John McCain bids farewell to his colleague Russ Feingold in Senate floor address

As a friend said, Senator McCain’s farewell address to his friend and colleague Senator Russ Feingold shows us why so many people had liked John McCain’s public persona. And it is a great reminder of the many qualities that I admire in Senator Feingold.

While McCain’s statement is available at his Senate web site, it bears printing here as well.

There is a bitter irony about how these the two men worked for years to pass campaign finance reform regulation, only to have it be gutted by the activist Supreme Court. For it was that, in part, which enabled Feingold’s defeat.

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Senator McCain Lauds the Service and Friendship of Senator Feingold

November 30, 2010

“Mr. President, I want to say a few words about a friend and colleague, whom I will miss very much when he leaves the Senate after we adjourn.  Without intending it as a commentary on his successor, I have to confess I think the Senate will be a much poorer place without Russ Feingold in it.  I know that in my next term I will experience fewer occasions of inspiration because of the departure of Russ Feingold, a man whose courage and dedication to the principles that guided his Senate service often inspired me.

“I will also miss the daily experience of Russ Feingold’s friendship, and the qualities that distinguish his friendship – his thoughtfulness, kindness, humor and loyalty.  I have treasured that friendship all the years we have served together, and while friendship does not end with a Senate career, I will sorely miss his presence here.  I will miss seeing him every day.  I will miss traveling with him.  I will miss the daily reminder of what a blessing it is to have a true friend in Washington.

“Our first encounter with one another was in a Senate debate in which we argued about an aircraft carrier, somewhat heatedly, if memory serves.  Russ thought the United States Navy had one too many.  I thought we didn’t have enough.  It was, I’m sorry to admit, not a very considerate welcome on my part to a new colleague, whom I would soon have many reasons to admire.  But to Russ’ credit, he didn’t let my discourtesy stand in the way of working together on issues where we were in agreement.  And to my good fortune, he didn’t let it stand in the way of our friendship either.

“We are of different parties, and our political views are often opposed.  We’ve had many debates on many issues.  But where we agreed – on wasteful spending, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and other issues – it was a privilege to fight alongside and not against Russ Feingold.

“We don’t often hear anymore about members of Congress who distinguish themselves by having the courage of their convictions; who risk their personal interests for what they believe is in the public interest.  I’ve seen many examples of it here, but the cynicism of our times – among the political class and the media and the voters tends to miss examples of political courage or dismiss them as probable frauds or, at best, exceptions that prove the rule.  In his time in the Senate, Russ Feingold, every day and in every way, had the courage of his convictions.  And though I am quite a few years older than Russ, and have served in this body longer than he has, I confess I have always felt he was my superior in that cardinal virtue.

“We were both up for re-election in 1998.  I had an easy race. Russ had a difficult one.  As many of our colleagues will remember, Russ and I opposed soft money, the unlimited corporate and labor donations to political parties that we believed were compromising the integrity of Congress, and we were a nuisance on the subject.  Russ’ opponent in 1998 was outspending him on television, and the race became tighter.  It reached a point where most observers, Democrats and Republicans, expected him to lose.  The Democratic Party pleaded with Russ to let it spend soft money on his behalf.  Russ refused.  He risked his seat, the job he loved, because his convictions were more important to him than any personal success.  I think he is one of the most admirable people I’ve ever met in my life.

“We’ve had a lot experiences together.  We fought together for many things – important things.  And we’ve fought many times on opposite sides.  We’ve been honored together and scorned together.  We’ve traveled abroad together.  We couldn’t be farther apart in our views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we traveled there together as well, to gain knowledge that would inform our views and challenge them.  We’ve listened to each other; debated each other; defended each other; joked and commiserated together.

“And in my every experience with Russ Feingold, in agreement and disagreement, in pleasant times and difficult ones, in heated arguments and in the relaxed conversation of friends, he was an exemplary public servant; a gentleman; good company; an irreplaceable friend; a kind man; a man to be admired.

“I can’t do justice in these remarks to all of Russ’ many qualities or express completely how much I think this institution benefited from his service here and how much I benefited from knowing him.  I lack the eloquence.  I don’t think he is replaceable.  We would all do well to keep his example in our minds as we serve our constituents and country and convictions.  We couldn’t have a better role model.

“I have every expectation we will remain good friends long after we have both ended our Senate careers.  But I will miss him here.  Every day.  And I will try harder to become half the public servant he is.  Because his friendship is an honor, and honors come with responsibilities.

“God bless you, my friend.”


Link: Video of McCain’s remarks.

