Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Listening to the rhetoric and proposals of the leading Democratic candidates, one comes to the conclusion (or at least I do) that John Edwards is running both the most populist and progressive campaign. But Russ Feingold, perhaps the Senate's leading progressive and a man that a lot of folks would have liked to have seen run this time, comes to a clearly different conclusion about Edwards:

The one that is the most problematic is (John) Edwards, who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war ... He uses my voting record exactly as his platform, even though he had the opposite voting record.

When you had the opportunity to vote a certain way in the Senate and you didn't, and obviously there are times when you make a mistake, the notion that you sort of vote one way when you're playing the game in Washington and another way when you're running for president, there's some of that going on.

That's some pretty blistering stuff -- and from someone with a lot of credibility, someone, perhaps even more importantly, who is not making an endorsement in the race. And, frankly, it's kind of hard to argue with what Feingold has to say. That doesn't necessarily mean that Edwards is running a disingenuous campaign or that, as President, he would not lead in a very progressive way. Nevertheless, when someone with Feingold's standing and comes out with such blunt and strong language -- and backs it up with real tangible facts, in this case in the form of votes on the Senate floor -- it's worth paying heed.

Tags: John Edwards, Russ Feingold (all tags)



Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

OK. I paid heed. Now I am donating $100 to Edwards in the morning instead of $50 and voting for him in Kentucky's primary.

I'll still respect Russ in the morning!!!

by RDemocrat 2008-01-17 07:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Agree. Takes an honest candidate to admit mistakes. Guage Hillary by this standard, and you can easily hang the "dishonest" albatross around her neck.

Hillary has never made a mistake or a bad vote or supported Bush.

by shergald 2008-01-18 02:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Been saying that for months. Nice to see that the Senator who I respect most agrees.

by dmc2 2008-01-17 07:30PM | 0 recs
Russ seems to have forgotten

that Edwards insisted on the sunset provisions in the PATRIOT Act.

Not that the Senate had the guts to let the act expire, but without Edwards it wouldn't have even come up for another vote.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-18 04:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ seems to have forgotten

without Edwards?

You seem to suggest that Edwards was the ONLY one here.  You mean, HE did it all by his lonesome?  No other progressive in the Senate stood up whilst John Edwards did?  Hmmm.  I don't know if I buy that.

by jgarcia 2008-01-18 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I read all about this at dailykos. I'm also donating to John Edwards tomorrow. It's the day to say to the media you can't tell us how to vote!

I like Russ Feingold, too. Go, John, Go!

by applegreen 2008-01-17 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

John Edwards has been running for President for so long I think he has forgotten what he did in his previous life. It has probably more to do with advancing age and the passage of time than any deliberate attempt to deceive.

by robert ethan 2008-01-17 07:32PM | 0 recs
I like Russ

I disagree with him on this.

When Obama had a chance to vote, to take a stand or make a statement, many times he took to safe way out... NV

To much to say... I will leave it be for now.

Truth to Power.

So many people here and on other blogs want this from Congress and the politicians.

John Edwards is the only candidate speaking Truth to Power very LOUDLY!

Donation Day is Tomorrow.. Friday the 18th

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: I like Russ a little less today

I think Russ is part of the senate club.  He equates Clinton to Obama.  

Obama undermined Kerry Feingold bill.  Edwards supported it.  Interesting how Feingold turns to old votes for Edwards but does not look at the more recent votes of Obama and Clinton.  

I am getting more discouraged and less trusting of all those in the senate.   Their relationships with each other is more important than their support of the people's agenda.  

It was a mean-spirited attack on Edwards and not worthy of the Feingold I thought I knew.  

by pioneer111 2008-01-17 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: I like Russ a little less today

I think the Senators point is that Edwards is the one campaigning the most on progressive stances when in fact he voted contrary to what most progressives would have wanted while he was in the Senate. I don't think this has anything to do with "The Senate Club," but rather the fact that Feingold doesn't like what he sees in John Edwards. Just because you disagree with him does not mean he is wrong.

by JDF 2008-01-17 10:43PM | 0 recs
Re: I like Russ a little less today

I call bullshit considering Hillary voted the same way. I've realized in the last 2 years that Russ is really just an arrogant blow-hard who likes to hear himself talk. I think he's pissed that Edwards has stolen his "progressive champion" thunder and thinks Edwards is a big phony. Fine, think that. But if you're so progressive, why try to throw him under the bus? So all of his supporters are just stupid and only Russ Feingold knows the real John Edwards? Gimme a break.

Feingold hasn't done squat in the senate save for McCain-Feingold. He's no progressive champion. And Mr. Singer, now that we have Mr. Brown and Mr. Sanders in the senate you might want to check who is the most progressive senator (they're both tied for first, Feingold is 22nd).

by adamterando 2008-01-18 06:08AM | 0 recs
Not mean-spirited, Russ is dead-on right......

