I feel blessed to have Sen. Russ Feingold representing me in Congress. I mean that, he is a rare beast, a principled member of Congress. But that also means he does things like this, where he goes overboard in his quixotic defense of liberties that are not under attack and calls for the Senate to censure the President for the NSA surveillance.
"The President must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law and then misleading the country about its existence and its legality," Feingold said."
That's part of the problem right there Senator, you ought not make factual statements that are not factual. It is not clear by any stretch of the imagination that the President violated the law. It is hyperbolic and prejudges a program that has never been adjudicated, you see Senator, that is when an action is clearly in violation of a law. When the legal advisors to the President determine that a course of action is proper and they give the green light, considerable weight is given to that. The President's authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications during wartime has never been abridged by any court anywhere, so the smart play would be to hold your fire.
Sen. Feingold is aware of this and that Congress was briefed on the program, and also that there was a classified whistleblower program available if they actually thought it was criminal. His statement that the President misled the country about the existence of the program shows why I could never trust him with our national security. The real crime is that his colleague Sen. Rockefeller is quite probably the one who leaked the existence of this program, committing the only criminal offense here.
I have been an admirer of the Senator as one of a handful of principled people in Congress, but he is ensuring that he will never be President. He will run and he will do well in the primaries because he appeals to the MoveOn, Deaniac crowd that dominates the primaries. That also seals his fate as a national candidate, as he holds far too many positions that leave the rest of us scratching our heads. The only vote against the Patriot Act, right after 9/11? Censure the President for listening to Al Qaeda phone calls to the US? These positions and plenty of others make it impossible for the Senator to garner anywhere near the support from the middle he would need to do more than get the nomination.
I also believe he will drag the Democrats well to the left of electability during the primaries. Either Hillary abandons the left's base, who heart Feingold, and risks losing them to a Green or Progressive candidate. Or she panders to them and reminds the moderates she has been pandering to recently, that she is morally bankrupt. She has no beliefs, just temporary facades she adds and loses depending on utility. I relish the demolition derby as the Dems try to decide if they will follow their left wing on principle and lose, or abandon them and still lose.
I feel happy for the Progressives who lap up the windmill tiltings of John Conyers, Bernie Sanders and of course the goodly Don Feingold. If I lived in the world they do, I would relish such noble campaigners. But I don't and neither do more than 2/3rds of Americans.
I will always enjoy watching the extremely infrequent instances of principle prevailing in Congress, even as it ensures it's actor will suffer defeat for doing so.
- Uncle J