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Russ Feingold Runs a Hand Through The Grassroots

It’s a principle that too few candidates understand: In order to make a successful run for public office, it’s best not to run on what a great guy you are. Instead, positive politicians succeed by making ordinary folks feel that the campaign is really about them. Howard Dean got as far as he did in 2004, and gained the chairmanship of the national Democratic Party, because he helped people feel that they had the power to make a real impact in the politics that they cared about.

Well, Howard Dean has promised not to run for President in 2008, but it looks like another prominent Democrat is working with Dean’s playbook, or has at least taken a step in that direction. Russ Feingold, a US Senator from Wisconsin, has started an organization called the Progressive Patriots.

So far, the Progressive Patriots web page consists of an activist effort to repeal the anti-liberty provisions of the Patriot Act, and a fundraising effort to gather financial support for progressive candidates running for Congress in 2006.

This beginning makes sense for Senator Feingold, as he can proudly declare himself to be the only US Senator who had the wisdom to vote against the infamous Patriot Act when the Bush Administration shoved the anti-liberty legislation through Congress. Also, Feingold is smart enough to know that progressives are looking for a rallying cry that can last longer than the debate over a particular bill or controversial Bush Administration nominee. The 2006 congressional election is more important than most Americans realize. If progressives can get sufficiently organized in time, the Bush Administration’s power to cram its extremist agenda down the throat of the American public could end in just one and a half years. 2006 could prove to be a spectacular, nonviolent progressive revolution against the current Republican nationalist government.

So, it seems that Russ Feingold is on the path to running an exciting national Congressional effort in 2006, and a powerful campaign for President in 2008. Of course, being on the path and being ready are not the same thing. You’ve got my attention, Mr. Feingold. Now, let’s see what you can do with it.

14 thoughts on “Russ Feingold Runs a Hand Through The Grassroots”

  1. Hoosier Texan says:

    Great, now I have a socialist agenda to look forward too?

  2. Tom says:

    My progressive acquaintences and i talk about the fact that there isn’t any “backlash” against all the liberty-squashing legislation, radical right wing politics, economic short-sightedness,
    environmental backward direction, poor performance on the home front and exceptionally bad foreign policy that’s come out of Congress and the Bush administration. Some say it’s the media strangle-hold on dissent, while others believe the typical American couldn’t care less about politics for a variety of reasons. Either way, i’m not getting my hopes up that anything is going to change any time soon for the better for Amerika. We’ve really become the “Eddie Haskell” of human rights, the poster child for complacency, and the reason why nobody wants demokracy the way it’s being “sold” around the world. We may not be the “great satan” that the Islamic extremists decry, but we’re no paragon of decency, integrity, or morality either. I’d really like to see someone with some spine stand up to the Repugnants’ fanatical religiosity, but it looks like no one really cares one way or the other. I’ll back anyone other than the Republicrats, but there isn’t much choice anymore in this two party circus that parades as politics in this country. The “third party” candidates and independents aren’t even considered, get very little air-play in the media, and are dismissed as ineffective and insufficient to mount any real opposition to the big two juggernaut. Meanwhile, we elect people we think will represent us, and as soon as they get to Washington they forget all about the little people when they have to play ball with the corporate lobbyists and the powers that be. I swear, the machinery of democracy has been hi-jacked and no longer works to make significant change for the common people (witness the winnowing of the middle class, lack of universal health care, and vested interest group legislation predominant in the legislature). Finally, there’s very little opposition to the illegal war on the U.S. budget which will drive this country into the ground eventually.

  3. Patricia says:

    Um, Hoosier Texan, the article discusses how Russ Feingold is working to defend America from attacks upon liberty and is organizing a grassroots political organization.

    How is that socialism?

    You sound like a Cold Warrior who desperately needs to update his political script.

    Socialism?!? Come off it. What are you going to complain about next, that Irregular Times is part of the Red Menace? 😉

    For someone who claims to be a “moderate” you sure come off as a natural using the outdated political language of the far right.

  4. Odd Claude says:

    Tom, there’s only one cure for what worries you. Get involved and contribute to the progressive effort. Russ Feingold is offering one way. MoveOn offers another. Democracy for America offers yet another way. Meetup is chock full of progressive activist meetings. Get involved yourself, or someone else will have to do the work for you. Then, don’t let others’ lack of enthusiasm dampen your attitude. Give them a model of what can be done, and then we can have an active, positive, progressive movement.

  5. Hoosier Texan says:

    Because alot of posters here support socialism. There have been comments made to that point.

  6. Odd Claude says:

    I don’t think it’s at all fair to characterize the perspective of Irregular Times as socialist. It’s progressive. Socialism is not really on the table. If you were to take some of the elements of socialist ideology and ask different Irregular Times writers if they agree with them, some of the writers might say that yes, they agree with some of them, but that’s not really the same thing as having a socialist agenda. We consider ourselves progressives and liberals.

    Some concepts of socialism are still worthy of consideration, but as a label, socialism is nearly extinct. Very few people identify themselves as socialist, and only a few people people outside the far right wing are still using the word socialism as a term to describe the current political debate. In the moderate wing of the Republican Party, socialism just isn’t a current topic, any more than communism is. North Korea and Cuba notwithstanding, communism just isn’t a big deal these days, and even in those countries, communism isn’t really communism so much as it is raw totalitarianism. Communism and socialism are fringe terms, so I agree with Patricia that it’s quite telling that you’re using them in such a strange context.

