Friday, July 11, 2008

The Veepstakes III: Disappointing !!

The likelihood of Senator Feingold being selected as VP is pretty remote. But I think two recent actions by Senator Obama have (ever so) slightly increased the odds he could be picked.

My previous post discusses Senator Feingold's assets as a potential VP. Points #1 and #2 are salient here because of Obama's recent decision to (1) opt out of public funding for the general election, and (2) vote in favor of the new FISA law that expands warrantless wiretapping powers and grants telecom companies immunity for helping the government illegally wiretap its citizens. Both decisions have brought down criticism and called into question whether Obama is a transformational politician, or just a regular politician with a tremendous oratorical gift. Selecting Senator Feingold as his running mate should effectively quell these concerns.

Senator Obama's decision on campaign financing was probably not that damaging. However, it does raise the question of whether he would seriously try to reform campaign financing, should he win in November. Senator Feingold on the ticket would send a message that, indeed, he is serious about reforming our political system to limit the undue influence of money.

Senator Obama's vote on FISA, on the other hand, is seriously outraging a lot of folks, and is, to me, his most disappointing move so far. I'm not sure what the senator or his advisers were thinking, because recent ELECTORAL results show that this issue does not benefit Republicans. The folks at Daily Kos are covering this angle quite well, but in short, Republicans tried to use this particular "soft on terrorists" argument throughout 2006, and in all the special elections so far in 2008. The end result? They lost everything. Let's not forget that in 2006 the Republicans did not flip ANY seats. They lost EVERY race against Democratic incumbents and against candidates seeking to hold Democratic open seats. That was an historic routing. Furthermore, in 2008 they've lost 3 very RED districts, including the former Speaker of House's district.

Now I don't believe the electorate gave this drubbing to the Republicans because they were inspired by the Democrats' position on warrantless wiretapping. That's not the point. Rather, the voters IGNORED all the dire predictions of terribleness that the Republicans were claiming would happen if Democrats won. There has been no evidence to suggest that this November the voters are suddenly going to start buying an argument they've already rejected.

By endorsing the new FISA law, Obama has, at best, insulated himself against a political attack that has no effectiveness. At worst he's cleaved a huge wedge within his base. This is not irreparable, but it means that every future tack to the center will further exacerbate these tensions. Unless... he makes prominent tacks back to the left.

Picking Senator Feingold would not only help heal that rift, it would signal his re-commitment to a new kind of politics. Senator Feingold is a maverick within the Democratic Party, with a history of trying to change "politics as usual." His selection would validate the faith and hope that I have placed in Senator Obama's commitment to do things differently, and to shake off the shackles of the mainstream and conventional wisdom's framework of Left vs. Right, Democrat vs. Republican, weakness vs. strength, and "the way it is" vs. "the way it should be."

Friday, January 11, 2008

We STILL Want the Ball and We're STILL Going to Score!!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Veepstakes II

It's been awhile since I came 'round these parts. Things in my non-blogging life have been VERY busy, including new responsibilities at work. So blogging has taken a MAJOR backseat to everything else.

But we're entering the serious season for the '08 presidential campaign (some would say we're already there, but I'm not so sure). Now I'd expressed my feelings about the VP slot and Senator Feingold some time ago. The field has changed somewhat since I wrote that, and it might be time to evaluate how well the Senator would fit with the various potential nominees.

The first thing to consider, though, is what are the assets and demerits that Senator Feingold would bring to a Democratic ticket. That is what I propose to start doing in my brief blogging stints over the next few months as we head into the first primaries and caucuses.

So let's start with the pros. Here are the top 3 reasons I supported a Feingold '08 presidential run. It seems logical to begin there for why a Feingold '08 VP run also makes sense. I wrote the following back in '06 and may have posted it as a comment on MaxSPEAK!
3. He opposed the Iraq War and was the first senator (and probably the first prominent Democrat) to call for withdrawal of our troops. In truth he does not propose an immediate withdrawal, but he calls for a timetable that will allow us to pull out most or all by this Christmas (I think). He supported the Afghanistan invasion which takes him out of the pacifist camp, for good or bad, and I think he supported Kosovo (yes, you would think a Feingold '08 supporter would have the facts more closely at hand, but damnit I'm a blogger, not a reality-based reporter).

2. He is practically the sole Senate Democrat who takes threats to our civil liberties seriously. His lead role in opposing both the Patriot Act and the NSA spying program are clear examples of this. He clearly understands that the Bush Administration (aided by both parties in Congress) has eroded the safeguards provided by the Constitution, and that if we do not draw the line here and fight for these freedoms, we risk losing them forever.

