In all the clamoring to give Dianne Feinstein the bum’s rush, one group of people are very nicely left out of the equation — California voters.
The assumption is Feinstein is now inept due to her age and health.
Almost all of the noise about whether Feinstein is fit to continue serving is coming from Democrats representing other states.
Californians elected Feinstein, not the voters in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, or New York.
If Feinstein opts not to serve out her term that ends on Jan. 3, 2025, that should be her decision without being pressured.
In doing so, however, she will not be doing the voters of this state any favors.
Her premature departure would mean that California would be represented by two individuals who got the boost of appointed incumbency.
And both would have been appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
While the state constitution gives Newsom such authority, Newsom essentially gifting his choice the clear advantage that an incumbent has — appointed or otherwise – conveniently diminishes the ability of the California electorate to have those who want to represent them face the vetting of a wide open election.
There is no doubt whatever happens, whoever prevails in the November 2024 ballot if Feinstein serves out her full term, will be a Democrat. If you believe otherwise, you are ignoring the fact California is true blue.
That said, all Democrats are not alike. Far from it.
It is why Feinstein finishing her term would be fully empowering the California electorate to decide her replacement without someone being anointed the appointed incumbent by Newsom.
I openly admit to having voted for Feinstein since her first unsuccessful statewide race in 1990 when she ran for governor against Pete Wilson. I did vote for Wilson in his re-election bid in 1994 because I wasn’t overly impressed by his challenger, Jerry Brown’s sister Kathleen.
Voting for Feinstein had a lot to do with what she did to save San Francisco as mayor in terms of how she approached taxes. More about that in a bit.
I also have no major qualms with Senator Alex Padilla, who was appointed by Newsom to replace Kamala Harris when she was elected vice president. And at the risk of being called a RHINO — Republican in Name Only given I have kept my same party registration since I first voted when I was 18 — I voted in 2022 to keep Padilla in office.
Rest assured I’m not the only Republican — or Democrat — who doesn’t vote the party line. I’m more like independents who have a tendency to not to do party line voting as well.
I tend to look for someone who would be an electable moderate regardless of their party affiliation. As such in California’s open primary, I’ll cast my vote with the most electable moderate even if many of my views don’t align with theirs. The bottom line for me is to have someone elected in the general election to represent California who isn’t on either extreme. That might seem like wishful thinking, but even among “liberals” and “conservatives” they are different shades of red and blue. The closer they are to being purple, the more they pique my interest.
Unless some Republican pops up that is a viable candidate, the three politicians who are in the race to replace Feinstein as senator are Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff, and Katie Porter — all Democrats.
Clearly, California is not going to elect a Republican. And the odds are high they won’t be sending a centrist to replace Feinstein in Washington, D.C.
That said, the three major candidates who are all Democrats are not clones.
There are federal issues where California isn’t lockstep with the rest of the country, including other blue states.
As such, those representing this state should have equal footing to make their pitch for votes and not have Newsom decide what flavor of “progressive” Democrat is anointed with the power of appointed incumbency.
Newsom has resisted pressuring the 89-year-old Feinstein. It’s smart politics on his part.
Rest assured, while Feinstein is back in DC after her bout with shingles there will be Democrats still calling for her head, even though she will be there to cast votes that will almost align 100 percent with their agenda.
It’s because Feinstein is not a Stepford politician with the reflexes of a beheaded rattlesnake. The fact that she actually embraces civility and decorum and doesn’t relish in demonizing those across the aisle and judicial nominees who she doesn’t support, she is deemed senile by hardcore leftists who are demanding she be put out to pasture.
There are two milestones in Feinstein’s storied career that reflect her true measure.
One was months after she became San Francisco’s mayor after George Moscone’s assassination on Nov. 27, 1978.
San Francisco was seeing corporate concerns flee. City tax revenues were dropping.
She called in business leaders and asked them point blank what she should do.
Given this was back in the days when pragmatism still existed, she was told bluntly that specific taxes had to be cut that deterred investment. But at the same time the titans of The City’s business community noted that San Francisco needed taxes to survive as well as for their ability as capitalists to thrive.
They advised her not just to deep-sox certain taxes but to replace them with taxes that were implemented in a manner that they spurred growth and investment.
Feinstein took their advice. It worked. The bleed was reversed and the city’s revenues increased.
It was a prime example of collaboration and not driven by political associations.
The second was in 2014 when Feinstein stood up to the hacks in her party as well as President Obama.
As Senate Intelligence chairwoman, she publicly released a classified summary of a report that outlined post 9-11 enhanced interrogation tactics by the federal government.
It was an ugly truth she believed Americans needed to know. And it was the result of her staff working six years to bring it to the light of day, despite efforts by Obama and party leaders to bury it.
The argument is Feinstein wasn’t “feeble” or — my favorite — “losing it” back then.
The fact one has shingles, is 89 years old, and returned to the Senate in a wheelchair doesn’t mean your core beliefs have diminished or that you are losing the ability to reason.
By ”losing it” they mean she gets confused.
No disrespect intended, but have you paid close attention to the misspeak, ramblings, and incoherent nonsense that has been known to be espoused by the 45th and 46th presidents?
It is clear that people who fancy themselves arm-chair diagnostic experts when it comes to Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss in general are influenced by the shade of their political leanings.
To try and force Feinstein out is a clear undermining of the people she was elected to represent to determine her replacement on an even playing field.
All of the buzz about giving Feinstein the boot very nicely leaves California as a whole out of the equation.
Feinstein was elected by the people of California to serve as their senator to represent the interests of the Golden State and in the Democratic Party.
The speculative degree of her “decline” to browbeat her into retirement very nicely cuts California’s collective interest out of the equation.