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Citizen Asks Senator About Impeachment, Newspaper Prints Exchange

Feingold fields questions on oil, war in Iraq and Supreme Court
Published Wednesday, October 12, 2005 11:12:34 AM Central Time
By Mike Leverton
Monroe Times (WI)

MONROE -- Conversation ranged from dependency on foreign oil, health care costs, Supreme Court appointees John Roberts and Harriet Miers to the war in Iraq when U.S. Senator Russ Feingold held listening sessions with his constituents in Browntown and Darlington Tuesday.

The Middleton Democrat said the listening sessions give him an opportunity to hear directly from constituents about issues and concerns. "I don't set the topic. It's important that people talk about what they want. This is my 929th and 930th listening sessions," said Feingold, who is in his 13th year as a Senator.

In his opening statements, Feingold gave an example of an idea he took from listening sessions and took before his peers in Washington. In spring 2005, Feingold publicly called on President George Bush to detail his plan for the conflict in Iraq. Months later, after speaking with Wisconsin citizens during listening sessions here, he decided to do more. In August, he publicly called on Bush to get U.S. troops out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2006.

"When I came home in August and did about 18 to 20 of these listening sessions, I saw the anguish and despair people had, many who had supported the war. They wondered why the war was being handled so poorly. Had it not been for me looking into the eyes of some of the moms and dads of people who were voluntarily over in Iraq, I don't think I would have taken it this far."

When one constituent brought up the topic of credit cards and stated that credit card companies are raising the minimum payments that must be made monthly, Feingold said he feels the "anger" on the subject is escalating.

Another hot issue Feingold addressed was the country's dependency on foreign oil and its need to use renewable fuels. He treated the matter seriously but injected a little humor, too: "There are many things that could be done to provide energy -- the use of ethanol, fuel cells, wind power. There's a lot of wind in this country, not just in Washington. This is science and could change the face of the economy. The oil industry tries to shut down these ideas because they have a good deal now."

Tom Brantmeier, Monroe, asked Feingold why Democrats in Washington haven't called for impeachment of President Bush or at least a formal vote of no confidence. Brantmeier listed areas in which he felt the President acted with incompetence, including the war in Iraq, his failure with FEMA during the hurricane strikes and his failed energy policy.

"The first reason that people aren't calling for impeachment is that the standard for impeachment in the Constitution is not gross incompetence," Feingold responded. "The standard is high crimes and misdemeanors. I'm not afraid to call it gross incompetence. If we as Democrats take the approach to impeach him, I'm afraid it makes us look harsh and extreme. I think if we say that the country's been mismanaged and then provide a pragmatic, positive alternative, I think that goes farther than impeachment."

While he discourages the thought of impeachment, Feingold said he is intrigued by the concept of a formal vote of no confidence.

Feingold said it was hard at first to make a decision about Supreme Court Chief Justice appointee John Roberts. But discussions he had with others who knew Roberts assured him Roberts was "highly qualified," and he broke with party ranks to vote in favor of the appointment.

The senator said he hasn't yet decided about Harriet Myers, whose appointment to the Supreme Court has not yet been confirmed. "I'm not yet convinced about Harriet Miers but I'll certainly give her every chance to show that she's qualified for the United States Supreme Court," he said. "I need to be shown more to believe that this person is ready to spend the rest of her life as one of the nine justices. The three things I set for Roberts I set for her. A justice must be qualified for the highest court, be ethically sound and have the ability to be objective and independent."

Another topic that surfaced often during the listening session involved health care costs and health care reform, a subject Feingold said usually tops the list of domestic issues.

"I have always believed in guaranteed health care for all Americans by the federal government," Feingold said.

A few times while he answered questions, Feingold called the Democratic party the "party of performance."

"People want a party that can go out and get things done," he said.

Mike Leverton can be reached at


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If Feingolds view of how to take care of the crookedness in the WH is typical, God help us all. He and those like him ought to quit pretending to serve the people and go sell cars or something.

He says that impeachment is not sought by democrats since "the standard for impeachment is high crimes and misdemeanors", as if we didn't know that. What the hell does he think lying to the American people and congress about false reasons for going to war is, if not a high crime!? He must think the cheeseheads in Wisconsin really do have cheese in their heads to talk down to them that way. The evidence is there to be had as we all know, and he would be doing something if he would initiate a parallel in the Senate to what John Conyers, Barbara Lee and others have done in the House to uncover that evidence (as in the Resolution for Inquiry into the DSM that almost passed, etc.).

And then to say that "democrats will look 'harsh and extreme' if they call for impeachment--that blew me away. Is 'looking good' more important to the democrats than removing the incompetence that is severely damaging this country!? That's unbelievable if that's their mindset--as in "where's the mirror, how do I look from this angle"?!
Feingold is just another "career politician" that is more concerned with not offending anyone so he can get elected again than really trying to make things happen, and its disgusting (that's how he keeps getting elected). He's not fooling anyone by (safely) calling for 'out of Iraq' by Dec 2006, instead of earlier--he knows a drawdown will have begun by then anyway so he's not sticking his neck out like he hopes people will think he is.
God help us with these type politicians putting on a show just to make a show but playing it safe for themselves, and thinking we don't see it. Realizing there is nothing substantial coming from them just renews a sense of hopelessness. What a waste of time listening to them. They thrive on gullible people and are in the same category as Benny Hinn the showboat preacher.

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