It would appear that Senator Russ Feingoldâ€™s efforts to have President Bush censured for authorizing warrantless surveillance on American citizens is about as welcome among his colleagues as a gift basket of rotten fruit from Jack Abramoff. Most members of the majority partyâ€”that would be the Republicans for those of you who have been slumbering these past 5 yearsâ€”have responded with disdain or self-righteous anger. Most members of Feingoldâ€™s partyâ€”that would be Democraps, of courseâ€”have responded with Jello-like enthusiasm. And lukewarm Jello at that. Well, at least Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, seems supportive, as reported in an Associated Press article by Frederic J. Frommer:
“This feels like some attempt at accountability,” Stewart told Feingold, D-Wis., at the end of the senator’s appearance on the Comedy Central show Wednesday night. “And that’s what I really like about it.”
“And so I appreciate that, and I thank you for it,” Stewart added. “And I hope that your colleagues let you still eat at the lunch table.”
Stewart poked fun at the tepid response that Feingold’s proposal has generated on Capitol Hill. So far, only two senators, both Democrats, have signed on as co-sponsors.
“A lot of your Democratic colleagues are reacting as though you’re Jack Abramoff and you have a casino you want to talk to them about,” Stewart joked, referring to the disgraced lobbyist.
Feingold, who has accused his Democratic colleagues of “cowering,” said it was important for the party to show some backbone.
“How many times are we going let George Bush and (Vice President) Dick Cheney say, ‘You guys don’t support the troops. You’re not patriotic,’ and let them push us around?” asked Feingold, whose appearance was via satellite from Milwaukee. “We have to stand up to them.”
Stewart played a clip from a recent news conference of House Majority Leader John Boehner, in which the Ohio Republican said of Feingold, “Sometimes you begin to wonder if he’s more interested in the safety and security of the terrorists as opposed to the American people.”
After the audience groaned, Stewart asked, “How long have you been working with the terrorists, and are they nicer than they seem?”
“Oh no, they’re a bad bunch,” Feingold said, laughing.
Feingold conceded that a member of his own family questioned the proposal.
“My daughter called me up and said, ‘Dad, what are you doing? This thing hasn’t been done since the 1830s,’ so it takes some explaining,” Feingold said.
“That’s what I like about you, senator,” Stewart said. “You’re kicking it old-school.”
For a more serious take on the reactions to Feingoldâ€™s censure move, I refer you to an editorial by John Nichols in The Nation entitled â€œCensuring Censure.â€? If you want to take action, I refer you to the following MoveOn.org petition page: http://political.moveon.org/censure/. A new century calls for a new censure.