Feingold Call for Censuring Bush Falls Flat

Yesterday’s motion by Russ Feingold to censure President Bush is not generating much enthusiasm even among Senate Democrats. AP’s Laurie Kellman reports that, “Even as he spoke, Democratic leaders held off the immediate vote that Majority Leader Bill Frist requested. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he didn’t know if there ever would be one. Durbin said that Feingold had sought to use the censure resolution ‘as a catalyst’ for thorough hearings and investigations.”

Even as a publicity stunt, it’s not faring that well. WaPo buries its story by Charles Babbington on page A8. His lede is a decidely mixed message:

Democrats sharpened their attack yesterday on President Bush’s warrantless surveillance of Americans, with a liberal senator introducing a censure resolution and party leaders showing a willingness to debate the matter.

Some party strategists, however, worried that voters will see the move as overreaching partisanship, and Republicans pounced, practically daring Democrats to vote for the measure. “The big question now,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), “is how many of his Democrat colleagues will follow him over the cliff?”

It’s quite apparent, however, that Feingold’s colleagues had no interest whatsoever in debating the matter and, indeed, quickly voted to table the matter when Majority Leader Bill Frist called for an immediate vote.

Several Democratic strategists said surveillance issues are not Bush’s most vulnerable spot, and they fear the party may appear extremist. “It is more likely that a big censure fight would have the effect of rallying folks to his side,” said one Democratic strategist and former Clinton aide. “While some in the Democratic base want retribution for what happened to Clinton,” the adviser said, “I think there is a larger reluctance to try to remove people from office.”

One gathers from the coverage that Hillary Clinton remained silent on the matter, as her name is not mentioned. She has been remarkably canny in guaging the mood of the public on issues, even as she alienates the netroots.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    She has been remarkably canny in guaging the mood of the public on issues, even as she alienates the netroots.

    And thus, we see the Democratic leadership understands that embracing the netroots is a poison pill.

    One wonders when this understanding will force them to remove Howard Dean.

  2. Bithead says:

    Come to think of it, what is this move by Fiengold but an embracing of the moonbats?

    One wonders if he’s not just written himself off for ’08, instead of, as he obviously intended, starting his run for the WH? Apparently, Fiengold leanred nothing from Dean’s implosion.

  3. G A Phillips says:

    Another donkey Lord wraps his arms around the terrorists, whats new?

  4. Herb says:

    Feingold is nothing more that a complete dumbass.

  5. Jack Ehrlich says:

    I have a question for those liberally inclined. Why is it that, if the President’s authorization of NSA’s wire taps are illegal as so many Democrats have claimed. Why is it no one has gone to court to get an injunction to force them to stop? Might it be, because FISA exceeded Congresses Constitutional authority, infringing in the inherent powers of the Presidency? Suggested reading includes Webster’s Dictionary, look under Commander in Chief and the 2001 9/11 Congressional Resolution.