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.