This is NOT What They Mean When They Say “Message Discipline”

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


russ_feingold.jpg I lament the fact that YouTube, cable news, and the blogs have put the fear of god in politicians and keep them from saying anything interesting. And I respect Russ Feingold’s right to say his piece about a man he clearly respects.

But jeez

“I think [McCain] calls ’em as he sees ’em, and as president would call ’em as he sees ’em, and would make people mad all over the place because it wouldn’t fit anybody’s playbook,” said Feingold, who teamed up with McCain to rewrite federal campaign laws….

“They both have the intellectual ability and the maturity to form judgments about important policy issues. I’d feel comfortable with both of them in there as president,” Feingold said. “They are not people who are just preening for the cameras. They’re both celebrities. (But) they’re the rare breed: celebrities who are actually interested in getting things done.”

“[McCain’s] a very good legislator from my point of view, because when he gets onto something, he doesn’t just want to introduce a bill, he likes to move it. And he’s fearless,” Feingold said of McCain, who once called the Wisconsin Democrat a “philosophical soul mate” on reform issues. (The two partnered on several other bills in addition to campaign finance.)

“He’s a great guy to fight an uphill battle with legislatively. He keeps his word. . . . I probably shouldn’t be saying this stuff, but to be honest about it, it was one of the better professional experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” Feingold said.

“He is not a guy who wants to be chummy-chummy with political leaders of the party. He doesn’t like that sort of constraint. He’s an independent,” said Feingold. “So he somehow managed to become the nominee of the Republican Party. But we all know it’s not because he was somebody that was kissing up to the Republican establishment, to say the least.”

Feingold did say he’d prefer to see Obama elected. Not that anyone will focus on that.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate