In its Sunday edition, the Journal Sentinel published a profile of the 2016 U.S. Senate rematch between incumbent Ron Johnson and ex-incumbent Russ Feingold. It’s true the editors used a photo making Feingold look considerably younger than he would today, but the story spells out what should be a dispositive issue in a campaign where until now, Feingold has appeared to have a strong lead.
That issue is Feingold’s conspicuously bad record on matters concerning security and national defense.
Here, at last, is a mess we can’t blame on Barack Obama. More than half of Russ Feingold’s 18 years in the Senate came after the 9-11 attacks and he spent that time, occasionally all alone, standing in the way of every effort anyone could think of to defend the United States against further terrorism.
In a party Americans have been reluctant to trust on defense issues for at least 35 years, Russ Feingold has been an outlier, opposing any thought of enhancing security. Shut down Guantanamo? Russ loves the idea. Help Iran get away with building nuclear weapons? He’s all over it. Name a policy that will leave Americans less safe, and Russ Feingold will be found on the wrong side of the issue.
In short, Feingold’s record reads as if he thinks the entire voting population of Wisconsin lives on the Madison Isthmus. If he tries to square that record with the obvious challenges of near-term U.S. security—if he tries—it will be a spectacle to remember.