The Rising of the Moon

An ongoing synopsis of politics, government and public policy. Those dreary boring things that effect the lives of each and every one of us.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feingold Skips 2008 Race for Presidency

Received an email from Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold in the wee hours of this morning. The long and short of it tells us that he's choosing not to run for the Presidency in 2008. The full text is below:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

On Sunday, November 12th in Racine, I will hold my
1000th Listening Session with the people of
Wisconsin. Before reaching that milestone, I want you to know
that I've decided to continue my role as Wisconsin's Junior
Senator in the U.S. Senate and not to seek the Democratic
nomination for President in 2008.

Like many Americans, I am excited by the results of the
November 7th election. My fourteen years in the
Senate have been the greatest privilege of my life and I am
extremely pleased with what we have accomplished. During so much
of that time, however, we Democrats have not only been in the
minority but have often been so deeply mired there that my role
has often been to block bad ideas or to simply dissent. That is
a very important role but I relish the thought that in this new
Congress we can start, not only to undo much of the damage that
one-party rule has done to America, we can actually advance
progressive solutions to such major issues as guaranteed
healthcare, dependence on oil, and our unbalanced trade
policies. The Senate of the 110th Congress could also
well be a place of greater bi-partisan opportunities for change;
something I am very proud to have been effective at in both
Republican and Democratic Senates.

I hope all of you know how much I have appreciated the
incredible response you have given me and the efforts of our
Progressive Patriots Fund since January, 2005. In addition to
all of our work in Wisconsin and D.C., I have traveled to
seventeen states trying to promote the election of progressive
Democrats in all states. At every stop from Birmingham, Alabama
to Burlington, Vermont, to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, to Las Vegas,
Nevada, people have agreed with my view that we need to stand up
for a strong, principled Democratic party that is willing to
replace timidity with taking the risks of promoting a platform
of bold solutions to our nation's problems. Unfailingly, people
responded well to my positions: opposition to the Iraq
war; calling for a timeline to redeploy our troops from Iraq so
we can focus on those who attacked us on September
11th, 2001; my opposition to the flawed provisions of
the USA Patriot Act that threaten the freedoms of law-abiding
Americans; my call for accountability for the Administration's
arrogant disregard for the law especially with regard to illegal
wiretapping; fighting for fiscal responsibility including tough
common sense budget rules that will help end the reckless
policies that have heaped a mountain of debt on our children and
grandchildren; as well as my strong belief in guaranteed
healthcare for all Americans and substantial investment in
alternative energy sources and technologies.

Yet, while I've certainly enjoyed the repeated comments or
buttons saying, "Run Russ Run", or "Russ in '08", I often felt
that if a piece of Wisconsin swiss cheese had taken the same
positions I've taken, it would have elicited the same standing
ovations. This is because the hunger for progressive change we
feel is obviously not about me but about the desire for a
genuinely different Democratic Party that is ready to begin to
reverse the 25 years of growing extremism we have endured.

I'm sure a campaign for President would have been a great
adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this
time, however, I believe I can best advance that progressive
agenda as a Senator with significant seniority in the new Senate
serving on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and
Budget Committees. Although I have given it a lot of thought, I
cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a race for President while
I am trying simultaneously to advance our agenda in the Senate.
In other words, if I really wanted to run for President,
regardless of the odds or other possible candidates, I would do
so. However, to put my family and all of my friends and
supporters through such a process without having a very strong
desire to run, seems inappropriate to me. And, yes, while I
would strongly prefer that our nominee in 2008 be someone who
had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning, I am
prepared to work as hard as I can through the Progressive
Patriots Fund, and consistent with my duties in the Senate, to
maintain or increase our gains from November 7 in the Congress
and, of course, to elect a Democrat as President in 2008.

Most important, I want to continue my work as a Senator from
this wonderful State of Wisconsin. Our fourteen year ongoing
conversation that has taken place in hundreds of communities in
Wisconsin in the form of open Listening Sessions is the
principal reason I have been perceived as "ahead of the curve"
on many key issues. Simply listening to the reasoning and
passions of Wisconsinites remains the best source of good ideas
and common sense I've ever encountered.

I love this country very much and am so lucky to be able to
serve it in the United States Senate. My heartfelt thanks to all
of you for your support and encouragement.



Russ Feingold

Middleton, Wisconsin

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