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The True Meaning of Russ Feingold

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It would be very easy to succumb to complacency after the recent election. The Republican Party betrayed and raped this nation — leaving many of us sick to our stomachs and embarrassed to be Americans.

But thanks to a slim majority of a minority of Americans who bothered to vote on November 7, the Democrats have taken control of Congress and the Governorships.

The taste of celebration and self-congratulation in the air has been exceedingly and deliciously palpable. It was as if you could hear a nationwide sigh of relief, accompanied by some sort of collective mass pat on the back.

But the painful and brutal truth is that we are still responsible for the terrible and abominable mistakes, misdeeds, and lies of the past six years, and simply firing a bunch of politicians does not make it all go away. The November 7 Democratic victory does not miraculously excuse this nation from the terrible, terrible mess we've made.

Rumsfeld may soon be indicted by a German court for crimes against humanity, while the White House is discussing a possible medal. And Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are all f"orgive and forget". No impeachment. No investigations. No accountability for constitutional crimes, crimes against humanity and wide scale violations of international law and international treaties. I suppose it's the Christian thing to do to turn the other cheek.

Unfortunately, a rightfully outraged Islamic world sees this differently and will continue to clamor for justice. They will understandably expect more than some bland chatter about an end to bipartisanship. The horrors of 9/11 did not make George W. Bush less of an idiot. The elections of 11/7 did not make him less of a criminal, and for us to pretend otherwise is a betrayal of law and even our national soul.

I am full of hope that Nancy Pelosi and a Democratic Congress can do great things, but it will take inspiration, leadership, courage, risk-taking, and uncompromising integrity.

And that's where things get scary.

Democrats won because a sufficient number of people voted to fire the Republican party. As a result, many good leaders were cast aside because of their Republican affiliation and many mediocre and even some moronic politicians are now in Congress simply because of their Democratic affiliation.

The very big question is whether or not the Democrats will deliver the responsible and visionary government so critically vital to our survival, or will we see a Democratic party pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to win the White House in 2008.

Hillary Clinton is a competent professional bureaucrat who gets non-controversial things done. Her 2008 candidacy is based solely on her gender and her husband. Look beyond her "celebrity" and you'll find a competent but boring professional lacking the vision, courage, and leadership this nation so desperately needs.

On the other hand, a fiery, courageous visionary, Russ Feingold, has withdrawn this past weekend from the presidential race because he doesn't want to waste his time on a "long shot."

And that is the point in a proverbial nutshell. Politicians with vision and courage are long shots. Politicians who challenge the fewest number of people and, apparently, stand for very little are the front-runners.

Feingold stands firmly for his beliefs. Clinton shuffles between maybe and could be.

In the meantime, American troops are dying almost daily, and hundreds more are being mutilated for life while our politicians do lunch and exchange endless pleasantries as if nothing is wrong.

In the meantime, dozens of Iraqi lives are daily swept away by an American-made chaos.

In the meantime, every few seconds, a new Islamic suicide bomber is born because the United States lives in a world where we believe ourselves to be above the law, above morality, and above justice.

The other day, some Al Qaeda crazy said he won't stop until the White House is in flames. Figuratively speaking, isn't that what the Democrats should be saying? Instead, they're looking forward to working with the President and his administration because, on November 8, George W. Bush woke up a Constitution-loving, compassionate, and humane man.

Our government is broken and our national soul is in grave peril. Hugging and kissing the men and women who brought us to this point is not going to fix anything. Oh, it might win a popularity contest, but contrary to the conventional wisdom, this isn't about making friends. And this surely isn't about healing wounds between Democrats and Republicans.  This is about saving a critically ill patient: America. When a patient is rushed to the ER with a flesh-eating bacteria, what doctor immediately invites the bacteria to lunch?

Rumsfeld, Delay, Foley, Frist, Allen, Sherwood, Hastert, Ney, this nation has had enough of politicians who smile and shake hands by day and screw us by night. Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership must understand that while nice is nice, it's time for scowling and brutal honesty. Bigots are bigots, not Christians. Thieves are thieves, not lobbyists. Liars are liars, not Presidents.

And leaders are visionaries with courage, not the lowest common celebrity denominator.

Russ Feingolds should be our front runners and Hillary Clintons should be the long shots.

