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Tilting at Windmills

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March 20, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FEINGOLD AND THE NSA....Matt Yglesias was pleased to hear Cokie Roberts this morning citing a Newsweek poll suggesting that support for censuring President Bush was actually fairly robust, even among Republicans. Unfortunately, he wasn't so pleased with the rest of the magazine:

Look at what else I found on the Newsweek web site. Here's a column by Eleanor Clift about how Feingold is terrible and ruining everything. And here's a column by Jonathan Alter about how Rahm Emanuel is awesome but Feingold may ruin everything. Honestly, I find the idea that this gambit will influence the midterms significantly one way or the other to be a bit daft it's just not that big a deal. So how about a column by someone anyone trying to explain why the president does not, in fact, deserve to be censured for his lawbreaking ways?

I agree with Matt that Feingold's censure motion probably isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but his post also highlights my biggest problem with the whole affair: it's not increasing public awareness of the NSA's domestic spying program. All it's doing is increasing awareness of Russ Feingold's censure motion.

I'm sure someone can point to an exception somewhere, but so far every single column or news story I've read on the subject has been about (a) Feingold the maverick and whether this helps his presidential chances, (b) the disarray his motion has caused in the Democratic party, (c) whether the censure motion was politically smart, or (d) Republican glee that Feingold has shifted attention away from all the things that were hurting them.

Is this really helping convince the public that Bush deliberately and repeatedly violated the law when he approved the NSA program? I'm not seeing it. Political theater is only useful if it actually shines the spotlight into the dark corner where we want it shined, and Feingold's censure motion doesn't really seem to have done that. Instead of pinning our hopes on yet another bright and shiny silver bullet, maybe there's a place for all those boring hearings and investigations after all.

Kevin Drum 2:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (97)

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Comments

What investigation?

Posted by: mats on March 20, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, what is the alternative? The Democrats in Congress cannot hold any meaningful hearings or investigations and the Republicans in Congress are not interested in such things. The only tactic remaining is political theater.

Moreover, the examples you cite are problems with the media, not with Feingold or with his motion. It's just one more example of the deterioration of the media and the cheapening of our public discourse.

Posted by: PaulB on March 20, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Mats: Dems are still pressing for hearings in the Judiciary Committee, and might well get them. And the press is presumably still investigating the NSA program, since they're the ones who exposed it in the first place.

PaulB: I agree that the media has been shallow on this subject. But it is what it is. We can talk about changing the media in the long term, but in the short term we have to deal with them as they are.

So: how do we actually start convincing the public that the NSA program is illegal?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on March 20, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, go to C&L and pull down the video of Bill Kristol on this topic. He feels differently. But then again, Bullshit Billy has his own agenda.

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/03/19.html#a7577

Posted by: Keith G on March 20, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Is this really helping convince the public that Bush deliberately and repeatedly violated the law when he approved the NSA program?

Not when the rest of the Dems have their heads up their ass and are ignoring it.

Reid was supposedly on record last Friday of saying that Bush is the most incompitent president in history. So, is that why Reid was so quick to support Feingold? Is that why Reid was so staunch in blocking the reauthorization of the (un)Patriot Act? Is that why Reid was so firm in his leadership of filibustering Alito, Robert, Rice, Negroponte, etc., etc.

A pox on both houses and both parties. Neither one cares what's in the best interest of the country.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 20, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, I should add that I doubt Feingold's motion is actually doing any harm. And there's no question that it's fun. I'm just not sure it's really doing any of the heavy lifting of shifting public opinion on the NSA program, which is what we're really after.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on March 20, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

It's very useful for those of us that are interested in how the media does business.

The sight of Democrats running from an opportunity to stick it to a law breaking president is pretty disgusting, but it's not nearly as disgusting as the Republicans banding together to sneer at those who would hold him to account. Yet who's getting all the bad press?

Posted by: Boronx on March 20, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

So how do you figure we are supposed to get the message out when we have an actively complicit media apparatus distorting, diverting, and concealing the facts?

American media is corrupt. We need to keep THAT fact up front while we struggle to get our message heard.

Posted by: JSStewart on March 20, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Do you think the dems would be able to pressure the repubs into hearings without the public attention the censure resolution has brought to this issue? Of course not.

That's why the resolution is important: It makes the republicans either go on the record to investigate, or to cover up.

Its perfect politics, and only the washington insiders don't see how perfectly Feingold played it.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on March 20, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

First, a critic like Feingold (my Senator, proudly) cannot predict exactly how his colleagues and especially the media will react to his actions. He just has to do what he thinks is right. Like Gary Cooper in High Noon.

Second, the Republicans have taken a lot of potshots at Dems over the last decade, some of them heavily criticized, most of them moving their party to the Far Right. E.g., Clinton impeachment measure. How about the Contract with America? Pretty laughable document, very few ideas memorable or ultimately enacted. However, the end result is that they won both congressional houses as well as the White House.

Feingold has planted the germ of a movement here. He is like the liberals' John Brown, trying to push the invitable conflict between Republicanism and liberal democracy along. Most of us from the liberal point of view agree it's a worthwhile goal, so we should cool our jets awhile and wait and see what takes root, providing some support along the way.

Posted by: Jeff from WI on March 20, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Al, which ever one, now you are not even phoning it in. Give it up. You're just waisting bandwith.

Posted by: Keith G on March 20, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's not Feingold responsibilty that his motion is not having the effect that Drum wants it to have.

Drum's lukewarm support for the Censure is but one symptom of the cause of the problem that he mentions.

Posted by: lib on March 20, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of pinning our hopes on yet another bright and shiny silver bullet, maybe there's a place for all those boring hearings and investigations after all.

Sure, but Feingold's call to censure Bush does serve to put pressure on Senate Republicans to do just that, rather than continue to dither over it in hopes that it goes away.

