MyDD has a blurb today about Wisconsin Senator, Russ Feingold, who, according to Hotline, has a potential interest in a 2008 run for the WH.
Although we haven't even gotten to dubya's inaugural yet, and many of us are still licking our wounds from the past campaign, two factors: the increasingly elongated presidential campaign; and the need for someone, anyone, in the Democratic world to arise as a spokesman for the party, means that the search for, and examination of, potential leadership is getting an early start, too.
In short, I tend to agree with MyDD's initial assessment of Feingold: he's an intriguing possibility. But he needs more to hang his hat on than campaign finance reform. His was, I believe, the only vote against the Patriot Act in the U.S. Senate, a mark of courage given the hysteria of the moment. He's midwestern, for those of us worried about candidate geography. And he doesn't have the same level of baggage that either Hilary, Edwards (inexperience) , or Dean would bring to a race.
But as I mentioned in an earlier post, it's important that whoever wants the nomination start to make an impact now, and not wait until the snows of Iowa and NH in January 2008 to start talking. Despite the frivolousness of the past campaign and the temper of the media, important policy issues are at stake in the next months and years and as the recent Beinhart-Will Marshall, Al From-led attacks have demonstrated, the absence of a comprehensive and compelling Democratic counter-narrative has created a vaccuum of rhetoric and ideas that is itching for leadership and direction.
On this last point, it is probably worth noting that neither Kerry or Edwards (or Dean really for that matter) has gone very far in challenging the underlying premise of the current, so-called War on Terrorism other than that they would fight it better, harder, and with more global partners. It's a long post, but Descrates gives us some idea, based on earlier remarks by the sadly departed Edward Said, about what such an alternative vision might revolve around. Give it a read.
Anyway, Senator Feingold, and any others, we await your contributions and your voices in the days ahead.