    You fail to bring any association between Senator Russ Feingold and socialism. All you can say truthfully is that a few people who commented on this web site, which wrote an article about Russ Feingold, once used the word “socialism” in a discussion. Pardon me if I’m not overwhelmed by this connection. Your snide remark about socialism is really out of place, Hoosier Texan.

  7. Sarge says:

    Well, Hoosier, you remind me of my folks. I grew up on military bases, my father was a counter intelligence officer, his politics probably makes you look like a Trotskyite. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t positively hate the socialist/communists. Bear in mind, I was a kid. I made the mistake, added to confessing atheism, that I didn’t see much different in what the adults discribed with horror and the life I already was living. Had to do with no choices, shopping in a form of the GUM A(I admit it, the PX was probably better by miles, still…)and the whole hocus pocus of being a child and under the thumb of authority with no recourse. The Russians actually had a better deal by one item, my parents wouldn’t be allowed to make me go to church or sunday school.

    Later in life I actually fought against the socialist/communist hordes (never DID figure out the exact composition of a horde) in which I shot some of them, some of them shot me (fair do’s, I guess) and today I see so many of the things I supposedly fought against as “unamerican” and “commie” now part of the fabric of everyday life. Not instituted by the dreaded liberal, but by the conservative.

    Tattling on people is now encouraged, Potemkin villages of packed crowds to stroke and laud the “leaders”, uniforms, suspicion for no reason but that authority may need an example, propaganda and torture now as legitimate tools of state. And now we go to an american version of GUM where you can only get what the suppliers want you to have.

    You’re probably a pretty decent fellow, Hoosier, you care about things. But, you have to think a bit more. The crackdown is coming, and here’s you ON THIS WEBSITE. Do you really think that this is not going into some data base somewhere, to be pulled out at a later date? Looking at the powers that is, do you think for a minute that if this becomes a crime or a demonstration of treason, that YOU will be safe? Remember the real Cardinal Richelieu, he stated that he could, in just a normal conversation with the most patriotic man in the kingdom, have enough to hang him in six sentences. What plays in Iraq, Pakistan, and Cuba will be here soon.

  8. HareTrinity says:

    Well, picking up on the parental authority; having had conversations with some American kids who obviously are at a point where they NEED to be able to go somewhere other than their houses due to family problems (to do with serious stress and/or other factors and how people need to have control and independence in their own lives), I’d say the American rights for children need to be reformed quite a bit…

    Out of interest, though, Sarge; is there anything you HAVEN’T done with your life? It’s pretty impressive. Really makes me wish people like you were the focus of American media more than fundamentalist nuts like Ann Coulter…

  9. Tom says:

    Odd Claude: i sign every petition sent to me for progressive reform, and i continue to support any positive change to the current agenda. i don’t make enough to contribute to anything (i have no health care and am self-employed after the wonderful 90’s.) i’m only voicing my doubt that there will be any effective positive change any time soon. i’m not naive or depressed: i belive i’m being realistic. These guys are gonna need dynamite to get ’em out of power. i see bleak times ahead and i actually believe that anybody that doesn’t is deluding themselves with wishful thinking. i like talking to you guys because it let’s off some steam. Thanks for listenin’ and givin’ me good advice, Claude.

  10. Sarge says:

    HareTrinity, (c’mon, it’s an Iceni thing, isn’t it?)People like myself aren’t “real people.” “Real People in USA have to have money or some celebrety, too much to have to act sane like the rest of the populace. I’ll tell you this, I had a lot of opprotunities to experience in my life, so I did it. I may have mentioned that I am dyslexic. When I was in school this was categrised as one of two conditions: a) stupidity or retardation, 2) laziness, or 3) simple lack of cooperation. The various schools I went to took this as an invite to toss me out whenever they could, and I was only too happy to go, so I got to wait tables, train and show horses, work on cars, drive a truch or two, crew a bridge, do music, and drag race.

    In the army (I enlisted) I was in the engine room of a sea going tug (saw some of sout & central America), infantry, and air traffic control. I was retired on disability due to injuries, and am now back into music. Not much left for anything else.

  11. HareTrinity says:


    Well, at least dyslexia’s widely recognised, now. Not quite as much as it should be, but there’s a rapidly growing awareness.

    At least you sound like someone who really DID make the most of it.

    And… Iceni in what sense? Not familiar with the word, but from what I can gather it’s the name of an ancient Celtic tribe?

  12. Sarge says:

    I noticed the Hare Trinity name, and I gather you are from one of the commonwealth. The Iceni tribe of Britain are said by some to have some form of triune diety and the hare was a powerful figure for them. Thought it might have some signifigance.

  13. HareTrinity says:

    Ah, wondered if it had something to do with my online name…

    Actually, it’s because my favourite animals are hares and the pendant I always wear offline is of a symbol called “Hare Trinity”, also “Tinner’s Hares” and “Tinner’s Rabbits”, and depicts three hares in a circle with their ears meeting in the middle to form a triangle in a way that makes so that they have both two ears and one ear showing…

    The symbol dates back about as far as the Green Man, and spreads at least as far as China, though its meaning is uncertain.

    Still, ancient folklore surrounding most things, hares included, tends to be interesting, so that it hints at that is a bonus.

  14. Sarge says:

    Thanks for the clafification. A young freind of mine is in the atrs program at the local college, she’s quite a jewelry maker, and I’ll look into one of those for my wife and daughter-in-law.

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