Posted by: David W. on March 20, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

The media don't seem much interested in investigative reporting related to this issue. The NYT sat on the story for a year and since publishing it no one else has picked up the ball and run with it. Investigations and hearings on Capitol Hill have centered on retroactively making what is admittedly illegal copacetic and hunky dory.

Kevin, what suggestions do you have other than expecting Republicans to straighten up and fly right?

Posted by: skank on March 20, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I'd have to disagree with you here, Kevin although I'm not a part of the radical "any attack on Bush is good" crowd.

Without measures like Feingold's resolution stirring up debate, the prime media story is that Bush convinced everybody that what he was doing was perfectly okay, it was all a tempest in a teapot, etc.

Feingold's resolution says some people will not accept this, there is controversy and having it come up in the press at all, no matter the context, means America can't roll over and go back to sleep. Someone's still yelling.

Posted by: brianinatlanta on March 20, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Kevin, but the reason that Feingold has become the center of discussion is because weak-kneed hand-wringing dems have made it so. If you and those like-minded Dems had simply said, "Yes, let's censure the son of a bitch. Let's do an investigation and censure the son-of-a-bitch" the Rethugs would have been put in the position of having to deny the charges. Then the conversation would have enlightened the common man about the god damn illegal wiretapping. Instead, in your inspiring way, you immediately began to mewl over whether censure was a political winner. (When I say "you" I don't mean just "you"--I mean you and the other Democratic pussies on Capitol Hill.)

Posted by: Baldrick on March 20, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: So: how do we actually start convincing the public that the NSA program is illegal?

Well, for one thing, you could devote a few hard-hitting columns explaining its illegalities, which would have the added effect of explaining why Feingold's measure is not bad "political theater," but the right thing to do.


Posted by: jayarbee on March 20, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Smilin' Billy Kristol -- who seems to know a little more about successful political tactics than Drum and Yglesias combined -- hinted on one of the Sunday gasfests that Feingold's censure measure can be a classic "framing" tactic: Introducing it and talking it up makes it familiar, hence non-"radical". Since it was only months ago that "framing" was supposed to be the key to Democratic victory, it's revealing that the ball's been dropped at the very moment it appeared.

But I'm sure that schooling people in the precise nuances of FISA courts and the NSA will draw hordes of voters out on election day. Because everyone agrees that the schoolmarm-ish demeanor of the stereotypical Democrat is their most appealing trait.

Sheesh.

Posted by: sglover on March 20, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

btw I do know how to spell bandwidth - Doh!!

Posted by: Keith G on March 20, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The public WANTS the FBI to monitor phone calls to or from Al Queda.

This is an argument the Dems will lose every time.

Are Dems really this clueless??

Posted by: FrequencyKenneth on March 20, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Kevin is right and it is a dead-end motion that is distracting us other important issues since now even George Will says the war isn't winnable. Am I wrong in thinking this is big news? He's not nearly as bats**t as Wm. F. Buckley

Posted by: Walt on March 20, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

And yet, Kevin, most of the polls that address this subject seem to suggest Feingold hit a chord with the American people, just not the punditocracy. You seem to think it's more important to please the latter and ignore the former.

Posted by: John on March 20, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

You know, someone should explain to the Dems that politics is sometimes like Zen.

Sometimes, the only way to achieve a certain effect is to do something for a wholly different, more noble purpose.

I do believe that if Dems get behind Feingold's censure resolution, even though it appears at this time that it's politically a wash, and do so on the principle of the thing, they will find that the politics will come back their way redoubled.

The single thing that can make the censure resolution seem unpopular is a total failure to scrutinize its justification: which is exactly what's going on now.

The Republicans can say that Bush violated FISA to make people safe -- but how well does that argument hold up after the slightest examination? How can he justify violating FISA for four long years, rather than going to an already sympathetic Congress to extend relevant law? On what grounds can he extend that dictatorial power for such a length of time? How would we have been less safe had he sought buy-in from Congress, as the Constitution requires?

Posted by: frankly0 on March 20, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Get real, Dems. Feingold's resolution is all about Feingold. He is running for President in 2008 and wants to position himself as the anti-Bush, anti-war candidate. As Hilary moves to the center, Feingold moves to the left.

Never mind if his antics hurt the Democratic party's chances in 2006. Remember, Feingold is all about Feingold.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 20, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

As your own post explains, the public is out in front on the censure issue. The fact that it doesn't fit in with the SCLM spin about what might be appropriate for the Democrats says more about the out-of-touch insiders than it does about Feingold or how the issue is viewed by the public.

It seems like all the pundits, you included, have decided to buy into the Republican framing of this issue.


C'mon!

Posted by: C. Wilson on March 20, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency,

OF course the publice wants the govt. to monitor Al Queda calls. So do the democrats.

The question is why is the bush administration so incompetent that it can't satisfy the FISA court of the reasonableness of its searches?

Because they aren't just survailing Al Queda. They are spying on American citizens who have no relation to terrorism. That is why they won't go through the FISA court to get the warrants.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on March 20, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still laughing at the doofus above, who said that the failure of Feingold's resolution to pass is proof of its brilliance. (frankly 0, 2:42)

Posted by: BigRiver on March 20, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

The public WANTS the FBI to monitor phone calls to or from Al Queda.

This is an argument the Dems will lose every time.

Are Dems really this clueless?? Posted by: FrequencyKenneth

No spawn of Charlie. It's already been demonstrated that they are casting a net much wider than necessary. Are you really worried about Quakers being in league with al Qaeda?

No one says they can't tap the phones of suspected terrorists and collaborators. Everyone is in favor of this, including, and most important, the judges issuing the warrants under FISA. Why can't people like you get this through your thick skulls? Or is it that you lot really wish this mess was Vietnam, that Bush was half as smart as Nixon, and it was 1970?

