Hillary Clinton vs. Russ Feingold

Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf wrote an excellent piece contrasting presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Senator (and staunch progressive) Russ Feingold.

Hillary Clinton vs. Russ Feingold
Hillary Clinton Russ Feingold
Death Penalty Supports Opposed
Iraq War Supported Opposed
Patriot Act Supported Opposed
Same-Sex Marriage Supported in 2013 Supported in 2006

While it’s highly unlikely Russ Feingold will run for president in 2016, those of us who believe Hillary Clinton is no progressive can only hope there will be a progressive option in the Democratic presidential field.


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23 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton vs. Russ Feingold

  1. This article gave me my new explanation of where I am politically. While I believe in a “progressive” direction, I would find Hillary Clinton more than solid as a president, even if she’s not “progressive enough.” I would also allow anyone’s views to change over time (i.e. the Iraq War). If yours don’t, then you are not allowing history to teach you anything. Everyone’s thinking can (and should) mature over time.

    Having said that, I proffer I am a “dead center moderate with little use for most anything to the right.”

    Or as today’s Right would call me – a Commie.

  2. Another reminder why CF is my least favorite writer over there. For one, we all perfectly well know Ms. Clinton’s stances since we’re not illiterate Tea Baggers screeching when Fox tells us to do so. Second, I can’t think of anyone more useless to compare her to right now. Senator Feingold can’t even be bothered to run for Governor of his home state. He’d never have the guts to run for President. A more useful comparison might be to former Governor Schweitzer as he is said to be exploring a run. But then CF’s purity narrative would be de-railed. More fun this way, I suppose.

  3. Zach, thanks.

    Nice piece from Jane Hamsher that’s critical of Sen. Warren.

    I’m still a strong supporter of Sen. Warren, but when dealing with the duopoly, it’s best to be realistic.

    IIRC, Sen. Feingold also is pro-Second Amendment, which would hurt him in primaries, but help in a general.

    Feingold is one of a handful of U.S. Senators who voted AGAINST repealing Glass-Steagall (1999). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass–Steagall_Legislation

    While this entire (5-minute) Olivia Munn (Aaron Rodgers’ gf) clip is excellent, she really gets going on explaining the history of Glass-Steagall (Congress passed it in 1933) after about the first two minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBOEd8RINAw

    Warren’s also in favor of bringing back Glass-Steagall.

    Feingold imho is way ahead of everyone else on civil liberties, which would piss off AT&T, Google, Amazon, all the defense contractors and the rest of Big Data.

    I assume he’s on a short list of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees.

    1. John, Russ Feingold’s record on the Second Amendment is complex; it’s not as simple as “he’s pro-second amendment.”

      For instance, in 2004 he voted against S.1805, a bill that would have extended the Federal ban on semi-automatic firearms, but at the same time he has consistently voted in favor of bills to require background checks for firearms purchases at gun shows, and to require that handguns be sold with trigger locks.

      1. “favor of bills to require background checks for firearms purchases at gun shows, and to require that handguns be sold with trigger locks.”

        I would strenuously argue that everyone who wants to defend the Second Amendment supports exactly those kinds of safety measures. I would throw in legislation to require insurance for all non-hunting weapons. Spread out the risk. Part of the reason so many folks buy guns is that they are easy to re-sell.

        If someone for example wants the eight-shot Mossberg 500 Persuader, for home defense, they should be allowed to purchase it. But, let the market work and share the risk of the lethality of the weapon, especially if it’s lost, stolen, or misused. The insurance company carries a portion of that risk. Unlike a vehicle, in the wrong hands a firearm is a very
        inexpensive way to kill or injure a lot of people.

        It’s over-simplistic to say that because there’s no economic mobility, because the 99% all live in such fear of abject poverty, that many folks cling to their weapons and ammo as a security blanket, but I don’t think it completely misses the mark.