I've privately long thought to myself that the one thing about Edwards that bothers me is exactly what Russ says about him.  I see Edwards attacking corporate power and taking a strong populist stand on the issue TODAY, but he wasn't like that as a Senator.  When John was a sitting Senator he voted EXACTLY LIKE HILLARY AND BARACK DO TODAY:  safely, according to the wishes of the Villagers, except to whatever extent it might cost him election votes from our side that he thought he really needed.

It's very, very, very EASY to talk the talk from the outside looking in.  If John never served as a Senator, I'd give him the benefit of doubt.  But he was a Senator and acted completely differently than he talks now.  And I don't believe for one second that were he still a sitting Senator today, he'd be acting or talking like he's now talking.

I'm a strong Obama supporter but ultimately have no problem with either a President Hillary Clinton or a President Edwards.  But I'm not naive about what drives voting behavior and campaign posturing for a presidential candidate:  it's whatever the candidate thinks will get him/her the most votes.  Edwards is doing what he's doing because he's calculated it's his best shot to maximize his support.  There is principle in there, too, but those are principles he threw away as a Senator.

And, no, it's not just a personal revelation that he made mistakes.  That's pretty damn convenient if true.

by DCCyclone 2008-01-18 03:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

What a mystifying comment.  He says he's torn between Clinton and Obama, but finds Edwards "problematic," based on three examples... of things Clinton supported just like Edwards did.

I don't know if Sen. Feingold noticed, but he was the only one in the Senate who voted against the Patriot Act.  The entire party voted for the Patriot Act and now campaigns against it!!

There's no question that the Senate Democrats have not exactly covered themselves in glory over the last several years, and it must be very frustrating to a true progressive like Russ Feingold, but there's no reason to take the entire wad of frustration out on John Edwards.

The reason I want to elect John Edwards and build the progressive movement is precisely because I don't want to see a tiny handful of progressives like Russ Feingold stuck casting one lonely protest vote after another.

by Steve M 2008-01-17 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Ok, name three examples of where Edwards did vote in a progressive manor, beyond his own party.

I'm waiting....

And people complain that Obama is all rhetoric...

by Mark Matson 2008-01-17 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I gather you completely missed the point of my comment.  No Edwards supporter tries to claim that he was Paul Wellstone while in the Senate.

by Steve M 2008-01-17 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Edwards voted against the first supplemental for the war in October 2003.  The vote was 88-12.

Obama voted with all the Republicans and DINOs for supplementals to keep the war going after he got to the senate.

Edwards voted against the ban on partial birth abortion.  That passed 63-34 (3 not voting).  Daschle voted for the bill as did quite a few Democrats.  Edwards represented a red state.

Obama voted present in the Illinois senate on a woman's right to choose.  He voted present instead of taking a position 130 times.  Real courage. Ha.

Obama IS all rhetoric.

by pioneer111 2008-01-17 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Exactly... take the "safe" approach. I didn't vote for it or against it. - "Present"! .. oops.. now they will know I am here! .. shit!

Or... "I wasn't in the Senate at the time, but gosh darn it if I had been I would have voted for/against that darn bill". (Whatever works best for the time period we are in).

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I no nothing about 129 of those votes, but the abortion vote was planned in coordination with the folks at Planned Parenthood to give cover to those in swing districts.  To vote otherwise would have hurt the pro-choice coalition.

Of course, you already knew that, didn't you?

by Mark Matson 2008-01-17 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I researched that when I heard about it and it still makes no sense.  There was no reason for him to vote present.

Of course Planned Parenthood endorsed Lieberman who said that women could go to another hospital if they  had been raped and wanted the morning after pill.
That tells me that they also have lost their way.

And there were eight other votes on women's right to choose.  He voted present on those.

In other words he wouldn't take a stand.  Edwards took a stand clearly on a very difficult bill.  

You other stand up for what you believe or you don't.

Obama skips votes that are difficult or voted present.

by pioneer111 2008-01-17 10:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

PP in IL is different from PP in CT.  The IL strategy was a state-level initiative, not something drafted by the national org.

The chairwoman then of PP-IL was a Hillary supporter, including hosting fundraisers.  After Hillary aired these false attacks, she switched to (and has released a video describing her reasons) Obama.

Now, let me explain this to you as well as I can.  The votes were designed as wedge issues.  You know, the kinds of things that the GOP does to be able to throw ugly code words in democrats faces like "partial-birth abortion" and "death tax", all that crap.  Certain democrats in swing districts were nervous about voting against it, because they'd face those shitty ads next cycle from their GOP opponents, and it hurts them electorally.

