So I've been endeavoring of late to learn more about the past history of elected officials, often through books on my nightstand or browsing through past blog posts by colleagues. For example, at my home blog, OpenLeft.com, where we do some Senate race rankings, I noted recently then-Rep. Barbara Boxer's work in the 1980s to obtain federal funding to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic when no one would touch "gay cancer", as it was often called at the time, or when she marched on the Senate to protest the Judiciary Committee's treatment of Anita Hill. It's not that "what have you done for me lately" doesn't matter, but I like to look at a body of work to determine how valuable someone is.
And so I came across this piece of nostalgia from Russ Feingold, posted by my fellow OpenLefter Matt Stoller several years ago:
Feingold took the time to sit down with progressive bloggers on telecom immunity, FISA and other issues, and then laid it out in such a crystal clear way that I always smile when I come back to this video.
Michelle Obama was in Milwaukee fundraising for Russ Feingold a few days ago. Here's what she had to say:
"Now, when my husband was here in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago, he talked about how independent and outspoken Russ is ... and how Russ doesn't always agree with him," she said. "So Russ, that's something that you and I have in common."
It's a canned joke, no doubt, but given where Obama and his Administration has been of late on DADT, the foreclosure issue, not to mention a whole host of other issues, I kind of smile when I see someone like Michelle talking about how someone like Russ is independent and doesn't always agree- and stands up on principle. He does it whether to this President on DADT, or the President before him on warrantless wiretapping, or the President before him on DOMA. Frankly, we could use 20 more of him.
The latest CNN/Time poll showed Feingold down by 8, but rising. For me, the fine line between a mild headache and a severe hangover the morning after Election Night is Russ freaking Feingold. So I just threw in $8 for every single one of those points- and for the extra drink or two that would push me over the edge. Hope you'll join me.