Posted by: Jeff II on March 20, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kelso, Native Diver and John Henry were great gelded race horses - Had they not been gelded, they would have remained untrainable rogues.

However, in politics, we need more ungelded rogues to fight the Evil Empire of the Shrub. We already have too many go along, get along pony pets who want to canter along side the Texas Mustang.

It is not simply the media who has changed the spot light from NSA misdeeds to that of censure -Many in the blogosphere are going along hand in hand. EXCEPT DIGBY.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 20, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

yeah your grrrlfriend Ann Althouse does the same thing as you: glance at her navel and then declare the public ain't buying it.

Posted by: jerry on March 20, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Poltics is often about the right thing getting done for the wrong reasons.

Yes, Feingold is, in part, putting himself in the spotlight to bolster a potential candidacy in 2008. Nothing wrong with that. It's the essence of politics. *Somebody* had to stand up for what was right. Why not him.

It's not the first time he's stood up, for one thing, so he has credibility. And I'm going to look for a leader who damn well will stand up and lead sometimes, and dare everyone to follow him.

Feingold doesn't have my vote yet -- but he's got my full attention. He's absolutely right to push for censure now, since the Republicans are not even going to ask the questions.

Posted by: zmulls on March 20, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

The public WANTS the FBI to monitor phone calls to or from Al Queda.

Are you really this clueless? the public wants the FBI to monitor phone calls to or from Al Quaeda. Of course. But--and listen carefully here--that is not what this is about.

Did you know that it is possible to monitor phone calls to or from Al Quaeda within the bounds of current FISA law? All that is required is that the Bush Administration submit to the legal oversight of the FISA court. That's all. And that is what this fight is about. Bush does not believe that he has to submit to the court's authority. The law says otherwise. So Bush flagrantly, unapologetically, defiantly disobeys the law. That, buddy, is the beginning of a dictatorship. And that's what this fight is about.

Posted by: Baldrick on March 20, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, honestly, what better way is there to "convince the public that Bush deliberately and repeatedly violated the law when he approved the NSA program" than having a member of the Senate draft and sponsor a resolution that sets out to "convince the public that Bush deliberately and repeatedly violated the law when he approved the NSA program" ?

We know that the Senate Intelligence Committee is not going to undertake a meaningful investigation in a meaningful timeframe (we have Pat Roberts' fine performance record on that, besides the other Republican members' refusal to support an investigation into the NSA spying approval).

Feingold appears to be the only one to speak on behalf of the rule of law. A lot of people admire that, and in fact it deserves admiration and support, not carping.

Posted by: Portland blue on March 20, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you state:

I agree with Matt that Feingold's censure motion probably isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but his post also highlights my biggest problem with the whole affair: it's not increasing public awareness of the NSA's domestic spying program. All it's doing is increasing awareness of Russ Feingold's censure motion.

Well, yes. If the pundits (already making their own rules as a species distinct from reporters) choose to emphasize Feingold's punctuation or his tie, there's nothing Feingold can do about it. It's his job to stand up in Congress, its reporters' jobs to relate the details and shed some light on the domestic spying program. As for pundits, including yourself, they get to do what they want.

Which could include "increasing public awareness of the NSA's domestic spying program" and addressing the censure resolution on its merits rather than as a vehicle for political posturing.

And, by the way, if a pundit/blogger should examine the censure resolution on its merits and discovers something worth correcting or supporting, I wouldn't mind reading about it.

So what do you say?

Posted by: fred on March 20, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

FrequencyKen - I am wondering as to your level of cluelessness.

Sure, we all want the bad guys to be spied on. And they can be spied on, utilizing procedures consistent with the all-American notions of limited government and checks and balances.

No real American should want or support an executive branch that sets it self up as the final, if not only, arbiter of the procedural meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

You should not want President Feingold to do that ( I sure wouldn't) and I definately do not want GWB doing so.

Get your head out of the mud and realize we are in a discussion about the longterm liberties and right held by the citizens of this great land.

Posted by: Keith G on March 20, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

On 3/20, Limbaugh quoted Jim Moran and Nancy Pelosi, who both said Feingold's resolution is a distraction to the Dems agenda.

If Moran and Pelosi see this, why can't the Dems who post here ??

Posted by: BigRiver on March 20, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Teddy Roosevelt observed correctly: "no credit goes to the critic whoshows how the strongman stumbled. All credit goes to the man in the arena.." Kevin Drum and the MSM pundits get no credit for showing the inadquacies of the Feingold initiative and thereby diminishing its effect. If Kevin Drum and the Democratic leadership want to be worth the powder it would take to blow thim to hell, perhaps they could enter the arena and discuss whether Bush should be censured and why rather than supporting the notion that this is not an issue that we should be talking about.

Posted by: chad on March 20, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

At this point in the game, censure is nothing but political payback. The Democratic minority is in serious trouble of looking witless by lancing Dubya and waving his bloodied head to a crowd of cheering partisans.

Democrats need to get off this topic quick because in voters' eyes, the Democrats are failing the all-American gut check. Remember when Democrats assailed the Bush Administration for attacking Saddam for 9-11 rather than Osama? The Administration decided to feed their partisan habit and invaded anyway, and now look where that got them.

America is in no mood for Schadenfreude justice.

Posted by: Jon Karak on March 20, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK


BIGRIVER: On 3/20, Limbaugh quoted Jim Moran and Nancy Pelosi, who both said Feingold's resolution is a distraction to the Dems agenda. If Moran and Pelosi see this, why can't the Dems who post here ??

Yeah, because we know Rush Limbaugh is all about helping Democrats put the best face on their agenda.


Posted by: jayarbee on March 20, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Blame the media, again, huh?

Torture at Abu Ghraib -- have the pictures appeared in the paper and on TV? Yes.

NSA domestic spying -- has this been discussed on the evening news and the cable news shows? Yes.

