Some have speculated that former Senator Russ Feingold may want to try once again to win a Senate seat in Wisconsin after Herb Kohl announced his retirement. If so, the man who lost his re-election bid by a substantial margin last year has an odd way of building coalitions in his own party. Feingold blasted members of his own party, among others Senator Claire McCaskill and Rep. Steny Hoyer, for opposing a proposed executive order from Barack Obama that would force government contractors to reveal their political contributions:
Ousted from the Senate in 2010, Russ Feingold, may have fewer Democratic friends to count on if he chooses to enter the race to replace retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). The progressive icon eviscerated his former colleagues in an e-mail for his advocacy group Progressive United on Tuesday, accusing two prominent Democrats of enabling “corruption” by opposing new transparency measures on political donations.
“This culture of corporate influence and corruption is precisely what we as Progressives United want to change,” he wrote. “So we’ve decided to take on those legislators who are unwilling to stand up to corporate power, and we’re naming names.”
The names included House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). In addition, the email targeted Sens. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-CA).
Feingold accused the group of backing “corporate interests in Congress” by opposing an executive order under discussion in the White House that would require government contractors to reveal their political donations.
Why attack Lieberman? He’s retiring at the end of next year anyway. Feingold must have wanted to ensure that no one escaped his effort to support an imperial Presidency and the ability of the executive branch to make politicization of government contracting a whole lot easier.
Steny Hoyer probably has nothing to fear from an attack by Russ Feingold. However, McCaskill already has a daunting task in her re-election bid in Missouri, and the last thing she needs is a base challenge. National Journal notes that Democrats in general are not going to shower Feingold with adulation for making her near-impossible task that much more difficult:
Feingold has a history of being an independent voice not afraid to break with his party. But he’s not likely to make any new friends at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with his new criticism, a sign that he may not have much interest in a political comeback.
In other words, don’t expect Feingold to run for significant office in the near future — or if he does, don’t expect the Democratic Party to support him in the effort.