Monday, November 13, 2006

Good Decision by Russ Feingold

I'd like to congratulate Russ Feingold. He made the right decision.

One of my pet peeves (as readers of my blog know by now) is the Presidentitis that seems to affect Democratic Senators.

This week, Democrats (against long odds) succeeded in taking control of the Senate. In 2008, there are 21 Republican seats up for election (vs. 13 Democratically held seats). Several of the GOP seats are held by freshmen who have not yet established themselves. This could be a good year to consolidate control, if our side doesn't muff it up.

But some Senators seem to be hellbent on doing exactly that. Pursuing a quixotic goal of becoming President (which no sitting Senator has actually done in nearly half a century, though in that time dozens have tried, failed and hurt themselves and their party by doing so,) we now have Senators Bayh, Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Kerry and Obama. Kerry and Biden are both slated to stand for election to the Senate in 2008. In Kerry's case, it is unlikely that Republicans would elect a Senator to replace him in Massachusetts, but in Biden's case if he gives up his seat then his all-but-certain successor is Republican representative Mike Castle. Certainly Kerry and Biden have the right to do as they please (including just plain retire, if they want to) but I'll be the first one to say up front that I am less likely to vote for a Senator who is giving up his Senate seat in order to run. And it's not even because I am miffed about it, it's because it is an early indication that that Senator is not likely to be a team player, and we've seen the past six years the harm that can result from a President who refuses to play by anyone's rules except those he creates.

Now granted, I'm less likely to vote for a Senator anyway. Senators don't project leadership in the same way that a Governor does. Senators live in Washington, while Governors live in their states everyday, and they deal with more ordinary problems (and perhaps a few crises) that Senators just don't have to worry about.

And we have at least two very qualified Governors who are likely to run, Bill Richardson of New Mexico (who in fact has a stellar resume) and Tom Vilsack of Iowa. And to be honest they begin the campaign ranked 1-2 on my list (presently in that order).

But here is the good news. A few days ago, it was seven Senators running for President. Now it is six. Russ Feingold made the right decision to stay in the Senate from Wisconsin.

He is a team player. Now lets see how many other Senators make the right call and stay in the Senate.


Anonymous said...

Gotta correct you on Biden's situation in 2008, Eli. The candidate filing deadline in Delaware is very late (June or July, iirc) so he could campaign vigorously for president - even last into the primaries, unlike 1988 - and still go back to run again for his day job.

Also, Castle's older than Biden (who will turn 66 in 2008) and suffered at least two strokes this year, so I doubt he'd be up for a run at Senator. He's passed on runs so many times already (including 1990 when he was a lame duck governor and could have taken a "free shot" at Biden) and I don't really expect him to run for Senator even if Biden does quit. Actually, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Castle chose to retire in 2008.

I do share your low opinion of US Senators running for president, however.

Zelph said...

Clark-Feingold 2008!