At some point Americans have to take responsibility themselves.

I attended the Chicago anti-war rally and thought the turnout pathetic. Imagine my surprise to find out it was the largest in the nation.

You can post all the comments you want, you can write diaries and bitch and moan. But if the American people will not hit the streets or even bother to vote, who is to blame for the end of Democracy in this country?

Bush and company are simply taking advantage of America's apathy, conservative America's fixation with sex, and with the Democrat's inability to formulate an agenda that will provide the few that actually vote with an alternative to GWB and the Repugs.

Posted by: Dicksknee on March 20, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus fucking Christ, Kevin. You are such a buffoon sometimes.

Jayarbee at 2:36 nailed it. For someone who claims to care about the actual substance of the matter, you sure spend a lot of time handwringing about whether Feingold did a politically savvy or career-boosting move or not.

Posted by: Irony Man on March 20, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I must say, I always thought of Kevin's blog as a place that put discussions of policy first and handicapping second. So why not ask the question, Kevin? On the merits, should George Bush be censured for authorizing wiretaps without seeking judicial approval? I pose the question to permit, in addition, of course, to the "He's a crook" response, other responses such as: he didn't really break the law, he was permitted to break the law because ...[you fill in the blank, "He's God's chosen one," or whatever].

Go to it.

Posted by: David in NY on March 20, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

"BIGRIVER: On 3/20, Limbaugh quoted Jim Moran and Nancy Pelosi, who both said Feingold's resolution is a distraction to the Dems agenda. If Moran and Pelosi see this, why can't the Dems who post here ??"

Because they aren't all mindless robots who do what Nancy freaking Pelosi tells them to do.

Posted by: tron on March 20, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Here is something I read on Andrew Sullivan's blog on March 19. It is an observation made by an unindentified reader reflecting upon Kristol's idea that the censure move helps Democrats.

"Here's a question: this weekend Fox's Beltway Boys helpfully explained how the Dems need this to be a "referendum election," and that the GOP is determined to make it a "choice election." OK, so far so good. So how does the censure talk cut? If you happened to see Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday today, he had a contrary view on this. He seemed to think that all the censure talk ultimately hurts the GOP because, over time, it starts to seem less radical. He should know: in 1998 he played a key role in moving the Lewinsky story from Drudge to ABC's This Week when he forced it on the air during a now infamous round-table appearance. Once it became OK to talk about, well, it started to seem less radical, less fringe-like. It became just another mainstream question. Everyone had to declare either for or against, and then defend their position. Now, censure will never happen because it lacks the votes. We all know that. As an actual outcome it is a nonstarter. Still, let's take a hypothetical congressional election: two candidates get asked in a town-hall meeting about censure. Even if both the Republican and the Democratic candidate declare that they are not in favor of censure, the Republican is still obliged to frame his answer as at least a partial defense of the President, while the Democrat can sound moderate by declining to endorse censure while still offering a strong critique of Bush. That sounds a lot like "referendum election" to me.
My first reaction to Feingold was that it was bad politics. But now I'm not so sure. Kristol may be on to something.."


Posted by: Ron Byers on March 20, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

FEINGOLD??

Is he one of those Jew guys? Shouldn't it be spelled FindGold?

Posted by: Matt on March 20, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Not quite sure how you create a media drumbeat except by beating the drum. When the Radicals wanted to neuter Clinton, they used every vehicle at their disposal from the Wall Street Journal to various lesser captive papers to Rush Limbaugh to state media to private investigators. They hit hard from every direction relentlessly and never quit.

But Feingold takes one baby step and this is bad?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 20, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

This is Washington political commentary in a nutshell. It's all about who's up and who's down--what does this proposal or that speech mean for someone's political future. It's never about what the proposal would actually do or the speech actually says.

This kind of commentary feeds the general perception that politics is a game, and that all that matters is one's political survival. In the meantime, this commentary lets the Bush administration get away with fouling our air and water, denuding civil rights, making things worse off for black men (see today's NY Times), and, oh yes, destroying a country and our relations with the rest of the world.

Posted by: Bob on March 20, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get this. Because the media can only run stories about the 08 horse race or about intra-party sniping, Feingold shouldn't have done this?

What alternative mechanism is there? How are you going to get Newsweek to do what Matt asks and actually analyze the question of whether this program is legal? I'll hold off on the blue dress comments, but jeez, it's not Feingold's fault that they don't want to discuss the substance of the resolution. All that he can do is what he's been doing, talking about the substance of the measure, as did Durbin.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on March 20, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Mats: Dems are still pressing for hearings in the Judiciary Committee, and might well get them. And the press is presumably still investigating the NSA program, since they're the ones who exposed it in the first place.

The censure resolution forces hearings. Specter has caved so many times that there it is just not a safe bet to believe any of his promises or commitments.

Posted by: jayackroyd on March 20, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

well, you can't blame Russ for the media being a bunch of morons who follow a story the way a cat follows a piece of string, by only looking at the thing that's actually moving..

Posted by: bruce k on March 20, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I only say this half-jokingly: Rather than censure, why not talk about prosecution.

FISA provides for a penalty of up to 5 years for each time surveillance covered by the statute is done without the appropriate warrant. There is little question that Bush ordered actions that violate the clear letter of FISA - it doesnt take a strict contructionist to see it. His only defences are A. Its unconstitutional and/or B. The AUMF authorized it.

Request the DOJ to appoint a prosecutor in the same manner as Fitgerald was selected.

This is a key element that has not been emphasized in the media accounts: That what Bush did clearly violated FISA unless its unconstitunal or the AUMF did something no legisilator believes it did. In the poll questions it often asks whether the public supports interception of terrorists without a warrant, without spelling out that it violates FISA - essentially asking what their opinion is as to what the law should be.

The Democrats position should be:
Lets investigate what happened;
However, we already know that Bush did not follow FISA, so lets establish whether he is accountable to FISA or not.
In addition the Democrats should be publicly moving to pass legislation making the meaning of the AUMF clear.

Of course, the GOP congress will stall, but that will help highlight the issue. Lets straighten it out, and figure out once and for all whether the President is violating the law or not and stop playing around with politics.

Posted by: Catch22 on March 20, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

I posted this on a dead through below but it seems relevant to this post and maybe some strategist has the answer.

So the Dems are going to run in November claiming Republicans are the Do-Nothings and No-accounts who won't hold Bushie to account for his disasters?

And they are going to do this how? Why, of course, by taking away the most powerful weapon in their arsenal - threatening censure because the republicans won't seriously investigate bushie's lies (especially bushie's lie about how he always gets a court warrant to investigate "suspects") and violations of the Constitution.

Trying to run on the basis of a do-nothing republican congress by doing nothing - makes perfect sense in the dem consultant and pundit world.

What kind of political instinct is this? The American people, conservative and liberal want the s.o.b's held to account and are sick of the arrogance and abuse of power.

If the Dems do not threaten censure and use it to force immediate investigations with the power to subpoena Republicans can rightly say y'all didn't hold Bush to account either. By going on the offense and forcing the Republicans on the defense they have to bring to light the illegality of bushie's actions. Instead they will end up being on the defensive and looking weak. Republicans realize this (which is probably Brit Hume on Fox apparently almost self-combusted when the issue of censure came up).

Posted by: Chrissy on March 20, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

TV News -- where most people get their info -- is a branch of the Republican Party.

Get used to it. It's not going to change.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 20, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I only say this half-jokingly: Rather than censure, why not talk about prosecution.

Absolutely: Impeachment. Prosecution. Imprisonment.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 20, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky Observer should be required reading:

Not quite sure how you create a media drumbeat except by beating the drum. When the Radicals wanted to neuter Clinton, they used every vehicle at their disposal from the Wall Street Journal to various lesser captive papers to Rush Limbaugh to state media to private investigators. They hit hard from every direction relentlessly and never quit.

But Feingold takes one baby step and this is bad?

Beat the drum. Beat the drum. And then beat it again, using every stick in the house.

I am at a total loss, Kevin, to understand why you seem to think that every voter in America is imbued with the political jones possessed (suffered?) by all of us posting here. It's really disturbing to read the increasing number of your posts implying that each message only needs to be transmitted once, and that if it's perfectly calibrated, everyone in the U.S. will see the virtue of our position and come on over.

Joe, Jane, Juan and Jing Voter are not sitting around the house wondering if Russ Feingold is committing political suicide. They are, however, listening to the MSM repeat ad nauseam that Nancy Damn Pelosi and other assorted Dem twits are publicly denouncing one of their own in a way that Republicans do not. The way to counter that bullshit is not to back away from actions like Feingold's.

Instead, Democrats, even those who don't agree with Feingold on this, have to start repeating over and over that the president is an arrogant criminal who thinks he's above the law and who has no respect for his own citizens, and that it's time to take action against this madness. A censure resolution is one way to do that. There are lots of others. This isn't an either-or situation, and you need to stop crapping on the one guy who's taking a firm stand on this.

It wouldn't be so bad that you're throwing out the principle in favor of the politics if this weren't such goddamned bad politics as well! What do you honestly think we'll gain by standing back and hoping the Judiciary Committee finally comes to Jesus? How much more evidence do you need that the GOP is going to get its message out on this whether or not the Dems get it together?

You can navel gaze until the second week in November about how perfectly nuanced our message should be. Then you can act all bewildered about why people didn't get it.

God damn it.

Posted by: shortstop on March 20, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

For the last time, Kevin, you're conflating Feingold's censure motion with the media reaction and political response to it!!

Fer cryin' out loud! Don't cut down Feingold's censure motion for the inability of the media to discuss censure and impeachment and the politicians' craven refusal to come to Feingold's side!

What's Feingold supposed to do? Write Eleanor Clift's column for her? And your blog for you?

Because YOU commit the same mistake as everyone that you and Yglesias criticize: instead of shining that light yourself, you're occupied with demeaning the motion for censure as ineffective political theater.

But don't put that on Feingold. He EFFECTIVELY changed the subject to NSA warrantless wiretaps, and the need for accountability through censure.

The media and "pragmatic" Democrats are avoiding the issue -- but that's their responsibility: not Feingold's.

Note that Dems are also avoiding reaping the political windfall that's there for the taking in refusing to hold Bush accountable before the law. The DLC is pursuing a losing strategy.

Blogger, heal thyself!

Kevin wrote:
"I agree with Matt that Feingold's censure motion ... it's not increasing public awareness of the NSA's domestic spying program. All it's doing is increasing awareness of Russ Feingold's censure motion.
...
Political theater is only useful if it actually shines the spotlight into the dark corner where we want it shined, and Feingold's censure motion doesn't really seem to have done that."

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 20, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, it's time to give up this position of yours. It sounds desperate. How is Feingold supposed to know exactly what the in-club elite media reaction will be? The man is trying to keep this issue alive, rather than allow it to be buried. It's more than political theater, it's a political grace period. When it's over, it will leave an opportunity for someone else, another Democrat, or the party leadership, to make another move. And, when they make that move, they can point to the lack of defense of George Bush by Republicans over this past few weeks as a critical omission.

You don't sit around twiddling your thumbs waiting for Rove to change the subject, you lay little traps and political landmines for him to navigate. Feingold's censure resolution has been nothing but successful, in terms of raising awareness (not necessarily of the details of the NSA issue, but that there is general concern with the NSA issue amongst leglislators) amongst the public and not allowing the issue to disappear.

It seems the only folks that worried about this who do not support Bush are the elite Democratic strategists and politicians who got out-foxed on this one. It's time you and they start giving some credit where due, and start figuring your strategy within this environment, and not constantly wishing it away, as if it never happened, because you imagine Reid or anyone else had some grander piece of political theater to play.

Nothing has been prevented by Feingold, if indeed there was something brilliant in the works, only delayed.

Posted by: Jimm on March 20, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

KEVIN DRUM: So: how do we actually start convincing the public that the NSA program is illegal?

Until the public (including the spineless Dem politicians that didn't back Feingold up) begins to CARE whether or not it's illegal, I think that any attempts to convince are wasted effort.

This nation deserves the government it voted for. It voted for the republicans, who are obvious in their corruption and contempt for the American people, and it also voted for the democrats, who have the luxury of an excuse of fear of being branded "unpatriotic". (it's a luxury for those who buy into that twisted logic, which is most of us, apparently).

Until most of this nation gets past this first-grade level of logic, I don't think there's a hope in hell that people are going to care whether it's illegal. At the end of the day, I don't think most Americans give a crap about the Constitution or the Bill of RIghts. Just about the price to fill up their H2's gas tank.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 20, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

You have to stop drinking the Kool-aid. Of course everything that any Democrat does will be portrayed as "political" or "helping the Republicans" by, guess who?, the Republicans (and of course, they say this even as there is every indication that exposure of their corruption and mendacity helps them not at all). As seen by the trolls that infest your website, above, these claims become even more shrill whenever a Democrat does something that might impact on the popularity or electoral fortunes of Dear Leader and his cronies.

The Republicans know that the media (in which I include the blogosphere) will, for the most part,
buy into the Sportcenter style of political reporting and will never, ever, consider the subtance of an action. hence, each talking head repeats the meme "political" and "hurts the Demcorats".

Simply put, the punditocracy cannot bring itself to discuss whether Feingold did the right thing- i.e., is it a Senator's duty to bring a motion to censure when he feels the President has broken the law, but instead attributes base political motives and predicts disastrous consequences for Democrats, per the RNC talking points hot off the fax.

And guess what? Despite hearing these self-same arguments about anything any critic of Bush has done in the last five years, none of those actions have resulted in the soaring popularity and approval for Bush's policies that the Republcians want you to predict. Despite that evidence you continue to peddle their talking point as if this time, just this time, they might be right and mention of Bush's lawbreaking will suddenly redound to his 100% approval rating.


Posted by: solar on March 20, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's time for the whiney pussycats, if they can't say anmything supportive, then to step aside and just watch. They go by the names: Harry, Nancy, and Kevin. Among many others.

It took two years for the Watergate scandal to mature into an impeachment. (And they had investigations going much of this time, which we do not.)

Eventually, it reaches a tipping point.

Feingold's censure may not be the tipping point, but every little push or nudge helps.

I think the tipping point might well be 3,000 soldiers dead, which is more than died in 9-11. It's coming soon - maybe before the election.

Gawd, how the Democrats in this country have been de-testicled.

Posted by: Libby Sosume on March 20, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Even Bill Kristol, bless his vile heart, can recognize that Feingold is not only correct as a matter of principle, but in terms of effective political strategy and judgement as well.

Why can't you?

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 20, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

I sense a change in the wind here. Last week Kevin stated he thought Feingold's tactics were insincere, stupid, and posturing. Now he concedes there may be something to it, but still worries and frets that it will not get the focus it should in the national media. I agree with the other posters here who have challenged Kevin to specifically address whether there is any merit to a censure motion, by examining what the law actually says, and what Bush has done.

Posted by: coffeequeen on March 20, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin.

It's punditry like your's that creates the circular argument. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

http://bendtherail.blogspot.com/2006/03/strategery.html

Posted by: Mike on March 20, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

It's a matter of teamwork, and Democrats learning how to play good cop-bad cop -- as Dick Durbin demonstrated yesterday on Faux News Sunday.

Feingold's resolution isn't a "silver bullet" -- it's an attention-getting device that puts the topic on the table for discussion. It's a leadoff double, and now it's up to other Democrats to drive the message (Dubya is out of control, and the GOP Congress won't rein him in) home by reinforcing it in their comments ... regardless of whether they actually endorse the resolution.

Posted by: Swopa on March 20, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Political theater is also useful if it helps ensure that the people who are basically on your side, actually get off their butts and vote.

Midterm elections are all about mobilizing the base - or so the longtime Beltway CW says. If that's true, then political theater like this can be a big plus.

Posted by: RT on March 20, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Cliff has a point when she says.."Democrats want the November election to be a plebiscite on Bushs job performance, not a personal vendetta. "

But she is slightly off....to the vast "bottom line" type majority of Americans, what we want is for the election to be about..THE ENTIRE CORRUPT SYSTEM...but of course with the lunatic lefties and lunatic righties making everything in America about "them" and "their" side....no one will get to the core of the cancer and the see saw game of "politics" will continue.

Posted by: Chanel No 5 on March 20, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold's resolution isn't a "silver bullet" -- it's an attention-getting device that puts the topic on the table for discussion. It's a leadoff double, and now it's up to other Democrats to drive the message (Dubya is out of control, and the GOP Congress won't rein him in) home by reinforcing it in their comments ... regardless of whether they actually endorse the resolution.

Exactly, Swopa. Much more eloquently and succinctly put than my own comments.

Posted by: shortstop on March 20, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh.

How many times must this be explained? Kevin, the public is already aware that the NSA program is illegal. That's why 70% of Democrats are in favor of censure and 43% (my God!) of Republicans are either in favor or would consider it.

Yes, Americans want calls to and from AQ monitored, but while Democrats complain about their agenda, mutter about hearings and pick through intricacies of constitutional law, commonsense Americans are coming to the simple conclusions. Americans know what a warrant is, and they know that George Bush is bugging peoples' phones without getting one.

