Update: Please note response of the office of Sen. Feingold in the comments section.
George Wagner's MJS column last month reporting Sen. Russ Feingold defended the filibuster at a listening session in Milwaukee reveals a problem of Feingold's that progressives know about but rarely speak: What Bertrand Russell would describe as Feingold's "corner of madness."
That would be Feingold's tendency to take utterly insupportable positions in the name of polishing his brand as a political maverick. Certainly, it's not Feingold's intellect that leads him to the absurd.
- Defending the filibuster in the name of deliberation
- Voting for the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts because Roberts assured the Judiciary Committee that he was committed to the jurisprudence of an "umpire" and not that a rightwing activist, Roberts' past ideology apparently notwithstanding in Feingold's mind
Feingold has accomplished much in his tenure in the Senate, but he will never be a great Senator like Robert M. LaFollette because of his tendency to veer into the political idiosyncratic and irrational.
One can go on: Feingold's fighting against retraining funds for out-of-work Janesville autoworkers, raving against stimulus spending in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, supporting the Republican crazies in the impeachment of Bill Clinton and other nonsense.
Liberals [Emily Mills, for example] won't call Feingold out on these preposterous positions because of Feingold's lonely voice of opposition to the worst of the Bush-Cheney nightmare.
But if Feingold's views had prevailed, we would have Senate obstruction, an ultra-activist Roberts Court, out-of-work Americans in need of training, and an insufficiently large fiscal stimulus ... . Ohhh, yeah. This is the type of maverick whom Sarah Palin supports, and Feingold knows this to be true so, really: Knock it off, man.