Pet Peeve

In this election season, probably more than any other, many candidates seem to be touting/criticizing how they/their opponent in in terms of voting the party line. It happens on both sides and it is unfortunate. ROJO(and his shadow groups) are criticizing Senator Feingold for “toeing the party line” ( i saw billboards yesterday asking which one was Russ with the pictures of the Pelosi/Reid/Feingold). Senator Feingold on the other hand has been advertising that he does not toe the party line and votes against his party more than most. Michelle Obama, also touted Feingold’s maverick credentials, saying the president has mentioned how Feingold doesn’t always agree with him. “So Russ, you and I have a little something in common,” she said…

I think to move past our bitter partisan ship we need to stop worrying so much about party labels and start seeing what our representatives are actually doing. Every year during the NFL draft, most pundits say you can’t truly judge a draft for three years. So while many people “grade” the current draft, the most interesting stories are when they go back 3-4-5 years and then see how that draft turned out.

So here is my pet peeve. Instead of the msm just reprinting percentage of votes with their party, why not look AT THE ACTUAL VOTES, and see how that turned out!

I do not care how many times someone voted with their party, I care about how many times they voted correctly. With the benefit of hindsight we can go back and check. While I do not have the time to go back and look at all of Senator Feingolds votes, I wanted to start the discussion.

* Voted for John Roberts and against Samuel Alito: While he can be given somewhat of a pass because Roberts did not tell the truth in his confirmation hearings I would only give him a small break on that. We see when the current SCOTUS overturned 100 years of precedence to rule in favor of Citizens United that he was right on Alito and wrong on Roberts.

*NAFTA/GATT/Africa Free Trade/CAFTA, etc…: with the millions of jobs lost nationally and tens of thousands lost in WI thanks to these “free” trade deals, we see the Senator was spot on here.

*Striking telecom immunity from the Fisa Bill: Senator Feingold stood with 31 other Senators to vote yes on this with the intention of holding the telecom companies who illegally spied on Americans accountable. So another notch in his belt for this correct vote.

* Numerous different hate crimes bills: Senator Feingold has made a habit(correctly) of supporting hate crime laws to punish those who try and terrorize others.

* The Glass Steagal repeal vote: The fact that he voted AGAINST this repeal, might be one of the biggest feathers in his cap. The repeal of this bill, as the Senator predicted, is a major factor in the current financial meltdown.

So this is a start and his voting record, with a few exceptions has been spot on! We need to start looking at how people vote not who they vote with!!!

For more on the Senators(and all representatives voting record) check out project vote smart

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4 thoughts on “Pet Peeve

  1. Well I don’t agree with your Not Agreeing 🙂

    Even if this election wasn’t all about The Independents (as are they all in these so-partisan highly polarized days) I still will say this is valid issue.

    Parties get official positions on things. Not all people who even vote straight Democrat all the time even agree on the priorities and details of how the influential people in the party decide.
    Many people would like more emphasis on the Environment, but Healthcare is The Thing.
    etc. So you only agree with a party in theory, or most of the time. Or more than the other party.

    Elected people who are Empty Suits mindlessly doing what they are told (I could name a few locals for sure) might be good for the party in a general sense. but their value as “real fighters” is limited.
    They tend to be folks who enjoy the limelight, I’ve known a few who actually just needed a job, the pay and benefits of winning office were actually their brightest prospect at the time. These people I think are the true “Career Politicians”. They can be decent functionaries, or huge pains in the ass. Pretty much depending on is they have any personal morals or not.

    But as I said, their value is limited, they are not creative thinkers, they are not passionate about any particular beliefs. They will be manipulable since Job One is holding onto their jobs and that means they will be sensitive to that which makes them vulnerable to Job Loss. But a lot of the time they just don’t have the mind-set to be the one who, in the case of Feingold, noticed the problems with the PATRIOT Act.

    That took risk, that took being grounded in a belief system that goes well beyond keeping his job, and pleasing those around him.

    One of the hardest Human Behaviors is standing up in a group and Being Different. MOST PEOPLE DO NOT DO THIS.
    Most people, in a whistleblower situation, will choose not to rock the boat.

    De-valuing the enormous emotional and psychological cost of Standing Alone is a slap to those who do it. But it happens all the time. When the shit hits the fan, everyone distances themselves from the “maverick”. If Palin were really a Maverick she wouldn’t be giggling about it.
    I have noted McCain’s behavior patterns, he does this bullshit maverick thing just long enough to get publicity, then he uses the media attention to Tell America why we should… follow Bush or whatever the hell. Since all the media flock to the “shocking maverick Republican” on that issue, the other people who might be the Voice Of Dissent never really get heard – before you know it, the media attention has moved on. McCain provided the national catharsis, Event Over.

    Thinking and behaving Independently and going against the accepted scenario is a bitch, In a family, a workplace, a group of friends, OR a Senate.
    But Society desperately depends on those people. So yes, at times like these, everyone what to be one.
    When the Shit starts heading Fan-ward once again, it gets a bit lonelier.

    Even the premise of a “right vote” implies and entire Group Consensus thing. You and I might both classify ourselves as leaning left, but I’m SURE there are many cases where you and I would call “a Right Vote” very very different things.

    Not following party bosses or Group Think is a very very important thing IMO
    I know people who say “I don’t agree with Russ on every issue. But I KNOW he will wrestle with things, really take it in and do the best he can with the information he has, the experience he has, and his knowledge of our state. That’s why I vote for him. NOT that he is my soul-mate on every issue.”
    Those Russ-voters in my opinion decide this (and other) election(s).
    What would a Right Vote be to them?

    I wouldn’t even waste my time asking, it would take all day hearing their lists.

  2. And half of those “votes with party” votes are for things like “Congratulating the L.A. Lakers on another NBA title” or “Commending (person’s name here) for saving 500 dogs at the Humane Society over 25 years.”

    As mentioned, it’s the key votes that matter, and even more than “independence” from the party, it’s more important that they end up GETTING IT RIGHT. And from Glass-Steagall repeal to NAFTA to the Iraq War resolution to TARP, Russ has GOTTEN IT RIGHT.

  3. Annie maybe you didn’t get what I was trying to say so I hope Jake explained it better. I respect feingolds independence, but not as much as I respect him voting correctly so often.

    as for what is the right vote, I think you can figure that out in hindsite as to how well a bill has performed.

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