“Which Feingold should we believe…?”

Sun Prairie Star
March 2, 2016

On Feb. 24, Wisconsin Democrats issued a press release accusing “Republicans like Senator Ron Johnson and Speaker Paul Ryan immediately joined the likes of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell in favoring a delay in nominating a justice to the a Supreme Court until after President Obama leaves office.”

The Badger Democrats also said the party sought to “politicize the vacancy on the high court” following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia when Republicans proposed not considering a nominee until after the new president is elected and sworn in.

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate and former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold’s recent statements about the debate over whether to approve a Supreme Court appointment during the waning months of President George W. Bush got us to wondering, however.

Feingold told Mike Gousha on a recent episode of “Upfront” that it’s “irresponsible not to consider” a nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama. He also said to Gousha about considering Supreme Court nominees when he was a senator, “In all cases, we ended up in an expeditious manner, taking up full consideration of them.”

Candidate Feingold must think the Wisconsin public has a short memory, particularly when it comes to the record of Senator Feingold.

When President George W. Bush nominated Sam Alito to the Supreme Court, Feingold was one of the Democrat senators who attempted to filibuster the nomination and prevent the nomination from being considered. Feingold was on record saying, “It’s my right as a senator and it’s an important right.”

That’s not what he said during Gousha’s recent program, however: “We didn’t play games even though it was George Bush’s nominees, even though I don’t like a lot of their decisions, we put it beyond politics. And that’s what the Republicans should do now. They should do their job on behalf of the American people.”

Feingold also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “the filibuster is the last ability for essentially exercising our advise-and-consent role.”

Feingold also conveniently breezed over the fact that the Harry Reid-led Senate in late 2007 had a backlog of more than 200 appointments it had failed to act on, including dozens of judges.

According to the Weekly Standard, in order to prevent Bush from filling any of those slots with recess appointments, Reid held 30 second ‘pro-forma’ sessions over the holidays so the Senate would technically be in session and the president would be constitutionally prohibited from making recess appointments.

Senator Feingold apparently went along with Reid’s efforts, because he made no statements about Reid’s maneuvers then.

Which Feingold should we believe – Senator Feingold, who carried water for New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who made it his stated mission to avoid any confirmation of Sam Alito – or Candidate Feingold, who will apparently say anything to defeat Republican Ron Johnson this November? Or, perhaps more likely, does Candidate Feingold believe the Senate’s “advise and consent” role to appoint judges depends on which political party is in the majority?

The Democrat Party of Wisconsin (DPW) lambasted Rep. Sean Duffy for standing with Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the issue – even though the House has nothing to do with judicial appointments. But, the DPW opined, if Duffy stands with McConnell and Ryan, “then also he supports crippling the one branch of the federal government that is supposed to be above the fray of politics – for over a year.”

Based on Feingold’s previous hyper-political actions and hypocritical statements, we also shortly expect the DPW to issue a missive criticizing Candidate Feingold for taking the same position as McConnell, Ryan and even GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump while he was Senator Feingold.