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31 May 2006

Summer 2006 -- The Summer of Feingold?

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky
-- From "Summertime," by George Gershwin

A change of season is upon us, and we're well into our 90-degree days. Sunlight reaches late into the evening, thunderstorms roll through at least once a week, with blue skies and high humidity between them. And, of course, midterm election campaigning really starts.

Above, I quoted George Gershwin's classic song, which always seems to be running through my head on these hot, humid, lazy nights. But that particular verse, I think, is the perfect description of where we stand today. In the coming months, we're going to "take to the sky."

A year and a half ago, Senator Russ Feingold was just another "potential candidate" for the Democratic nomination. People thought he was just another senator with an overinflated ego, looking at the White House as the next step of his career as a politician, just like sixty or seventy others. Besides, it didn't matter-- Hillary Clinton had the nomination locked up, and some dude out in Wisconsin didn't have a chance.

My, how things have changed. Now looked at as a viable alternative by many, he's travelling the country to help other Democrats, making friends to help him should he choose to seek another office. Momentum is clearly on his side, but he still needs our help.

In the latest Strategic Vision poll, Senator Feingold received the support of 9 percent of Democrats, higher than any other Democrat except for previous nominees for President or Vice President, or Hillary Clinton. While already impressive, one has to wonder how many of those asked really knew the candidates-- you've got to follow politics pretty closely to recognize some of the names on the list. If anything could benefit Senator Feingold at this point, it would be a boost in name recognition. This is where we can help.

In the next month, I'd like to challenge all Feingold supporters (especially in Michigan) to seek out five other people and tell them about Russ Feingold. Tell them about his stances on the issues. Tell them about his listening sessions. Tell them about his efforts to hold the president accountable. Tell them why he should be the next resident of the White House.

Then, when (not if) you've convinced them, ask them to tell five more people about Russ Feingold. The most powerful television ad or direct mail campaign will never match the power of friends convincing friends. In Senator Feingold, we have someone worth supporting.

Some resources that can help you:
  • "Forward" -- Put together by (with help from certain state bloggers), it includes short articles describing Feingold's positions on key issues. (.pdf, two pages)
  • "Why Russ Feingold?" -- A biography put together for a MeetUp in New Jersey, it gives a history of his career. (.pdf, five pages)
  • "Russ Feingold -- In His Own Words" -- Drawn from the Wikiquote page for Senator Feingold, a collection of quotes on various policy issues. Who better to make the case than Feingold himself? (.doc, four pages)
I've added each of these to the Files page of the Michigan for Feingold Yahoo! Group, which should make them easily accessible. So, what do you say? Do you think you can convince five more people?

If you e-mail me with your success stories, I'll post them on the blog. In the meantime, let's see what we can do.

With this, I make my return to Feingold for Michigan, after a long period where I've been unable to blog, or really even think about anything but the next day or so. As of right now, I've got 301 unread e-mails of a variety of types-- some are "Daily Dilbert" comic strips, some are from family members wondering why I've been so busy, some are probably spam, and some might even be from a few of you, excited about the Feingold cause. If you're wondering why I haven't replied, it's really nothing personal. Circumstances beyond my control have forced me to neglect a lot of areas of my life.

Which means it's a good thing that I can welcome to the blog our latest contributor, blogging under the name "VoteFeingold." He's a smart guy, with a lot of great ideas, and I'm certain that as he writes more and reveals a little about himself, we'll all appreciate his presence.

That said, we now move on to something far more important: electing Senator Russ Feingold to the presidency in 2008.


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