The Senate just lost its most principled member, Russ Feingold. Consider it a beacon of our money- and fearmonger- drenched politics. Feingold was the perfect politician for America as our founders envisioned it. But a terrible politician when seats go to the highest (foreign) bidder or those screaming the loudest about heebie jeebies.

But as with Alan Grayson, I believe Feingold will continue to lead progressives and–especially for Feingold–civil libertarians going forward. Hell, given how corrupt and dysfunctional the Senate his, he may well find a way to be more effective.

But in the meantime, we have lost our biggest check on the assault on civil liberties in this country.

  1. bayofarizona says:

    I heard a lot of stuff about how he refused to run negative ads? Low info voters did not see how extreme Johnson was.

  2. jedimsnbcko19 says:

    Russ, please take the night off, and wake up tommorrow ready to run for president.

    If Obama cuts Social Security, during the current depression, U will win IOWA easily!

  3. tammanytiger says:

    Unfortunately, the mandarins of the Democratic Party have dismissed civil liberties as a “vanity issue” and trivialized people like Feingold. One of those mandarins is a former University of Chicago Law School professor.

  4. odin007 says:

    Russ Feingold is better of at home making big bucks. If the Senate had 51 Russ Feingolds, maybe. But one, he shouldn’t want to be in the Senate anymore because the Patriot Act still passed……………

  5. BargainCountertenor says:

    EW, I understand (and share) your grief. But Bernie Sanders is still in the Senate, and I think Bernie’s a very principled guy.

    We haven’t seen enough of Franken to tell for sure, yet, but Franken strikes me as another very principled guy. What’s more, I expect him to get re-elected easily in 2014.

  6. davidasposted says:

    Frankly, most of the races this evening did not interest me. But Feingold’s loss saddens me. It must have been difficult to remain a principled Senator amidst so much garbage. I hope he does well.

    • jdmckay0 says:

      Frankly, most of the races this evening did not interest me.

      Me either… 1st election in my adult life (I’m 55) in which I didn’t vote.

      But Feingold’s loss saddens me.

      Ditto… very much.

      It must have been difficult to remain a principled Senator amidst so much garbage.

      Again, ditto.

      WSJ ran a main OpED yesterday… vitriol towards Russ (and Pelosi and few others) while condemning their “unconstitutional” obstruction (Feingold/McCain) of “political speech”. It was, to me, a rant of manifest corrupted power which actually sent shivers through me. Evil.

      It also says to me that, given current environment of utter ignorance by so many of so much, and massive media saturation of lies authored by a few while swallowed by majorities… that there is no room for honest lawmakers in the minds of those driving agenda through political positions.

      As Bloomberg formalized what AFAIC is self evident, big biz expects new congress to roll back meager Dodd financial reform, meager parts of HC reform which cost “Wellstone” a few lousy bucks, and more or less return WS to an entirely unregulated pre-crash Bubble friendly environment.

      They call this policies to “create jobs”.

      Personally, I think at this point America is getting exactly what it deserves. If they (we) are foolish and stupid enought to elect W’ for 2 terms, go back to repubs (this crew even worse) who created the economic mess, and swallow empty rhetoric (again) hook/line/sinker, then America richly deserves a repeat performance… they have earned it.

      Oh Well…

  7. jamawani says:

    Ah, yes.
    We see the fruits of a deer-in-the-headlights, triangulating president and incompetent congressional leadership.
    White House and 60% majorities in both Senate and House squandered.
    If the Democrats had actually DONE something in the past two years, then they might have actually made gains in 2010.

    The only message that the Democrats have to offer progressives is,
    “You better vote for us or else!”

    Which isn’t goo enough.

    • boxfetish says:

      Not to mention that we (WI) are a state full of idiots. Ron Johnson couldn’t represent the opposite of the so-called “populist” teabagger’s ideals if he tried.

      Anyway, regardless of the actual party affiliation or disingenuous political ideologies, how stupid does a state have to be to dismiss a 3-term senator (with all the influence and committee appointments that entails) and elect a know-nothing corporate tool with zero political experience or any idea of what he us getting into? If nothing else, WI screwed itself tonight. Hard.

  8. RoyalOak says:

    Grayson out, Feingold out…WTF, America? What form of demented short term memory do you suffer from? Or is this just a set-up? Have any votes really been counted or was it all thrown to the Republicans? In Michigan, it’s starting to look like it’s all Republican. Horrifying.

  9. jm51 says:

    emptywheel:You say “But in the meantime, we have lost our biggest check on the assault on civil liberties in this country.”

    Incorrect; the “biggest check on the assault on civil liberties in this country” or any other other place is each individual. Each person is responsible to fight back. Re-read the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and use it as call to action.

    Are you up to creating an independent California based on a new social contract that has as its core mandate maximizing individual liberty with individual and government accountability? The D.C./Wall Street/MIC has degenerated into nothing more than a torturing-war mongering-theiving criminal enterprise.

    • goldpearl says:

      2nd & 3rd worst losses of the evening…..john hall & alan grayson.

      thanks for all you did

      thankfully my congressman maurice hinchey & debbie wasserman both held their seats

  10. rosalind says:

    good news from ctuttle over in hawaii: “Exit polls say Hanabusa will upset D’jou by 5-8 points…! Polls are closed here, but, no results yet…! That will be a House pickup for the Dems…! ;-)”

    • Mauimom says:

      I haven’t seen anything on this race. It’s shameful if Hanabusa only wins by 5-8 [but of course I’ll take ANY win at this point].

      DNC allowed Blue Dog carpetbagger Ed Case to run in the three-way special election for this seat, thereby dividing the Dem vote and permitting Djou to win. He’s a complete idiot.

