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Democrats Cool to Feingold's Censure Resolution

Updated

Senator Russ Feingold's censure resolution isn't getting much support from Senate Democrats:

WASHINGTON - Democrats distanced themselves Monday from Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold's effort to censure President Bush over domestic spying...


...Asked at a news conference whether he would vote for the censure resolution, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada declined to endorse it and said he hadn't read it.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said he had not read it either and wasn't inclined simply to scold the president.

"I'd prefer to see us solve the problem," Lieberman told reporters.

Across the Capitol, reaction was similar. Feingold's resolution drew empathy but no outright support from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi "understands Senator Feingold's frustration that the facts about the NSA domestic surveillance program have not been disclosed appropriately to Congress," her office said in a statement. "Both the House and the Senate must fully investigate the program and assign responsibility for any laws that may have been broken."

In fact, not only is the response cool, but many Democrat political analysts think Feingold's political stunt could backfire on the Democrats. From the NY Sun:

"It's a problem for the Democrats more than the president or the Republicans, is the irony of the thing," a political analyst at George Washington University, Stephen Hess, said in an interview yesterday. "It forces a lot of Democrats, notably Hillary, to a position where, is she going to pander, is she going to get her back up and resist it, or is she just going to ignore it?" he said. "It's hard to ignore it."


Whether or not Mr. Feingold's proposal ever gets to a vote, some activists indicated yesterday that they will demand that Democratic senators make clear their stance on the question.

"It goes without saying, though, that there better damn well be 44 co-sponsors on Feingold's resolution," a user called Georgia10 posted on the popular left-wing blog DailyKos.com within minutes of Mr. Feingold's television appearance.

One Democratic political organizer, Joseph Trippi, told The New York Sun that Mr. Feingold's call will require some response from other contenders for the 2008 nomination.

"Regardless of the public opposition and of how many people roll their eyes, this is pretty serious stuff," Mr. Trippi said. "I think it's going to have an effect on the rest of the field."

Mr. Trippi said he thought Mr. Feingold's motivations were sincere and consistent with his long track record in favor of civil liberties. The senator is already popular among online activists, sometimes called the "netroots," and will gain ground with his latest move, the analyst said.

Mr. Trippi warned that any potential candidate who dismisses the censure idea risks being flamed online. "Anybody who says this is going too far is somebody who's probably writing off that side of things," he said. "Anybody who writes off the netroots or says you don't have to pay attention is really playing with dynamite."

So, Senator Feingold, who has never failed the far left of the Democratic party and is planning to run for president, is attempting to out-moonbat the rest of the potential 2008 Democratic Primary candidates early and get the far leftists on his side now.

Update: According to Tim Chapman of Townhall, Senator Bill Frist wants to vote on Senator Feingold's censure resolution tonight. Dems are objecting:

Democratic Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a resolution that would censure the President of the United States for "eavesdropping" in the wake of 9/11. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, moments ago, made a unanimous consent motion that the Senate vote on the resolution tonight. Maryland Democrat Paul Sarbanes rose to object to the motion. Frist then motioned to vote on the resolution again tomorrow. Sarbanes objected, saying no vote should take place on the resolution until Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had cleared the timing.

In other words, Democrats know this is a political stunt, without a chance of passage, but want to time it politically for maximum impact.

The maximum political impact will be sustained by the Dems and right between the eyes.


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Comments (26)

This is great....always a w... (Below threshold)
shark:

This is great....always a winner for the GOP. Frist and the House should fast track this for a vote ald let the world see the Dems either show they don't care about security vis a vis surveilance, or let them show they were lying and whining about their concerns about the program.

A flaming idiot like Feingold shouldn't be allowed to skate on this, lets have the GOP humiliate him like they did to Murtha when that load opened his yap too loudly...

Mr. Trippi said he thoug... (Below threshold)
JohnAnnArbor:

Mr. Trippi said he thought Mr. Feingold's motivations were sincere and consistent with his long track record in favor of civil liberties.

Right, like that pesky 1st amendment that Feingold shot down with campaign finance "reform".

All Feingold is doing is de... (Below threshold)

All Feingold is doing is demonstrating why senators make poor presidential candidates. In their years as a senator they tend to criticize various administrations in such a way that they comes across as being against a strong executive. You can't fight against executive power and then make a compelling argument that you should be trusted to wield said power.

"doo doo do do doo- I'm lu... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"doo doo do do doo- I'm luv-in it!" An actual fissure in the faux Republicrat paradigm (instead of the usual phony news-cycle ploy "led" by a neurotic MIA traitor like McCain)! Folks, I think we may have a winner, and no, Feingold's resolution doesn't stand a chance of passing, but it will expose the establishment hypocrites in the Democratic party (let's call them "Liebermans") as just the B side of the "don't worry, go shopping, everything's under control!" broken record the republicans have been hawking since NAFTA, at least! Populists on the left and right meet the paleocons in the middle. There is much common ground there. And the spectacle of the D and R regulars acting as if nothing is afoot while crossing swords over marginal tax rates will only confirm their degeneracy. I admit to thinking Republicans might crack first but really this is the Democrats just cracking EARLY .

"So, Senator Feingold, who ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"So, Senator Feingold, who has never failed the far left of the Democratic party..."

Uhh...do your research. This was a really big deal when it happened:

"WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 28) -- Sen. Russell Feingold broke ranks with fellow Democrats Wednesday when he voted with Republicans in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton."

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/01/28/feingold.01/

Seems to me that when the law is broken, Feingold responds. The law has been broken. Feingold wants some sort of accountability since Republicans block every single investigation into their crimes. A good effort on his part.

jp2, That was a good post! ... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

jp2, That was a good post! And back to the Wizbang drawing board they go!

If this is such a good idea... (Below threshold)
JD:

If this is such a good idea, which I am just absolutely sure it is, because Senator Feingold has permitted me to exercise my Constitutional rights on this topic, then I would have to presume that the Democrats will want to immediately bring this to the floor for consideration and a vote.

Apparently ... not.

Actually, I think Senator Feingold likely believes in this as being the right course of action. However, as much as his party whines and brays about these issues, they want to do only that. When given the opportunity to support Rep. Murtha's strategy of "strategic redeployment", the Dems declined to do so. Now, when given the opportunity to vote against one of the policies that has been their talking point du many jours, apparently they do not really want to either, at least not until Senator Reid tells them they can.

They do not wish to actively engage on these issues in any type of a serious manner. They just wish to add another bullet point to their list of issues that they have accepted as the truth, despite those pesky little facts to the contrary.


So let's see: the Dems repe... (Below threshold)

So let's see: the Dems repeat the mantra for weeks on end that Bush has violated federal law and lied to America, and yet that's not an offense that warrants censure (we thought Clinton deserved impeachment for more or less, depending on your perspective on civil perjury)...seems to me that they've been caught with their pants down, and Frist turned the light on.

Nice move by Frist.

jp2, you pull a procedural vote out of the air as an indication of disloyalty? Does principle count for anything any more?

It would be a thing of b... (Below threshold)
JEFF:

It would be a thing of beauty to actually see them vote on something so quickly so they can get on to real issues..they should be getting much more done everyday, than trying to constantly outmanuever each other constantly. But i guess this is just wishful thinking..

I agree JEFF. However, sinc... (Below threshold)
jp2:

I agree JEFF. However, since the "real issues" don't get investigated or dealt with, it really leaves the minority party in the dust. It also leaves the door open for more questionable and illegal actions from this administration - from pre-War Iraq intelligence to the illegal NSA program, there has been no accountability or responsibility for their failure to act properly or spend our money wisely.

Illegal NSA program? What f... (Below threshold)
Andrew Paterson:

Illegal NSA program? What federal court has declared it illegal? Or is this another of those 'I want it to be illegal, therefore it is' moments...

Obviously the latter, Andre... (Below threshold)

Obviously the latter, Andrew.

Liberals are famous for trying to bend reality when facts don't suit their purposes.

And then they will repeat, like a zen mantra, that the program is illegal over and over again, in the hopes of recreating reality, or at least fooling you into thinking that their delusion is reality.

Ah jp2, so the program IS i... (Below threshold)

Ah jp2, so the program IS illegal -- so there SHOULD be a censure vote in Congress today, right?

Noooooooo, you want a month or two of hearings -- sort of a fishing expedition, to gain maximum exposure, gin up the PR, turn it into a partisan issue. Why do we need hearings, jp? You've already insisted the program is illegal.

...but it will exp... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
...but it will expose the establishment hypocrites in the Democratic party (let's call them "Liebermans")...

The GOP should pay the Dean dummies as they are one of the most effective groups in dividing the Democratic party. With their help we'll keep a Republican majority in 2006 and elect another Republican President in 2008.

Have you ever noticed that ... (Below threshold)
Palmateer:

Have you ever noticed that Russ Feingold bears a striking resemblance to Soupy Sales?

Except Soupy smiled a lot...

The reason that the Democra... (Below threshold)
MikeB:

The reason that the Democrats don't want a vote on this is because they're more interested in demagogiing it than whether any law was broken. So, what's new ?

- MikeB

To the lefties on this mess... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf:

To the lefties on this message board. I was taught Congress makes the laws, but does not get to decide if they are broken or not. That is left to the judicial branch. Whatever some politically active moonbat such as Russel Feingold desides is illegal is opinion. If he feels the President is breaking the law, take it to court. If the surveillance undertaken by NSA is illegal. Why is it no court has ordered them to stop? Congress does not have the power to creat laws that exceed their constitutional authority Until FISA goes before the SCOTUS, the question makes for political noise, but is really moot.

To the lefties on this m... (Below threshold)
mantis:

To the lefties on this message board. I was taught Congress makes the laws, but does not get to decide if they are broken or not. That is left to the judicial branch. Whatever some politically active moonbat such as Russel Feingold desides is illegal is opinion. If he feels the President is breaking the law, take it to court.

Zelsdorf, you were taught wrong. Learn a little bit about how the government works. Ok, I'll help you out a bit.

When dealing with the high offices of the President or the Supreme Court, it is within the power of Congress, and only Congress, to impeach and convict on charges of treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors. The President or a Supreme Court Justice cannot be tried in a court for a crime; they are tried by Congress. That's not what Feingold is attempting, of course, but still you don't seem to understand how Congress works.

If the surveillance undertaken by NSA is illegal. Why is it no court has ordered them to stop?

Well, because no court knows about it. It's a classified program, and the only judges who have been briefed on it are the two heads of the FISA court, who agreed not to disclose the details even to the other 10 judges! Anyway, it's all classified, there's no way anyone would be able to bring the government to court on this. And by the way, if you really think that Congress has no power to check the Executive, go back to civics class. You need it.

According to mantis, "no Co... (Below threshold)
JD:

According to mantis, "no Court knows about it", yet any number of average Joe's (and Jane's)routinely discuss this matter online for weeks on end.

So, actually, you contradict yourself in the very next paragraph, as Judges have looked at it, and amazingly enough, have done nothing to stop this TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE !!!!!!!!!!!!

Give me a break.

JD, two judges on a panel o... (Below threshold)
mantis:

JD, two judges on a panel of twelve being briefed about a project does not equate a "court" knowing all the details of the project. The FISA court has not had an opportunity to review it, and the two judges briefed on it are not allowed to talk to anyone about it. That is not judicial oversight, which is what I was talking about. They couldn't stop this "travesty of justice" if they wanted to.

As far as the average Joes and Janes discussing the matter, so what? That doesn't mean they actually have the details, does it?

Give yourself a break, your blathering.

There's a good chance al Qa... (Below threshold)
John S:

There's a good chance al Qaeda could pull off one of their spectaculars this year. Certainly the Dems are doing what they can to make it easier for them to operate in this country. So we could end up with 500,000 less blue state voters when one of our major cities is taken out, but those surviving voters will remember the Feingold stunt and where the Dems stand.

John S,You sound l... (Below threshold)
mantis:

John S,

You sound like you're hoping for a terrorist attack.

This issue, and the impeach... (Below threshold)
ZJim Temple:

This issue, and the impeachment issue, are something the Republican Party can run on and I sincerely hope the Democrats keep up this talk. If you were a Democrat, would you like this to be the only issue you're running on? Well, if Republican candidates start saying that a vote for the Democrats is a vote for impeachment, do you think it will resonate?


I wouldn't want to run on this, personally, but them again I'm not a politician and I'm not a Democrat.

No. I was in Washington D.... (Below threshold)
John S:

No. I was in Washington D.C. the morning of 9-11. I wouldn't want to see a repeat. But it was the Democrat's neutering of our intelligence capabilties in the 1970s and 1980s that made 9-11 inevitable. History was a way of repeating itself.

"But it was the Democrat's ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"But it was the Democrat's neutering of our intelligence capabilties in the 1970s and 1980s that made 9-11 inevitable."

"So we could end up with 500,000 less blue state voters when one of our major cities is taken out, but those surviving voters will remember the Feingold stunt and where the Dems stand."

lol...Right...now I know where Republicans stand. This is hilarious.

The best that can be said a... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

The best that can be said about Feingold's censure motion is that it is insanity. However, I'm willing to stipulate that Russ Feingold, a US senator, is not clinically insane.

Therefore, I say that he is a liar and a coward who has committed slander against the president.

He lied when he referred to the program as "domestic spying". The targets of this surveillance are suspected terrorists overseas. He also lied when he referred to the NSA program as illegal; this has not been established by any competent authority. None of his fellow democrat senators, especially those who have been briefed on the program and understand exactly what it involves, have called for its termination. This seems to be pretty good evidence that it is NOT illegal. This also means that he slandered the president when he accused him of violating his oath of office.

He is a coward because he didn't have the guts to stay on the Senate floor to debate his proposal, and then refused to speak on camera when he criticized his fellow democrats for not rushing to support him. Further, if he genuinely believes that the president has broken the law (a very serious matter), then he needs to do something a bit more than propose a mere censure motion.

Feingold's stunt was a drive-by attack staged purely to enhance his standing among the loopiest supporters of his party. He gets favorable press (well, favorable in some circles) for "standing up to Bushitler" without having to commit himself to a serious debate or even offer evidence that his accusations are true.

I'm glad that Frist has shown some spine for a change and is pressing for a vote to force Reid and his merry band of morons take a stand, but I'd really like to see a censure motion against Feingold for engaging in slander against the president.

Feingold needs to be made to put up or shut up.




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