Sunday, September 11, 2005

Forward With Feingold

My apologies for not updating more recently. First, it was a matter of me not having the time; then, after Katrina hit the the gulf coast, blogging about the 2008 presidential election seemed a lot less important. But I found I had something I really wanted to write, and now was as good a time as any to write it.

First Things First: Please, if you can spare anything, make a donation to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thank you.

Feingold News and Notes: I had originally planned on writing a larger post on Senator Feingold's visit to L.A. in late August and the National Security speech he gave there, but for right now that's not happening. However, a transcript of the Senator's speech is available here at the Progressive Patriots Fund site. I haven't read it all yet myself, but I'm sure it's worth a read.
The front page for the Progressive Patriots Fund also details some of the Senator's efforts to help hurricane victims, most notably his work to ease the restrictions of the harsh new bankruptcy bill that is going into effect in October. It's worth reading about here.

Finally, in less important but exciting news, has raised enough money to start running blogads. They had five ads submitted and a very clever vote-through-donations thing to raise the money and determine the favorite ad. I was not able to donate then, but my favorite ad won anyway. ("Pop Quiz" by Jerry Troiano) I'll post the ad here when I remember how to do that. In addition, it is now posted at and Way to go RussForPresident folks!

And Now, Our Feature Presentation: Here's what I really needed to write. Since Senator Feingold announced his proposal for a timeline to end U.S. involvement in Iraq a number of columnists across the political spectrum, most notably Pat Buchanan, have compared him to Eugene McCarthy in 1968, and insisted that his anti-war stance will lead to disunity and defeat for the Democrats. Even before that, I've seen Senator Feingold compared to past candidates ranging from Bobby Kennedy to George McGovern to Howard Dean. Sometimes these comparisons are favorable, sometimes they aren't. Either way, they bothered me. This campaign, and all campaigns, need to be about the future, not the past. I thought about just posting an angry, stream of consciousness rant about this, but then I came up with a better idea. What I ended up writing was a commentary-I think of it as a very brief surrogate stump speech-that tied this idea into why I support Senator Feingold.

Here it goes:
"Forward with Feingold"

I have many normal, obvious reasons for supporting Senator Feingold for President. There are his progressive positions on the issues, from trade to health care to Iraq. There is his willingness to take principled and independent stands-like his lone Senate vote against the PATRIOT Act. There is his straightforward yet affable personality. And then there are the less obvious, and rather strange, reasons I have for supporting Senator Feingold. Here's one: I love his state's motto.

Wisconsin's motto is very direct. It's just one word; it's not even in Latin. It's "Forward." I think that is a beautiful motto. Short, simple, and relevant. I wish I could make it the personal motto of all the politicians and pundits out there. I wish all the talking heads out there were looking forward-and talking about how to bring this country forward.

But sadly, that isn't what I hear. Instead I hear commentators who are always looking backwards insist that 2008 is, in fact, the exact same year as 1968 and Russ Feingold is Eugene McCarty, destined to split the Democratic Party and doom it to defeat in November. Or I hear that 2008 is actually 2004 and Senator Feingold is Howard Dean-a netroots liberal phenomenon destined to burnout and be defeated by someone more electable-who, in November, turns out to be not that electable after all.

Of course, not all of the commentators are constantly looking backwards-some are looking at the present, with incredibly myopic eyes. They can't see beyond the latest piece of conventional wisdom. "Senators can't win the presidency", they repeat, as though it was a natural law. "We must nominate a Southerner!" they insist, as though it was in the Constitution. "And it doesn't matter anyway, because Hillary will get the nomination!" they state with such absolute certainty that they must have traveled into the future and seen it come true.

Why is it that as America stands at the beginning of a new century, we can only think about the past or the present? Why do our political commentators insist on using flawed historical analogies or regurgitating stale, simplistic conventional wisdom? Why limit ourselves to looking backwards or looking at where we are right now? Why not follow the advice of Senator Feingold's state's motto and look forward?

And that is why I support Senator Feingold: because I'm looking forward towards a better future and because I'm willing to work to move America forward. And because I know that Senator Feingold will provide the leadership so that we can go forward.

We can go forward to an America where no one has to live in poverty.

We can go forward to an America where we all have health insurance and all our children can attend quality public schools.

We can go forward to an America that is both secure from terrorism and strong in its commitment to civil liberties.

We can go forward to an America where the government always works for the public interest, not for the special interests.

I firmly believe that working together we, the people of the United States of America, can move our country and the world forward towards new horizons of opportunity, justice and peace.

Let's go forward together! Let's go forward with Feingold!
And, that's where the speech would have to end because everyone would be throwing rocks at me.

Seriously, I'd really like to know your reactions to what I wrote. Email and comments are always welcome. If you think it's horrible, let me know. If you think it's the greatest piece of political writing since JFK's inaugural address, you are quite delusional, but I would like to hear from you, too!

That's it for now, except for a tip of the hat to the pro-Russ Wisconsin political blog Forward Our Motto for introducing me to the great motto of the state of Wisconsin.



At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 1:41 PM, Blogger Fitzy said...


Not quite JFK, but it really is a great post. You stay quiet for long periods of time, and we all think you're dead or moved to New Zealand or (worst of all) found a different candidate to support, and then you come up with something like this!

Really, I think you just found the theme for the campaign. Or, at least, the pre-campaign, before he actually decides to run and we're all trying to build support. This is good stuff. Forward with Feingold.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger whodat527 said...

Did you know that Russ Feingold was part of the "Bowtie Brigrade" that campaigned for Paul Simon in Iowa before the Iowa caucuses in 1988? I definitely see a lot of similarities between the two.

Another great post. Russ Feingold can be the best candidate we've seen in a long time.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger craverguy said...

Hey, whodat527, it's craverguy from MyDD. I just read your comment on my 1988 election diary. How did you know about Lindsay, Udall, and Kennedy? I only knew about Simon from Simon's autobiography.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger whodat527 said...

Hey, craverguy. I have enjoyed your diaries and comments on myDD. I especially enjoyed the election retrospective series.

I could not get the link to work for some reason, so I posted the entire speech on your '88 retrospective diary. It is a very un-DLC speech. It's rather lenghty, but I know you don't mind.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger craverguy said...

Great speech. You're right, there's no way any DLC Democrat could ever say those things. I think if one of them even tried to invoke Gene McCarthy, Adlai Stevenson, or Ted Kennedy, his tongue would leap out of his mouth.

It's interesting that those were his choices. I vote in my own polls, and I voted for all of those guys.

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Tom said...

This post was included in the first Carnival of the Campaigns:

Welcome to the premier edition Carnival of the Campaigns. There is no host schedule yet - if no one steps forward, it will be hosted here. But please volunteer and get some attention for your site and your candidate!

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Dan K. said...

Thanks for all the nice comments everybody! (Except Dave Jackson)

Fitzy: New Zealand, eh? Hmmmm, never thought of that...

Personally, I think it would be worse if I died than if I supported another candidate...but rest assured, neither of those will happen if I have anything to say about it!

Thank you for your praise and promotion of this post on your blog!

whodat: Glad you liked the post. And, yep, I knew Senator Feingold had been part of the Bow Tie Brigade. I think he is definitely one of the most Paul Simon-esque politicans out there now that Senator Simon is no longer with us.

Craverguy: Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for all your support for my diary and Senator Feingold over on MyDD!

I'll have to make sure to vote in your polls about the past primaries if they are still around, that's something I really like to think about, how I'd vote in old elections.

Tom: Thanks for linking to this post!

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At 5:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read this article. Thanks the author for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.

Best regards
Jeph Normic


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