Hillary Clinton is mired in her own scandal and will, with the left, bear the taint of President Obama’s Bush-like national security surveillance. VP Joe Biden is a punch line. It would seem the Dems will need a generational break from Obama and the actual liberal they’ve been pining for. (Much as they’d like to gussy Hillary up, she dragged her feet on gay marriage, voted for the Iraq War and counseled Obama to use force in Libya.)
So what about former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold? He would seem to be the perfect antidote to what ails Dems and an alternative to other candidates sure to sell them out once again.
Here are 10 reasons Democrats should want him to run:
1. He is an actual maverick, bucking his party (from the left) on financial regulation and civil liberties.
2. He has shown actual bipartisanship in crafting McCain-Feingold and trying to control money in politics. He voted with Republicans in favor of some pro-gun measures and against Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary.
3. He is a true liberal, in the tradition of prairie progressives. He has favored environmental protection, a single-payer health-care plan and gay marriage. He carries no taint of scandal and no attachment to big money politics.
4. He voted against the Patriot Act, precisely the courage the Dems wanted and the fidelity to civil liberties they expected of Obama.
5. He can make deals with liberals and libertarians on everything from immigration to national security to gay rights to government pork.
6. He should quickly develop a cult on the left considering his opposition to NSA snooping.
7. He is perfectly positioned to win in a neighboring state Iowa. If he does, Hillary will be dealt a blow just as she was against Obama.
8. Running a Clinton creates the same problem for Dems as running Jeb Bush does for Republicans. Really, isn’t it about time the progressive party, you know, progresses?
9. If Dems are pining for a woman, Feingold can put Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the ticket. (There is next to no chance the Republicans will run a woman in 2014, so they can rest assured they won’t be out-maneuvered on that front. And he would be the first Jewish president.)
10. He’s a rather likeable, telegenic fellow who bears no resemblance to the scowling, hard-edged Hillary Clinton or the bombastic Biden. Born in 1953, and looking younger than his age, he also provides a bigger draw for youth voters. (He is six years younger than Hillary and nine years younger than Biden.)