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March 14, 2006

Me Thinks They Doth Protest … For A Change

Feingoldspector

I’m with Digby on this one, and the visuals only drive home the point:

It is past time for elected Democrats to begin laying out the case that the leader of the Republican party, the man to whom the congress has blindly followed at every turn for the past five years, is dishonorable. They must begin to create a low hum that reverberates throughout the body politic that says “the Republican party is unethical, untrustworthy, inept and dishonorable.” Make people hear it in their heads before they go to sleep each night.

Russ Feingold has just taken the first step to doing this. His censure motion will not pass, of course. But he’s started the hum. The press is listening. They are shocked, it can’t be, how can he say that? But Feingold is saying outloud, for the whole nation to hear, that the president defied the law and broke his oath to defend the constitution.



As the magnificent helmeted Cokie Roberts once said, “it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, it’s out there.” In this case, it’s true. And now it’s out there.

Finegold’s motion is “out there” because Bush and the Repubs are so bloodied by now.  It’s a measure of how far and fast Bush has fallen that Repubs are forced to burn prime time capital fending off such an otherwise quixotic attack.  It’s no skin off Finegold’s nose to be meeting with reporters while, simultaneously, Spector rebuts him on the Senate floor.  Visually, in fact, it only adds more weight to the merit of the charge.

Feingoldspector2

Because the Repubs hardly know weakness, these snaps evidence an historical footnote.  They mark the end of the day when any security challenge to the cheerleader-King could be dismissed out of hand.

(Revised 3/14/06 8am PST)

(images: Jason Reed/Reuters. Washington, March 13, 2006.  Via YahooNews.  Caption:  U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) (R) speaks to journalists on Capitol Hill in as Republican Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) appears live on a television giving his rebuttal to Feingold’s effort to censure U.S. President George W. Bush over domestic spying. A censure resolution has been used just once in U.S. history, against Andrew Jackson in 1834.)

  • http://profile.typekey.com/error27/ error27

    The ever present TV… American politics is designed for daytime television.
    Everyone knows that spying on Americans is illegal. When Feingold gets up there and starts going on and on about it, he doesn’t have any kind of sudden amazing insights.
    I got a kick out of the guy giving Feingold the bird.
    http://cache.wonkette.com/politics/feingold.jpg
    Feingold seems pompous. I want to tell him, “Dude, it’s just play acting for the TV. Lighten up.”
    On the other hand, it’s good that someone is saying obvious things. Regular people I meet say obvious things all day long but in Washington people seem to glom on to The Stupid like flies onto fly-paper.

  • http://www.futurebird.com futurebird

    The photo at the NYT isn’t telling the same story.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/14/politics/14censure.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
    We need sex. No one cares until it’s about sex.

  • http://www.futurebird.com futurebird

    “The American people already made their decision,” Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday in an appearance in Mr. Feingold’s home state, The Associated Press reported. “They agree with the president.”
    Ahhh!
    “The president may be wrong,” Mr. Specter said, “but he has acted in good faith.”
    It scares me but I think people buy this line.
    Thank god for Feingold– shame on all those who are too scared to back him.

  • marysz

    Specter isn’t running for re-election and he’s recovering from chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Disease. Specter should be thinking about what kind of legacy he’s going to leave as he ends his Senate career. It looks like he’ll be remembered as nothing more than a groveling Bush administration apologist. As for Feingold, he’ll probably be the subject of a White House smear campaign in the weeks to come.

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com black dog barking

    That second picture catches the sense of how things are “working” right now. Sen Spector addressing the acting President of the Senate directly and CSPAN indirectly provides a soundless backdrop as Sen Feingold provides close access to the press. The resultant image is of skew lines, non-parallel yet never intersecting.
    I caught of bit of Feingold interacting with news-babe O’Brien on CNN. His demeanor was relaxed and focused. He wasn’t preaching, he was calm and direct, confident of his argument’s validity. It is pretty obvious.

  • PTate in MN

    The Republican defense of Bush’s domestic surveillance was stated by Bill Frist: “when this president is out defending the American people with a very good, lawful, constitutional program…” *sigh* Parse that with a truth-o-meter and you don’t get past “this president.” Everything else is a lie. The president isn’t “out defending the American people.” He isn’t even “defending the American people.” The program isn’t lawful, good or constitutional.
    The picture is great. Feingold is real. He is flesh and blood. He has integrity. And there is Specter flickering away on the TV screen–an illusion trying to sell us the party line. You can just hear him, “Four out of five dentists recommend Bush’s domestic surveillance to combat terrorism…”
    But the NYTimes picture, as pointed out by futurebird, tells a different story. The picture shows Harry Reid speaking to Feinstein. Reid is leaning in, earnestly, holding up his hand as if to stop Feinstein. This picture suggests that the white-haired Democratic leadership is afraid of taking a bold step. By contrast, Feinstein is young and vigorous: He leans back a little, as if taken aback by this cautiousness. His expression is one of respectful bewilderment.
    The two pictures tell the whole story. The Republicans are nothing but an illusion, a con job, but the Democratic leadership is tired. They lack the passion to clean house.
    Yesterday’s link made me cautious of Mark Warner, but this picture does the opposite. I want to know more about Feinstein. The future lies with Feinstein: Go, Russ, Go!

