Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feingold bows out of '08 presidential race

Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat from Wisconsin, decided not to join the 2008 presidential race today. This is a real shame because Feingold has been a reliable progressive vote and a man of conscience. He was the sole senator to vote against the Patriot Act in
2001, and he proved successful in removing some of the more onerous parts of the act. I would have supported a man of his caliber and resolution for president, but at least Wisconsinites know that he will continue to serve them diligently.

This leaves the Senate race wide open for someone to run from a progressive, lefty stance, and thus I believe Feingold's dropping out most benefits John Edwards. Although Edwards will be running as a populist, he won't be running on the exact same civil liberties, campaign finance reform platform that Feingold did, and he doesn't have the ability to say that he was always against the war, since Feingold voted against it and Edwards for it. If former Virginian Governor Mark Warner's dropping out benefitted Hillary (both are centrist Dems) and Edwards (both are Southern red state Dems), then this latest development increasingly sets up Edwards as the choice for progressives. Unless someone else who is a red state Dem who previously won three national elections chooses to hop in the race...

And we're off to the 2008 races, as Vilsack announces his formal candidacy.


  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger Bryan Thao Worra said…

    That's too bad.

    I really was hoping he'd take a run at it. He showed a lot of courage during a time when it wasn't fashionable or politically expedient to do so. It would have been nice to have seen a candidate with progressive values approach the races.

    But this all would wind up boiling down to the effectiveness of centrist politics.

    Why would people vote for a candidate who has a lite version of another party's platform?

    There's always a great deal to be said about healing rifts, and trying to find the common ground of compromise, but that often feels like exactly that- compromise.

    And it tends to get a lot of good ideas and principles thrown out by people who are too tied to appeasing everyone.

    Can't please all of the people all of the time, but trying to go for the median isn't always the answer either.

    But again, the long and the short of it is Feingold's departure is unfortunate, and now we'll have to see who else we get to choose from.

    For the moment, I'm not exactly holding my breath...

  • At 4:48 PM, Blogger powerpolitics said…

    Obama and Al Gore have been mentioned as possibilities. I am not sure that either of them are as independent of the party machine as Feingold is, for better or worse, or that they have the same type of civil liberties analysis.

    But I am positive that we need a strong progressive candidate for the primaries, and while I like John Edwards, he doesn't speak to the civil rights/civil liberties/immigration advocate in me. He does a damn fine job of speaking as a populist on class issues though.

    But like you, I'm not in love with any declared candidate yet. Quite unlike 2003 watching Dean speak in San Diego about representinig the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.


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