        If Democrats in Wisconsin and nationally want to keep losing elections, we should by all means keep attacking the Second Amendment and not taking a more “rifled” approach against the NRA. “I Was The NRA.” http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/25/i-was-the-nra/

        An added bonus for the oligarchs is that when Dems wage war against the Second Amendment, it weakens the entire Bill of Rights, especially the First and 4th Amendments, which basically don’t exist anymore. Were Democrats staunch defenders of the FIRST Amendment, (or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances) the entire Occupy Movement would not have been hassled and their leaders arrested when they attempted to protest. That’s how you breed terrorism and government spying on its own citizens. As long as GOVERNMENT allows peaceful assembly, it doesn’t have to engage in massive 4th Amendment abuses (and that includes stop and frisk). It already know who is against it, they’re outside carrying signs……

        I was prepared to vote for Obama in Wisconsin when it was a swing state. I thought voting rights made him and easy choice over Romney. At the end Nate Silver put Wisconsin in the win column for Obama. I held my breath and in the Presidential race, voted for Jill Stein, the Green candidate. http://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/green-party-presidential-candidate-jill-stein-arrested-in-texas/

        Both parties look at vote tallies by precinct. Except for Stein, the rest of my 2012 ballot was Democratic.

        1. Did not mean to imply that we don’t need CIA, NSA. We do. It’s a dangerous world and First Amendment protection in the US are not nearly sufficient.

          But, when government surveillance circumvents the Bill of Rights, the first victims are usually those with advanced knowledge of real terrorists. Under the current regime, folks who try to report what they suspect might be terrorist activity are understandably afraid that they (and their family and friends) will be targeted, either by surveillance or even more aggressive and illegal methods.

          Especially with Bush/Obama droning in Yemen and Pakistan, there’s no doubt the U.S. will get hit again. All those folks have relatives living over here.

          Great op-ed from Private Chelsea Manning, “The Fog Machine of War
          The U.S. Military’s Campaign Against Media Freedom,” a real American hero who is sitting in prison.

          “…Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.

          Early that year, I received orders to investigate 15 individuals whom the federal police had arrested on suspicion of printing “anti-Iraqi literature.” I learned that these individuals had absolutely no ties to terrorism; they were publishing a scholarly critique of Mr. Maliki’s administration. I forwarded this finding to the officer in command in eastern Baghdad. He responded that he didn’t need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more “anti-Iraqi” print shops.

          I was shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar….”

          Meanwhile the murders who killed innocent civilians (footage Manning leaked) have NEVER been held accountable.

          “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

          -Benjamin Franklin

  4. Danl, Emma,

    except for the issues of choice, LGBT, voting rights, and gun control, how is Sen. Clinton not in lockstep with the moderates in the GOP?

    All four of those issues are reasons to vote for the Democratic candidate for President in 2016 in SWING states. Unless the Democratic party makes a significant move away from the wing nuts, in states that are not in November 2016 either strongly blue or strongly red, I would encourage progressives/liberals to consider other options for President. Is that a write-in candidate? Is that leaving the Presidential race portion of the ballot blank? Good questions. I think it’s critical to educate Dems that their vote carries more relative weight in local races than it does in state races. It carries more relative weight in state races than in those decided by the (ridiculous) electoral college.

    Where was Sen. Clinton on the fight to save Social Security? I understand she was Sec. of State at the time, but she has been the presumptive 2016 Democratic nominee for some time. AFAIK it was Eric Kantor (and the wing nuts ) who “saved,” Social Security by not taking Obama’s (and the Democratic party’s) “Grand Bargain.” This link http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/wonkbook-why-liberals-should-thank-eric-cantor/2011/07/12/gIQAiV4RAI_blog.html is from 2011, but it was just as true for the last of the “fiscal cliff,” votes.

    Per Modern Monetary Theory #MMT and @wbmosler @stephaniekelton @interfluidity @asymptosis ….. Republicans are right. We need a FULL holiday brought back immediately on the payroll tax and MUCH lower federal income taxes on the 99% and corporations. Democrats are right. We need a lot more federal spending on health care, education, and green infrastructure.

    “(Federal) Taxes For Revenue Are Obsolete”

    “…The necessity for a government to tax in order to maintain both its independence and its solvency is true for state and local governments, but it is not true for a national government. Two changes of the greatest consequence have occurred in the last twenty-five years which have substantially altered the position of the national state with respect to the financing of its current requirements.
    The first of these changes is the gaining of vast new experience in the management of central banks.
    The second change is the elimination, for domestic purposes, of the convertibility of the currency into gold…”


    Wall Street’s already figured this out: “Bank Of America Dumps $75 Trillion In Derivatives On U.S. Taxpayers With Federal Approval”


    To put $75 trillion in perspective, US GDP in 2012 was around $16.5 trillion. We blew a lot more than the $6 trillion they’re claiming in Iraq and Afghanistan. Social Security’s Trust Fund is around $2.3 trillion. Bank of America is just one Wall Street bank. They all have derivative exposure. I’ve seen estimates of $700 trillion, but I don’t think anyone knows.

    Capitalism runs on “sales.”

    The real “job creators,” are consumer with money to spend. Unfortunately, both parties have rejected that with their embrace of the lie that the federal government can somehow run out of money.

    “Four Reasons to see the deficit as your surplus”


    We can run out of potable water, safe food, sustainable energy, some metals and minerals. We cannot run out of dollars.

    Remember all the cars we had to sell to pay for World War II?

    Nope, neither does anyone else. We paid for World War II in soldiers’ lives, in steel, in rubber, …… The spread sheets at the Federal Reserve and Treasury were never short of dollars.

    “If you can have full employment killing Germans …”

    #OMG, the Packers and their opponent have scored too many point and the Lambeau Field scoreboard won’t have enough. That’s just as silly as thinking the U.S. government is going to run out of dollars.

    It’s more than a little wonky, but I like the graph below.


    For those interested http://neweconomicperspectives.org , that’s an #MMT blog.

    Where is Sen. Clinton on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, aka NAFTA on steroids? When has she ever stood up for collective bargaining, for public sector workers?

    Where is Sen. Clinton (and the rest of the Democratic party) on legalizing marijuana? From their silence it looks to me as though they are firmly in the pockets of Big Pharma, they have the most to lose from legalization.

    Danl’s point about politicians evolving is apt. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” was a smart policy at the time, but since then we’ve “evolved” towards marriage equality. I hope both parties evolve. I hope the arguments evolve on a whole range of issues to things like, “do we have a federal job guarantee” http://ineteconomics.org/blog/institute/plan-all-detroits-out-there , “a basic income guarantee” http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/5066.html , “or a combination of both?”

    1. Yep, she’s a centrist and plenty of voters will want that and certainly many of the elites. I don’t know how meaningful it is for a Progressive (and serious) presidential candidate to run in 2016. I think it’s imperative for Progressives to win local, state, and congressional races and build for 2020 or 2024.

      1. “I don’t know how meaningful it is for a Progressive (and serious) presidential candidate to run in 2016.”

        How “meaningful,” is it to have a “center?” The country is splitting into rightwing fascists and left wing communists.

        So if Sen. Clinton says she’ll support a “Grand Bargain,” cut Social Security and Medicare (Paul Ryan light), you’ll support her?

        Increasingly folks see “sperm roulette” as the only way to any measure of financial stability. That’s reflected in most leading Wisconsin politicians, Walker married money, Ron Johnson married the daughter of a billionaire, Mary Burke’s the daughter of a very successful guy. Chris Abele’s the son of a billionaire. Both political parties seem only interested in helping the worst of the elites increase their stranglehold on what’s left of our democracy.

        Eisenhower was a Republican who supported labor unions, taxed the elites, and invested in infrastructure. Today, he’s not “centrist” enough for Democrats.

        If you think Democrats can win elections for crossing guard by being the party of “higher taxes,” I think you’re overly optimistic.

        1. So who’s the Progressive challenger to Ms. Clinton? What if much like the Wisconsin Governor’s race no purity-tested Progressive candidate actually runs? And will that be the DPW’s fault too? Just checking!

          1. Emma, Ms. Clinton?

            For what elected office is Ms. Chelsea Clinton running?


            Emma, when right and left agree on stuff, as they do on prosecuting Wall Street CEO’s, legalizing pot, and pulling back from foreign occupations, it should get done.

            The “purity-testing” is being done by the oligarchs and it’s only in their interest.

            I highly recommend you show the video below to Mike Tate. “Winners/Losers in a Digital Age (Scott Galloway”


            Galloway’s an NYU (Business school) professor, who is a also a successful entrepreneur. He’ll tell you, he’s built several successful companies. It’s about 20 minutes long. IMHO, Prof. Galloway’s use of SLIDES (his whole talk is extremely visual, there are many, many interesting slides, graphs, which he explains) and his delivery/intelligence make him a worth your time. The net of his talk imho isn’t different than what a lot of others are saying (although the level of detail and business acumen is, dramatically).