  • jonst

    Hey Futurebird….why should Spector NOT think the American people will buy the line. He sold them the line about the magic bullet in 1964. And if he can sell them that…he can sell them anything.

  • PTate in MN

    whoa, halfway through I started writing about Feinstein, not Feingold. It’s a classic memory slip–I was remembering Paul WellSTone and wondering if Feingold could fill those shoes, and suddenly I had morphed Feingold to Feinstone to Feinstein. Of course, I meant Feingold.
    I’m embarassed of course.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    Although a photo, the Specter-in-the-Box background gives Feingold a sense of reality. He is real, Specter is a ghost in the machine, another talking head, while Russ is up front and talking about it. Or more like schooling about it, as a Prof would teach a class, with visuals aids.

  • Nitpicky Grammar Nazi

    It’s Feingold, not Finegold. Although the connotations of the latter are amusing :-)

  • jt from BC

    Interesting, here we have one lawyer (Spector) implying that “to act on good faith” should take precedence over the presentation of facts, by (Feingold) another lawyer.
    · Sandra Day O’Connor warns of rightwing attacks
    · Lawyers ‘must speak up’ to protect judiciary)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1729396,00.html
    Feingold is applying these concerns within the political arena, or from Digby (link) a stratagem.
    “On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate ground, fight.”
    -Sun Tzu
    Democrats failure to support this (Feingold) stratagem may well find them eventually on desperate grounds,(fight) having abandoned an advantageous opportunity to act now. If Karl Rove and the Republicans are left to determine on what ground to fight the third electorical outcome is already known.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    Oh yes, I’m sure that this will be just as apocalyptic for the Bush Administration as Cindy Sheehan’s crusade. Why, there’s no way Bush will get re-elected now!

  • readytoblowagasket

    AOG, you’re right: Bush won’t be re-elected. Thank GOD!

  • Quentin

    Ah, AOG is there again, I’ve notice before. He always knows how to set the record straight. I wish Bush would get reelected just so I can see AOG admonishing posters on this blog five years from now. May he live long, may he live happy. For the Dear Leader, however, I might wish another fate.

  • roy

    Its interesting how politicans hold out their open hands…”I’m giving you the truth”… Feingold seems to be gesturing “its so obvious…the guys a criminal..”
    Its really sad to me that after all these years of Bush-crime all we can get is one senator to suggest whimpy-dimpy censure. we’re not even talking impeachment here. really sad state of affairs.

  • martin

    While we huff and puff and blow (y)our house down: anyone give me accurate figure for number of Palestinian kids killed over last week? Doubtless there is an element of self-preservation in all of this. Doubtless. But, killed kids..? best info I have, sez its less than 10. honnestly. maybe, .. only eight. Any bloggers help me hear?

  • hauksdottir

    AOG,
    Bush was NOT elected the first time (the Supreme Court installed him rather than allow an accurate and complete vote count after the shenanigans of Katherine Harris). Baker and Roberts were down in Florida “helping”, too. Roberts has his reward, and Baker is still raking in the bucks.
    He was not elected the second time, either. The votes in Ohio (and probably Florida again) were tampered with. Electronic voting is too easy to manipulate, and when the owner of the company that makes the machines guarantees one candidate a victory, we ought not to be surprised to see a swing to his candidate after the polls close.
    BTW, the same thing is happening again with the Cueller/Ciro voting.
    Hail to the Thief!
    As for the next election? I won’t be the least little bit surprised to see Bush declare martial law and postone it indefinately. He almost did it last time.
    I wonder what sort of uniforms the President for Life will have tailored? With medals for bicycle combat? Or just the Presidential Seal on everything from his socks and undies to his watchband? If cowboy boots become part of the official uniform, that will give him the 2″ he so desperately needs to add to his stature, and swagger. Was it Louis 14th who wore the red high heels with bows?
    Good thing he has his own plane. With flag pins on his t-shirt, dress shirt, suit jacket, and overcoat, he’d NEVER pass through a metal detector!
    Carolly

  • hauksdottir

    I should also post something about the images. :blush:
    The TV screen might as well be in black and white for the flickering unreality of Big Brother doing his lecturing to empty seats. Given how Orwellian this entire spying issue has become, the false color and distance of the electronic image makes a nice comparison with Feingold’s flesh and blood and common sense delivery.
    Maybe only a real human can see through the lies and deceptions?
    Carolly

  • Asta

    Personally, I think anyone who continues to support the sociopathic leadership of W has some kind of brain damage, perhaps a stroke, or a tumor. Or Mad Cowboy disease.