So PP comes up with a strategy.  Vote 'present'.  This is exactly the same as a no, but it has different connotations.  To help buttress the image of a specific legal concern, they recruited people with solid pro-choice backgrounds, reputations as thoughtful, and not in any electoral danger.

That they went to Obama first for help, and that he agreed to help, and they did defeat the bills in question should be a compliment to him.

Instead it becomes slimy, innuendo and bullshit campaign ads by his opposition.  I think it's disgraceful.

by dbt 2008-01-27 12:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

If you think that Obama voted present on the abortion bills because he's afraid to take controversial stands on abortion-related legislation, then I suggest you take a look at this: d=18647

Basically, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, which sought to establish that infants who survived late-term abortions are due the same affirmative medical obligations that apply to infants born as a result of ordinary planned delivery. Obama's stated reason for opposition was that the legislation arguably would have the effect of granting personhood status to a fetus--something that would pose serious constitutional issues. A substantially similar federal bill only received 15 votes in opposition when presented for a vote in the House of Reps.

Given that vote, I don't think it's fair to say that Obama shrinks in the face of controversial votes or that his commitment to choice is suspect.

by DPW 2008-01-17 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Hm. Did I even mention abortion or choice?

Pick one and I can pick MANY others.

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 09:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I was responding more to the insinuation (and general sentiment among some on this site) that Obama's present votes reflect a fear of placing controversial votes. Since many of these allegations relate to his abortion votes in the IL senate, I thought that was a good example.

I should also note that the vote on that bill occured in 2002, shortly before he began his run for U.S. Senate--presumably a time when he would be more shy about controversial votes.

by DPW 2008-01-17 09:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Do you think that vote will be a problem for Obama in the general election?

by Steve M 2008-01-17 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Yes, probably. However, the bill isn't a straight-forward abortion bill (it deals with affirmative medical obligations rather than permission to kill), which may make it more difficult to use as a weapon. I'm not sure how well his professorial defense will work either. However, as noted above, Edwards voted against the partial-birth abortion ban, which puts him in a similar vote. Not sure whether Clinton has many of these in her record or not.

by DPW 2008-01-17 09:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

should say "puts him in a similar BOAT."

by DPW 2008-01-17 09:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Apparently, Feingold is not torn about sticking with the DC crowd.....

by Gloria 2008-01-18 06:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

It was evident in his comment back in March that he didn't think highly of Edwards.  Has John received any endorsements from Senators he worked with?

by Piuma 2008-01-17 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Russ Feingold sums up my thoughts on Edwards.

I think this means if Russ endorses anyone it will be Obama.

by crackityjones 2008-01-17 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I agree. I like John Edwards I really do, but he's just a bit too vote one way say another for me.

by mattmfm 2008-01-17 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards


How about Obama is a bit to NV or Present so it is safe votes?

I think there is a lot of selective remembering by Russ and people here.

Who all voted for that stupid patriot act? hmmmm....

Also, who is the ONLY one of the three that owns up to votes that were wrong? Edwards. How often do you get a politician doing that?

One last thing, how many of you have ever said or did something you regret? Or changed your mind or position when new evidence is brought forth? Or, when the thing or situation has changed such that you must change your stand on it.

Such as Kerry's truthful but awkward "I voted for it before I voted against it".

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

To be clear, Kerry didn't change his mind on an issue.  He voted for one version of a bill and voted against a different version of it.

by Steve M 2008-01-17 08:52PM | 0 recs
I know

I understand.

My point is, that people change their minds for various reasons. We all do. Otherwise we wouldn't have all these polls bouncing all over.

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I know

Wow! You know theres a word called "leadership" You ought to look it up!

by crackityjones 2008-01-17 09:23PM | 0 recs
Definition of leadership?

Does the definition say, "leaders vote NV or not present" when the going gets tough?

Frankly, since most people see this as John vs Barack, this whole thing is functionally a red herring. Neither candidate is perfect.

John Edwards-- a number of bad votes, but speaks loudly on progressive issues. Votes contradict platform, but he says they were mistakes he regrets. Comes down to whether we believe him.

Barack Obama-- a history of dodging tough votes, brilliant orator. Inspiring. Talks about working together with GOP. Tends to use language that acts like Dems are as much of the problem as GOP. Ironically, my vote hinges on whether I DOUBT his sincerity, or think he'll quickly realize he's flat-out wrong.

No need to hammer each other-- both of these are choices with significant compromises. Fortunately, I think they both are ultimately good choices.

by alteran 2008-01-18 03:22AM | 0 recs

"not present" should obviously read, "present."

If Obama can actually vote "not present," he's clearly very talented.  ;-)

by alteran 2008-01-18 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: I know

You ought to look up a few words to. Such as annoying.

