04 July 2006

Russ Feingold, Part II

What Is Russ Feingold On?

Part II
Russ Feingold (D-Atlantis) is full of something, and it isn't patriotic fervor.
All quotes in this post are taken from his 25 June 2006 appearance on Meet The Press with Tim Russert, whose quotes are indicated by RF and TR, respectively.

Russ Feingold on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program:
RF: ...President Karzai said that he’s very concerned. He said it just yesterday, apparently. He’s very concerned that our strategy in the fight against terrorism isn’t working. He’s concerned that we’re not dealing with the financing of terrorists.
Senator Feingold appears to be criticizing the Bush administration by agreeing with remarks from President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai. Therefore, Feingold seems to think that we are not doing enough to deal with terrorist finances. So we may safely consider Feingold an ardent supporter of TFTP, aka SWIFT. We thank you for your support, Senator, and will count on you when the time comes.

Russ Feingold on Offense:
RF: We’re on the defensive in many of the places in the world. We’re on the defensive in Afghanistan right now in some ways. [...] So even in Afghanistan, which was, of course, an intervention that I supported, we don’t have our eye on the ball, and we need to win that battle. You notice I’ve never called for leaving Afghanistan. I’ve never called for a timetable to leave Afghanistan. That is a situation that we have got to prevail in, and we have lost ground in Afghanistan because our resources have been diverted to Iraq. That is well known, that our ability to succeed in Afghanistan has been hampered by the bad decision to go into Iraq.
U.S. Troops in Tora Bora, in Baghdad, and other such far-flung places are not on the defensive. Accountants and Travel Agents in the World Trade Towers were on the defensive. Note to Russ: when you're playing on your own turf, it's defense. We are on the offense in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. What Feingold wants to do is drop the ball at the ten-yard line ("cut") and stroll calmly for the benches ("run"). And if the enemy should, say, pick that ball up and run it into our territory (again), then it would be okay with Senator Feingold to go back and start all over again (see Russ Feingold on Quagmires).

Russ Feingold on Motivation:
TR: You said some Democratic senators told you privately they felt intimidated to vote for the war. Why?
RF: They may not have used that exact word, but they certainly indicated that they felt that there was enormous political pressure. Because the White House has done a terrible job of running the fight against terrorism. A terrible job in Iraq, but they’ve done a brilliant job of intimidating Democrats.
First, this makes no real sense. Feingold says "The administration is terrible at war planning and execution, and THEREFORE Democrats are intimidating into voting for the war? Huh? If it were true that the administration were so bad at all of this, it would be a simple thing to say, "Your war is a disaster and we're not following you there--bring the troops home NOW." SO this argument makes no sense--he is arguing against his own cause. I'll assume that the question caught him off-guard, and he simply retreated incoherently into talking points e.g., war bad, Rumsfeld incompetent, Bush lied, etc. So we'll give him a pass of sorts on this. The next example, however, is pretty clear-cut. The very next thing he said was this:
Somehow Democrats are afraid to say, “Look, not only was this a mistake, but it continues to be a mistake and it’s being run in a mistaken way.” And I cannot understand why the structure of the Democratic Party, the consultants that are here in Washington, constantly advise Democrats not to take a strong stand. This election could turn on this Iraq issue, in fact, the 2006 election, and maybe even 2008. The party that says we have a reasonable plan to bring the troops home by, by this date and to refocus on the anti-terrorism issue is the party that will win.
Russ Feingold says that it is consultants setting the Democrats' agenda. Fair enough, there's a lot of that going around. Let's admit that all politicians are motivated by a mixture of causes, noble and well, ignoble. Ignoble causes will include petty political calculations, but there's a harsh consideration here; if you lose your office, it won't matter what any other motivations of yours had been. So we'll admit that this mixture of motivations is a healthy part of any government.
This means also that anybody who tells you that his motivations are completely noble is completely suspect.
RF: The president—see, he has to give up the—his goal here, which is, which is not consistent with the interests of the American people. His goal is to broaden the power of the executive beyond all reason, it’s an abuse of power. His goal should be to go after the terrorists, not to try to broaden the power of the president beyond all reason.
But:
TR: The Washington Post [says that] 56 percent of Americans feel that you are using [your motion to censure President Bush] for political advantage. Do you agree with that analysis?
RF: Well, of course I don’t agree that I’m doing it for political purposes. That same poll, Tim, showed that a very substantial number of Americans supported the censure resolution, regardless of what they thought my motives are.
As to my motives, Tim, I came here to Washington to stand up for the Constitution and for the Bill of Rights. I believe this is an historical affront to the Constitution. I guarantee you, that is the reason I proposed it; that is what I believe. ...our children and grandchildren... where were the representatives...? Where were the congressmen, where were the senators...?
That’s my motive, believe it or not.
I don't believe it. Chalk one up in the Tis-So-Tain't-So column, I guess.


More to come in Part III, where we analyze the man's amazing PSYCHIC POWERS!
LEADER:
XX: QUOTE FROM SOURCE XX.
MY OWN RESPONSE TO XX's QUOTE.

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