J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post writers group tackles the issue of Senator Russ Feingold's censure move of the President. The piece is a good one and the more I look at Feingold's move, the more I wish that there had been coordinated effort behind this. Of course, the Democratic leadership has been in cut and run mode for so many years that I doubt anything would have come of that.

The difference in this case, for me in hindsight, is there might have been a better moment to unleash this bomb on the lying and law-breaking President. As Dionne says:

But at a moment when Democrats have Bush on the run, Feingold's proposal was a
tad inconvenient, a conversation-changer at a moment when Feingold's colleagues liked the way the conversation was going just fine.

Fair enough. Still, I am going to support Feingold because he is one of only a few principled politicians and he is not afraid to speak his mind and take the tough stance ... unlike his cowardly partners and the braying masses on the other side of the aisle.

But the Dems as a minority party are going to have to start making some positive moves or the Republicans will walk all over them again in the 2006 elections. Dionne says:
Here's the problem: Feingold and the activists are right that Democrats
can't just take a pass on the wiretapping issue because Bush's legal claims are
so suspect -- even to many in his own party. The opposition's job is to raise
alarms over potential abuses of presidential power.

But Democrats, unlike Republicans, have yet to develop a healthy relationship between activists willing to test and expand the conventional limits on political debate and the politicians who have to calculate what works in creating an electoral majority.

For two decades, Republicans have used their idealists, their ideologues and their loudmouths to push the boundaries of discussion to the right. In the best of all worlds, Feingold's strong stand would redefine what's "moderate" and make clear that those challenging the legality of the wiretapping are neither extreme nor soft on terror.
Give the Republicans credit, their discipline is to be admired. But it can also be their weakness. Jackboot displays are eventually frowned upon by the American public.

0 Swings of the bat: