Jesse Walker: A farewell to Bob Barr-endorsed Russ Feingold

Jesse Walker at Reason Hit and Run:

Russ Feingold wasn’t just endorsed by Bob Barr. He was the Bob Barr of the left, and I mean that mostly as a compliment. When Barr was in Congress he could be bad on “social” freedoms, especially the drug war, but he nonetheless took stances on privacy and due process that made him far above average on civil liberties as a whole. Similarly, Feingold’s campaign finance bill was terrible for the First Amendment, yet he was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act, was one of the few senators to
give a damn about limiting government snooping in general, and was a fierce
critic
of executive power. He also voted against TARP, was decent on the Second
Amendment
, and was one of the rare liberals to reach out to the Tea Parties instead of demonizing them. He wasn’t a free marketeer, but I’ll take a LaFollette progressive over a Wilson or Teddy
Roosevelt progressive any day — and as with Barr, I’ll take an inconsistent civil libertarian over the average pol who doesn’t care about civil liberties at all.

4 thoughts on “Jesse Walker: A farewell to Bob Barr-endorsed Russ Feingold

  1. Ted Brown

    I had mixed feelings about Feingold also. The other incumbent I will miss a bit is Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida). He backed Ron Paul to the hilt on the audit the fed issue, and his floor speech saying that the Federal Reserve may own a hotel chain (Red Roof Inn, I believe), but there’s no way to know for sure, since we can’t audit the fed, was a true classic.

  2. Richard Winger

    Russ Feingold this year introduced a bill to make it ten times more difficult for any presidential candidate to qualify for primary season matching funds. Primary season matching funds is the one aspect of federal public funding that was realistically available to minor parties.

    Feingold was also co-author of the famous McCain-Feingold campaign finance law of 2002, which, as interpreted by the FEC, made it illegal for someone like Ross Perot to spend lots of money establishing a new party. Fortunately the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, struck that interpretation down, earlier this year.

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