Both Politico and local ABC affiliate WISN bury the lede a bit in their coverage of a town-hall meeting conducted by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) in Milwaukee. It’s understandable, as the controversy over racially-charged comments by Harry Reid are leading the political news these days. More significant, though, is the fact that Democrats are still facing town-hall fury over ObamaCare — even presumably safe Democrats like Feingold.
WISN doesn’t mention that until the final three paragraphs of their report from his meeting with constituents:
Feingold was also on the hot seat Monday in front of hundreds of people in Waukesha County during a town hall listening session.
Many in the crowd lashed out at the senator over his vote on the health care reform bill.
The crowd got loud; people shouted and even made calls for Feingold to step down from the Senate.
Feingold has served in the Senate for 17 years, representing a state that has been purple-to-blue for most of that time. John Kerry barely edged out George Bush in 2004, for instance, winning by only a few thousand votes. By 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain by over 400,000. However, the state still has a mix between the university towns where liberals get votes and conservative-to-populist small towns and farming communities that have, until now, moderately supported Feingold.
The town hall meeting phenomenon has not dissipated at all. Perhaps the media isn’t giving it quite as much coverage as before — and perhaps Democrats aren’t holding town-hall meetings because of the certainty of this kind of reception. But that is bigger news than whether Harry Reid retains his position as Majority Leader, at least in terms of policy and governance.
For the record, though, Feingold refused to go on the record one way or the other about Reid:
Feingold said he hasn’t decided whether Reid should resign his leadership role yet. The Wisconsin senator characterized Reid’s comments as “unfortunate and racially insensitive.”
“I’m thinking about that and we’re going to be getting together as a caucus next week and the topic will come up. I have not decided whether these comments merit that or not. They’re very unfortunate. They should have never been said. So, I need to think about it,” Feingold said.
That’s hardly a vote of confidence in Reid.
Update: Feingold also got an earful last week (via HA reader ukay_skipper):