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Feingold Says “No Chance” of Primary Challenge in ’12

One of the great losses in the US Senate, to me the greatest loss, is of Sen. Russ Feingold. He was a lonely voice on civil liberties, on a foreign policy not based solely on adventuresome wars, on the Constitution, on a whole host of important issues. Basically, that voice no longer exists in the United States Senate.

I hope he moves on to something extremely fulfilling. But it’s not going to be a run for the Presidency, per his spokesman.

“While a lot of other Democrats ran away from their support for the Recovery Act and health insurance reform, Russ Feingold didn’t, he stood by those votes and President Obama’s effort to do the right thing,” said spokesman John Kraus in an email. “I would chalk up any Beltway chatter about Russ running against President Obama as simply Washington getting wee-wee’d up on the first day of new election cycle that is two years away.”

Feingold “has no interest in challenging President Obama in 2012,” Kraus said.

I don’t think there will be a Presidential primary, or at least not one that has any real heft behind it.

I do have an idea for Feingold, though: run the ACLU. He has a larger platform as a former Senator and national figure. He’s still a fairly young man. He ought to use his skills to bring attention to causes worth fighting for. He ought to raise the profile of an important outside actor in the progressive movement (whatever that stands for these days). I think he could have greater power in this role, outside of government, than he ever did inside, at least on particular issues.

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David Dayen

David Dayen