Feingold: Incompetent campaign?

 It is unbelievable that Feingold, a critic of TARP, is paying for Obama's bailouts. He is trailing in polls to Russ Johnson. Obama has lost popularity in Wisconsin. Big deal. Hasn't Feingold been right on many issues, including TARP? Why can't he use that to distance himself from big government abuse that seems to be a big deal with certain democrats that are not tea partiers but find some resonance in the message.

What Feingold needs to do is show his independence on issues without going overboard in demonizing Obama. He needs to be out campaigning in townhalls in Reagan Democratic Wisconsin and bust the misperceptions of his career. He needs to be spending money energizing the base to show up at the polls because base turnout will be important to counter the polling numbers.

From this article in the Dystopian Wisconsinite:

Much like many of this year's tea party-associated GOP candidates, one of Johnson's core campaign points is criticism of the financial bailout. Funny then that Johnson's campaign has been the beneficiary of the largess of the very corporations he believes should not have received bailout money.

For example, the cash Johnson received from the Financial Services Roundtable PAC on August 27 and the American Bankers Association PAC on July 8 and July 30 came from, amongst others, hardcore Treasury bailout beneficiaries such as JP Morgan Chase, SunTrust, Bank of America, Regions Financial, Zions and First Horizon. The money Ron Johnson received from the Bluegrass and Senate Majority Fund PACs came, in part, from one of the greatest bailout beneficiaries of them all, Goldman Sachs. Despite statements about staying out of politics this cycle, Goldman donated to both PACs on March 31 of this year. On June 24, Ron Johnson's campaign received two $5,000 donations from the Bluegrass PAC, a day later the campaign received two donations from the Senate Majority PAC in the same amounts.

Johnson's actions also bely the no-interference from government creed he subscribes to in the campaign.

Johnson demands a smaller, less-involved government, saying our current one is "robbing the bank accounts of future generations of Americans." But even while Johnson calls government spending and subsidies a "threat to our freedom" and insists "government doesn't create jobs," he refuses to acknowledge that his company received millions of dollars in industrial revenue bonds. Johnson's campaign maintains the money he received was not a government handout. Yet this exact form of government subsidized loan is what fiscal conservative temple The Cato Institute calls "corporate welfare."

As everyone debates whether or not this constitutes a government subsidy, the blog Uppity Wisconsin reveals Johnson's membership on the board of an industrial development corporation partly funded by the city and county that "has successfully helped area business apply for and secure over a million dollars in Customized Labor Training (CLT) grants… designed to assist companies that are investing in new technologies or manufacturing processes by providing a grant of up to 50% of the cost of training employees on the new technologies." Yet, Johnson insists that subsidization "doesn't work through the free market system very well."

Feingold needs to really ramp up his election campaign. He needs to be a top priority for the Democratic Party to protect. Part of his undoing has been his own fault. WHile he has taken the right stances, he has not done enough to make his views known to the casual political observer alloiwing someone like Johnson to paint him as someone who rubberstamps Obama's decisions.

To his credit, Feingold has tried to engage Johnson in as many debates as possible. But Johnson wisely limited it to three. In absence of debate, Feingold really needs to highlight the disingenuous nature of Johnson's campaign using blunt descriptions. He has to fight like that weasel Lieberman did. He has to convey the message that while Obama's presidency and the current senate may have indeed been a disappointment, no one wants to go back to the years prior to 2008 which brought us this mess. He has to clearly illustrate his record that he has worked with Obama on what is sensible and has opposed measures that worked against the people(this approach won't paint him as an opportunist cashing in on the anti-Obama wave).

I think part of Feingold's downfall is that he did not step up loudly enough on issues like TARP the way other senators held up other Obama measures. So the casual voter never noticed it.

Tags: Feingold, campaign ron Johnson (all tags)

Comments

29 Comments

Hope he turns it around

I think the big mistake he made was going negative instead, as in this year, that just makes him look like any other politician.

Agreed, they need to just focus on what Russ has done that's really terrific. Sadly, the meida he has being done this cycle thus far is very bland.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-10-01 06:11PM | 1 recs
This pisses me off.

We're in danger of losing good Democrats like Feingold, Boxer, Carol Shea-Porter, Steve Kagan, Grayson, Tom Perriello, etc. because the sabotage of the ConDems and Obama's general ineffectiveness at leadership, messaging, and taking it to the Republicans.

by TheUnknown285 2010-10-01 09:07PM | 0 recs
RE: This pisses me off.

Pisses me of too.  Democrats were at the top of the world until Obama came in and messed it all up.  Im sick and tired of these Democratic Presidents that come in and undermine the party in Congress.  This happened in 1994 and its happening again.  We cant win unless we have a Repubican in the White House.

Having Obama sit in the White House is not worth the cost of all these seats we are going to lose. 

Many of us didnt even want Obama in the White House and now we are all paying for it. 

by Kent 2010-10-01 09:27PM | 1 recs
The short answer is yes.

Everyone is tying themselves into pretzel knots talking about Obama. Big deal. He's not up for re-election. When he does come up in 2012, he's going to win again, in another landslide.

For now, this is about Russ, and about his voting constituency.  So let's keep it simple, here, busy beavers.

The answer is YES. Feingold's campaign is the problem here.  What we need is someone to come out into the forefront and the campaign is running in the background, business as usual negative ads and the like.

Here's what Russ needs to do, to pull the rabbit out of the hat.

1. Stand up for real healthcare reform. That is to say, talk about adding the one key piece of it - the national health service. Screw the polls. Someone needs to bring it up on the Dems side. It will energize the base.

2.  Realize that the bank thing worked. Don't run on the GOP talking points platform of bank, and economy. The banks and wallstreet reversed their complete crash so well that the government will recover 90 percent of the money they put in.

 

In fact, I think Russ is going to do ok. It's just going to be a matter of time before he realizes these two points.

And Obama is a fine president.  Every time I think of what he's done with his life and this country - I am proud.

All the whining about the economy is for losers.

 

by Trey Rentz 2010-10-01 10:13PM | 1 recs
Sorry you see the unemployed as "losers"

I did a double take at one of your comments:

"All the whining about the economy is for losers"

There are roughly 15 million Americans out there who have been left behind in Obama's "recovery summer". Some are unemployed, some are under-employed, and some have just plain given up.....but I guess you and the rest of the Obam-orons see them as "losers". Or as Joe Biden suggested, as a bunch of "whiners"....obviously, you've been listening to the bumbling Vice-President a little too much, as you're using his unfortunate buzz words.

As you suggested in one of your previous comments, things are going swell for you, and so you're pretty self-satisfied right now. But the Democratic party I grew up in went beyond self-interest, and cared about those who were left behind, and the less fortunate. Obviously, those people are of little concern to the Obama wing of the Democratic party.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-10-01 10:55PM | 0 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

Obama created this environment for Democrats.  Just because he isnt up for reelection this year gives him no excuse.  He could have made the economy better by putting his foot on Bernanke's neck, telling him that if he didnt surge the economy by early 2010, he wouldnt reappoint him.

Its all about 2012 with you Obamabots.  See you then.  Ill be there working to defeat Obama for what he has done to the party. 

by Kent 2010-10-01 11:03PM | 0 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

And if Obama carries 49 states and brings back a Dem congress in '12, what will you say then, Dirtbag?

by spirowasright 2010-10-02 12:34AM | 0 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

He better bring back a Dem Congress in 2012.  That will be the only way he redeems himself.  None of this wasting all of his campaign money on himself even though he was far ahead like in 2008 or Clinton in 1996. 

by Kent 2010-10-02 12:41AM | 1 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

The only way he redeems himself is if he has long re-election coattails?
Good thing you don't write the history books.

You post has zero recs--for obvious reasons.

by spirowasright 2010-10-02 01:25AM | 0 recs
And you really think that is going to happen? Get real.

