FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Feingold Path

 

If you want to know what’s wrong with the Democratic Party, compare the stories of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis) and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Kerry lost the national presidential race to George Bush by two percent, or about 3.5 million votes. In the state of Wisconsin, which pollsters say is gradually shifting color from blue to red, Kerry squeaked by with a narrow win, netting just over 50 percent of the vote to take the state’s 10 electoral votes.

Feingold, who himself only narrowly won re-election in Wisconsin six years ago, swept to victory on Tuesday against Republican Tim Michels, winning 55-44 percent.

What was different about Feingold and Kerry?

John Kerry voted for the Senate resolution that authorized President Bush to go to war in Iraq. During the Democratic primary, he joined several other contenders-Richard Gephardt and Joe Lieberman, in ganging up on anti-war candidate Howard Dean and running as the pro-war candidate. He equivocated later, during the campaign, trying to say that Bush has misled the Congress about Iraq, but throughout the campaign he always insisted that he planned, if elected, to “win the war” in Iraq. Kerry also voted for the USA PATRIOT Act, an epic assault on the Constitution and particularly the Bill of Rights. On the economy, Kerry, while decrying the outsourcing of jobs to low-wage countries, continued to endorse free-trade agreements like the World Trade Assn. and NAFTA.

In contrast, Feingold was the lone person in the Senate to vote against the war authorization and the Patriot Act. He also, in his re-election campaign, condemned NAFTA and other trade pacts as unfair to American workers.

According to the conservative pro-corporate Democratic Leadership Council, of which candidate Kerry is a charter member, and to the candidate’s now discredited campaign staff, Feingold’s positions were “out of touch” with the American mainstream. The DLC is now trying to blame Kerry’s disastrous loss of the 2004 election on everything from Karl Rove’s success in making gay marriage a key issue in swing states to American’s having succumbed to Bush’s scare tactics.

Feingold’s strong win suggests another possibility: Kerry wasn’t progressive enough.

If Feingold, in the heartland state of Wisconsin, could make opposition to the war and the PATRIOT Act a campaign asset, if he could attract working class votes by condemning the trade pacts that allow American companies to shift not white collar jobs but entire plants overseas and then import the goods they use to make in America back in tax free, then Kerry could have done the same thing in Ohio, Florida, New Mexico and the other swing states he lost by running a timid Republican-lite campaign.

The lesson is clear. As long as the Democratic Party remains in the hands of the DLC party hacks, as long as Democratic primary voters allow themselves to fall for the argument that progressive politics are a losing proposition, the Republicans will keep winning more and more elections.

Russ Feingold for president!

PS Another bit of silver lining in those post Nov. 2 clouds: Cynthia McKinney, trashed and run out of Congress in 2002 by a right-wing/pro-Israel lobby jihad after raising legitimate questions about the 9-11 attacks, trounced her opponent in Georgia’s 4th District and will return triumphant and unbowed to Congress.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
September 23, 2019
Kshama Sawant
Amazon vs. the Socialists in Seattle
Jason Hirthler
American Iago: On Washington’s Character Assassins
Craig Collins
Naomi Klein, Autism and Climate Activism
Michael Welton
The Serpent of Their Agonies
Binoy Kampmark
Strong Men in Europe: Tony Abbott Visits Hungary
Amitai Ben-Abba
And in Those Days There was No King in Israhell
Phil Rockstroh
A Careless Bully at the KFC at the End of Empire
Emiliana Cruz
Commemorating Tomás Cruz
Julian Vigo
Legacy College Admissions Are a Testament to What is Legacy Culture
Manuel García, Jr.
See “Official Secrets”
Dave Lindorff
Faux ‘Working Man’s’ Candidate Biden Looking Like a Loser after Philly AFL-CIO Presidential Summit
Tracey Aikman
President Trump, I’m One of the Workers You Lied To
B. R. Gowani
How news media should handle Trump’s lies
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail