Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Feingold - branded

Jim Rowen at the Xoff Files argues that since Feingold was "right" on the Patriot Act, he must be right on the censure:

People bashing (the GOP) and/or ignoring (mainstream Dems) Russ Feingold over the maverick Democrat's proposal to censure President Bush should remember the last noteworthy time that Feingold took an isolated position: his vote against the so-called Patriot Act.

It didn't take long for plenty of liberals and conservatives to realize that Feingold was right and they were wrong.

How are we defining plenty here? The Patriot Act was overwhelmingly renewed. At this pace, Feingold might get Bush censured some time early in the 22nd century.

Apparently, Russ' talking points must urge that one never mention the junior Senator from Wisconsin's name without inserting the word "maverick" within the preceding or following five words. Helps with Nexis and Google. "Maverick" is a term after Samuel Maverick, a rancher who did not brand his cattle. It refers it an unbranded range animal. You can't tell who it belongs to.

Feingold's brand is pretty clear. It's hard left.

If Feingold's departure from the liberal line a mere 15 % of the time makes him some sort of bold maverick, than Rick Santorum's departure from the conservative perspective 30% of the time must make him an altogether new type of higher political being. When it comes to maverick-ness, Rick just blows Russ away.


Jim Rowen said...

Feingold's opposition to the administration's version of the renewed Patriot Act only passed the House with two votes to spare under the rules for that version - - 280-138.

So there still is discomfort with the Act, even though it has additional privacy protections adopted with Feingold's leadership.

I would say that being the lone original "no" Senate vote on the bill (the renewed act had ten "no" votes) did and continues to make the label "maverick" accurate.

In the broader context, "maverick" status should be earned. Credit is given for association with larger purposes, or a greater good - - in this case, privacy protections available for all Americans.

Or being more on David's side than Goliath's, which is usually the case with Feingold, or doing the unexpected. Remember his vote to let an assault-weapon ban lapse, angering some core constitutents?

The Right claims Feingold doesn't deserve the maverick identity. I'd say he's earned it. It's amusing to me that this causes so much aggravation on the Right. Why is that?

You have to be somewhere outside of the mainstream to be a maverick, or out there trying to move the stream's banks elsewhere: The Right prefers the status quo, or a return to yesteryear, and that isn't going to win any maverick points. It's too contradictory,

The Right sometimes claims that Cong. Jim Sensenbrenner also deserves maverick status, but there the label can't fit. He's far too much of an establishment figure.

Plus: Sensenbrenner was born with a silver spoon in his mouth (not his fault/choice) but uses his power and prestige with insensitivity (his infamous Judiciary Committee hearing cancellation) or callousness (opposition to Katrina aid to devasted American citizens in a unique circumstance).

Rick Esenberg said...

2 to 1? 9 to 1? I guess.

"Maverick" does not mean "association with larger purposes or a greater good." For you, I assume that means liberal and my guess is that you proudly embrace that.

But Feingold's commitment to the term "maverick" is a means to avoid being labeled as "liberal." That's why we don't like it. Think of it as our commitment to truth in labeling.

"Maverick" means, literally, unbranded. In the political context, it has connotations of independence and unpredictability.

Feingold has an 85% libetal voting record. Sounds altogether predictable to me. We seems easily "branded" by my lights.

So why avoid the brand name?