14 September 2010

Why Russ Feingold is worth voting for

The senator from Wisconsin, facing the fight of his political career, is one of the most liberal politicians in the country. On domestic matters, Feingold is a classic redistributionist who, among other things, is an unabashed supporter of a single-payor health care system.

But when the discussion turns to civil liberties and executive power abuses, there is no stronger defender of our Constitution.

I rarely vote for Democrats and can't think of another candidate with a (D) behind his or her name that I would consider supporting, but Feingold is a glaring exception because of the pugnacity with which he takes on issues that the vast majority of politicians, including most members of his own party, seem too scared to address.

I highly recommend Glenn Greenwald's fantastic piece on Feingold, found here. Greenwald describes Feingold's immense value as a civil liberties crusader much better than I ever could, but below is an example of how, in the wake of 9/11, Feingold was light years in front of the rest of us:

"Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists.

But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die."

-Sen. Russ Feingold, October 25, 2001

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