The winner of the Fool of the Week designation this week is Senator Russ Feingold, (D-WI) who called for the censure of President Bush on the floor of the Senate.
From the git-go this was a political stunt of the lowest kind. He announced his intention to call for censure on the ABC Sunday morning talk show before he introduced it on the Senate floor. He blindsided his fellow democrats by not mentioning it, let alone consulting with them beforehand. It is all for the glory of name recognition for Feingold. He wants to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate in 2008 and is not a household name. He thought this was his ticket to the top.
Shame on him.
Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee chairman, must surely want to give Feingold a big ole hug right about now. Fellow democrats could not run away faster from Feingold after his stunt. Even microphone hogs like Hillary Clinton and Chuckie Schumer were ducking reporters.
Feingold claims censure of President Bush is justified as the NSA wiretapping surveillance program is illegal, thus President Bush has called for his intelligence agencies to do illegal activities. This program is a matter of discussion from all aspects of the legal community and the discussion continues. Congress has the responsibility of oversight and a commission has been named to follow through. The American people are overwhelming in favor of the President putting the program into use.
Russ Feingold was the lone vote against the Patriot Act in the Senate. He opposed its reauthorization. He opposes the NSA program. He was against the Iraq war. He opposes using coercive interrogation against terrorists abroad. He is the poster boy for why the American people do not trust the far left to keep the country safe, most importantly at a time of war.
Senator Joe Leiberman stated he "didn't know a single person in the Senate who doesn't support the surveillance program." He is a sane voice on the left. I say let's have this debate pre-election 2006. It would be an easy argument for Republicans to make that the opposition can not be trusted with national security.
Feingold wants to embarrass President Bush and his administration at a time of war just to score cheap political points. He claims he merely wants to open a discussion. The discussion has already been going on for some time now, since the New York Times took it upon itself to divulge national security secrets to the world, including the enemy.
Some Democrats want to punish President Bush for being too aggressive in the pursuit of bad guys in the global war on terror. Previously, of course, they claimed he wasn't tough enough. Can't have it both ways. There is no record of Feingold supporting any measure that would protect this country from another attack like 9/11.
We have not been hit since 9/11 in this country. Many plans of attack have been thwarted. The Democrats feel emboldened by the President's lower poll numbers. Governing by the polls, they are, as usual. That's how you govern when you have no plan, no core values, no leadership.
Good thing governing by polls wasn't commonplace as World War II was being fought.
There is no constitutional basis for Congress to vote to censure a president. There is no constitutional basis for the President to issue a proclaimation censuring a member of Congress. There is, however, nothing to stop the Senate from censuring one of its own members. This is constitutionally empowered to both houses of Congress to discipline its members. If it is such a great idea, censure Feingold.
If it's just all about political disagreement, he's the one to be censured. He'd still get his name out there.