I watched with disgust Chris Wallace's excellent interview of Sen. Russ Feingold on "Fox News Sunday," where Feingold indignantly defended his quixotic, yet still outrageous, motion to censure President Bush for his NSA surveillance program.
Feingold says that the president should be censured (perhaps even impeached) for violating the law. Why, it's worse than Watergate, says Feingold, because the president is thumbing his nose at the laws of this country.
This is the same senator who wasn't convinced Clinton had obstructed justice or committed perjury beyond a reasonable doubt. If Clinton wasn't thumbing his nose at the laws of this country, how would you describe what he was doing?
Feingold is also incensed that President Bush has a "preemptive doctrine of war." But did he have the courage to challenge Sen. Kerry when Kerry admitted during the presidential campaign that "American presidents have always had a right of preemption to address immediate threats"?
Feingold's move is not one of moral courage, but raw political ambition. In the words of Democratic senator Mark Dayton, Feingold's move is "an overreaching step by someone who is grandstanding and running for president at the expense of his own party and his own country."
But Feingold's motion is also born of frustration at being on the losing end of a power struggle. While he made the obligatory noises about President Bush's "imperial presidency," he betrayed the real source of his angst when he said, "we have this problem of one-party rule in our system of government right now," and "we have a Republican president and two houses of Congress run by the Republicans … " Sorry, Senator, but they were elected, and it's not your call. Learn to be a better loser.
Feingold told Wallace that Bush should not be creating a "very divisive situation in our country that weakens us in the fight against terrorism internationally." What? Does Feingold think his bogus stunt to censure and humiliate the commander in chief during wartime is not divisive and will not weaken us? To advocate such a measure, Feingold must be pretty certain Bush broke the law, right? Well, a group of retired FISA judges don't agree with him. Nor, obviously, did many of Bush's predecessors who engaged in similar conduct. Has Feingold ever accused any of them of acting like King George III?