I've been reading about Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin tonight, and I don't think I've heard of a congressman I liked more. Keep an eye on this guy...I think he might be in the history textbooks one day. He introduced a bill in the Senate that would ban lobbyists from giving gifts to senators and impose a $50,000 fine for violating the ban, force lawmakers to sign statements saying that lobbyists did not pay their travel expenses, forbid lawmakers from traveling on corporate jets, bar congressmen, staffers, and executive branch officials from serving as lobbyists for two years after leaving office, and require that lobbying reports be disclosed on a quarterly, rather than semi-annual, basis. He's one of the top budget hawks in congress. He's a small town attorney who beat out two millionaire competitors in his initial run for office. On his campaign, he vowed to accept no pay raise during his term. He has returned all $50,000 of pay raise money he has received to the U.S. government, and he is known for sending any money appropriated to him that he doesn't use back to the government. Only congressman not to vote for the patriot act in 2001, citing the infringement on our civil liberties. Part of his plan to fix the deficit included decreasing defense spending, which was called "too liberal by the Democratic national party." Strict campaign finance reform. He put a cap on his elections for the first several terms, promising (and fulfilling) to spend no more than one dollar per Wisconsin citizen for his first several terms. Since then, he has taken off the cap, but 90% of his campaign contributions are stilll from personal citizens who give an average contribution of only $60. He was the first US senator to assert a firm date as to how soon the troops should withdraw from Iraq. Unlike the ultra-centrist Democratic Leadership Council - which Clinton founded and has since dominated the democratic party today - he is pro fair trade. One of the three democratic senators to vote against confirmation of Obama's appointment to Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, a former member of the board of directors for the Federal Reserve of New York. He has tried to introduce legislation that would ban governors from appointing legislators, i.e. the Blago nonsense, demanding a special election every time instead. He introduced a resolution to censure George Bush to assert that his wiretaps were in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 in 2006. He's unequivocally for gay marriage. He's one of the leading proponents of universal health care and just introduced a bill that would provide a pilot universal health care program for states, funded by the federal government to probe into the possibility of a permanent system. He's for gun rights - even to the point where he doesn't believe in gun registration or the prohibition of semi-automatic weapons - but also supports the requirement of background checks at gun shows and that handguns must be sold with trigger locks. Because of that, he got a grade of "D" in the National Rifle Association's yearly ratings. He almost ran for president in 2008 - taking a lot of the necessary steps to do so - but backed off because he's going through a divorce right now. Other than that, he has no possible political skeletons in his closet. And, regarding my most recent source of anger, he's been the foremost whistle blower against Obama's recent unacceptable position regarding the reaffirmation of the Bush DOJ's use of dismissing entire court cases regarding CIA torture by invoking the state secrets privilege. For anyone who is interested, finally a judge has stepped up to challenge that practice and has dealt a huge blow to the Bush/Obama position on state secrecy in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has arguably been the worst thing Obama has backed thus far. This might end up being a historic Supreme Court case if it gets that far. I really can't find a hole in his platform. I'm buying his biography and will most likely read it pretty soon to find out more about him in case anyone wants to pick it up at the same time.