[begin clip]Senator Russ Feingold isn’t afraid to take a stand. He was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act after 9/11, and the first senator to propose a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Now he’s moved to censure President Bush for authorizing wiretaps without a court warrant.
[clip]Senator Russ Feingold: Congress should censure President Bush, who has so plainly broken the law.[/clip]
Conventional wisdom says that Feingold’s move will backfire and rally Republicans. “Russ Feingold: Karl Rove’s Secret Weapon,” one conservative blogger writes. Knowing heads say Feingold is positioning himself for the Democratic nomination. He’s certainly become a hero to the left. A liberal blogger urges readers to “donate your spine to Senate Democrats.”
Here’s another possibility:
[clip]Harry Reid: My personal conviction is that Senator Feingold did this out of principle.[/clip]
Imagine that. Acting on principle need not be political suicide. Ronald Reagan gave Republicans a healthy injection of principle just when they needed it—right after Watergate. Now people are asking: What do Democrats stand for?
[clip]Donna Brazile: At some point, the Democratic party and the leadership needs to grow a backbone.[/clip]
Spines. Backbones. They help you stand up for what you believe. Of course the move is risky, but that’s what the Political Play of the Week is all about.
Senator Feingold did not choose an easy issue to confront the President on, like allowing an Arab-government-owned company to operate U.S. ports. He chose wiretapping conversations. And that’s tough..
Apparently, neither Schneider nor Feingold read Byron York’s piece discussing the legal ground on which President Bush stands. Calling this resolution “principled” and comparing Russ Feingold to Ronald Reagan is ridiculous, but what’s more disturbing is CNN naming this the Political Play of the Week—as if politics were merely a game, and Feingold one contestant among many. A terrorist surveillance program is not a game, and neither is national security.