Take him at his word
I know a number of people on both sides are not going to quite believe Russ Feingold when he says he is also ruling out running for governor next year if a recall of Governor Scott Walker is on the ballot. I admit I was skeptical at first, too.
But in all of the criticism of Feingold for not spending time in the private sector, there was truth to it. He never accumulated a great deal of wealth like most senators, either before or after taking office.
Now he can earn decent money in a decent job (law professor at Marquette) where he can spend the time to write a book that will probably sell pretty well. A few years in the private sector (granted, it’s academic life) plus managing his political committee to keep his hand in will probably serve him pretty well in the long term.
Feingold is single, as in unmarried (well, twice previously married). He gets to hang out with the co-eds all day. Doesn’t anyone think that running a statewide campaign right now might mess with the man’s mojo?
Besides, despite the Democrats’ boasting, 2012 promises to be a rotten year for Democrats because of the economy. Why run when you can wait?
It’s not like there is another strong Democrat sitting on the bench right now in Wisconsin other than Congressman Ron Kind, and Kind would have a problem getting out of the Democratic primary. Walker won’t be recalled next year because the Democrats don’t have anybody else to run.
Ask Matt Rothschild. Looking at his list is like looking at the 1962 Mets:
With no Feingold now, it’ll be harder, at least initially, for organizers to get the 540,000 signatures they’ll need to prompt a recall election.
But politics abhors a vacuum, and Dave Obey abhors Scott Walker, so the crusty and combative former Congressman from up north may just be tempted to enter the ring.
And pressure may mount on Herb Kohl himself, for years the most popular Democrat in the state, to rise to the occasion.
Former lieutenant governor Barbara Lawton may also be tempted, as may former Dane County exec Kathleen Falk.
And Walker’s opponent last time, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, may want the rematch.
Obey, Lawton, Falk? Herb Kohl? Doesn’t anyone want Ed Garvey to make a run?
Heck, someone even suggested to Bill Christofferson that State Sen. Lena Taylor should make a run at Walker in a recall.
Walker will be up for re-election in 2014 and Feingold can take a shot at him then. Until then, he’s got an office, a staff, and plenty of leisure time. Life’s pretty good.