The Endorsement Of Russ Feingold

This is probably the easiest article I will write in 2015. Thursday my wife and I were driving along when my BlackBerry buzzed with an e-mail from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announcing that Russ Feingold was running for the Senate in Wisconsin and that she was supporting him. As the biggest smile of the day had yet to fade from my face my only decision was what day to publish my endorsement.

This race promises to be a big time political rematch. As part of the 2010 Tea Party/Republican wave Ron Johnson defeated Feingold by 105,041 votes as Feingold tried to secure a fourth Senate term. With 2016 being a presidential year Wisconsin is another excellent Democratic pickup opportunity.

Feingold checks virtually every progressive box. He is in the mold of Warren, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Ohio’s Sherrod Brown. Yet he is far from a rubber stamp. His record on gun regulations is mixed and reflects thinking over predicable knee jerk reactions.

He is not afraid to be a lone wolf or part of a small minority when he feels strongly about a bill. In 2001 he was the only Senator with the courage to vote against the Patriot Act. That vote was not only bold; it proved to be insightful. Feingold’s issue with the Patriot Act is that it would be used to erode civil liberties – history proved him to be correct. He was one of a small handful of Senators who voted against the resolution that George W. Bush ended up using to justify the invasion of Iraq. That vote looks pretty smart today.

While deservedly enjoying a reputation as very liberal he was not afraid to join with a conservative Republican when the cause was correct. He was the co-author of the famous McCain-Feingold Act which sought to limit the role of money in American elections. The Act was significantly watered down in the legislative process and later all but killed by the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and to a lesser degree in McCutcheon.

Evidence of his brilliance was apparent well before he reached the Senate in 1993. He earned his Bachelor’s at the University of Wisconsin making Phi Beta Kappa and earning a Rhodes scholarship in the process. After returning from Oxford he completed his education at Harvard Law.

He has a track record on several issues that are or will be hot between now and November of next year. He has long been an opponent of capital punishment and voted against NAFTA along with several other trade agreements.

The money will be stacked against him, but I trust the people of Wisconsin will be with him. It is with extreme pleasure that endorses Russ Feingold for the United States Senate from Wisconsin!

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