1. He understands the threat posed by an unregulated campaign financing system. To me this is the first step a poltician must take to demonstrate that they understand the larger problem of growing power of corporations to influence (i.e. dictate) the terms and conditions of the Social Contract. I place this at #1 because it is a problem that predates #2 & #3, and will be with us long after we've "won" the war on terrorism. Also, most problems (unrelated to fighting terrorism, and possible a few related to it) we have today flow from this larger problem. The '90s were a gigantic giveaway to corporations (starting with NAFTA), at the expense of protections for working people. This trend started before Clinton's tenure in the White House, but it certainly was accelerated during that time, and obviously Bush has not seen fit to let up on the accelerator. I don't know the extent to which Feingold can or will stem this tide, but the fact that he chose as his first major legislative effort the issue of campaign financing suggests he's on the right track.
So there's the start. While a VP candidacy would not allow Senator Feingold the same freedom to explore these issues as a presidential one, they still stand as the most compelling reasons to support him for just about anything.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well SOMEBODY Gets It!

I've been arguing this for years! Glad somebody put it in book form. You can bet it will rocket to the top of my reading list just as soon as I get my hands on it.

UPDATE: I finally bought this from Amazon and it arrived a few days ago. I'll get started on it as soon as I wind my way through the tragedy that was the Spanish Civil War with George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Still the Man

Explain to me again why this guy is not running for president?

He followed that up with this on MSNBC. (Via Atrios).

His comments nail this, and any Democrats saying otherwise are just engaging in wishful thinking.

Markos has some good analysis here and here.

I don't have much to add to what they say, but this is extremely disappointing. I'm not sure what's to be done about it. Hopefully we'll see a dramatic shift in support towards Dem presidential candidates who oppose this bill, and away from those who support it or equivocate on it.

Now is not the time for weak resolve.

Monday, January 15, 2007

What's Been Goin' On

Hey folks (assuming any of you are still out there).

Things have been typically hectic with the holidays and all. Plus, with Senator Feingold out of the presidential race, the raison d'etre of Pacific Northwest For Feingold seems to be called into question.

The Senator was nice enough to send a thank you note to the folks at Run Russ Run. It was a kind gesture to folks who spent a lot of time working to make President Feingold a reality.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share a little of what's been happening 'round these parts for the last month and a half.


He turns 5 months old today. I've been spending a lot of time with the little one. It never feels like enough, but I'm pretty happy to have as much time with him as I do. Above is a quick snapshot of the little fella at Christmas time. No, those presents weren't all for him. His pile was so big we had to put it at his grandma's house. Seriously, we're still going through bags and running across unopened toys for the tyke.

In more recent news, he took his first bite of "solid" food yesterday. He's growing up, which is wonderful to watch, but it does really feel like it's happening all too quickly.


What can I say about the world of politics? It seems that so much has happened, yet so little. The President wants to escalate the Iraq War with 20,000 more troops for a purpose that is not entirely clear, and with an outcome that is completely uncertain. While the mood of the country is decidedly opposed to this effort, it hasn't translated into widespread street action like we saw during the Vietnam War, or even in the build-up to this war.

The Democrats have retaken Congress and are pushing forward with their agenda. Nothing terribly remarkable or exciting has shaken loose yet, and it's unclear if the work the House does in its first 100 hours will be taken up by the Senate, but at least stuff's getting done that doesn't involve meddling in people's end of life decisions.


We all know the '08 campaign is in full-swing, and we all know that this will indeed be one of the most interesting presidential races in a long time. This is a function of the issues that are dominating our lives (Iraq, the environment, econominics), and the fact that the primaries are (theoretically) wide open with no president or vice-president in the race or even talking of getting into the race.

We also all know the bitter disappointment of losing our favorite candidate. At the moment I don't feel I have a political home for 2008. I am favorably disposed towards Edwards, moreso now than in 2004, because he speaks to the issues that motivate me the most, and he has forthrightly admitted his Iraq War vote was a mistake. I also like what Obama says when I listen to him, but his brief tenure in the Senate has been marked by a few disappointing votes. I sense there's a struggle within Obama between the principled and the practical, and rather than resolve that struggle one way or the other, he tries to split the difference. Now, he does it with an eloquence and vision that is incredibly compelling. But I'm skeptical of candidates who sound good, but don't do good.

Everyone else in the race bores me to greater or lesser degrees. I would love nothing better than to see the glass ceiling of presidential politics shattered, but Clinton is substantively far from what I would want in my standard-bearer. Biden and Dodd reek of the DC status quo, even though they come to it from different political vantage points. Richardson is mostly unknown to me, and while I am thrilled at the prospect of another artificial barrier being broken, but I'd have to learn a lot more about him to become enthusiastic.

