Over at TPM, Eric Kleefield reports that one of Senator Russ Feingold's (D-Wisc.) would-be Republican opponents, Terrence Wall, is resurrecting the memories of this past summer's divisive town hall meetings in an attempt to paint Feingold as out of touch with his constituents.
He has an ad up, saying as much:
Kleefield has Feingold's push-back on this:
The Feingold campaign was quick to respond in a press release, taking issue with the idea that Feingold "isn't listening anymore," when during his Senate tenure he has held listening sessions every year in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties. And they also go right after Wall by pointing to a story that has been dogging him in the local press -- that he has not paid any personal state income tax for 12 out of the last 15 years.
It will be interesting to see if Wall's strategy pays off, but I have my doubts. If you cast your mind back to September of last year, Feingold was one of the few Democratic lawmakers who insisted on applying Senate oversight to the so-called "czars" appointed by the Obama White House.
It was a move that didn't earn him too many fans among the White House's defenders. But at the time, I spoke to Feingold's office about the matter, and they told me straight up that the senator was acting on behalf of constituents who had raised concerns at town hall meetings over these "czars". I even went on the teevee, to talk about this:
It would be one thing if Wall managed to capture Feingold making some sort of Barney Frank-esque "arguing with a dining room table" comment, but at best, he captures Feingold merely -- and mildly -- expressing that he felt that the health care reform bill "was a good bill for America, and particularly a good bill for Wisconsin." From my perspective, that's not his style, and the actions he took on Obama's "czars" tend to indicate that he treats the concerns of his constituents with sincerity and seriousness, even if it doesn't always make him particularly popular with his colleagues.