So that's what it has come to for your Obam-orons: bizarre hypotheticals that we all know aren't going to happen. Pathetic; you people are really getting delusional.

The incredible shrinking President is a pitiful figure, a man who derided his opponents in 2008 as "racists", and still plays the race card whenever it suits him. In a speech just this week, he compared the wait for his failed economic programs to work to the long, heroic struggle two centuries ago to end slavery. Obviously Obama is a very sick man, a man who has no shame.

I fear for the future of our great country. And I pray that the Clintons will rescue us in 2012, to bring the country back from the damage done by this impostor to the Presidency.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-10-02 01:12AM | 0 recs
RE: And you really think that is going to happen? Get real.

I'm not an Obamoron, I happen to be a student of history and judging from what you've been writing I wonder about what you're projecting onto the President.

"A pitifulfigure?"

 

"A sick man?"

Are you serious?

In all honesty, you're probably right about the 49-state landslide. After all, it takes more of the smaller states the GOP usually carries in order to get 13 or 17 electoral votes and history doesn't repat as much as it rhymes.

by spirowasright 2010-10-02 01:32AM | 0 recs
Sorry, the assessment stands

This week, Mr. Obama compared the struggle of slaves who waited centuries to be freed with the struggle today of those who are waiting for his failed economic policies to work. This is not only illogical, but it's insulting to the memory of people who lived through one of the epic, defining struggles in our nation's history....and insensitive to the +15% "real unemployed" who have been left behind by his failed economic policies.

This kind of hyperbole on Obama's part is one of the reasons fewer and fewer people are taking him seriously. At the worst, I think it reveals delusions of grandeur on his part, and possibly a very serious mental disorder. And at best, it is a pitiful display by a failing President, begging people ("stick with me!") to stay the course.

Like many others in the Democratic Party, I just want this President to go away. History will be kind to Obama; it will forget him.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-10-02 12:58PM | 0 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

Trey-

This is the liberal blogosphere. Obama probably accesses RW sites to get more positive reactions.

You also have to remember that Kent has this hang up about Obama.
I don't know what the President did to Kent that was so terrible, but he's been whining about him ever since the 2008 election.

by spirowasright 2010-10-02 12:31AM | 0 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

What he did was ruin the Democratic party by not turning the economy around in time for the election.  He could have done this by jawboning Bernanke into printing more money to stimulate the economy. 

by Kent 2010-10-02 12:42AM | 0 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

Are you serious??? Printing more money would have saved our economy? 

I don't fault Obama for not turning the economy around in a short time. It is not easy especially with this gang of Democrats in the senate. I am one of those skeptical of TARP and even if TARP worked as they claim it did, I think it was a missed opportunity to reform the system.

But Hillary, McCain, Palin, Kucinich , or anyone else would have a hard time turning the economy around so fast.

I have problems with Obama, but this is not one of them.

by Pravin 2010-10-02 10:55PM | 1 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

So you think Obama's 9.6% unemployment is a good thing???

For point of reference, when George W. Bush left us, unemployment was at 7.7%. While Obama has been fiddling, the country has burned.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-10-02 12:44AM | 0 recs
RE: The short answer is yes.

To be fair, umemployment was rapidly rising in Bush's lame duck period and by May 2009, the unemployment rate had risen to 9.4%.  That isnt Obama's fault.

What is his fault is not threatening Bernanke with the appointment of a new fed chairman if he didnt get the unemployment rate below 8% by Thanksgiving. 

by Kent 2010-10-02 01:31AM | 0 recs
Huh?

Bernanke had already taken the Fed Funds rate to 0% by the time Obama took office...what further would you suggest he have done? The Fed had no bullets left during the period you describe.

Obama's hostility to the private sector, as well as his misguided fiscal policy, have more to do with the rising unemployment rate than anything the Fed could have done.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-10-02 01:40AM | 1 recs
RE: Huh?

