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March 16, 2006
Feingold Jumps The Shark (Updated)

How can a leftist politician tell when he's gone too far? If Minnesota senator Mark "Brave Sir Robin" Dayton criticizes him as a grandstander, that says something pretty significant about the credibility of the politician:

Sen. Russell Feingold's move to censure President Bush caused a bout of shyness among some Democrats this week, but Minnesota Sen. Mark Dayton is not among them.

On Thursday, he called the resolution irresponsible and dangerous, and accused Feingold of grandstanding.

"I thought it was premature and overreaching and primarily motivated by his 2008 presidential candidacy rather than the best interests of our caucus and the nation," Dayton said of the measure introduced by his colleague from Wisconsin that would formally rebuke Bush for his domestic spying program.

Dayton said Democrats were "blindsided" by the move. "I think it's very dangerous territory for the democracy that we have in this country to be playing around with those kinds of resolutions and without any consultation from his colleagues," he said.

Senator Dayton knows grandstanding. In October 2004, he surprised everyone in Washington, including a number of his colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus, by fleeing the nation's capital after being briefed on the latest threat analysis. He claimed that a terrorist attack on DC would come before the election and that he had to close his office and flee to save the lives of his staff. Oddly enough, he returned the day before the election, but not before fellow Democrats called him "paranoid" and "ill-informed".

Under the circumstances, Feingold has to wonder how much worse it will get. When Mark Dayton calls a fellow Democrat self-centered and dangerous, that has to hurt.

UPDATE: Feingold now says he's a voice of moderation:

Mr. Feingold said he had received "a massive response on the Internet" to his censure proposal. Some members of Congress and many liberal activists are pushing for impeachment of Mr. Bush. Mr. Feingold yesterday repeated his view that Mr. Bush's actions were "in the area of an impeachable offense."

However, the senator said he does not view impeachment as a prudent course. "The Constitution does not require us to go down that road. I hope that in a sense I'm a voice of moderation on this point," he said. "It may not be good for the country in a time of war to try to remove the president from office even though he's surely done something wrong, but what we can't do is just ignore the wrongful conduct."

Denial ... it's not just a river in Egypt.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 16, 2006 10:47 PM

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