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Russ Feingold announces he won't run for prez

The candidate who was 100% in favor of marriage equality says he’s not throwing his hat in the 2008 ring. It’s clear that the Dem sweep on the Hill has made it easier for him to make this decision. (From his web site):

I’m sure a campaign for President would have been a great adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this time, however, I believe I can best advance that progressive agenda as a Senator with significant seniority in the new Senate serving on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and Budget Committees. Although I have given it a lot of thought, I cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a race for President while I am trying simultaneously to advance our agenda in the Senate. In other words, if I really wanted to run for President, regardless of the odds or other possible candidates, I would do so. However, to put my family and all of my friends and supporters through such a process without having a very strong desire to run, seems inappropriate to me. And, yes, while I would strongly prefer that our nominee in 2008 be someone who had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning, I am prepared to work as hard as I can through the Progressive Patriots Fund, and consistent with my duties in the Senate, to maintain or increase our gains from November 7 in the Congress and, of course, to elect a Democrat as President in 2008.

You can’t blame him for not wanting to deal with a candidacy that was a likely losing proposition, but his voice in the debate would have ensured that a sane, honest discussion on equality would have occurred.

The AP article on Feingold’s announcement mentions some of the other likely 2008 candidates, and there’s not a name among them that has been unwavering and consistent in support of marriage equality:

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is widely considered the front-runner for the nomination. Others considering or positioning themselves for a run include U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic nominee; former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the vice presidential nominee two years ago; U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Joe Biden of Delaware and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut; and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Let’s look at their positions of late, if any:

* sHillary (see the post, ” sHillary says she’s ‘evolved’ on marriage equality“): her current public position — at least when she’s speaking in front of a group of homos — “I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out,” she said. “From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment.” Who knows what she would say if asked about this in front of a group of citizens in flyover country. Positions: Supports ENDA, adoption rights, repeal of DADT. Not clear on: ENDA w/gender identity and expression (she dodged it in this article), hate crimes legislation, FMLA extension, same-sex immigration parity.

* John Kerry: he opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment and supports civil unions. He’s another “leave it to the states” guy, and supported a marriage ban in his home state of Massachusetts. While running for prez 2004, he didn’t show up for the cloture vote on FMA that would have forced a direct vote on the bill (it was defeated 50-48). That was so he wouldn’t have to defend his vote on the campaign trail. Coward. It should be noted that Bush is for civil unions at the state level, but is favor of FMA. Not a lot of space between them, is there? 2004 Positions: Supports ENDA, adoption rights, repeal of DADT. Kerry not clear on: ENDA w/gender identity and expression included, hate crimes legislation, FMLA extension, same-sex immigration parity — H.R. 832, the Permanent Partners Immigration Act.

* John Edwards (see Kerry) He skipped in 2004 cloture vote as well. 2004 Positions: Supports ENDA, adoption rights, repeal of DADT. Edwards not clear on: ENDA w/gender identity and expression included, hate crimes legislation, FMLA extension, same-sex immigration parity — H.R. 832. Edwards, of course, was disingenuously scorched by the Cheneys for simply pointing out in the debate with Darth, that the VP loves his lesbian daughter.

I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can’t have anything but respect for the fact that they’re willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It’s a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.


I have to go offline for a bit, so if folks want to look up some of the other Dems in that list to add to the post, post the info and links in the comments and I’ll update later.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding