I'm normally not one to gush about individual politicians, but I will make exceptions for exceptional cases. And happily for us all, Russ Feingold is an exceptional senator.
What I've always loved about Russ is that, irrespective of political ideology, he has remarkable personal integrity and political courage that are sadly all too rare for United States senators. Even more impressively, Russ understands that the goal of being a senator should be the betterment of America and not the betterment of himself. For example, Russ has not only opposed giving himself a raise year after year, but he's actually returned the raises that senators have typically gotten automatically every year. There are very few politicians out there who will turn down extra money, but Russ Feingold is one of them.
Additionally, Russ Feingold was the one Democrat to buck his party on financial reform because he (correctly) felt that the bill didn't go far enough to rein in the power of the banks. Russ, bless his heart, was also one of the few Senate Democrats smart enough to vote against the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act, which for decades had served as a firewall between commercial and investment banks. And of course, when Wall Street came limping into Washington in the fall of 2008 begging for bailout cash, Russ told them to get lost.
And Russ's stances on key economic issues are not his only virtues. As Glenn Greenwald notes, his brave stands on civil liberties issues have been no less compelling, none more so than his lonely vote against the USA PATRIOT Act a mere six weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
For all the good that Russ Feingold has done for this country, I think it's time we help him back. Russ is locked in a very tight race with yet another richy-rich conservative who wants to use his fortune to buy himself a cushy Senate seat. Ron Johnson is your standard fare Banana Republican who rails against the government intruding on the "free market" but is only too happy to line up at the troth if he has the opportunity. And like most Banana Republicans, he longs to see America instill more "business certainty" into its economy by acting more like China, which doesn't have any pesky labor or environmental laws to get in the way of the quest for corporate profits.
Replacing Russ Feingold with Ron Johnson would be like throwing out all your Bob Dylan records and replacing them with Justin Beiber MP3s: In other words, you'd be tossing out a soulful, truth-tellin' Midwestern Jewish progressive for a creepy piece of corporate plastic. That's not what I want and I'm pretty sure you don't want it either. That's why today we've set up a Russ Feingold
moneybomb cheddarbomb page here so you can donate money to Russ's campaign and keep him in the Senate, where we need his toughness, intelligence and values now more than ever.
As an added bonus, we'll be hosting a live chat today with Senator Feingold hosted by our own Susie Madrak. Susie, if you'd like to take it away now, I present you all with one of my heroes, Senator Russ Feingold.
Be sure to check out Russ's Act Blue page.