As to all this talk of political expediency, could everyone write this sentence 50 times on the blackboard: "Democrats are fools to listen to what Republicans say about what Democrats do."

Posted by: erica on March 20, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Besides, if Feingold wrecked the finely calibrated Rube Goldberg machine that will catapult the Democrats to victory in November, I'm sure Jim Moran and Nancy Pelosi will have it up and running in time for 2008.

Posted by: Lucy on March 20, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Are you really worried about Quakers being in league with al Qaeda?"

Al is.

Posted by: u on March 20, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

As many people have already said, you are wrong on this, Kevin. This is what Republicans look like when they are weak-kneed and defensive. Few Republicans are strongly defending Bush on this one. Many are saying that this needs further study. How often do you hear Republicans saying that Bush needs to be investigated on other issues by bipartisan committees?

Posted by: reino on March 20, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "my biggest problem with the whole affair: it's not increasing public awareness of the NSA's domestic spying program. All it's doing is increasing awareness of Russ Feingold's censure motion"

Well, yeah. Given a choice, the major media will not focus attention on the many governance failures of the Bush administration but instead on how unseemly it is for any Democrat to focus attention on any of those failures. It's almost as though the major media have loaded up on common stock in this administration and can't stand to have it devalued by any of these declasse Democratic politicians.

Posted by: Taobhan on March 20, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

If Moran and Pelosi see this, why can't the Dems who post here ??

This is satire, right? Wheels within wheels....

Posted by: sglover on March 20, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

If the Dems hadn't run for the hills the instant they heard it, yes it probably would have raised awareness. Shame on everyone who ran for it in the first moment.

Posted by: MNPundit on March 20, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Matt that Feingold's censure motion probably isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things

I disagree. It could be a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

I absolutely refuse to support with my time, money or energy, any political official who does not take the simple, obvious step of censuring the most dangerous, criminal action I have seen in my lifetime.

I bet I am not alone.

The failure of the Democratic leadership to show some spine here could have a disastrous effect on the midterms.

Posted by: Brautigan on March 20, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree. It could be a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

I absolutely refuse to support with my time, money or energy, any political official who does not take the simple, obvious step of censuring the most dangerous, criminal action I have seen in my lifetime.

I bet I am not alone.

The failure of the Democratic leadership to show some spine here could have a disastrous effect on the midterms.

Posted by: Brautigan on March 20, 2006 at 5:05 PM


Agreed.

With Dems approving of censure by 70%, Independents at 42%, and 29% of Republicans approving of censure, the political capital is there for those who want to clean up.

47% of Indendents approve of impeachment.

But censure and impeachment aren't an issue of the political capability of succeeding. Rather they're defined by the egregiousness of the unlawful acts that must be met with redress, and their measure is whether they are "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 20, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

A reminder for trolls. Its not the monitoring of terrorists, its the ignoring the law and FISA that was illegal and the point of the censure. Bush plainly broke the law, but he didn't have too.

Posted by: the fake Fake Al on March 20, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The failure of the Democratic leadership to show some spine here could have a disastrous effect on the midterms.
Posted by: Brautigan on March 20, 2006 at 5:05 PM

Exactly.

If the Dems won't stand up for our rights, then how are they any better than Republicans?

More importantly: Why does the Democratic leadership CONTINUE to pretend that their base doesn't want censure? Why do they continue to ignore this issue? How do they expect to beat the Republicans if they don't differentiate themselves from them in the eyes of the voting public. This is precisely why Gore lost in '00. This is exactly why the Republicans gained seats in '02. This is the very reason Kerry lost in '04. And if the Dems (I'm talking to YOU Dr. Dean!) don't do something and QUICKLY, they're going to get their asses handed to them in '06.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 20, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with Kevin on this. The censure motion DOES focus on the illegal NSA wiretaps. The President broke the law, he admits breaking the law, there was no excuse for his breaking the law - so what is wrong with censuring him?
If the press doesn't want to focus on this subject, then it is up to the Democrats to force them to focus on it - what better way than by a motion to censure the President for self-admitted illegal acts? Bringing this to the floor of the Senate will guarantee at least several days worth of publicity about the wiretapping.
The more news about the wiretapping, the better.

Posted by: Doug Stamate on March 20, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Feingold; Pelosi et. al. are more like the Washington Generals than Washington senators. The Generals existed to allow the Harlem Globetrotters a vaguely plausible foe as a foil for their hijinks.

The current Democratic pary appears, confused, gutless and weak and it is absurd to criticise the only guy who is trying to take the fight to the Republicans.

Daily, every Democrat in Congress should use the words 'Bush', 'crook', 'incompetent', 'liar' and 'convicted' in a sentence in front of a tv camera or reporter.

Posted by: Nat on March 20, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, is anyone else bugged by the tone of Alter's article? It's all disingenuously gee-whiz, Rahm Emanuel "just might" be the clever guy who can tinker with the Democrats and get them all fixed up. But it's sprinkled everywhere with those magic "mights," so that if Emanuel goes down in flames, Alter can write a follow-up column about how he knew Emanuel was a chump all along.

Two columns, one subject. Talk about knowing what side your paycheck is buttered on.

Posted by: erica on March 20, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Why is it Feingold's fault if the media choose to focus on political games rather than the substance of the censure proposal?

Criticize the media, not Feingold.

Posted by: Bernard Yomtov on March 20, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Every time the country gets fired up about something, the Dems in Washington DC worry....about what? What is left to lose?

I keep trying to persuade myself that I have to vote Democratic, it's the only alternative....This is an alternative?

I try to cut them all the lack possible, they are the pros, I've never run an election, yada yada yada...

But jeez, when 3/4 of the people think Iraq is a failure, over half of them want a censure motion, how expert do you have to be to know what you should do?

