Feingold on the Elections

MSNBC has an interview with Senator Russ Feingold in which he makes some excellent points. There are many things I disagree with Senator Feingold about, but he is right on target on a number of others. For example he says:

People in Wisconsin, and everywhere for that matter, want their elected officials to stand up for what they believe. Democrats aren’t going to win in November simply by running out the clock. We need to show the American people that we stand for things like guaranteed health care for all Americans, bringing the troops home from Iraq, and defending the rule of law.

I’m just going to speak as an independent here. I give my vote to various candidates. I’m not much concerned about party labels, and I also don’t have any single issue that drives my vote. I can disagree with a candidate on a number of issues if I believe he or she has integrity and some good sense. Democrats won’t get my vote simply by not being Republicans (or the reverse); they have to have their own strategy, their own vision for the country, and a willingness to stand up for those things. That’s probably a great deal to expect of a politician, but that’s what I’m looking for.

This is where the Democratic Party has to catch up with its own supporters. There is a populist movement, a desire for the party to stand for populist positions and strong positions, both international and domestically. All over the country, people are saying the same thing to me. And it is out there in a way I have ever seen before. If the Democratic Party doesn’t have the sense to catch this wave, we may pay for it.

Precisely! You can’t continually win elections and hold onto power simply by not offending people. You have to challenge them, engage their interest, and earn (not get, earn) their confidence. I think John Kerry would be President of the United States right now if he had simply managed to convince the American people that he had some sort of plan. The problem was that he was sort of not-Bush, and then not all that sure what positive content being not-Bush was supposed to have.

People voted for the positive plan.

I agree with Senator Feingold that we will have quite a few surprising results, but that’s not much of a prediction. The question I have is whether there is a politician or group of politicians left out there who can catch the attention of the American people in a positive way. I’m watching for such a group and ready to be active. Right now neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties are looking all that good.

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