Monday, July 31, 2006

Russ Roundup for July

Hey folks, I didn't mean to go through the whole month without another blog entry, but that's just the way it went. It wasn't much easier to fit the blog into my life with my job then it was to fit it in with school. Guess I'll just have to make the time by eliminating something else...eating and sleeping have always struck me as rather pointless...

Anyhow, here's some of the big events from the Month in Russ:

Patriot Corps: Earlier this month Senator Feingold and his Progressive Patriots Fund announced the creation of the Patriot Corps: a group of fifteen field organizers who the Fund will hire, train and send to key races in Wisconsin and throughout the country. Sound like something you'd be interested in doing? If so, the application is here, and they are accepting applications until August 11.

Of course while hiring fifteen field organizers is great, twenty would be even better and the Progressive Patriot Fund has been trying to raise $25,000 by midnight tonight in order to be able to help five more campaigns. While I don't know how many people will read this before midnight, the Fund was within $4,000 of the goal this morning, so if you can, please donate here.

And Speaking of Donations...: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran an interesting article today looking at where the approximately $2 million Senator Feingold has raised this year has come from, and how that differs from other possible Democratic presidential candidates. From the article:

In the first half of 2006, the Wisconsin senator raised 62% of his funds from people giving $200 or less, a much higher share than any other potential candidate.

If you want to see the exact numbers, check out this post by Chris Bowers at MyDD. Here's a summary: the possible candidate with the next highest percentage of small donors? John Kerry with 32%, followed by Wes Clark with 28% and Hillary Clinton with 18%. No one else was in double digits and for several candidates, small donors made up 1% or less of their donors.

So why does this matter? For one thing, it shows who Senator Feingold represents and who wants him to run: he is the candidate of average people who care about the future of the Democratic Party and the country. And it shows that people are willing to invest in Senator Feingold's campaign. As ilya S. at wrote:

What Senator Feingold is doing is just great campaign building. People will do things for your campaign if they are invested. They will go out and knock on doors in the freezing cold of Iowa and New Hampshire, they will do mailings at 5 am and Meet Ups at 9 pm. They will do what they can to get you elected because it's not just about the candidate but about the campaign. Great things are on the horizon. The evidence is slowly appearing, but Senator Feingold is exactly right in his word choice. Should Russ decide to run, contributions of time and money will explode. And then we'll have a genuine people powered candidate for 2008.

Health Care: Of course, the reason Senator Feingold is able to attract the small donors is that they know that he is willing to stand up for them on the issues that matter, like health care (which Senator Feingold has described as the number one issue he hears concerns about at his listening sessions in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties).

Last week, Senator Feingold announced a proposal for a federal program that would help state governments deliver universal health care to their citizens. A fact sheet on the program is here and an article on it is here. From the article:

"The time has come to see if we can get across our ideological differences--which are serious -- and to see if we can at least get off the dime with the idea of pilot projects," Feingold, D-Wis., told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I thought it was time basically to break a logjam."

Feingold plans to unveil the legislation at a news conference in Milwaukee today, and introduce it in Congress later this week or early next week. He acknowledged it has little chance of passing this year, but said he wants to have something ready to go when a new Congress takes over next year.
I hope this program passes next year. Of course, that all depends on what kind of Congress we get, but I think Senator Feingold's proposal has a number of attractive features: it takes a first step towards the much needed goal of universal health care, it allows states the opportunity to be creative and try different types of programs while still giving them federal financial support (and as Tennesseans for Feingold noted on July 25: Senator Feingold spelled out the specifics of how to pay for it) . It's practical and creative, and it should pass...and then in the Feingold administration we could final achieve the dream ouniversalal healthcare for all Americans.

The health care proposal is one of a series of domestic policy proposals Senator Feingold will be announcing over the next six months, and I look forward to seeing the rest.

One issue? Hardly: Senator Feingold's health care proposal just makes me more amused by a recent criticism of Senator Feingold that I've seen popping up both in the mainstream media and by bloggers supporting other candidates: that Senator Feingold is a "one issue" candidate. An example can be found on this Hotline blog piece from the end of June.

This criticism is confusing because the people who use it never say what "one issue" they are talking about, and Senator Feingold has been a recognized leader on a number of major issues. And I don't just say this as one of his supporters.

People who aren't obsessed political junkies but follow the news might recognize Feingold as one of the two sponsors of that campaign finance law (what other bill in recently history is as well known by the name of its sponsors?) Or they might recognize Feingold as the one senator who voted against the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001. Or they might recognize him as the first senator to propose a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Or they might recognize him as the senator who proposed censuring President Bush for his illegasurveillancece of American citizens.

So please, people who say Senator Feingold is a one issue candidate can you tell me which one issue that is? Is it campaign finance reform? Civil liberties? The war in Iraq? Overreaching by the executive? Or perhaps it's his constant support for fair trade? Or his proposal for universal health care? Since I'm the one blogging in support of Senator Feingold please let me know what the only one issue I care about is; that would really free up a lot of my time.

And one final thought: how many of the possible Democratic candidates besides Senator Feingold are associated in the mind of a generally informed citizen (but not a political junkie) with EVEN one issue?

There's Gore and the environment (he's also been outspoken against the war and the domestisurveillancece programs). John Edwards is making a name for himself by focusing on poverty. Hillary may be remembered for the Clinton Health Care plan, or for her attack on Grand Theft Auto.

I know the other possible candidates care about the issues and have ideas, but right now I can't say there is anyone who people would remember as "The guy who...[whatever]" while there are at least four different issues Senator Feingold might be remembered for.

Iowa: Senator Feingold headed back to the Hawkeye (and First Caucus) State two weeks ago. To read more about it check out the great coverage over at Iowa for Feingold (scroll down to July 16) and .

And a poll to vote in: The Racine Journal Times has a poll asking "Should Russ Feingold run for President?" Cast your vote in favor of Russ!

So that's all for this time...hopefully I'll have more later this week.

Until next time, keep going Forward!



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