How much leadership is done by taking a "present" or NV vote?

by kevin22262 2008-01-18 07:31AM | 0 recs
hey cultist

did you even read what the f he said?

btw,your boy better tommorow or its all over...

by Seymour Glass 2008-01-18 07:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

You know what, I like Russ and John, but I think you have to take this with a grain of salt.  I do think Russ wanted to run for President, so maybe he see's John making the arguments he would be making, so it sort of bothers him subconciously.

by masslib1 2008-01-17 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I also would have liked to see Russ Feingold run for President.  I even had a slogan picked out for him: "Annoy the terrorists, elect a Jew."

by Steve M 2008-01-17 07:55PM | 0 recs
That's a good one.

by masslib1 2008-01-17 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

If Russ Feingold had run for President, I'm willing to bet that Barack's campaign would've been dead in the water. I almost certainly would've been on the Feingold team. I love that guy.

by dmc2 2008-01-17 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Obama never would have gotten into the race if Russ had run.  There wouldn't have been a place for him in the field at that point.  Agreed, it would have been great to see Russ get into it.  

by HSTruman 2008-01-18 04:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

by rclouse 2008-01-17 07:56PM | 0 recs
Go John Go!
Watch it and enjoy! uY
by kevin22262 2008-01-17 09:00PM | 0 recs
Russ Can Say The Same Thing About Hillary

It would be nice to assume that one of the most progressive Senators we have would never mislead...ever.  But...well...let's just say Senator Feingold is playing politics with the truth.

In particular, his sophistic slam against Edwards can be utilized virtually verbatim against Hillary Clinton as well. (But curiously, Russ does not choose to use it against Hillary...ask yourself:  why?)  

Let me illustrate my point.  Here is Senator Feingold's slam simply substituting Hillary's name in...and has the same degree of truth to it.

The one that is the most problematic is [Hillary Clinton], who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war ... Hillary uses my voting record exactly as her platform, even though she had the opposite voting record.

When you had the opportunity to vote a certain way in the Senate and you didn't, and obviously there are times when you make a mistake, the notion that you sort of vote one way when you're playing the game in Washington and another way when you're running for president, there's some of that going on.

Do you sense some problems with Senator Feingold singling out John Edwards for this criticism and NOT Hillary Clinton?

Of course, it might be beneficial for Senator Feingold to speak more truthfully here about Senators Clinton and Edwards.  He should admit that BOTH Edwards and Clinton voted the same way, and BOTH want to modify (not repeal) the following: Patriot Act, NCLB, China Trade.  But then if Senator Feingold were to concede the equivalency between Clinton and Edwards with his slam, his slam would lose about 90% of its bite.  Senators wanting to modify and improve legislation that they previously voted in favor on? Scandalous!  Sigh.

Politicians playing politics. People, partisans, lapping it up, and the truth lies bleeding on the ground.

by Demo37 2008-01-17 08:13PM | 0 recs
I've seen the change in Edwards
I appreciate every comment from Russ Feingold.  He and Tom Harkin are my favorite senators and have been for years.  But the contrast Feingold draws is too stark.  The change in Edwards has been gradual, and progressive.
I've seen John speak a number of times over the last  six years or so.  I've come to the conclusion that his work on poverty issues since the last election, and his time in Iowa, impacted him substantially.
Still I acknowledge Feingold's point.  The Edwards that spoke at the JJ Dinner in Des Moines in 2007 and the one who spoke in 2003 had different stances on the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq, and John sincerely regrets those votes and has spoken at length about it.
Feingold is accusing Edwards of being disingenuous.  I suspect that he never went to one of John's townhall meetings in Iowa.  
by ChgoSteve 2008-01-17 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: I've seen the change in Edwards

NO. You are wrong. Nobody changes. Everything remains the same. FDR campaigned as a moderate to conservative Democrat and governed exactly that way later in office. Bush was and still is a compassionate conservative. Lincoln always intended to free the slaves.

by Ready2Fight 2008-01-17 09:23PM | 0 recs
sounds like an Obama endorsement is coming

sometime in the near future.

by highgrade 2008-01-17 08:19PM | 0 recs
cant you cultists read?

he said no.

by Seymour Glass 2008-01-18 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Finally someone saying it like it is. My uncle has been saying the same thing how Edwards is the biggest flip flopper ever. I think highly of John in 2004 but this year he has become " it was a mistake" candidate. Where's the judgment?

by Jr1886 2008-01-17 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

yeah... lets use that right wing talking point.. flip flopper. Great.

NV or Present.... Obama? Hey where are you?!  

Patriot Act? Huh? Not Hillary, right?

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 08:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Edwards has lost his soul in this race. Just like Mitt, he wants the job way too much and will do whatever to get the votes. Don't get me wrong, John is better than Mitt but he has no character and no backbone.

