Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 15, 2004
POLITICS: On Wisconsin

Millionaire construction magnate and former Army Ranger Tim Michels yesterday won the Republican primary to challenge Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. The Feingold-Michels race, in a critical swing state in the presidential race, promises to focus heavily on national security:

Michels, the only candidate in the race with military experience, also argued his background was critical in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

He ran an ad that featured the World Trade Center on fire to emphasize the dangers facing the United States and harshly criticized Feingold for his vote against the Patriot Act. The act broadened police powers to battle terrorism after the 2001 attacks.

“All of Congress came together to pass the Patriot Act except for Sen. Feingold,” Michels said.

Feingold has said he opposed the measure because it went too far in eroding civil liberties. Michels said that wasn’t an acceptable position in a time of terrorism.

“He voted no and that’s really all that counts in the end,” Michels said.

Yes, it's ironic to have a Republican, in this year of John Kerry, stressing his military record. But a military record remains a very good thing for a public official to have; it just can't be everything. Feingold's vote against the Patriot Act naturally invites a serious debate on the issue. It's also ironic to have a self-financed millionaire businessman running against one of the authors of the campaign finance reform bill that will only proliferate the number of such candidacies in the future.

Feingold remains favored to win, but polls have consistently shown that he was vulnerable; Michels will need to move fast to make an impression. Fortunately, Feingold called before the primary for five debates with the GOP nominee. I was a little disappointed here - I'd given money to Bob Welch (not the pitcher), a long-time Wisconsin state senator and conservative favorite. Either way, though, it will be a senate race to watch.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:36 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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