            If Mr. Tate’s pressed for time, I suggest starting after the 12:45 mark where Galloway starts about hollowing out the “middle class.”

            I found the poverty = stress graphs of deep concern. Since Mr. Tate and Ms. Burke are depending on Wisconsin teacher unions to turn out in force in November, I wonder why I hadn’t seen these first from DPW. A lot of Wisconsin families live under the poverty line. Many, many more hover around it.

            15:33 He’s talking about post secondary, “Education used to be a lubricant for upward mobility….”

            Has DPW tried to research how many Wisconsin parents (grandparents) are cashing in their 401(k)’s to get their kids into colleges which no longer yield a “family-supporting job?” Even Sen. Baldwin has jumped on on the “student loan” debacle which is a clear sign of how safe it is politically. http://firedoglake.com/2014/06/11/why-did-elizabeth-warren-pick-a-pay-for-that-would-never-pass-for-student-loan-reform-bill/

            Does DPW agree that the reason so many wing nuts are anti-science is because they perceive education as a “class” to which they are too poor or too uneducated to aspire?

            16:20 Slides about the “Decline of US middle class…” are excellent.

            16:51 Galloway uses slides to make the point that the top 1% aren’t the problem. It’s the top 0.01 and the top 0.001 where the real growth has taken place in terms of US assets. Those are the oligarchs. That’s the “sperm-roulette,” I referred to earlier.

            I’m an old-guy, 57. I’m voting for Ms. Burke. IMHO, DPW’s serious troubles are with younger voters, who are desperately holding on to two and three jobs to make the car and rent/mortgage payments. They send their kids to public schools, because they can’t afford private schools. They pray their vehicle doesn’t break down, because if they can’t find the fix on youtube and parts somewhere, they can’t afford to fix it. Without their vehicle, they can’t keep their job and then they’re homeless. They don’t have time to read blogs and increasingly can’t afford cable. Their only link to the outside world maybe TV (over the airwaves) AM radio (Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling, other wingnuts) their phone and when they catch a headline on a newspaper/magazine that they they can’t afford to subscribe to. They don’t have time to worry about the fact that they have zero saved for retirement. They’re too scared/busy, trying to “put food on the table.”

            My serious objection to Ms. Burke’s candidacy is that her “team” seems more concerned with getting Sen. Clinton elected in 2016 than in solving the difficult problems in Wisconsin in 2014. Legalizing pot continues to be low-hanging fruit for Ms. Burke. The ONLY reason I can think of that she isn’t talking about it, is that Sen. Clinton and the Democratic leadership want more money from Big Pharma. As an excuse they’re claiming they want to use it as a campaign issue for 2016. I sent Ms. Burke $50 after the AFL-CIO endorsed her. I’m happy to send her more after she supports legalization.

            A “purity-tested” candidate wouldn’t mention carbon fiber “BMW plans big expansion of Moses Lake carbon-fiber plant” http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2023573267_bmwmoseslakexml.html because it could hurt some union workers in Wisconsin. If DPW’s interested in winning local and state elections in Wisconsin, (and not just delivering our ten electoral votes to the DINO in 2016) however, I think carbon fiber’s a place we have to look to replace (all or a lot of structural) steel in vehicles. That makes the vehicles lighter (not less strong), which makes them need less energy. They get better performance and they stop faster. I think carbon fiber could lead to a lot of family-supporting union jobs in Wisconsin that are more sustainable than the international supply chain for steel. Because it’s based on wood/biomass, carbon fiber could be an industry which replaces the collapsing Wisconsin paper industry. Unfortunately, Wisconsin unions (and greens) both have zero reason to trust DPW.

            Has Mr. Tate read the latest from the wing nut David Brooks:

            “…Second, conservatives should not be naïve about sin. We are moving from a world dominated by big cross-class organizations, like public bureaucracies, corporations and unions, toward a world dominated by clusters of networked power. These clusters — Wall Street, Washington, big agriculture, big energy, big universities — are dominated by interlocking elites who create self-serving arrangements for themselves. Society is split between those bred into these networks and those who are not. Moreover, the U.S. economy is increasingly competing against autocratic economies, which play by their own self-serving rules….”


            It’s rare that I ever agree with anything Brooks rights, but he’s dead-right in that paragraph. It’s not right against left. It’s the 99.99 against the .001 .

