Tuesday, November 15, 2005

# Posted 11:52 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

FEINGOLD VS. HILLARY: Michael Crowley at TNR has a must-read article on Russell Feingold's emeriging leadership of the anti-war movement and its challenge to Hillary Clinton's front-runner status. Here are some samples, but you've got to read the whole thing:
Last month, Cindy Sheehan, the bereaved mother crusading against the Iraq war, posted an open letter on the website of left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore. Her latest target wasn't the man she staked out last summer--George W. Bush--but the new villain of the antiwar left: Hillary Clinton. Sheehan's letter excoriated Clinton for backing the Iraq war and for her refusal to call for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops. "That sounds like Rush Limbaugh to me. That doesn't sound like an opposition party leader speaking," Sheehan wrote. "I think [Clinton] is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys."...

Feingold had never visited Iraq before, and he was appalled by what he saw there. "We couldn't stay overnight in Iraq," he said recently. "We couldn't drive from the airport to the Green Zone. When we went to the Green Zone, the helicopters had to go just over the palm trees so they wouldn't get shot down. We never got to go out to see the rest of Baghdad, because they couldn't take us out safely. We wore flak jackets and helmets in the Green Zone. And people are worried about chaos if we leave?"

Conditions in Iraq are certainly nasty. But Feingold has long harbored wariness about U.S. military action. When Republicans forced a 1995 Senate vote to cut off funding for U.S. military forces in Bosnia, for instance, he was the sole Democrat to join 21 conservatives in support of the resolution. As other Democrats waxed idealistic about human rights, Feingold fretted about Vietnam parallels and worried that "our attempting to police the world threatens our own national security."...

In reality, [Feingold's] odds of winning the Democratic nomination are slim anyway. What Feingold can do is make life miserable for the other Democrats who seek it. Dean didn't defeat Kerry, after all. But he was the proximate cause for Kerry's vote against the $87 billion war appropriations bill--a vote that haunted Kerry in the general election. In 2008, perhaps Feingold will play the role of Dean to Clinton's Kerry, battering her image and dragging her further left than she can afford to go.
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