Ron Johnson’s lack of plans for the economy, veterans — anything — focus of new Feingold TV ad

I have to say, it’s true. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson has glossed over huge swaths of major issues, from the economy to veterans benefits. As he said at the UW-Milwaukee candidate forum on October 21, “I don’t believe this election really is about details, it just isn’t.”

Too bad they don’t matter to you. The devil’s in the details, Mr. Johnson.

Perhaps that’s why Senator Feingold has received an endorsement from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the first time the conservative paper has ever endorsed him. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has joined the Press-Gazette in endorsing Feingold, as has the Oshkosh Northwestern.

It’s also the focus of this new Feingold ad that shows how despite his millions of dollars in expenditure, Ron Johnson has not told us how he will help workers or veterans. Much like Richard Nixon, Johnson’s “secret plan” would be revealed after the election—assuming he wins.

Let’s hope Johnson doesn’t plan to bomb them out of existence, as did Nixon and North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

I think it’s much safer to presume that he doesn’t have one.

Either way, here’s the new Feingold campaign ad, “Whiteboard.” Enjoy.

For first time, Green Bay Press-Gazette endorses Feingold

The Green Bay Press-Gazette (a Gannett newspaper) has given its endorsement to Russ Feingold, the first time it has ever done so. Their reasoning: while there was agreement with Johnson on some principles, “Johnson seemed unable to further articulate his plan for job creation — especially for the middle class — during a recent meeting with the Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial board. Basic principles of restraint are one thing; a detailed proposal to spur job creation and get our economy moving is another.”

Indeed, Johnson has become well-known for his inability to specify anything that would create middle-class jobs. Lord knows that he doesn’t need to worry about his own job security, though IllyT rightly argues that that is what Johnson is after.

It’s no wonder people are coming back to Russ Feingold. They know he’ll do us right.

Feingold, Johnson in dead heat in last 2 weeks

Isn’t this always how it goes for Feingold? At least what we are told is that the good Senator somehow pulls ahead at the end of the race, squeaking by his latest millionaire opponent.

That is how it looks to be once again. Despite spending millions of his wealthy family’s money, and having millions more come in from out of state, Ron Johnson appears to be in a statistical tie with Senator Feingold. That trend has been emerging in recent days, with a new poll from the St. Norbert College Survey Center has Johnson barely ahead, 49 percent to 47 percent. The margin of error is 5 percentage points.

It’s coming apparent that Feingold may once again be saved by a superior ground game. But we are also seeing (or not seeing) Johnson as an invisible candidate who won’t reveal himself or his true feelings and opinions until after he wins election. That is a dangerous quality for someone who wants to be a representative of the people in one of our nation’s most respected chambers.

New Feingold ad looks back to ’92, ahead to tomorrow

The Feingold campaign has a very sincere new ad with bits from his 1992 ads, which featured Feingold making his simple pledge to Wisconsin voters. If you recall, he had his campaign promises painted on his garage door. They were:

  1. I will rely on Wisconsin citizens for most of my contributions.
  2. I will live in Middleton, Wisconsin. My children will go to school here and I will spend most of my time here in Wisconsin.
  3. I will accept no pay raise during my six-year term in office.
  4. I will hold a “Listening Session” in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties each year of my six-year term in office.
  5. I will hire the majority of my Senate staff from individuals who are from Wisconsin or have Wisconsin backgrounds.

I’m glad to say that Senator Feingold has kept to his promises. Wisconsinites have a strong affinity for our senator. And I want to keep him working for us in Washington.

Oh, and here’s the new ad, called “Garage Door.” Enjoy.

The Feingold Cheddarbomb is going well — donate now!

The Cheddarbomb, the grassroots fundraiser organized by Wisconsin’s lefty bloggers, is going quite well. We are well on ith some 15,000 small donations, we will raise some serious cash for Senator Feingold.

At this moment, the blog front of the Cheddarbomb has almost 9,800 grassroots online donors – most of the way to our goal. Help us now! Cheddarbomb for Russ Feingold

Click on the image to the right to chip in your little bit to the Cheddarbomb!

Grassroots support for Russ Feingold: the Cheddarbomb!

As you know, Ron Johnson is spending $15 million from his own pocket to try and unseat Senator Russ Feingold. He’s not running on principle, but because he’s got the cash. We, the grassroots, the little Cheddarbomb for Russ Feingoldguys and girls of Wisconsin, are going to raise just as much money—or get at least 15,000 donors—all in one day, all small donors. Sounds intimidating, but we can do it! We call it the Cheddarbomb. Run through ActBlue, the Cheddarbomb has been made possible in part by Wisconsin’s lefty bloggers.

Click here to donate to the Cheddarbomb, or the image on the right!