            Based on what I’ve seen Ms. Burke, despite her obvious intelligence, doesn’t have much of a clue about the complex legislative process in Madison and its even more complex interconnections with local and national government. If elected, imho her administration will confer effective control to virtually the same (connected) law firms/accounting firms (Deloitte,….) who currently run state government. That likely means they will be waging war (a long con) against unions and the greens (Public Trust Doctrine), because it’s what they get paid, handsomely, to do. It seems that real wealth in the future will be determined by who has access to FRESH water and Wisconsin is rare in having it in abundance.

            1. I think what you’re getting at is there is no one else thus far seriously contemplating a run besides Sec/Sen/Ms Clinton (many of us just don’t use Mrs) and for Wisconsin, only Mary Burke stepped up.

              1. Emma, I’m sorry you missed the wing nuts and the Koch brothers have zero problems with Ms. Burke being governor. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/wall-street-journal-hits-walker-again-on-doe-deal-making-b99281779z1-261388641.html

                Their law suits against John Doe prosecutor’s in Federal and state courts, and the national publicity are mostly responsible for Ms. Burke’s rising poll numbers. Wisconsin media can’t NOT cover it when the forces which back Gov. Walker have such extreme influence with the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial page editor, Paul Gigot. That’s a direct line to Rupert Murdoch.

                As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, the Wisconsin media is dying for lack of revenue. http://bytegeist.firedoglake.com/2012/10/04/has-google-destroyed-the-4th-estate/
                They desperately need ad revenue leading up to November, so I predict a very close race for Governor. The oligarchs have rigged the game. They get to make contributions to entities which give them a tax write off for supporting wing nuts. That’s in part what the John Doe investigations are about. The oligarchs have the luxury of bludgeoning Chisholm, Schmitz, and whoever else they think got in their way with the highest priced legal talent in the country. If they had any fear that Ms. Burke would in any way hurt their financial interests, they would not put Gov. Walker’s second term at such risk. As I’ve pointed out before, they may be influenced by the “success,” Chris Abele has had in Milwaukee. They clearly understand that Democrats can hurt unions a lot more than Republicans.

      2. As a “centrist,” anyone expecting Sen. Clinton to oppose POTUS?

        “PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President Barack Obama on Saturday forced union workers in Philadelphia’s commuter rail strike to return to the job, granting Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s request to create a presidential emergency board to mediate the contract dispute. ” http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/Strike-forces-Philly-commuters-to-find-new-ride-5552125.php

        I’m not familiar with this strike, but from Wisconsin it looks like a big win for Republican Governor Tom Corbett, Republican Governor, Scott Walker, and all the other anti-public sector, anti-union Dems and Republicans. The meme is straight out of the oligarch’s playbook. The problem with America isn’t Wall Street and the oligarchs and massive income inequality, it’s those greedy unions, starting with public sector workers. Once we slash their wages, benefits, and retirement packages, the economy will take right off… prosperity and economic mobility for all.

        Greens and Socialists don’t need to do much except sign up disaffected Democrats.

  5. I agree that Mrs. Clinton made a number of wrong calls, but she stayed in the fight for the Democratic Party. Russ Finegold got out of the running and moved to the more lucrative fund raising and commentator role. I can’t really blame Finegold for this; many of his voters abandoned him–as did his wife, which, believe me, can make one rather cynical.

  6. I agree. A progressive challenger is needed if we are every going to have a debate about the underlying problems in American Society. Hillary Clinton being coronated because of identity politics is a huge mistake. Obama won the 2008 Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton largely because of her vote on the Iraq war but also because Obama brought new voters into the primary process. Although John Edwards voted for the Iraq war too, other issues between Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Primary electorate exist, because I am not sure Hillary Clinton would have won a primary against John Edwards if Barack Obama would have passed on running for President.

    I really think that their is an appetite for a progressive candidate to run for president, but I just cannot think of anyone that dynamic who could win at this point.

  7. To be honest with you, I think that Russ Feingold is done with electoral politics. Although he’s teased the idea of running for his old U.S. Senate seat in 2016, I doubt he’ll run against Ron Johnson, and he certainly won’t run for president.

  8. I pray to god we get a progressive to choose from. I don’t want to be forced to vote for Hillary. Ugh.

    1. Agreed.

      She may be “progressive” on some issues, but she’s most assuredly not progressive when it comes to economic issues, considering her strong ties to Wall Street and big business.

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