Bernanke could have purchased trillions more in bonds in order to stimulate the economy more. 

by Kent 2010-10-02 01:58AM | 0 recs
Bond demand is already strong

Bond demand has been so strong that most economists and market analysts fear a "bond bubble". High prices, low yields have led to a flattening of the yield curve......there just wouldn't be any point to the Fed stepping in to buy more. Should we have a weak Treasury auction, that might change, but few people envision that happening.

Most of the debate on Obama's failed economy focuses on fiscal policy, not monetary. Economists on the left (Krugman et al.) feel that Obama should have had a larger stimulus; those on the right favor more tax cuts, and a more aggressive export policy (in other words, pass the free trade agreements!)

But honestly, I haven't heard any economists of note--on the right or the left---suggest that what was needed was an even more aggressive monetary policy from Bernanke and the Fed. The one we have is one of the most aggressive in history.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-10-02 09:40AM | 1 recs
His comments

about Bernanke make no sense to anyone who understands quantitative easing.  The Fed has done about all it can.  There is plenty of liquidity: the problem is demand.

by fladem 2010-10-02 02:46PM | 2 recs
RE: Huh?

Umm, private sector unemployment has been falling for the past 8 months. It's the public sector which has been cutting back, maybe you mean Obama's hostility to the government?

Nah, that would mean dealing in facts.

by vecky 2010-10-02 02:19AM | 1 recs
RE: Huh?

Private sector job gains havent been anywhere near enough.  In the 1983-1984 recovery, we were creating close to 300,000 jobs per month. 

by Kent 2010-10-02 02:53AM | 1 recs
RE: Huh?

Like your comment about Kent not dealing with facts. I think you hit the nail right on the head (wish it was Kent's head).

Maybe the rest of us should just stand back and let Kent and BJJFighter argue over who hates Obama more

(although Jerome would probably want to be part of that, too).

by spirowasright 2010-10-02 05:12PM | 0 recs
not a fan

I'm not a fan of Feingold's goo-goo progressivism, so I can't say I'd miss him. Wisconsin and the nation would be better off with a partisan Democrat, and the nation appears to have lost interest in the principled 'independent' candidates from either party. Good riddance, let's have real political contrast over substance, not process.

 

by tib 2010-10-01 11:48PM | 0 recs
Not Obama's bailout

Oh please, TARP was passed before the 2008 election and signed into law by Bush. Calling it "Obama's bailout" shows such complete disregard of the facts, the content of the entire post loses its credibility. 

by College Progressive 2010-10-02 06:05AM | 0 recs
RE: Not Obama's bailout

The problem is that in politics, perception is reality, and the current political climate is certainly not friendly to facts.  Also, while it was a Bush administration law, Obama supported TARP as a candidate and voted for it as a senator.

by Vox Populi 2010-10-02 10:24AM | 0 recs
RE: Not Obama's bailout

In fact, Obama's support as a candidate was probably the most pivitol part of it passing. Without Obama's support it would not have passed.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-10-02 05:58PM | 0 recs
Mean-spirited

I'm a long-time Feingold supporter, albeit a Texan and far from his home-state campaign.  "Needs to be spending money"?  Wow!  I bet most of Feingold's supporters are among the hardest hit by the recession and, generous though we may want to be, just don't have the bucks to match what the other side is putting into these races.  In view of that reality, your criticism seems mean-spirited at best.

Russ Feingold could do everything perfectly, never put a foot wrong, and that, in addition to his solid progressive record, should guarantee another term in office.  But he's not up against the usual opponent or even a single opponent named Johnson.  No Democrat is. They're all having to fight an extremely well-funded, close-minded right-wing political machine.  The only people at fault are all of us.  We figured we could relax once Obama got into the White House. We were desperately naive.

Ease up, please.  Don't continue to blame Feingold for a Democratic party's failure to play hardball when hardball is the only game in town!

by saetias 2010-10-02 02:13PM | 1 recs

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