Thursday, March 16, 2006

Feingold Hits Back

UPDATED

The conventional wisdom crowd that I mentioned below is missing the point again once again. Take for instance, the New York Times' story today that Feingold's resolution is some kind of silver bullet that he took the liberty of loading for the Republicans. Tristero, Digby, Digby (again), Glenn, and Georgia 10 amply cover why these sentiments are such nonsense.

I'd call it the reverse-Br'er Rabbit gambit, if he really didn't like briars. ("Oh please oh please throw me in the briar patch!")

Feingold's not buying it either. His statement is dead-on. Check out the transcript.

And here's a bit of the Q&A that followed:
QUESTION: Conservatives almost seem giddy about your introduction of his resolution, thinking that they can score more political points than Democrats can.

FEINGOLD: Sometimes when people are really having a lot of trouble, giddiness comes very easily. As far as I know -- have you seen any surge in the president's numbers since I made this announcement? I believe no such thing is happening.

. . .

I think that the press decided immediately that somehow this was a bad thing for Democrats and a good thing for conservatives. The facts don't bear it out. You don't have the polls to prove it. The way my colleagues are responding to me suggests to me they're thinking about this, that they feel that there has to be some accountability.

So the instant decision about what the story is, actually, I think is going to backfire on those who made up the story. I don't get the feeling that I had on Monday about this -- yes, people were concerned -- I'm not getting that.

And if the right wing really believes in this country that -- Rush Limbaugh and others -- that they can somehow turn the president's reputation around by saying, "You're darn right he violated the law, and it's a good thing," I think they're just as confused as they are about their Iraq politics. People aren't buying it anymore.

So not only do I not regret it, I felt an absolute obligation to do it.

. . .

I think this actually is in the area of an impeachable offense. I think it is right in the strike zone of what the founding fathers thought about when they talked about high crimes and misdemeanors.

But the Constitution does not require us to go down that road, and I hope that in a sense I'm a voice of moderation on this point, where I'm saying it may not be good for the country to do this, it may not be good for the country in a time of war to try to remove the president from office, even though he's surely done something wrong.

But what we can't do is just ignore the wrongful conduct. So this is a reasonable road.


UPDATE
New poll reveals a strong plurality of Americans *already* support Censure. This with only Feingold and a handful of Senators publicly supporting it:
Do you favor or oppose the United States Senate passing a resolution censuring President George W. Bush for authorizing wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining court orders?

3/15/06 Favor Oppose Undecided

All Adults 46% 44% 10%
Voters 48% 43% 9%

Republicans (33%) 29% 57% 14%
Democrats (37%) 70% 26% 4%
Independents (30%) 42% 47% 11%

Now, there is a nearly identical plurality against impeachment. But, the really cool part of this poll is the following:
Do you favor or oppose the United States House of Representatives voting to impeach President George W. Bush?

3/15/06 Favor Oppose Undecided

All Adults 42% 49% 9%
Voters 43% 50% 7%

Republicans (33%) 18% 80% 2%
Democrats (37%) 61% 30% 9%
Independents (30%) 47% 40% 13%

Yeah, you read that right. 18% of the REPUBLICANS polled favored impeachment, a strong majority of Democrats do, as do a MAJORITY of those ever-important Independents. I'll return to my earlier words for Feingold's colleagues: "C'mon!"

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