Democrats & Liberals Archives

Rejecting Pussyfoot Politics

I have a new found respect for Sen. Russ Feingold following his outspoken public support for marriage and families this week. Sen. Feingold has consistently refused to pussyfoot around the issues, and he has made it clear that the issue of marriage & family equality is no exception. Mr. Feingold once again breaks with the pack of jellyfish and joins a handful of politicians who have the backbone to publicly express their opposition to anti-marriage and anti-family legislation. Others include Senators Ted Kennedy D-MA, Lincoln Chafee R-R.I, and Ron Wyden D-Ore.

On Tuesday, Mr. Feingold stated his strong support for marriage equality, "I will be voting against the harsh amendment that's been proposed in Wisconsin, and I thought it was an appropriate occasion to indicate my feeling that if two people care enough about each other to get married, that it probably is a positive thing for society. Gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges, and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy. Gay and lesbian people in our country are fighting a mean-spirited movement to harm them and to discriminate against them. Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue. I stand with them against that movement, and I'm proud to stand with them."

Then on Thursday, the Judiciary Committee voted to send a hateful and discriminatory constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to the Senate floor. Before passing the measure, 10-8 along party lines, a shouting match between Senators Feingold and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. ensued when the meeting was moved to a public restricted room.

Sen. Feingold declared his opposition to the amendment, his respect for the Constitution and his intention to leave the meeting. Sen. Specter shouted at Sen. Feingold, "I don't need to be lectured by you. You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I. If you want to leave, good riddance."

Following the exchange Sen. Feingold issued this statement:

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold Objecting to the Judiciary Committee’s Handling of the Constitutional Amendment on Marriage

May 18, 2006

“Today’s markup of the constitutional amendment concerning marriage, in a small room off the Senate floor with only a handful of people other than Senators and their staffs present, was an affront to the Constitution. I objected to its consideration in such an inappropriate setting and refused to help make a quorum. I am deeply disappointed that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee went forward with the markup over my objection. Unfortunately, the Majority Leader has set a politically motivated schedule for floor consideration of this measure that the Chairman felt compelled to follow, even though he says he opposes the amendment.

Constitutional amendments deserve the most careful and deliberate consideration of any matter that comes before the Senate. In addition to hearings and a subcommittee markup, such a measure should be considered by the Judiciary Committee in the light of day, open to the press and the public, with cameras present so that the whole country can see what is done. Open and deliberate debate on such an important matter cannot take place in a setting such as the one chosen by the Chairman of the Committee today.

The Constitution of the United States is an historic guarantee of individual freedom. It has served as a beacon of hope, an example to people around the world who yearn to be free and to live their lives without government interference in their most basic human decisions. I took an oath when I joined this body to support and defend the Constitution. I will continue to fight this mean-spirited, divisive, poorly drafted, and misguided amendment when it comes to the Senate floor.”

Good for you, Mr. Feingold! A man willing to take a strong moral and ethical stand for equality. You are a breath of fresh air in a stable of holier-than-thou horse shit.

Posted by JayJay Snow at May 19, 2006 2:10 AM
Comments
Comment #149383

Heh. I’ll believe it more if his seat was under threat. Practically everyone who went for/against this Bill was either pandering to their Base and/or was not due for re-election.

Some bravery.

Posted by: Aldous at May 19, 2006 4:04 AM
Comment #149387
Heh. I’ll believe it more if his seat was under threat. Practically everyone who went for/against this Bill was either pandering to their Base and/or was not due for re-election.
What a crock of horse-puckey The implication being that if he was up for re-election, he wouldn’t have said a word. HAH!!! In 1996 Feingold was one of only 14 senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act. He’s stood proudly on his record in favor of marriage rights for more than 10 years, handily winning two re-elections in that time.

there are some concepts that republicans just can’t grasp and obviously honesty is chief among them.


Posted by: Thom Houts at May 19, 2006 5:19 AM
Comment #149402

Makes me proud to be a resident in the State of Wisconsin

Posted by: Benita at May 19, 2006 8:26 AM
Comment #149403

Makes me proud to be a resident in the State of Wisconsin

Posted by: Benita at May 19, 2006 8:27 AM
Comment #149404

Makes me proud to be a resident in the State of Wisconsin

Posted by: Benita at May 19, 2006 8:30 AM
Comment #149405

Feingold has shown himself to be a man of principle. While many won’t agree with the principles he holds true to, that doesn’t change the fact that he holds them strongly.