I should write my senator? I'm tired of the damn form letter that she sends to everyone, the one that cleverly doesn't take a stand of any kind. And she's a Democrat!

Well, if the Democratic "experts" blow this election, you might as well start thinking 'Constitutional Convention', because this form of government will have failed.

Posted by: serial catowner on March 20, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: Political theater is only useful if it actually shines the spotlight into the dark corner where we want it shined, and Feingold's censure motion doesn't really seem to have done that.

True enough. I'll still settle for the drip-drip-drip water torture technique. It'll eventually have the desired result on the electorate.

The problem will be lining up enough drops to keep a steady cadence going. But, George will help us out with that.

Posted by: Aaron in NM on March 20, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Let's keep our eyes on the ball, folks: More Americans want Bush censured than are against it. About one in 5 Republicans are for it, for heaven's sake. The people are getting the message, with or without mainstream media or support from Democratic regulars. It's the same old story: If the people will lead, the leaders will follow.

Posted by: JonM on March 20, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Drum, get off the base. Put down the pipe.

Increasing awareness of the censure resolution will lead to people asking "why?"; and the answer will lead to awareness of the NSA spying issue.

It's really not that hard unless you're trying to play dumb or you think everyone else is stupid.

Posted by: lettuce on March 20, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

I think the problem is that Kevin, who always fancies himself a geek-wonk, still thinks the NSA spying is just about data mining - which isn't really spying, unless you use a black bag to get the data.

Kevin: "Data mining" is a bullshit label used to divert attention and dilute people's perceptions. The people who said it was data mining don't really know. They weren't in on the deal and it's very highly classified. They';re just speculating and tying this scandal to another scandal from two years ago.

I'm betting that data mining is only the tip of what's going on. I think they are actually "wiretapping" conversations without warrants. If it were only data mining, they wouldn't have bothered even getting a legal opinion from Yoo.

It's wiretapping, stupid.

Posted by: Libby Sosume on March 20, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, I should add that I doubt Feingold's motion is actually doing any harm. And there's no question that it's fun. I'm just not sure it's really doing any of the heavy lifting of shifting public opinion on the NSA program, which is what we're really after.
Posted by: Kevin Drum on March 20, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Really...that wasn't your position yesterday?

Craigie: What are you talking about? I think Feingold is being politically stupid, but that's a purely tactical judgment. You know perfectly well what I think about Bush's opinion that he's the wartime king of the country.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on March 17, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

And let the walkback begin...

Posted by: justmy2 on March 20, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

make that three days ago...but you get the point...

btw-I find it amazing that it hasn't occured to people that the first thing Republicans said when this first occured, and still say today (see Brit Hume), is that "you didn't complain before". And people are still willing to not "complain"? They want more information???

This has to be some type of crazy RNC psy-ops tactic because sometimes this stuff doesn't make any sense to me...

I wonder how much Sen. Clinton, Biden, and Bayh contribute to the Washington Monthly?

Posted by: justmy2 on March 20, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you really don't get it...
You say, "I agree with Matt that Feingold's censure motion probably isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but his post also highlights my biggest problem with the whole affair: it's not increasing public awareness of the NSA's domestic spying program. All it's doing is increasing awareness of Russ Feingold's censure motion."

Kevin, the press has played it that way. Dah! It seems some 40+% of the population is aware. With more attention in the media that number would increase.

You say, "Is this really helping convince the public that Bush deliberately and repeatedly violated the law when he approved the NSA program? I'm not seeing it. Political theater is only useful if it actually shines the spotlight into the dark corner where we want it shined, and Feingold's censure motion doesn't really seem to have done that."

Kevin, it is this kind of reasoning that pigeon holes you into someone just not able to grasp the big picture. You call it "theater" to attempt to hold the President accountable for breaking the law?


You say, "Instead of pinning our hopes on yet another bright and shiny silver bullet, maybe there's a place for all those boring hearings and investigations after all."

Kevin, there will be no hearing and no investigations with a Republican controlled Congress. What more proof would you need????

The point remains, this President broke the law, we-- meaning Democrates, Republicans and Independents--- who believe in the 4th Amendment and always seek to protect our civil liberties must hold him accountable. When that is not possible we still need to bring every tool at our disposal to highlight the Presidents lawlessness. This is so clear and so fundamental, if you don't understand it, then you really are part of the problem.

Mark

Posted by: Mark on March 20, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

About those "boring hearings and investigations" -- who exactly is going to conduct them? The Republicans? The Democratic leadership?

Please.

If the Democrats would get behind Feingold and ELEVATE THE ISSUE it would cease to be about Feingold, okay? Feingold didn't put forward a motion to talk up Feingold for president, ya maroon.

C'mon! Jeez oh pete.

Posted by: Robustus on March 20, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

May I suggest you listen to what Senator Fiengold himself says are his tactical reasons for sponsoring the censure resolution?

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/03/20.html#a7596

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on March 20, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think you should be addressing your complaints to the news media. By focusing on the censure resolution and how it plays politically they are the ones foregoing coverage of the illegallity of Bush's surveillance program. The journalists of this country are pathetic, particularly when it comes to covering any serious issue in depth.

Posted by: Jim on March 20, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliant analysis, Kevin! Because wankers like you and Eleanor Clift have misconstrued Feingold's action, he should never have taken it in the first place!

Now there's a formula for success. If the media will misconstrue your action, don't take it. But then what do you do when the media systematically misconstrues your actions, as they have for years now with progressive Democrats? According to Kevin you systematically don't take those actions.

Yeah, that's the ticket. If you're a wanker.

Posted by: The Fool on March 21, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Used to have a subscription to 'Newsweak'. Now, I wouldn't wipe my ass with it.

Posted by: Paul in KY on March 21, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

maybe there's a place for all those boring hearings and investigations after all.

yeah, i'll get right on that. ha ha ha.

Posted by: pat roberts on March 21, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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