Sunday, November 12, 2006

No Presidential Run For Russ

Feingold's letter posted at Daily Kos:

Dear Friends and Supporters,
On Sunday, November 12th in Racine, I will hold my 1000th Listening Session with the people of Wisconsin. Before reaching that milestone, I want you to know that I've decided to continue my role as Wisconsin's Junior Senator in the U.S. Senate and not to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.
Like many Americans, I am excited by the results of the November 7th election. My fourteen years in the Senate have been the greatest privilege of my life and I am extremely pleased with what we have accomplished. During so much of that time, however, we Democrats have not only been in the minority but have often been so deeply mired there that my role has often been to block bad ideas or to simply dissent. That is a very important role but I relish the thought that in this new Congress we can start, not only to undo much of the damage that one-party rule has done to America, we can actually advance progressive solutions to such major issues as guaranteed healthcare, dependence on oil, and our unbalanced trade policies. The Senate of the 110th Congress could also well be a place of greater bi-partisan opportunities for change; something I am very proud to have been effective at in both Republican and Democratic Senates.
I hope all of you know how much I have appreciated the incredible response you have given me and the efforts of our
Progressive Patriots Fund since January, 2005. In addition to all of our work in Wisconsin and D.C., I have traveled to seventeen states trying to promote the election of progressive Democrats in all states. At every stop from Birmingham, Alabama to Burlington, Vermont, to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, to Las Vegas, Nevada, people have agreed with my view that we need to stand up for a strong, principled Democratic party that is willing to replace timidity with taking the risks of promoting a platform of bold solutions to our nation's problems. Unfailingly, people responded well to my positions: opposition to the Iraq war; calling for a timeline to redeploy our troops from Iraq so we can focus on those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001; my opposition to the flawed provisions of the USA Patriot Act that threaten the freedoms of law-abiding Americans; my call for accountability for the Administration's arrogant disregard for the law especially with regard to illegal wiretapping; fighting for fiscal responsibility including tough common sense budget rules that will help end the reckless policies that have heaped a mountain of debt on our children and grandchildren; as well as my strong belief in guaranteed healthcare for all Americans and substantial investment in alternative energy sources and technologies.
Yet, while I've certainly enjoyed the repeated comments or buttons saying, "Run Russ Run", or "Russ in '08", I often felt that if a piece of Wisconsin swiss cheese had taken the same positions I've taken, it would have elicited the same standing ovations. This is because the hunger for progressive change we feel is obviously not about me but about the desire for a genuinely different Democratic Party that is ready to begin to reverse the 25 years of growing extremism we have endured.
I'm sure a campaign for President would have been a great adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this time, however, I believe I can best advance that progressive agenda as a Senator with significant seniority in the new Senate serving on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and Budget Committees. Although I have given it a lot of thought, I cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a race for President while I am trying simultaneously to advance our agenda in the Senate. In other words, if I really wanted to run for President, regardless of the odds or other possible candidates, I would do so. However, to put my family and all of my friends and supporters through such a process without having a very strong desire to run, seems inappropriate to me. And, yes, while I would strongly prefer that our nominee in 2008 be someone who had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning, I am prepared to work as hard as I can through the Progressive Patriots Fund, and consistent with my duties in the Senate, to maintain or increase our gains from November 7 in the Congress and, of course, to elect a Democrat as President in 2008.
Most important, I want to continue my work as a Senator from this wonderful State of Wisconsin. Our fourteen year ongoing conversation that has taken place in hundreds of communities in Wisconsin in the form of open Listening Sessions is the principal reason I have been perceived as "ahead of the curve" on many key issues. Simply listening to the reasoning and passions of Wisconsinites remains the best source of good ideas and common sense I've ever encountered.
I love this country very much and am so lucky to be able to serve it in the United States Senate. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement.
Russ Feingold

Middleton, Wisconsin

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

WSJ Endorses Jorgensen

The conservative Wisconsin State Journal has endorsed Democrat Andy Jorgensen for the 37th Assembly District. Jorgensen is running against Republican Greg Gasper who was a staffer for Representatives Rob Kreibich (Eau Claire) and Eugene Hahn (Cambria). Gasper has been heavily supported by the Michigan right wing nut group All Students Matter as well as others. Ivan Davis is also running as an Independent.

Jorgensen is a long time resident of Fort Atkinson who at one time was a local radio personality. Andy left his radio show in order to support his family and went to work at the GM plant in Janesville. Besides being articulate and intelligent, he is truly "every man" and does in fact carry a lunch bucket to work. Well I could go on but I'll stop and let you read the endorsement!

From the WSJ:

Andy Jorgensen is the best choice to represent the many farms and small towns in eastern Dane and western Jefferson counties at the Capitol.
Jorgensen displays a good dose of independence, deep roots in the community and a broad perspective.

Like the retiring and popular Rep. David Ward, Jorgensen comes from a farming background and strongly supports the new ethanol plant in Jefferson. Like most farmers, Jorgensen says, he's a conservationist but also a realist. The Farm Bureau endorsed him.

Jorgensen also spent five years as a radio broadcaster in Fort Atkinson, where he lives, before landing a job at the Janesville auto plant. He's not just a good talker. He knows a lot about what he's talking about. And he wants to listen and learn. A centrist Democrat, Jorgensen promises to balance his strong support of education with the need to control taxes.