JayJay, its true that Feingold isnt in trouble for his seat, so he is a bit freer to speak his mind. Not a bad thing. It’s also salient to note that Specter was just as animated in defense of his own position. Having these kinds of open and direct confrontations is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it indicative of only the strenght and committment of one side.

All that being said, I think Feingold may be the patron saint of the further left. I think he’ll make a bit of a run for the Presidency before petering out—don’t see how he can win either the Dem nomination or the general election. But he’ll make some noise for a while

Posted by: joebagodonuts at May 19, 2006 8:33 AM
Comment #149408

I would take Senator Feingold for president over Hill any day.But since he’s a democrat who is not afraid to stand up and say something one way or the other,rock the boat a little,he probably won’t make it.One can hope though!

Posted by: Theresa at May 19, 2006 8:55 AM
Comment #149416

Wish I still lived in Wisconsin (well, there is that nasty weather…), but here in Arizona I’m tortured to put up with the gaggle of McCain and Kyl…two absolute partyline boys, the former of whom pretends on occasion to be “independent” but who then licks Bush’s whatever and makes nicey-nice with Falwell…Kyl claims to be for “values”…haven’t seen any I’d sign on for yet.

Posted by: Lynne at May 19, 2006 9:27 AM
Comment #149440

Well Adrienne, your boy is showing no signs of weakening whatsoever…..we need to respond to his commitment often and stand by the strengths of our own convictions!! Your early insight seems to be “staying the course”.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at May 19, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #149457

We need a leader that is independent and inspiring. John McCain was that type person until he cuddled up to Bush, now I find him insignificant. Feingold is the only Dem out there with the independent leadership quality.

Posted by: Scott at May 19, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #149469
It’s also salient to note that Specter was just as animated in defense of his own position.

JBOD,

Not really. Specter said he is “totally opposed” to it, but felt it deserved a debate in the Senate. If his position is that he is totally opposed to the amendment then he should have voted his conviction. Unless he votes yea on all bills that come before the Judiciary Committee, it just makes him another hypocritical politician. What makes this bill so special from all the other bills that come before the committee that it deserves to be debated in the full senate?

Posted by: JayJay Snow at May 19, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #149491

JayJay:

Great post! I love Feingold. He embodies the true Democratic spirit of living according to the Constitution and promoting tolerance, empathy and inclusion.

Arlen Specter says he is for inclusion but then votes for the bigoted marriage amendment that attacks innocent gays and lesbians.

This incident is a perfect example of my latest post on Watchblog. Republicans attacking gays and lesbians, and a great Democrat, Russ Feingold, asking for harmony and inclusion.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at May 19, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #149520

Seems like Specter is getting it both ways. He can say he’s for it AND against it at the same time. Typical politician.

Posted by: Cole at May 19, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #149551

Snowman, Feingold is absolutely the BEST THERE IS!
As the saying goes: Being a patriot no longer requires a cannon. But it does still require balls. :^)
Feingold has always had large set — while too many other Dems have either been neutered clean (courtesy of the DLC), or are keeping theirs tucked these days.

Sandra:
“Well Adrienne, your boy is showing no signs of weakening whatsoever…..we need to respond to his commitment often and stand by the strengths of our own convictions!!”

Absolutely! Who doesn’t like a man of principled integrity and honesty, whose votes always reflect the people and their needs, and who isn’t afraid to voice his opinions articulately and intelligently? Feingold is no a left-fearing Democrat, he’s a solid Liberal Populist of the very best kind.

“Your early insight seems to be “staying the course”.”

I wouldn’t say it was insight — it’s just that I follow the Senate votes, and I started noticing how his name kept popping up —always in a positive way. Then I began to read more about him, and realized that his votes and his rhetoric always match (unlike many other Dems).
Feingold is the real deal, and I truly believe that he’s the kind of leader this country needs desperately.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 19, 2006 5:24 PM
Comment #149605

>>Feingold is the real deal, and I truly believe that he’s the kind of leader this country needs desperately.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 19, 2006 05:24 PM

If he says what he means, and means what he says, he must be nuttier than a fruitcake. No living politician is up to that. Check this guy’s psycho records.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 19, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #149606

>>I would take Senator Feingold for president over Hill any day.But since he’s a democrat who is not afraid to stand up and say something one way or the other,rock the boat a little,he probably won’t make it.One can hope though!

Posted by: Theresa at May 19, 2006 08:55 AM

You mean a Democrat like ‘give ‘em hell’ Harry?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 19, 2006 9:24 PM
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