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Russ Feingold in Jeopardy of Losing Senate Seat

russ feingold with Obama

The Lesson of Massachusetts

When Republican Scott Brown captured Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, it released a political torrent that swept through the nation. In the past week or so, political pundits couldn't resist talking about it.  And subsequently, ABC News reports that Democrat politicians "are dropping like flies" by not seeking re-election in their respective states. 

The lesson is that no Congressional seat is secure as long as members of Congress continue to ignore their constituents. For instance, the voters asked for more transparency from their government, and they got a lot of closed-door meetings and sweetheart deals for unions.  They asked for bi-partisan health care reform, and they got a purely partisan bill that intentionally excluded Republican ideas.  And they asked for a stimulus package that would help the middle class, and they got a $410 billion Omnibus bill with more than 9,000 earmarks.

In sum, the Obama Administration spent more political capital than they had earned.  And after tripling the national deficit in less than 12 months, a survey among economists now show that the $265 billion already spent on various projects created no new jobs.  Some may ask how is this even possible.  The answer is twofold.  First, only a small fraction of the stimulus was spent last year.  And second, the fraction spent did not appropriately target small businesses like it should have.

Russ Feingold's Seat in Jeopardy

In the wake of Massachusetts election, some are now projecting that Feingold, among three other Wisconsin Democrats, are in danger of losing their seats this November.  Feingold, however, swept the idea of losing under the rug by saying, "Wisconsin voters would not be swayed by what happens outside the state."

It's important to remember that the same Massachusetts voters that voted Scott Brown into office had voted for Obama by an 80% margin.  According to the Washington Post, exit polls from Massachusetts showed that, out of those who voted for Scott Brown, 66% of them did so to send a message to Washington that they oppose the Democrat agenda - including the Democrat version of health care reform.

Russ Feingold's Voting Record is One of Big Spending

One particular problem with Feingold is that he's voted for every spending bill that's come across his pen.  Wait, I take that back; he voted to cut spending on our military while they were fighting a war.  But beside that one patriotic exception, he has been a faithful big spender, and big spenders are not the craze nowadays.

Feingold knows that spenders have fallen out of favor with the public, so lately he has been talking a lot about fiscal responsibility.  When compared with his actual voting record, however, his rhetoric doesn't exactly match up.  To compensate, Feingold has allied himself with a few liberal members of the Senate to oppose the appointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.  Why?  Because it's easier to blame someone else.

Feingold is blaming Bernanke for "irresponsible financial activities", which in Feingold's mind, has created the recent recession.  What evidence does Feingold have to justify his charge?  Nothing.

The Obama Administration continues to support Bernanke and has characterized him as a man who saved us from another Great Depression.  And although I think this might be a bit over the top, Bernanke's fiscal policies were economically sound.

Russ Feingold is a Run-of-the-Mill Democrat that Votes Party-Line

Over-spending is just one problem for Feingold.  Based strictly upon his voting record, Feingold has been rated the second most liberal Senator in the Senate, even out-doing self-described socialist Bernie Sanders.  Despite his manufactured maverick facade, Feingold's voting record reflects a consistent pro-spending, anti-business, anti-military, anti-free trade, and anti-domestic security agenda that's often seen among the base of his party.

For instance, Feingold has consistently voted to obstruct the intelligence gathering networks of the FBI and CIA that's necessary to prevent large-scale terrorist attacks.  In 2001, Feingold was the only Senator out of 100 to vote against the Patriot Act.  

Is Feingold vulnerable to losing his Senate seat?  Yes. Feingold's record on spending and domestic security will be harmful to his campaign this year.  And more importantly, his unwavering support for an unpopular health care reform bill, in spite of widespread protestations by his constituents, will likely be his hemlock.  In Massachusetts, voters sent a clear message to Washington that they didn't want their version health care reform.  Perhaps it's time that Wisconsin sends the same message.

Comments (4)
  • MIKE

    Actually as an answer to Jim, it is ENTIRELY true that Feingold is a "run of the mill Democrat who votes the party line" That is exactly what he has done this past year without exception.

    As a supporter of Feingold in the past, I have reluctantly concluded that he has been in Washington too long and is out of touch with us. I heard him on the radio claiming that the health care bill was a MODERATE proposal and that he couldn't understand why so many constituents were opposed. I don't think he speaks for us any longer.

  • Jim  - really mike?

    Mike, did you notice how I offered information to back up my statement? You didn't even offer an example of your opinion why Feingold is a "run of the mill Democrat who votes the party line," much less numbers, as I did.

    I fail to see how a health care bill without a public option even, is so radical. I'd ask you to explain, but you only seem able to make statements sans facts.

  • Aaron M. Rodriguez

    Jim,

    The database that you linked to is misleading because it includes more than the up or down votes on major legislation. It includes motions, tabling (postponements) clotures and other Congressional actions that I did not mean to include into my statement.

    Perhaps I should have worded it differently. Following your link you will see that there are instances where Feingold voted against his own party and the GOP at the same time. In other words, there were votes where both parties came together toward the center, but Feingold refused to cooperate because of his far left wing view - especially on issues that involve military appropriations.

    Is Feingold a run-of-the-mill democrat? Yes and no. Yes, because he votes against the GOP a lot, which satisfies the base. No, because when he opposes his party, it's primarily because they don't seem to be liberal enough for him.

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