After Sc he needs to book the 2016 room. He's still young

by Jr1886 2008-01-17 09:09PM | 0 recs
Comments made

just to annoy and piss people off.

You are a fool.

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Comments made

Not at all. John hasn't shown any leadership on many hard issues until a few months ago after he started running. It's refreshing to see a politician apologize for mistakes but you can't become a child now running everywhere apologizing for every votes you took and didn't show any judgment.

John is going nowhere. He's a dead man walking and should drop out after SC.

If the truth pisses you off- not my intention- but so be it.

by Jr1886 2008-01-17 09:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Comments made

The truth is that when you come to a diary and post a tiny little comment that is just a jab, it is annoying. Many people do it here and at Dkos. This is not just about Edwards, it is about you and others who do this on all sorts of diaries. I really don't understand the childish nature of it.

by kevin22262 2008-01-18 07:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

You know this is EXACTLY what a friend of mine who tends to be a bit pro-republican says. He can't stand Edwards but he also can't stand Romney and calls him the "republican Edwards."

I happen to agree with his point but I don't talk about Edwards much on this board cause he's a dead man walking.

by crackityjones 2008-01-17 09:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Every time I go home, my uncle make me laugh. He keep saying look at the loser, running around crying like a child and apologizing for every single vote.

I like John platform but can't stand him. He's too Romneysian. A wimp with a fighter spirit.

by Jr1886 2008-01-17 09:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

that's my take on him, too. too bad, he definitely can talk (I'll hire him as my lawyer any day!), but clearly not a first caliber candidate: a flip flopper, per feingold's comments, without any discernible political foundation; completely lacking in accomplishments and experience. the debates are always interesting: Obama says he did this and Clinton says shes' done that, and, in turn, Edwards apologizes for his votes on virtually every issue. Even in a system as corrupt as ours, a completely poll-driven campaign doesn't show much.

he really is our Romney, or Romney is their Edwards. Smart guys and good talkers, but will say anything to get elected.

by CalDem 2008-01-17 10:19PM | 0 recs
I Have An Uncle Who Has Noticed Obama's Flips

Jr, let me start by saying I like both Edwards and Obama. Let me then ask you to convey to your uncle the following flip-flops or evolutions (subjectively in the eye of the beholder?) for Obama:

1.  Coal To Liquid Flip-Flop.  Obama voted in favor of a billion dollar CTL boondoggle in June 2007. See generally, this article which describes the Tester Amendment that Obama voted for. Of course, he also COSPONSORED his own CTL bill with Bunning, then changed his mind, and withdrew his cosponsorship...after being pressured by the environmental community!  Nobody really trusts where Obama is on CTL. He has flip-flopped like a flounder on it.

2. Timeline for Withdrawal From Iraq Flip-Flop. Obama Voted Against Timeline for Iraq Withdrawal (Kerry/Feingold Amendment in 2006) with many many statements saying he was AGAINST a timeline.  Then, in 2007, magically, poof, Obama favored a timeline for withdrawal. Flip-flop.

3. The Patriot Act Flip/Flopping Continues.  Obama voted in favor of renewing the Patriot Act in 2006! He tells us he was against it, before he voted in favor it, and despite voting in favor of it, he is adamantly against it.

4. Wanting Union Support In This Election.  Obama wants it, and willingly accepts their help, but in Iowa, Obama disingenuously smeared Edwards for getting help from the unions that had endorsed him. Two faced Obama? You bet.

Here are some additional flip/flops for Obama from an AP article dated December 22, 2007:

1996 (from a questionnaire for his state Senate run): Supported banning the sale and possession of handguns in Illinois.
2004 (questionnaire for his U.S. Senate run): A ban is "not politically practicable."


  1. Did not support capital punishment.
  2. Supports capital punishment for particularly heinous crimes.


  1. In principle, supports single-payer health plan at federal level.
  2. Says single-payer is not practical.

January 2004: Opposes repealing Defense of Marriage Act.
February 2004: Supports repealing Defense of Marriage Act.


  1. Opposes parental-notification laws.
  2. Opposes if they lack a bypass provision.

A final question for your uncle, and you, about Robert Kennedy running for President in 1968.  Keep in mind that earlier in his brief career, Robert Kennedy worked for Joseph McCarthy (yuck) to root out communists in the state department, busted unions, was against quick action on civil rights, and was a strong supporter of the Vietnam war (yuck).  Then, Robert Kennedy changed his mind on these things (flipped/flopped?) by the time he ran in 1968.  

Was Robert Kennedy in 1968 a phony? If not, why not? Had he flip/flopped?  Or, had he evolved?  

by Demo37 2008-01-17 09:32PM | 0 recs
Re: I Have An Uncle Who Has Noticed Obama's Flips

Hey, can I have a link/full cite on the DOMA thing?

