Senator Russ Feingold is an embarrassment to the US Senate, which makes him an authentic hero of the Republic. The Wisconsin senator gets up and says out loud what half of the country is thinking and talks about every day. This President broke the law and lied about it; he trashed the Constitution and hides himself in the flag. Feingold asks: Shouldn’t the Senate say something about this, at least express our disapproval…
The real story–naturally overlooked by cynical editors–is that an honest truth-teller is loose in the fun house and disturbing the clowns. Man bites dog, senator defends Constitution.
Feingold has a reputation for such quaint deviations–a naïf who voted against the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act. On principle! How naïve is that? He talks like he might run for President, yet he seems tone-deaf to the artful resonances of power politics–the cutesy games insiders play and the press cherishes.
…The media, instead of kissing off Feingold as a dumb politician, might do a little honest reporting on the substance of what he is saying.
For the moment, however, let us celebrate the man. The club will try to shove him in a closet and forget his little unpleasantness ever happened. I hope they fail and other Dems are properly embarrassed. Amid scandals in high places, Senator Feingold is fresh air. The country should rise up and sing.
Greider also notes that Feingold comes from a long (and unfortunately virtually dead) tradition of senatorial mavericks like Sam Ervin, Wayne Morse, Ernest Gruening and others who were not afraid to buck their Party on issues of principle. And in their day, their Party did not attempt to punish them for the iconoclasm. Remember Profiles in Courage? Could anyone write such a book today? The very idea seems hopelessly out of date in this cynical political world of ours.