April 12, 2005

Feingold To Divorce – Friends And Analysts Lament End Of Presidential Bid

I think this explains one more way in which Democrats are simply out of touch with the bulk of the American populace. Senator Russ Feingold and his wife of 14 years are about to divorce – and rather than offer sympathy, Democrats are much more concerned with the political implications.

Sen. Russ Feingold and his wife, Mary, stunned the political world in announcing Monday that they would end their 14-year marriage.

The news came in a 31-word statement from Russ Feingold's office, indicating the two "were separating amicably, and intend to remain very good friends."

Feingold, 52, a Democrat, is a Harvard-educated lawyer elected in November to his third term.

Mary Feingold, 47, is a writer working under the auspices of her firm, Write Now Business Communications, according to the senator's most recent annual financial disclosure.

A divorce would be the second for both. Each has two adult children from a first marriage.

Feingold had begun to test the waters for a presidential run in 2008, and the news led one political expert and longtime friend to speculate that any hopes for the nomination three years hence were dashed.

"This is the end of his presidential hopes, at least for 2008," said the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato, an expert in presidential campaigns.

"The Democratic Party is much more tolerant of things, but a twice-divorced single man would have very little chance of being elected president. That is not something that would appeal to any red state."

Two weeks ago, the Feingolds traveled to Alabama. The public portion of the trip ran March 28-30. Mary Feingold was very visible as the Feingolds were received and entertained by local officials, Democrats and supporters.

Hold on, folks. Most of us in the red states wouldn’t have a problem with voting for the right divorced man --like Ronald Reagan leaps to mind. We might not be happy about the divorce (and who should be), but that would not be a deciding factor.

No, the problem Feingold would have in the red states is his liberal record and his opposition to free speech – precisely the same problem John McCain will have if he decides to run. I could not see supporting either of them for that reason.

Frankly, I’m sad for both Feingolds. Divorce is a sad and (all too often) ugly thing. I am sorry that the couple is splitting up. My only concern about Feingold being twice divorced would not concern the morality of divorce per se, but rather with the possibility (hinted at in the article) that Russ Feingold has a history of putting his political career ahead of those he is closest to. That comes down to a question regarding his priorities in life, and whether he would place Russ Feingold or the United States first in a hypothetical Feingold Administration.

Regardless of all that, I wish the couple well, come what may. – and hope that things stay amicable between them, or even that some healing can take place which saves this marriage.

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