People have asked about the "bloggers' lunch" with Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold that I attended last Saturday. I'm usually a no-show at these things (and by "these things," I mean everything
), but as it happens, a gig brought me to that part of town earlier that day. So what the hell.
It was only while shaking hands with the Senator that the rather intimidating thought struck me: "Hey. This guy could be the president in a few years.
The other attendees came prepared with pens and notepads; you should therefore check out their reports if you want to know what the senator actually said. (Here
.) Feingold did indeed pick up the check. Had I known he would pull a trick like that
, I would have ordered something pricier than the Minestroni soup. (Ah, Beverly Hills waiters! I had forgotten how snooty they can be: "Eating light
today, are we, sir?") It can now be said that Cannonfire has taken a political payoff in the form of soup. If any other politicians care to stake me to even nicer meals, my contact information is above.
Bottom line: Senator Feingold is the real deal and would make a terrific president. And that thought ran through my head even before he grabbed the check. He has something of a Harry Truman-esque air -- a smarter-than-average average guy who knows how to talk to all sorts of people without once seeming to pander or duck.
If you owned a store, this is a guy you'd want running it. That statement may strike some people as faint praise, but in my book, it's the highest compliment any politician can or should get. Six years ago, pundits might have claimed that Americans want a visionary, not a shop-keeper. But the Bush era has taught us that we invite disaster if we allow the nation to be headed by someone who lacks basic managerial skills, someone who could never have run Truman's haberdashery, someone who views himself as a prophet or a potentate rather than an employee of the people.
Feingold intimated that the more tradition-minded managers of the Democratic party haven't always supported him. Had they seen it coming, they would never have countenanced his call for the censure of George W. Bush. Given this display of Squishy Spine Syndrome, the question arises: If we get a Democratic majority, does that mean we will get investigations of the Bush administration, investigations that we bloggers have demanded for years? (While I did not actually use the words "We want BLOOD
," such was the intended sentiment, figuratively speaking.) Feingold assured us that investigations probably will
take place once "the good guys" get a little subpoena power.
We shall see. It's hard to trust mainstream Dems when so few of them would back Feingold's very reasonable call for censure.
Should we support Feingold in the primaries, if he chooses to run? Possibly. But John Kerry is making definite signals of wanting to give it another go, and I've always liked him. (And a hearty Scalia-esque Vaffanculo
to anyone who says I shouldn't.) That said, Feingold does convey the impression that he could repair the broken machineries of state. Besides, just as only a Nixon could go to China, perhaps only the first Jewish president (one not
named Lieberman) can bring some common sense and balance to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Since some folks might consider the preceding statement impolitic, let's make one thing clear: I was invited to this outing by fellow blogger Brad Friedman, not by Feingold's people, who have probably never seen this blog. That point needs emphasis, lest some right-winger reference one of the more outlandish comments posted here in order to damn the senator by association.
By the way, there were some absolutely gorgeous women sitting in the booth right behind Senator Feingold. He probably thought I was hanging on his every word. Well, I was listening