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  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Politicians with vision and courage are long shots. Politicians who challenge the fewest number of people and apparently stand for very little are the front-runners.

    Quoted for truth, sir. Quoted for truth.

    I’ve yet to encounter a more principled politician in Washington today than Russ Feingold. Name one other person so firm in his promise that he won’t accept pay raises, that he returns to the Treasury the difference between his current salary and his salary at the start of his tenure? It saddens me that he won’t be running for president. he had my vote.

  • Baronius

    The Republicans have a habit of letting their top conservative and top moderate fight it out. Whichever one wins chooses a running mate from the other wing. It seems that the Democrats have taken to nominating the person who’s towed the line longest; a kind of lifetime achievement award. That’s a bad strategy. It’s that kind of thinking that got Nixon on the ticket 5 times.

  • Donnie Marler

    Russ Feingold as the Democratic nominee would delight every Republican in America. He wouldn’t have a prayer.

  • Richard J. Palmer

    I have admired Russ Feingold for a long time and was hoping that he might be our next president. However, I can understand his decision. He knows that good and principled people do not last long in the presidency. Some men are too good, for instance, Carter. He is goodness personified but was unable because of the world circumstances to be a “great” president. Bush will be long remembered as Mr. Incompetence. He is so clueless that he hasn’t really woken up to the fact that he lost the election. Yes, he, himself, was the target of the democrats and they were not bamboozled by the Republican spin doctors who blur everything even Kerry’s message against Bush. They deliberately turned it into an attack on the troops because in that way they could use it against their horrible “liberal” enemy, the Democrats. None of their spinning worked because the country is sick of deceit, of lies, of abuse, and above all of WAR. We want our boys away from that horror and back home. Our nation is bleeding with each of our boys who is slaughtered in this useless war. My heart bleeds for the thousands of innocent Iraquis whom I see on T.V. every day, holding up their hands and screaming in grief. They too have feelings, families, and love.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Wonderful article. While I am one of the voices expressing some hope for bipartisan, conciliatory progress starting in January, I certainly share your “bigots are bigots, liars are liars” righteous indignation.

    At least Feingold will still be in the Senate, and now in the majority, fighting the good fight. But I doubt that anyone else will take up the positions of the antiwar left in the 2008 race, which is too bad, because even an unsuccessful run might force Clinton and others to reconsider their “me too” hawkish stance. Obama perhaps?

  • Baronius

    “Some men are too good, for instance, Carter.”

    That pathetic, bitter failure has done nothing but advertise his own holiness since 1981. No, since 1976. Carter-worship perpetuates the myth that good people can’t succeed in politics.

  • irv Thomas

    As I read it, Feingold declines to run because he wants to put energy into developing his Progressive Democrats of America. There could be a lot of meaning behind this. Feingold has fully demonstrated his intent to make a more meaningful politics, and it could very well be that he is maintaining his options, waiting to see a) what the new play-callers in Congress actually DO, and b) how the candidate race actually shapes up. As well as c) Where the drive for impeachment actually goes, during the next half year or so.

    In other words, by not committing at this time, he stays on high ground until he better knows the lay of the land. Comprende?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Impeachment is a nuclear option, and talk of it shouldn’t be casually tossed around. In the unlikely event that the second president in a row actually faced impeachment, the disruption to the country would be unthinkable. We need to keep level heads and win our arguments at the ballot box.

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    What kind of nation are we if we impeach presidents for covering up campaign malfesance and acts of marital infidelity but not for international crimes against humanity?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s not going to happen, and our energies are better expended elsewhere. And I think you know that.

  • Martin Lav

    “disruption to the country”

    Like WWIII being played out as we speak perhaps?

    Give me a freekin break!
    If we had half a nut and half a brain, we would bring the entire cast of BushCo. thugs up on charges of crimes against humanity and possibly avert 2 more generations of WWIII being conducted in the name of Islam, but amounting to nothing more than the haves versus the have-nots.

  • Baronius

    That’s telling them, Martin! Those filthy haves, sitting on Madrid rail cars and flying on planes out of Logan. I bet the girls in Afghanistan could have gone to school, but they were just too lazy. And you just know that people visiting Indonesia deserve to be blown up. It’s the have-nots, with last names like bin Laden and Saud, that have to carry the weight of the world.

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