Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Depressing Vote and an Entertaining Interview

First off: Senator Feingold will be on "Meet the Press" tomorrow morning, so, if anyone reads this between now and the time "Meet the Press" airs in your local area, make sure to check it out! And, in the more likely event that "Meet the Press" has already aired, apparently you can view it on your computer here through the miracle of technology! Neato!

Now, onto the real subjects of the post (as referenced in the title)...

The Kerry-Feingold Amendment: Earlier this week the Senate voted on two amendments to the Defense Appropriations bill related to the Iraq War. One of them, a binding resolution co-sponsored by Senator Feingold and Senator Kerry would have set a timetable for redeployment of US forces from Iraq by July 2007. It was defeated by an 83-16 vote: my thanks to the other eleven senators who voted for it: Senators Akaka, Boxer, Durbin, Harkin, Inouye, Jeffords, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Leahy, Menendez and Wyden.

Perhaps more depressing was the result of the vote on the Levin-Reed Amendment, a non-binding resolution that would have expressed the Senate's desire to see troops redeployed from Iraq but wouldn't have set a failed 60-39...not even all the Democrats would support that. Now, I didn't really expect Democrats to unify behind the Kerry-Feingold Amendment, but the fact that they couldn't unite behind a non-binding measure that didn't even include a makes me worried about the party's chances in the fall; I fear the party leaders are determined not to have a party position on Iraq, and hope that somehow we can win a majority while ignoring an issue on everybody's mind. And Senator Feingold has said, you'd think that we would have learned from 2002 and 2004 that this strategy won't work.

An interesting story on Iraq from the Times of London describes a peace proposal that the Iraqi government is going to announce:

The Government will promise a finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq; a halt to US operations against insurgent strongholds; an end to human rights violations, including those by coalition troops; and compensation for victims of attacks by terrorists or Iraqi and coalition forces.

So, will the Bush Administration denounce the Iraqi plan as "cut and run"? Probably not, considering the U.S. Ambassador helped craft this proposal.

And now for something completely different...

Best Feingold Interview Ever...well, recently: Senator Feingold was interviewed for GQ by Lisa DePaulo. Titled "The Real Maverick" it is definitely worth reading.

Sure, we get the usual questions and answers regarding censuring the president for his illegal wiretapping, but we also learn about the Senator's golf game, his packing habits, and who some of his best friends in the Senate are. Still not interested? Well, here are some of my favorite parts. First, on an issue that will come up more often than it really should:

Let's talk about this twice-divorced thing.


How much of a political liability do you think it will be?

I have no idea. If it is, so be it. That's up to the people to

What's it like to be a single senator?

It's new to me. You sort of end up working a whole lot. Theres a tendency
to let the time get filled up. So Ive been very careful-

So you've become less social?

No, probably more social, in the sense that because you don't have a spouse-see, when you're married, you really feel an obligation to spend all that available time with your spouse if you can. I'm able to spend more time with more people now. I'm reconnecting with a lot of people and old friends.


Um, that's, uh, classified?

Are there women throwing themselves at you?

I certainly wouldn't say that. [smiles] I'm not gonna say that.

You know, there've been some legendary single senators.

Yeah, I know. I'm not aspiring to be in that hall of fame.

Even if I wasn't someone who'd been running a Feingold for President blog since December 2004, I'd have to admire the Senator for answering these questions about a very personal subject with honesty, class, and humor. Unfortunately, that won't stop reporters from continuing to ask questions about his divorces, and it won't stop people from saying it's a reason Senator Feingold couldn't get elected President...but I'm glad to know that Senator Feingold isn't letting that stop him.

And now, for two parts I just found fun:

Have you ever met [Tiger Woods]?

No. I'd love to. He and Bob Dylan. Those are the two I'd love to meet.

I like that because it reminds me of one of my favorite Russ Feingold stories. During his 2004 reelection campaign CSPAN broadcast some of Senator Feingold's debates with Tim Michels. Late one night, I was watching one and, to know more about the candidates as people, they were asked what two CDs they'd take with them if they were driving cross country by themselves. Right away, the first CD Senator Feingold named was Time Out of Mind by Dylan. As a huge Dylan fan and a huge Feingold fan, I really loved this. To make sure I'd remember it, I actually wrote "Russ Feingold chose Time Out of Mind" on the back of an envelope. (This is one of only two times I found something on late night TV important enough to write down...the other was the first time I saw the infomercial for Ron Popeil's Showtime Rotisserie Grill. I thought it was the greatest invention ever and wrote down all the information so my mom could order it. She didn't. I've spent the rest of my life trying to get various relatives to buy one for me.)

I also liked the "Time Out of Mind" choice because it's nice when politicians use questions like that to just let you know a little bit more about them, rather then to pander to some group. The question I most remember from the 2004 Demcocratic Presidential Primary debates is when the candidates were asked to name their favorite song and Joe Lieberman named Bill Clinton's old campaign theme song "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" and Dick Gephardt named "Born in the U.S.A." which he was using as a campaign theme song, proving that you don't have to be a Republican to fail to realize that, lyrically, "Born in the U.S.A." is NOT a happy song. Then Howard Dean surprised everyone by naming some Wyclef Jean song his son had played for him recently.

As you can tell, it's a good thing GQ didn't have me interview Senator Feingold, or I would've asked such follow up questions as "What's your favorite song on Time Out of Mind?", "What are your 125 favorite Dylan songs, and why?" and, of course, "Knocked Out Loaded or Down in the Groove?"

So, Senator Feingold's favorite golfer is Tiger Woods, one of his favorite albums is Time Out of Mind and he has said his favorite novel is The Stranger by Albert Camus. I wonder what his favorite TV show is? Based on this amusing exchange from the GQ interview, I'm guessing it's probably not "Friends"...

Okay. Real quick: Jennifer or Angelina?

Jennifer? Jennifer who?

Oh, come on, Senator! Jennifer or Angelina?

Jennifer who?

Aniston. [silence] Oh, God. You don't read the tabloids, do

Can I have a third choice? Can I pick Sharon Stone?

The really sad thing is, if this interview had occurred closer to the 2008 elections, the media would use it as evidence that Senator Feingold is too out of touch with what real people are interested in to be president...After all, Trent Lott has said that it is the duty of all senators to not only watch American Idol, but to vote for it! Senator Feingold really oughta start reading the tabloids if he wants to be president, or at least start watching "Access Hollywood"...

But enough with my digressions and attempts at that interview! Then get your friends to read it! Then ask them the Jennifer or Angelina question! Then ask them if they'd vote for Senator Feingold for President! (Or maybe switch the order on the last two...)

New Feingold Blog: There's a nice new Feingold blog out there Central Pennsylvania for Feingold, started by Kris in Centre County, PA! Kris had the wonderful opportunity of seeing Senator Feingold at the Take Back America convention, and was inspired enough to join us in the Feingold stop on by and say hello!

So, that's all for this time...Until next time, keep going Forward!



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