His opponent, Republican Greg Gasper, is sharp and knows the issues. But Gasper is a Capitol insider, having worked for three lawmakers. Ivan Davis, an independent candidate, has failed to excite voters.

Jorgensen will bring a fresh and sensible approach to the job that the 37th Assembly District deserves.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Why are you here?

I am very busy helping in the Governor's race and in AD37...HEY....shouldn't you be somewhere helping a candidate?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Republican Loss Offers Rhinos Hope

My Republican friends, the few that I have, are very moderate ones. We agree on probably 90% of all issues. These RHINO's, as their own party calls them, have been derided, ignored, and taken for granted for the past few years. Any suggestion of moderation has been met with litmus tests as to the loyalty of these good Americans. That many have still remained in the party can, from my way of thinking, only be genetic. It may be good that they have remained as our state and country will need them to rebuild the Republican Party into an effective opposition party that will hold the Democratic Party from repeating the same mistakes of absolute power.
Rhinos, I think, recognize this opportunity and will sit out this election. It would be too much for them to vote democratic. The extremists have acted as if Rhinos did not matter and if I were one, I'd let them reap their just reward.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Backing Away From The Edge

A couple of days ago I blogged (Now mostly deleted) about 37th AD Candidate Greg Gasper's past conviction for possession of drugs. In my glee of the moment, I wrote things that were unkind and inappropriate. Worse, I may have hurt the feelings of some of those who I care the most about. As I was reminded, people can and do change. Of course they can and do. Usually this act of contrition also causes one to have a little more humility than with which one started. When these things happen to my family members or students, I always welcome them to the human race. Nothing unites us more than acknowledging our lack of perfection. In fact, the people I like most are those who have gone through a few rough times, some self imposed and others not.

In thinking about why I would do such a usually out of character thing, I do offer an explanation but there is not excuse for resorting to this type of thing.

True, politics is a very dirty business. Many people will do anything for the power. I am a politics junkie who has over the last few years become completely convinced that our country is going in a direction. I've resented greatly the people who try to impose their morality system on others. The bigotry displayed against the Hispanic immigrants, the gays and the poor, the erosion of Constitutional rights, the lies that led to an unjust war, and the hypocrisy displayed by our mostly Republican leaders have all led me to the point where I want a change in government NOW!

In Wisconsin, these same Republicans have an opportunity to replicate what has been going on in Washington if Mark Green is elected governor. The very thought is repugnant.

Greg Gasper represents, at least in my mind, a continuation of these non democratic and dangerous principles. When I saw that he had made a mistake 10 years ago, I pounced. Not because the mistake was reason to be excluded from the human race but that it would be reason enough for some not to vote for him. It certainly had no effect on how I would vote. In fact, if the same were true about Andy Jorgensen, I would still vote for him.

Thanks Sonny for the reality check!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

37th Republican Candidate Had A Secret

Progressive Majority Wisconsin has posted an article concerning the conviction of Republican Candidate Greg Gasper 10 years ago for drug possession.
While I would not want everyone examining everything I've ever done wrong over the years, I am not running for public office. Today everything is fair in politics and it is a very nasty business. Voters have the right to know all the information they can about the candidates before they vote.
At any rate, this new information does not affect my vote. I've been for Andy Jorgensen since before the primaries.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Last Post. Starting Ladder Business!

How tall is that wall going to be anyway? Details here.

Missions of the 21st Century

The events of the last 24 hours truly sadden all those connected with public education. Weston HS Principal John Klang was truly a hero. He, along with ESP Dave Thompson, prevented the injury and possible deaths of who know how many people when they disarmed the 15 year old gunman. Words cannot express the sadness that I feel even typing these words. One story is here.

Most public schools are safe places for students and staff but these events are not isolated. To say so is dismissive and overly optimistic that such an event will not occur in another district. The truth is that staff in schools across the country prevent hundreds if not thousands of potential violent episodes each and every day. Students are, after all is said and done, reflective of society. For those righties....It's Society not the public school system...STUPID!

Private schools can pick and choose their clientele. Public schools cannot. The goal of the public schools is to teach everyone regardless of handicap. Although public schools do not explicitly teach religion, the golden rule is reinforced countless times throughout each school day. In addition to teaching "basics" we have over the last 40 years taken over the jobs of parents who in many cases are struggling just to pay the bills. Not an easy task but one educators have accepted as reality.

When comparing the goals of the public schools to that of private schools, which sounds more like the missionary work? I rest my case.

Our schools are full of people like John Klang and Dave Thompson. This takes nothing away from what these men did this week. It merely acknowledges what we all know would be the case in all public schools. Heroism doesn't only happen when someone brings a weapon. It occurs each and every day in our public schools!

Maybe now is time for you to contact that favorite teacher or staff and thank them today!

E-mail Forces Foley Resignation?

Honestly, a casual reader of the Milwaukee J-S would get the impression from the
headline that the crusader against child porn resigned because of an electronic mix up.

Not being a casual reader of the news, I have to say the transcript of the email that Representative Foley (R-Florida) is some of the most disgusting sick stuff that I have ever read in my not so sheltered life. If you can stomach it you too can read the e-mailshere. The J-S printed mild versions of the emails in question.

These are the people who the extreme right elects because of their principles and values. Pardon me while I go puke!