    • bobschacht says:

      In Hawaii, Democrats ran the table. Both Senators, both Representatives, and the Governor are all Democrats now. And the victory margins weren’t squeakers.

      {sigh} I left Hawaii to move to Arizona, where Republicans ran the table last night. I now live in a state run by barbarians. The spirit of Evan Meacham lives on.

      Bob in AZ

  11. goldpearl says:

    i did what i could to stir up support for feingold here in ny.

    biggest loss of the evening for sure.

    thanks for everything russ


  12. GDC707 says:

    Aw Hell, it’s probably one of those bad news eventually=good news sort of things. The Congress is going to be a turgid, fetid swamp for the next 2 years so why would a guy like Feingold wanna hang around and do nothing? He’ll be better off out stirring things up.

  13. progress says:

    Feingold was the perfect politician for America as our founders envisioned it.

    Sen. Feingold loss is the only one which saddens me today evening. He stood, he fought and he worked honorably in the Americas best interests. It was the HCR bill with mandates and no public option which brought down Democratic party but after that mistake he corrected himself and worked in the Americas best interests.

    Truth always prevails and he can be sure he will get better opportunities in politics to work in the nations interest soon enough and I will be besides countless others be extremely happy if anytime in future he decides to run for President.

  14. Ralph says:

    With infinite money and media on the other side, it’ll be a miracle if anyone left of Mussolini ever wins again.

    Chalmers Johnson, in his new book Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope, writes that the U.S. is taking the “suicide option” by trying to expand the empire at just the moment when it’s time to start shutting it down.

    But a nation can’t really commit suicide. There will still be people to feed, clothe and house, even after the political system stops working.

    Obama should have found some way to curb the power of Fox News. But now it hardly matters. In a post-Citizens-United free-for-all, Fox could soon fall behind in the race to be the most extreme right-wing information source.

    Game over, seems to me.

  15. kabuki101 says:

    Tears for Alan “Kabuki” Grayson ? Why? Equally Feingold? Why? You cannot trust a single one of them. End of story. They are all blue dogs under the camouflage.

    • kking says:

      Your one person that watched there actions and did not take there word on who thay were.Alan Grason,WHY,because he a lier and loud.Feingold,HCR.he has no honor his pledge on HCR.would not vote for a bill without the PO.untill he did.To bad Franken wasn’t in the mix the jerk was hideing from camers when he voted for the insurance welfair bill.

  16. harpie says:

    Senate loses its left-wing leader on foreign policy; Josh Rogin; 11/3/10

    Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold was no ordinary Democratic senator. He staunchly staked out unabashedly liberal positions on all things foreign policy and national security related, right up until his defeat Tuesday night.

    Feingold is, or was, technically the third-ranking Democratic senator on the Foreign Relations Committee, after Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT). With Dodd retiring, Feingold stood to become chairman if Kerry were ever tapped for secretary of state. In fact, the rumor around town is that the prospect of an independent-minded Feingold leading the panel worried the White House so much that it had negative implications on their consideration of Kerry for Foggy Bottom. […]

  17. skdadl says:

    I did what I could organizing Canadians for Feingold, but they wouldn’t count our votes!

    I’m very sorry about both Russ and Grayson.

    • nonquixote says:

      Agree with you Rayne, would be nice, but Obummer is not making anything up to anyone, especially not us or we in the professional left or us DFHs.

      The term, ‘us,’ has no meaning to this POTUS. Try, ‘I,’ or, ‘me.’

  18. Mary says:

    It’s the only thing I’ve been bummed about – and yes, I live in KY and will now have Rand Paul as Senator. But heck, he’s an improvement on Bunning and less war mongery than Obama.

    It would be nice if MSNBC kicked Lawrence O’Donnell off and gave Feingold a program in a Charlie Rose mold. Not likely I guess. And less likely, that he’d use some of his remaining time to actually go to the floor and put a few things in the record on torture and illegal surveillance.

    It’s a shame he’s lost, but I can’t work up much angst over any of the losses. I can’t count the times I got things from Dems – individuals and centralized, telling me *I* had to *fight back* and not let *Karl Rove win”

    Karl Rove? The fearmongering was ridiculous, especially coming from Dems who have had subpeona powers since 2006 and never used them.

    • Ann in AZ says:

      IIRC, the few times the Congress used subpoena power in this session, the subjects of the subpoena just ignored it and the Congress took no further steps to enforce. So once again, what rule of law?

  19. endtimesgal says:

    It’s losing people like Feingold that make me feel despair for this country. I guess we have to be brought to our knees utterly like Europe was before we come to our senses. It’s crazy time in America and it’s just going to get much much worse before it ever gets better. There were few that stood apart in the nightmare years of Bush, and Feingold was one of the few. I would be thrilled if he ran for president. Obama aiding and abetting the destruction of someone like him is the final nail in Obama’s worth for me.

  20. pmorlan says:

    When I heard Feingold lost I went to bed. This was the only lost seat that really depressed me. How could we send Harry Reid back and not Feingold?

  21. bobschacht says:

    Feingold’s concession speech had an interesting twist at the end:

    “I hope and I intend to continue to work with all of you in the future as much as possible,” Feingold told about 300 supporters at the Madison Marriott West. “So it’s on to the next fight. It’s on to the next battle. It’s on to 2012. And it is on to our next adventure — forward!”

    Now, what do you suppose he meant by that? Many Wisconsonians are wondering. For an unsatisfying local attempt to explain these closing words, see Feingold’s future unlikely to include a 2012 run.

    Bob in AZ