Russ Feingold

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It's not enough to be in the majority, you have to stand for something.

Russell D. Feingold (born 2 March 1953) US politician, Senator from Wisconsin. The Senator was mentioned as a possible candidate in the 2008 presidential election.


Speeches and Statements[edit]

Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge[edit]

  • Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling is bad public policy that has no place in the budget process,. The Budget Committee needs to leave drilling in the Arctic Refuge behind and focus on crafting this year’s budget package.


  • Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists. But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America.
  • I will also continue to strongly oppose any reauthorization of the Patriot Act that does not protect the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Americans with no connection to terrorism.

On America[edit]

  • Americans want to defeat terrorism and they want the basic character of this country to survive and prosper. They want both security and liberty, and unless we give them both — and we can if we try — we have failed.

Executive Power[edit]

  • Congress has lost its way if we don't hold this President accountable for his actions.
  • How is that worthy of applause? Since when do we celebrate our commander in chief for violating our most basic freedoms, and misleading the American people in the process? When did we start to stand up and cheer for breaking the law? In that moment at the State of the Union, I felt ashamed.

On The War in Iraq[edit]

  • The president and others say that if we leave, it will just be chaos in Iraq. Well, right now when you come to Iraq, you can't even drive from the airport to the Green Zone.
  • It’s time to refocus our global fight against terrorism. We must move away from the Iraq-centric policies that are draining our resources and focus on Al Qaeda and its affiliates who are reportedly operating in some 60 to 80 countries around the world.


  • How many times are we going let George Bush and Dick Cheney say, ’You guys don’t support the troops. You’re not patriotic,’ and let them push us around? We have to stand up to them.
  • I don't care, whatever political considerations I have are absolutely irrelevant to the decisions I make having to do with people's civil liberties and something as weighty as Americans risking their lives overseas. The day that I start think politically about those things is the day I should leave politics. --(In response to the claim that his stands on civil liberties may hurt his chances with moderate Democrats and conservatives.
  • Some say 'we've got it made … let's not rock the boat,' but I believe that's exactly how we lost in 2002 and 2004. We won't win by default. We won't win by just running out the clock. We'll only win if we show we are willing to discuss tough subjects or else we will be perceived as weak and full of fear.
  • The Democrats were in the majority in the U.S. Senate when we voted for the Iraq war and passed the U.S. Patriot Act. It's not enough to be in the majority, you have to stand for something.

Free Trade/Fair Trade[edit]

  • I strongly disagree with the President's characterization today of NAFTA as a "success", and with his call on Congress to pass CAFTA this year. These comments are out of touch with American businesses and workers who have been forced to compete on an uneven playing field for years under bad deals like NAFTA.
  • I rise to oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA, the latest expression of the disastrous trade policies of this administration which are, unfortunately, a continuation of the disastrous trade policies of previous administrations.
  • I voted against NAFTA, GATT, and Permanent Most Favored Nation status for China, in great part because I felt they were bad deals for Wisconsin businesses and Wisconsin workers. At the time I voted against those agreements, I thought they would result in lost jobs for my state. But, Mr. President, even as an opponent of those trade agreements, I had no idea just how bad things would be.
  • One can see the results of those policies in hundreds of communities around my State. As one might expect, our largest communities--places like Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay--lost thousands of jobs as a result of those trade policies, most notably NAFTA and permanent most-favored-nation status for China.
  • This trade agreement fails on every count. I urge my colleagues to scrap it and tell the administration to come back with a deal that is fair to American businesses, workers and farmers, as well as the small businesses, workers and farmers of our trading partners.

Web Logs[edit]

  • Resisting overreaching by the federal government is appropriate and, yes, even patriotic.
  • We must let this town square, which has added a significant dimension to our political process, continue to flourish.
    • Regarding web logs. 2005-03-10.
  • The President's pre-1776 mentality is hurting America and fracturing the foundation on which our country has stood for 230 years. The President can't just bypass two branches of government, and obey only those laws he wants to obey.
    • Sen. Feingold's Blog Entry on Executive Power. [2006-02-02]
  • It's time to stand up - not to cheer, but to fight back.
    • Sen Feingold's Blog Entry on Executive Power. [2006-02-02]

About Russ Feingold[edit]

  • It's that mix of passion and pragmatism that Feingold hopes will appeal to Democratic voters looking for a fresh-faced truth-teller come 2008. Feingold's career has been defined by his crusader nature, but it's his skills as a conciliator -- with conviction -- that may be most important for his hopes of capturing his party's nomination.
  • I can’t see a damn soul in D.C. except Russ Feingold who is even worth considering for President. The rest of them seem to me so poisonously in hock to this system of legalized bribery they can’t even see straight.
  • That’s what I like about you, senator, you’re kicking it old-school.
    • Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, 2005-03-23

in The La Crosse Tribune

  • The Wisconsin senator gets up and says out loud what half of the country is thinking and talks about every day. This President broke the law and lied about it; he trashed the Constitution and hides himself in the flag.
  • Amid scandals in high places, Senator Feingold is fresh air. The country should rise up and sing.
  • [Feingold] showed that a politician need not shelve his conscience to achieve success.
    • "A Principled Win," The Washington Post, November 5, 1998
  • The nation needs more leaders similar to Feingold - a Democrat in the Wisconsin Progressive Party tradition - who don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk.
    • "When Wis.Talks, Feingold Listens," The Wausau Daily Herald, June3, 2001
  • Feingold shows a knack for thinking through issues on a case-by-case basis instead of marching in a partisan parade.
    • "Feingold Sets the Bar a Little Higher," The Door County Advocate, June 28, 2002
  • Feingold won big after voting against the Iraq war and Bush's tax cuts, and having cast the lone vote in the Senate against the Patriot Act.
    • Chicago Tribune
  • In fact it was at the Rockingham County event that he got something no other potential presidential candidate - Republican or Democrat - has received: a lengthy standing ovation just in the middle of his introduction.
  • Americans ought be listening to Russ Feingold in these defining days for the Republic, because what the Democratic senator from Wisconsin is saying goes to the heart of the question of whether a nation founded in revolt against monarchy will be ruled by laws or by the crude whims of an intemperate sovereign and his out-of-control administration.
  • Senator Feingold was right about the dangers when the Senate first passed the Patriot Act, and he has remained true to his cause. I stand with him today as I should have the first time.
  • The New Republic recently dubbed Feingold 'The Hillary Slayer'; Vogue called him 'The Man of the Moment'; and he is a favorite on liberal blogs like Daily Kos.

External links[edit]

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