  • jt from BC

    Annoying Old Guy, has accepted advice changing Calipharians to Caliphascist (world wide evil empire) in his other blogging world, so for you the unwashed two new labels..but perhaps not arriving here..or not just yet…
    I dedicate today’s excerpts from Kurt’s blog which in part he inherently will delight in and hope will come to fruition. (so overpowering is Scott McClellan’s logic !)
    “Senator Russ Feingold is one of a handful of Congress critters brave enough to oppose the Police State Act, otherwise known as the Patriot Act, and the NSA trampling of the Fourth Amendment as well. Now Feingold has introduced a proposal to “censure President George W. Bush for ordering domestic eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without a warrant,” according to Reuters ”
    “Russ Feingold will soon enough become the poster child for Karl Rove’s effort to portray Democrats as friends of “al-Qaeda” and Islamic terrorism. “We are a nation at war,” declared Scott McClellan, even though we are not officially or legally a nation at war, and “if Democrats want to argue that we shouldn’t be listening to al Qaeda communications, it’s their right and we welcome the debate.” Of course, the NSA snoop program has nothing to do with “al-Qaeda” phone calls. It has everything to do with snooping Americans in opposition to Bush ….
    Russ Feingold is a brave man to oppose all of this”.
    “Unfortunately, he is performing a certain bodily function in the face of a cyclo.”

  • Cactus

    Excellent comments by all. PTate, you nailed it. Out here in La-la-land, we wonder if anyone can fill Wellstone’s shoes, but we know it definitely won’t be Feinstein!
    I almost wish the Bag had published photo #2 above with the shot from the (“liberal”) NYT. It is indeed interesting that the NYT (‘the grey lady’) editors chose a photo that appears to emasculate Feingold: the old grey republican lite telling a real democrat to shove off.
    Photo #2 is the old man who helped bring down Nixon for crimes much less serious, now apparently in his dotage (and impaled on the TV screen), propping up a criminal enterprise masquerading as government while a young senator who still hasn’t learned the ‘game’ is pleading for reason and common sense to prevail. “Gentlemen, have you no sense of decency?”
    Irony upon irony upon irony . .. . . . .

  • LanceThruster

    Sen. Feingold will no doubt be the target of smears as was Mr. Smith (Jimmy Stewart) when he went to Washington and exposed corruption. I have written my two California Senators to support Sen. Feingold and urge you to do the same.

  • ummabdulla

    Cactus, when I saw this yesterday, I thought I remembered Arlen Specter from the Watergate hearings, and I went to check, but then I thought I must be wrong. Wikipedia’s page about him doesn’t mention it, and neither does the biography on his official website… Apparently it’s not something he’s proud of?

  • PTate in MN

    ummadulla,
    I don’t remember Specter from Watergate. I do remember him from the Supreme Court hearings for Clarence Thomas in 1992. Specter was the Republican who led the innuendo & smear attack on Anita Hill.

  • slouching_toward_paranoid

    I think the mention of Wellstone by cactus is worth a thought. I wonder what some comparison of images of wellstone vs feingold’s current imagery would turn up?
    In fact, I really sad to say that, although I’m not *sure* what happened with Wellstone’s plane, I think that Feingold may be on a conveniently parallel trajectory if (a) he doesn’t harbor any useful smoking guns that Rove can exploit soon or (b) at least a few of the old fart dems (or even maybe a new fart dem like obama) don’t get on board. If its just one and only one painful critic, I think the :logical: strategy and lesson from Wellstone’s fate is going to be obvious to one or the other of the worst of these fascists, and thus inevitable. Lesson: Dems worship their martyrs but don’t honor their memories. But undoubtedly there are some really really nasty people out there who like the way things are going, espec minus Feingold. (God, has it really come to this?)

  • Asta

    I also remember something about Specter and Watergate, but I am having trouble finding a link. Maybe he was minimally involved.
    But he did come up with the magic, strike that, single bullet theory in the Warren Commission investigation on the JFK assasination. The Commission bought his outrageous, gravity defying, physically impossible sales job, but the American people never have.

  • Cactus

    mea culpa…..guess I was confabulating what I’d heard about his ‘counsel’ work with the JFK assassination with Watergate, but indeed as others have pointed out, he wasn’t elected till 1980. I should do my research first…….But I DO remember Spector’s obnoxious behaviour in the Thomas hearings.
    And for slouching: I, too, worry for Feingold. I have also wondered if that thought (threat?) was behind Obama’s recent back-pedaling. There was talk (perhaps wishful thinking) at the time that Kennedy’s jump into the river was a set-up and a warning that he’d better not think about running for president. I heard that several times.
    Needless to say, I slouched a long time ago.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Of course it didn’t take long for The New York Times to make this a story about the poor “demoralized” Republicans, complete with a quote from that pillar of intellectual thought Rush Limbaugh, who says, “They have to go back to this impeachment thing” (now THAT’S a scoop of a quote!). The paper wouldn’t want to appear to have ANY liberal biases by allowing the Dems gain ground in the MSM. See today’s article called “Call for Censure Is Rallying Cry to Bush’s Base.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/16/politics/16impeach.html?hp&ex=1142571600&en=c0fe339030f1f4ad&ei=5094&partner=homepage

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