Worth a schadenfreudean giggle on a very slow Saturday afternoon. Needless to say, Feingold’s approach here is the smart way to go this year: Not once in either ad do the cursed names of his party or the president appear, although the word “independent” is mentioned and in the first spot he vows to put people ahead of “any party or corporate interest.” Even so, this is a vivid illustration of just how epically the alleged Great Liberal Realignment of 2008 has failed. Obama destroyed McCain in Wisconsin, winning by almost 14 points, and yet this is what a three-term Democratic incumbent is reduced to less than two years later — chipping away at an eight-point deficit by reminding people that he fights for veterans and lives in the same house he’s always lived in and, well, that he’s a pretty darned pleasant guy. Good work, Barry. I’m curious, though: For the past six months, the left has assured us that the real reason for the Democrats’ horrible polling is because they’re not quite liberal enough, which if true should present a golden opportunity for Feingold. He’s a true-blue lefty, right? The lone senator to vote against the Patriot Act, an early proponent in his career of single-payer health care, a steadfast enemy of capital punishment, etc. Why not run on all that, since supposedly it’s so popular ‘n stuff? Be the out-and-proud progressive you are, Russ!
One other thing. The scene of him eating alone is cute and shrewd as a way of distancing himself from the Democratic cancer, but is it really true that he’s lost friends for opposing automatic pay raises for Congress? That seems to me like one of the cheapest and easiest gestures on ethics a politican could make. And the numbers bear me out: Apparently, the Senate passed Feingold’s bill unanimously without a roll call vote and then the House rubber-stamped it, 402-15. Who’s not sitting with Russ in the cafeteria because he dared to propose such a populist no-brainer?