BLOGGERS IRATE FOR DEMS IGNORING FEINGOLD by Mitch E. Perry

03/15/06

The Washington Post reported today that Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold’s motion on Monday to censure President Bush for his warrantless wiretapping program is being met with a yawning silence from his colleagues.

Some of the biggest names in the Senate – Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Chuck Schumer, all brushed aside reporters yesterday, eager NOT to comment on Feingold’s move.

One might wonder why? President Bush’s approval ratings are at an all time low because of Iraq, the budget, and port security.

But some say by his single gesture, Feingold has now driven the debate back to where Bush has the advantage -- and driven another wedge thru the Democratic Party. The reluctance of Democrats to join Feingold is enraging some progressive bloggers, such as Bill Scher, who is the Executive Editor of the blog Liberal Oasis.Com…(roll tape#1 o.q.� people themselves�)

Scher: "Am I surprised at the Democrats' reaction? I am! Because this is an easy vote. If it were an Articles of Impeachment, there's a lot more to think about there, a lot of complictions involved. I could understand people wanting to take a pause, if that was what Feingold was pushing.

"But a simple Censure vote, that is in many ways symbolic, would, I believe, force the president -- if it actually passed -- to return to the law. And then open up a discussion whether the law should be changed or not. That's a slam-dunk vote! There's no risk involved. And if the vote actually lost, which it probably would on a party-line vote, if the Democrats unified around it, they'd be able to say -- 'We think the President broke the law, the Republicans think it should be swept under the rug!'

"A very simple message. It shouldn't require deliberation, it shouldn't require stress and anxst and poll-taking. It should be something you could do at the drop of a hat. The outcome of it now is, that instead of Democrats looking stong and confident, only Feingold looks strong and confident. And so they are angry at Feingold for grandstanding, when, in fact, they have ceded the stage to Feingold and looked like bumbling frightened people themselves."

This morning in its lead editorial, the Wall Street Journal wrote about “The Impeachment Agenda�, in which, instead of denouncing Feingold, they congragulated him on ‘his candor’.

The Journal said Feingold has the courage to put on the table what Democrats are all but certain to do if they win either the House or Senate in November – that is, to try to pass articles of impeachment.

The Journal wrote that Feingold’s Censure gambit is doing voters a favor by telling them BEFORE November’s election just how Democrats “intend to treat a wartime President if they take power.�

Bill Scher from LiberalOasis.com, says that’s exactly what Democrats fear – what the conservative Journal editorial page is saying (roll tape#2 o.q. �...a reckless strategy for the Middle East�)

Scher: "They're afraid of Right Wing editorials like that. They're afraid of being called haters, or being called angry, or being called traitors, or aiding or comforting the enemy -- all that over-heated rhetoric, which the vast majority of the public is'nt buying.

"There's a reason Bush is at 34% now. All that kind of fear-mongering has ceased to have an effect, so there was no reason to be afraid of it before -- and even less reason to be afraid of it now. You might argue, and the Right is going to argue, that all they have to offer is impeachment. All they have to offer is anger. You can't make that kind of charge if you have an alternate agenda, if you have an alternate strategy for the big issues of the day. The Democratic Party has not been able to coalesce around a fully thoughtout approach on foreign policy in Iraq. Feingold has! Or least he's on his way. So you can't charge Feingold with simply supporting empty symbolic gestures -- because the charge of Bush not doing what needs to be done on Terrorism, and breaking the law and violating civil liberties, is in sync with his other message that the way to properly fight terrorism is to strategically redeploy out of Iraq

That’s Bill Scher, executive editor of the blog LiberalOasis.com. His book, ““Wait, Don’t Move to Canada�, will be published this fall.

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