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

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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.

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This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

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