Reason #467 to love Sen. Russ Feingold

Commentary from Salon.com’s War Room blog on Feingold’s July 22 Meet the Press interview, (jump to page 3 for Feingold’s section):

[Fellow UW Grad] Tim Russert: You were—used the word redeployed. John Burns, the bureau chief in Baghdad for The New York Times, who’s lived there for some time, offered these words this week: “It seems to me incontrovertible that the most likely outcome of an American withdrawal any time soon would be cataclysmic violence. And I find that to be widely agreed” among “Iraqis, including Iraqis who strongly opposed the invasion.” Is—are you concerned that we leave behind violence, catastrophe, genocide?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Let’s be clear what we have now. We now have cataclysmic violence. That’s the status quo. It is possible that things would get worse if we left; it is possible that things would get better. But this is what I believe: Right now we’re holding the bag in Iraq. The other countries in the region—Iran, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait—they have an interest in stability in Iraq because, if what you say will happen, it will cause great instability in their countries and danger for them. The only way we get them engaged, the only way they put up the money and the resources to stabilize this situation is if we stop what they consider to be an occupation of Iraq. So I think the only way to avoid the situation getting worse is for us to orderly redeploy our troops and get these other countries engaged in what is in their own interest, which is a stable Iraq.

Tim Russert: Last year you introduced a resolution to censure the president regarding the wiretapping of Americans within the U.S. under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. You got three other Democrats to join with you. Just four Democrats. Isn’t this the futile effort that will be described simply as politics?

Sen. Feingold: Well, let’s see what actually happened, Tim. What happened was, after I introduced the censure resolution, there was a lot of talk that didn’t mean anything. But what did the administration do? They stopped this TSP program. They brought it within the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. When they saw that there was sentiment in this country and almost every legal scholar saying that their idea that they could just make up their own laws was wrong, they brought it within the program. So I think it had a very positive impact. And it sets the stage for setting the historical record here, which is that this administration has done the greatest assault on our Constitution perhaps in American history.

Sen. Feingold: “Well, there’s a lot of sentiment in the country, even the polls show it, for actually impeaching the president and the vice president. I think that they have committed impeachable offenses with regard to this terrorist surveillance program and making up their own program. What I am proposing is a moderate course, not tying up the Senate and the House with an impeachment trial, but simply passing resolutions that make sure that the historical record shows the way they have weakened our country, weakened our country militarily and against al-Qaeda, and weakened our country’s fundamental document, the Constitution. I think that’s a reasonable course and does not get in the way of our normal work. But the American people are outraged at the way they’ve been treated. They are outraged at the dishonesty that they have been subjected to. The American people—we deserve better than the way we’ve been treated, and somehow this has to be reflected.”

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4 Responses to Reason #467 to love Sen. Russ Feingold

  1. jack Bruss says:

    The Democrats, who now control both houses of Congress, have nothing to offer in the way of positive improvements for the country. So, instead, they take up their time in pointless efforts to mask their ineffectiveness since taking power. Things like non binding resolutions to protest funding the war, sleepovers to protest continued perseverence of the war, and measures to impeach or censure the President serve only to hide the fact that this Congress has done nothing of substance since they took over.

    This is hardly a reason to love any of them, including Feingold, one of the more visible artitects of the Senates “policy” making.

  2. laurafern says:

    In your opinion, was the impeachment of President Clinton an equally pointless task? He was quite popular at the time, so there was no real popular support for his leaving office.

    I disagree that it is nothing of substance. First of all, he stated that he’s not tying up a lot of time by attempting an unlikely impeachment, but a censure so that the historical record shows that people were outraged (which MANY are) and that there was some action taken.

    The Democrats have already tried to set a timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq, which failed because of Republican and Presidential opposition, despite it being what the public wants. Democrats are also attempting earmark legislation and immigration reform, although both parties are equally to blame for not passing that.

  3. jack Bruss says:

    Actually, I did think the impeachment of Clinton was pointless. Although he did clearly break the law by lying under oath to a grand jury (much worse than Scooter Libbys mis recollections), I didn’t think that rose to the level to call for impeachment, as much as I couldn’t stand the man.

    George Bush, thankfully, is not prosecuting the war on terror on the basis of opinion polls. He is sticking to his convictions that supporting a fledging democracy in the center of the Middle East may be the least costly way to win the long term war before a catastrophe much larger than 9/11 occurs.

  4. laurafern says:

    Yes, but you are now solidly in the minority with that opinion of the war. You may agree with Bush, but very few people still do. Even if you read the opinion of generals and military officials, most agree that we not only went into the war under false pretenses with extremely unrealistic expectations, but have done much more harm than good. The status quo is not working, not improving life for anyone, so why not try something different?

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