It goes without saying that the Republican candidates offer nothing redeeming.

For now I am adrift in the sea of the 2008 race, and I hope to take a long and hard look at whichever candidate I decide to suport. I may just sit out the whole primary altogether, but given the issues I mentioned before, I don't feel right doing that.


Similar to my 2008 ambivalence, I am still uncertain what I want to do blogging-wise. I like the idea of blogging, and I generally enjoy myself when I do it. If I continue (beyond periodic posts here), I'd want to do so with a less focused blog. I'd like to spend time writing about politics beyond the presidential race, and I'd also like to write about things beyond politics (movies, books etc.). But one of the things that I continually ask myself is: What Would You Say? At the moment, I'm not convinced that I have much intelligent to contribute to the dialogue. And when the likes of billmon call it quits, it's difficult to see how my voice will enhance anything. I haven't made a decision, and probably won't for a while longer yet. But that is my thinking so far.


Some of you may remember my mea culpa when the Hawks lost the Super Bowl last year. Well, this year I did everything I could think of to avoid the same fate, and they still loss. A rational person would deduce that that means his menial rituals on game day are irrelevant. HA! What do you know!? Trust me, I'll be back next year with even MORE ridiculous rites and rituals, and what's worse, I'll be instilling them in my son!

This season was painful to watch in many respects, and now it is mercifully over. But the guys did a lot that made me proud of them, and definitely showed that they were a team to be reckoned with, despite what the national sports media thought. I also discovered Field Gulls, and have enjoyed reading the folks over there. They're the kind of fans I can relate to because they take a critical eye to everything, both pro and con for the Hawks.

Like they say, there's always next year, and I'm looking forward to it already.


I just want to go on record as asserting that I am, and have been, a long-time Trailblazers and Mariners fan, and though my intensity for both teams has waned, I do keep tabs on them and watch how they're doing. For the Blazers, I am thrilled that we traded for Brandon Roy, and I look forward to watching him rebuild this team.


Best movie I've seen in awhile: The Departed.
Second best movie I've seen in awhile: Brick.
Best television series I'm watching on DVD: The Wire (season 2 at the moment)
Best television series I'm watching on TV: The Office

That's all for now. Sorry for the long post.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Veepstakes

The possibility that an '08 Democratic ticket will have Senator Feingold on it is still open.

Obviously I would welcome this eventuality, and it might revive this and other Feingold blogs. But I've refrained from discussing or speculating about this because this is/was a Feingold for PRESIDENT blog. I wasn't interested in second banana.

But since the good senator has left us no choice, now I suppose it can be open season on all the bananas.

For many, myself included, Senator Feingold would be the perfect balancing choice for VP, given that the presidential nominee will be some mushy faux-centrist type. On the issue of Iraq (which may loom as the issue of the day) the Democratic nominee will almost certainly have voted to allow President Bush to start this war (Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Biden, etc.) or at least supported the war in principle (Vilsack). Edwards at least has admitted he made a mistake, while the others now pretend they weren't really for it before they were against it.

Unfortunately Feingold is unlikely to be selected, even though there are good reasons to pick him. Why? Well there are a number of reasons that anyone could point to (twice divorced, too liberal), but I'm pretty sure the one major reason will be his vote against dismissing the impeachment charges against President Clinton. It was a vintage Feingold move, showing his independence of Democratic orthodoxy and his willingness to let the Republicans make fools out of themselves if they wanted to. But the Democratic Party is very much in love with President Clinton, and Feingold's vote may have shown too much independence for the party establishment to forgive and forget.

Regardless, it gives those of us in Feingold land something to be cheerful about!

Is Nothing Sacred?

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I did, and I am very thankful for that.

However, while I was busy enjoying time with my family, both immediate and extended, some of the folks at the local Safeway were busy working. I had to run to the store the night before to pick up some last minute items for T-Day, and what do I learn? That Safeway is open on Thanksgiving Day from 6am to 11pm. Which means that some poor saps had to spend our national day of thanks toiling instead of being able to enjoy the day with the people they love.

I am kinda old fashioned about some things, and this is definitely one of them. It is downright un-American to be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day when you don't have to be. Obviously some people can't have the day off (cops, firemen, etc.), but most everyone else can, so why not give your workers a break?

Could the workers use the money? I'm sure they probably could. But here's a radical idea: Give them a PAID holiday! Could the folks who actually work be making more money than normal (i.e. time and a half, double time). I would f***ing hope so, but again, if the company is interested in seeing its workers with more money, they can give them a raise or a bonus.

The bottom line is that there is very little need for most places to be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas. And even if they feel compelled to be open they at least should have the decency to close early and let their workers go home and be with their families. Anything else is un-American.