Saturday, January 29, 2005

Feingold in Florida

Looks like Senator Feingold headed south again last week, going to Daytona Beach, Florida. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported on a speech he gave. Among the highlights:

In Bush's first term, Feingold opposed the president's policies on the Iraq war, USA Patriot Act, Medicare reform, education policy, environmental regulation and abortion rights. He made clear he was leaving his own presidential options open after a club member asked if he plans to run.

For now, Feingold said, he wants to be "part of the process" of identifying a candidate likely to succeed George W. Bush in 2008. That involves helping to create "national organizations of people to make that happen," he said.

A decision to run hinges on "whether I feel I'll be the best candidate to win," he said, adding, "I'm not going to even worry about that right now."

I also like this comment of the Senator's:

Club member Al Smith, a local physician and registered Democrat, asked Feingold if "the party can stand another liberal from the Northeast (as a candidate) and still survive as a party?"
Feingold replied that the country is looking for a candidate they can feel connected to, whether liberal or conservative.
I think that's true. I don't think that many people really felt strongly that John Kerry's positions were too liberal, I think Kerry had a hard time putting his positions forward in a way that connected with people. I liked Kerry, but I never felt that connected to him.

Of course, as a Midwesterner, I think there is a big difference between nominating a liberal from the northeast and a liberal from the Midwest. But that's just my bias.

Thanks to Daniel S. for posting this story at The Kentucky Democrat, or else I might not have found it!



At 3:51 PM, Blogger Candidate X said...

I like the way Feingold handled the question. Feeling connected to a candidate and connected to a party is exactly what the democrats need to work towards over the next couple years. In my opinion, a new, strong DNC chair like Dean would go a long way to help this process along.

What I fear is a problem we still need to deal with is the labels "liberal" and "northeast." I don't think John Kerry was a liberal. He, like Dean and Edwards, was one of the more moderate candiates in the democratic primary. Sharpton, Kucinich, and possibly Braun were the candidates who I would consider further left. Lieberman is a near-neo-conservative democrat, not a moderate democrat.

But really those labels that I just used are conveinient markers for the media to use in discussing candidates.

"Liberal." I guess someone like John Kerry can be written off as a liberal. Please forget that his position on the number one issue(s) (Iraq/terrorism) in the election was functionally indistinguishable from President Bush. I guess that means he is a liberal.

"Northeast." Because someone is from a particular region... they are a better or worse candidate? I don't think so. Clinton was a southerner (who was educated int he northeast). But Gore was a southerner too and did he win?

Again, it is about the candidate connecting with people and standing for easy to understand, smart, and timely principles. It is not about labels.


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