Most of the other unnumbered examples (except the Death Penalty) don't seem like real contradictions to me.  Where's the inconsistency between "Single-payer is good in principle" and "Single-payer is not practical at this moment"?  (For that matter, should we be surprised that someone, after having been elected, realizes that certain gun control measures are politically unfeasible?)

by notapipe 2008-01-17 11:14PM | 0 recs
You know, it's as true as true can be

But it was just as true six months ago as it is today, and nothing has happened recently to make it any more true or less true.  It strikes me that the only reason to say it now is because this is a crucial moment in the primary process and Feingold wants to do what he can to influence it.

Just a guess, but it sounds to me as if he wants Edwards to do poorly and bow out to leave the spotlight on Clinton & Obama.

by Trickster 2008-01-17 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: You know, it's as true as true can be

What he says is true of the other candidate, and it was true of them 6 months ago. Respect or not, this is politics.

by bruh21 2008-01-18 03:59AM | 0 recs
What Russ wants

is to be known as the "official" leader of the Progressives. That's why he's slamming Edwards. Russ did something similar when Chris Dodd received a lot of attention for his willingness to filibuster on FISA.

Russ has done great work in D.C., day in and day out, battling within his own party against the idiocy of consultant-driven politics. He has traveled all over the country to promote his Progressive Patriots candidates. He's working hard to change things by working within the system.

Problem is, the system is on life support right now--and we all know it--even as many debate whether Hillary or Obama, both of whom want to keep the system in place, will be the greater agent of "change." John Edwards is proposing some really bold programs for change, the kinds of change that Russ can only dream about--assuming that he even wants that level of change. It must be infuriating to Russ to see someone else seize the Progressive mantle after all the years of work that Russ has dedicated to the cause.

Unfortunately for Russ, there are far too many negatives for him to succeed in a presidential run--and he knows it. It is equally unfortunate that Russ can't demonstrate the kind of goodwill toward another Progressive that is necessary if we Progressives are to move our agenda forward in this country. So now we have division within the Progressive ranks as well as within the Democratic party. Not a move that speaks well for Russ.

by grayslady 2008-01-18 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I'm extremely proud to be represented by Russ Feingold, and I agree with what he's saying here -- it's why I won't be voting for any of the remaining candidates in my meaningless primary -- but I can't help but note that he had the chance to shape this race more directly and declined.  I understand that running for president is a big deal, a two-year commitment at the least, and there are a lot of reasons to not want to do it.  But there was never anybody in this race that was a good representative of the Feingold wing of the party, and he had to know that was going to continue to be the case.  Now we're only in January and Iraq and the corruption of the executive branch have basically been jettisoned as issues of discussion, with tepid, elite consensus "solutions" being offered in place of what I'd expect to hear from a Feingold-style candidate.  It's a big missed opportunity, and we're going to be seeing how unfortunate it is for a while.

by aaronetc 2008-01-17 09:01PM | 0 recs
Want to let Russ know how you feel?

Please be nice. Please be respectful. Please offer some small comment having to do with his diary.

Here ya go... /17/104227/863/70/438259

by kevin22262 2008-01-17 09:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Want to let Russ know how you feel?

I love Russ Feingold. He's the man. His statement on Edwards merely confirms it.

by crackityjones 2008-01-17 09:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Want to let Russ know how you feel?

It confirms he is wearing blinders. People ask this about Edwards, now let me ask it about him.... is Russ running for VP?

by kevin22262 2008-01-18 06:55AM | 0 recs
Jimmy Carter says...

Has Russ Feingold ever had to be a Democrat from the south?....No?....Well then Russ Feingold needs to SHUT THE FUCK UP.

by rbrianj 2008-01-17 09:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I hope we are all ready for President McCain.  I just predict now.

by pioneer111 2008-01-17 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Like just about everyone else on this thread, I too am a big Russ Feingold fan, and this serves to reinforce both that view and my concerns about Edwards.  It was embarassing to hear Edwards say, in the NH debate, that his biggest accomplishment in the Senate was passing a bill that never saw the President's desk. And it makes me worry about how trustworthy Edwards's progressivism would be once he reached the Oval Office (or, for that matter, the general election).  Unfortunately for everyone, Edwards has not had (or made) the chance to demonstrate his newfound progressive commitments.  I really wish he had (or that he had felt that it was personal when he was a Senator), because it would be really nice to believe him.

by notapipe 2008-01-17 11:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Russ is a habitual truth-teller. He cannot help himself. He did not sugar coat it. But you cannot argue with him.

by hawkjt 2008-01-17 11:38PM | 0 recs
We Should Laud People Moving the RIght Direction

