Sen Russ Feingold (D-Wis) today ended speculation about his running for President in 2008. Now that the Democrats have taken over the Senate, Feingold claims he'd rather concentrate on his work in Congress, particularly to undo “the damage one-party rule has done” and “advance progressive solutions” to major issues. He also recognizes that he would be a long-shot and his underdog status would "dismantle" his work in the Senate and his family life.
Much as many progressives would like to see him run, the good Senator has made the right decision because he is, frankly, unelectable. Senator Feingold has a hard-won reputation for being right on fundamental issues and speaking the truth about them. Long before others, he saw the problems that Iraq would present us, and he at times fought alone to prevent gutting the Bill of Rights in the name of fighting terrorism.
Unfortunately, even tho people have come to agree with Feingold, the one thing the public simply cannot abide is a politician who is undoubtedly smarter and braver than they are. Voting for a politician who has been consistently ahead of the citizenry is to admit your own failings, esp if you originally rah-rah’d the President on Iraq and conceded that forfeiting a few rights to get those terrorists was OK.
No, a politican that is right too often and too outspokenly is “rigid” and “doctrinaire.” He will lack the “ability to compromise” and the “flexibility” required of an effective politician. So we have the oddity of a public that wants leaders to stand for something and to speak forthrightly and honestly yet votes instead for wafflers and weasels.