Yesterday, in watching Russ Feingold's appearance on Meet the Press, I was reminded why I like him so damned much - he's not afraid to make sense. Last week, Senator Feingold became the first potential 2008 Candidate to openly discuss the idea of a withdrawl date for troops in Iraq. Critics and NeoCons are already taking him out of context, trying to label him as Cut and Run. But look at what he actually said: _____ SEN. FEINGOLD: I tried first to simple offer a resolution a couple of months ago to ask the president to give us a sense of his own of how long this will take and give the world a sense of when we might finish what some people call an American occupation. We didn't get any response from the president. His last speech was just a bunch of the same slogans we hear all the time. And, frankly, we got very little reaction from the members of the Senate. So I felt it was time to at least put on the table an idea, get the discussion going, break the taboo and say, "Look, let's see if we can remove the troops after we succeed with a series of steps by the end of December 2006. Let's see if we can have a target date that will work."
MR. GREGORY: Do you think that target date is knowable, that a success date is knowable at this point and that the president is simply holding back?
SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, I think it's possible. This is what I've noticed in the other times that we've done things well in Iraq. This is what we've done. We've set a target date for the transfer of sovereignty, and we said it was a good thing that we did it a day early. We set a target date for elections, in January 31, and some people said it would never happen. When it happened, it was a good thing. We set a target date for the constitution, and it's taking a few days more, but when that constitution is achieved, it's going to be a wonderful thing for the Iraqi people and a step forward.
Why wouldn't you want a vision, an idea of when we can measure successin terms of time and when the American people can know that our brave and courageous men and women can come home? It seems better than just having a stay-the-course concept, which is what the president seems to have.
MR. GREGORY: This target would be December 31 of next year of 2006, but you say it's not a deadline.
SEN. FEINGOLD: No, it's not a deadline. Just like the other things I just mentioned, it's a target. Here's the problem. If you don't have some kind of a target date, you lose the opportunity to get a number of advantages. First of all, you can lose the support of the American people. That's what I'm hearing. _____
So, what's the problem with this idea? It's simple, clear, direct, and goal-oriented. Something the Bush Administration (and many other potential Democratic 2008 contenders) oppose.
I lived in Milwaukee during Russ Feingold's initial run for Senate - if you're not familiar with the man, take a look at one of his original campaign ads, and you'll see why we're such big fans here at PTF. I don't know if we can ultimately support him in 2008, but he's definitely one in the field worth watching. He knows how to press the flesh.