If John Edwards political journey has moved him leftward over the years, he should be applauded and encouraged. Is it politically expedient? Not judging from his poll numbers. I think the guy believe what he says. This is way better than Obama's glowing historical delusion about Ronald Reagan. Is this part of across the aisle move.

by demwords 2008-01-17 11:41PM | 0 recs

Maybe it's just my memory failing me, but I don't seem to recall this degree of fuss being made out here on the frontpage over the numerous times when progressive leaders have spoken out in praise of Edwards (Krugman being my favorite example of such).  Kinda makes me wonder what makes this (to the best of my knowledge) highly atypical example of a progressive leader offering criticism so much more noteworthy.

by McSnatherson 2008-01-18 12:15AM | 0 recs
An answer, if you're looking for one.

Are you simply being rhetorical, or would you like an answer?  Because the answer is that the blogosphere has a surplus of love for Russ, and that Russ's criticism gets to the heart of the problem many people have with John Edwards.  About the only thing more noteworthy than Russ Feingold's opinion to many people around here would be the opinion of the reanimated corpse of Paul Wellstone.  (And justly so.)

In fact, your comment itself suggests another reason: if you are right about how atypical this is, that alone makes this event even more noteworthy.

by notapipe 2008-01-18 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Russ Feingold's criticisms were valid, I will grant that.  Then again, as late as January 2004, I was still going to Republican meetings and rallies.  What about my changes in attitude and ideology?  Edwards' pales in comparison.

Can anyone truthfully claim total consistency here?

I continue to support John Edwards because of the platform on which he is running TODAY.  The issue positions he is taking today deserve ratification.  Should Edwards win on this platform, it would say much about how the American voter is becoming more progressive.  Isn't that want we want here, for voters who had been duped by the Repub/corporatist/theocratic line to CHANGE THEIR MINDS (like I did) and vote in their real self interest?  Even if Edwards is a total fraud, and governs as a centrist or worse, he would be struck down by those who support him today.  Another progresive, maybe Russ Feingold himself, would rise up and take his place.  

I, for one, do not believe John Edwards is a fraud, or that stupid.  His Senate record and record as a Democrat are not sufficiently inconsistent to nullify his current platform.  Now, if Ron Paul were to take his millions, jump into the Democratic race, and talk the progressive talk, THAT would be suspect.

A quick word about the abortion issue.  Right now, Roe v. Wade is hanging by a thread.  Four justices appear ready to throw it out (yes, I am counting Chief Justice Roberts as a vote to repeal) and one its five defenders, John Paul Stevens, is 85 years of age.  If a Republican wins in 2008, say goodbye to abortion rights.  It matters less what votes Barack Obama cast or didn't cast in the Illinois state Senate, and more what kind of Supreme Court justice a President Obama would appoint.  I, for one, do not believe either Clinton, Edwards, or Obama would appoint an anti-choice Justice.

by CLLGADEM 2008-01-18 12:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Jerome's head must explode right now

by cwkraus4clark 2008-01-18 03:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Edwards was never as nearly as centrist as many pundits claim -- he was actually Sen. Kennedy's first choice in 2004 before Kerry got in the race -- but the question is: which is more problematic? A centrist moving towards a progressive populist position in a presidential race -- like Edwards -- or a candidate with a solidly progressive background -- like Obama -- moving further to the right the closer he gets to the nomination?

by alexmhogan 2008-01-18 04:21AM | 0 recs
Obama Clinton republican lite

Both Obama and Clinton are running republican lite campaigns by running as a centrist. Both Obama and Clinton have been using right wing talk in their campaigns. Hillary has been using the lanugage in respect of foreign policy and Obama has been using the language by attacking universal healthcare. I am betting that if elected Obama and Clinton will govern as republican lite centrists and not progressives. When did it become acceptable for progessives to use right wing talk? Also, both Clinton and Obama support NAFTA type agreements.  They both take alot of corporate money from Pharmaceuticals, Oil Companies, etc.  Which means that both Obama and Clinton will sell the middle class to the highest bidder on Wall Street as President. Unfortunately, both Clinton and Obama will not be elected and we will be saying President McCain for the next four years. As much as I do not agree with Obama and Clinton, they are a bit better than any republican. But Obama and Clinton are so weak as general candidates, they will have a hard time winning Oklahoma, MO and most of the South. Atleast Edwards can win Oklahoma, MO, and alot of states in the South. Why do democrats always elect losers like Kerry, Dukakis and Mondale?

by harmony94 2008-01-18 04:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Most of these comments are pretty good, just to add my two cents though...

Feingold is a pretty good senator but not the greatest.  In particular, at least for this unrepentant Keynesian, he is much too hung up on balancing the budget and consequent fiscal nit-picking.  America does not suffer from too much government spending-on the contrary, America has the lowest spending rates of all the advanced economic nations.  In large part due to people like Feingold, we are in this situation.

The late Paul Wellstone, actually, was a better progressive.

by demjim 2008-01-18 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

As a North Carolinian, I have also consistently said this.  I noted for you all how he ran as the centrist choice in the 1998 Democratic primary.  I noted how he sabotaged Erskine Bowles' 2004 Senate campaign by delaying his decision on whether to stand for re-election.  I noted how he was viewed as an ineffective Senator with poor constituent service.  He was a "test balloon" for NC voters giving a Democrat a shot at federal office, and he didn't serve the cause well.

IMHO, John Edwards is a political opportunist.  He runs on what he thinks will get him elected, and that's pretty much it.  He's very charismatic, and a very persuasive speaker (I've seen one of his courtroom opening statements - he's outstanding in that capacity).  He shows alot more interest in running and getting elected than actually governing.  The opening for the 2008 field was for a "red meat" candidate, and so that's what he became.  

Russ Feingold had 6 years to take measure of Edwards' progressive instincts - and it seems like he didn't see any.  Edwards was no "outsider" in the Senate - there's no reason to think Feingold would somehow feel "clubby" re Obama and not Edwards.  That makes zero sense.

There's a reason why he trails in home-state polling - and it's NOT because we don't know who he is.  Ask people connected in NC Democratic political circles what they think of John Edwards, and they'll tell you how much they like Elizabeth.

by NC State Dem 2008-01-18 05:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

The reason the connected people in NC Democratic political circles don't like him is that he was never the NC Democratic establishment's candidate.  He came out of nowhere in 1998 and took the primary, defeating the party machine candidate.  If you ever want to ruffle feathers in political circles, you defeat the guy who's "turn" it is.  

If Russ Feingold was representing NC instead of WI, he'd never have even had a chance at legislating if he kept his current political positions.  In recent times Democrats seem to always miss the most important point about politics: You can't govern, if you can't get elected.  

I pray they don't make that same mistake this year.

by cesar 2008-01-18 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

The only "machine" in NC Democratic politics belongs to former Governor Jim Hunt.  Neither Edwards nor his primary opponent (the underfunded D.G. Martin) really was part of the machine.  Hunt did campaign for Edwards in 1998, IIRC.

Edwards ran to Martin's RIGHT in 1998.  How exactly do you posit that to have tweaked the "machine"?

by NC State Dem 2008-01-18 06:39AM | 0 recs
The Cozy Senate Club?

I would have supported Russ if he ran, so I had to listen to this and it makes me pause, but... it's curious that although Feingold says "all of a sudden, all the presidential candidates -- none of whom voted with me on the timeframe to withdraw from Iraq -- all voted with me and when we did the Patriot Act stuff", he is most upset with the person who will admit he was wrong.

I have seen Edwards in person 5 times in the last year and I have to say that I absolutely believe him, despite my having a very healthy and active political "BS-o-meter". What we have seen over and over is candidates who campaign progressively and then go into office and come out talking in moderate-speak, but I can't recall a candidate who found progressivism after being in office, and I have never heard a candidate who was willing to say flat out that he was wrong in so many cases.

And the bottom line for believability for me is that he is getting no benefit from going to the left so far, in fact it is causing him to be excluded from coverage. If this is a tactic to get elected, it's a poor one.

by greenvtster 2008-01-18 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I agree with Feingold -- it would have been great if Edwards had voted what he talks now.


No one - not even Russ Feingold - has used their political position to identify and question the damaging effects of corporatized America to the extent that John Edwards has.

No one in the presidential race is talking about the economic brutalities facing America's working and middle classes, except John Edwards.

by joe in oklahoma 2008-01-18 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

Now John Edwards champions the vets...but in 2001 he went against the progressive caucus to oppose the Wellstone Amendment that would have bolsterd VA funding by 700 million annually.

But now he is their savior?

C'mon... voting does have implications.

So what some are saying is that if Joe Lieberman put together a nice thick book of policy positions that were even more progressive than Edwards..he would be their candidate?

Voting matters...anyone can write a nice book.

by hawkjt 2008-01-18 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Russ Feingold Hits John Edwards

I keep on returning to this point: it's not enough to look at what these politicians say. You have to look at what they've done. The record speaks well of both Clinton and Obama as serious, effective legislators committed to various progressive issues. Edwards? Not so much.

by Korha 2008-01-18 11:53AM | 0 recs
Martin Luther King III's letter to John Edwards -mlk-iii-letter.pdf

The Honorable John E. Edwards
410 Market Street Suite 400
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father's legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father's legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don't have lobbyists in Washington and they don't get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.

Martin L. King, III

by JPerry 2008-01-22 01:54PM | 0 recs


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