Friday, September 29, 2023

Dianne Feinstein Has Left the Senate


There is something jarring in considering that Sen. Feinstein was voting right until the end, giving her last vote really hours before her passing. It could speak to her drive and dedication to public life. It could also speak to the misperception of older politicians of their indispensability and their mortality alike. 

There's something of a "praising with faint damn" tack I want to tread softly with: she represented a more conservative Democratic Party than I prefer even while being a pioneering female senator. She still had her incredible moments, working on gun control, working to repeal DOMA, the release of the Senate report on torture, recently the reauthorization of VAWA.  It's easy for activists to criticize her moderation and willingness to reach out across the aisle--her job as a senator wasn't to be uncompromising but to find areas of areas of compromise for a purpose.

I don't know if there was any inkling of infirmity when she ran in 2018. I do know that the decline of her health in her final years and the speculation that she wasn't fully competent marred her final term. It gives one a terrible sense of pause: her eyes were those of a person whose body had been through the wars. Couldn't she have spent those final years at ease?

Could she have? Or did a sense of purpose make that seem impossible? And having forged on despite being condescended to in the Senate itself by such august personages (in their own minds) as Larry Craig and Ted Cruz, who tells her when to quit?  

That might just be a grain of thought elder statepersons will need to hold their own counsel about--to know not when to be told, but to realize when their age is telling on themselves.  But as for Senator Feinstein, she served until the very end. 

2 comments:

Batocchio said...

That's a fair write-up of her deficiencies and accomplishments. Regarding 2018, Feinstein's former, long-time colleague Barbara Boxer publicly suggested that Feinstein shouldn't run again in 2018, and she wasn't the only one. The California Democratic Party did not endorse her. Boxer did eventually endorse Feinstein, at least in the general election, as did Obama, Biden, many other prominent politicians, and many newspapers and organizations.

Vixen Strangely said...

It sounds then like the people closest to her recognized there might be a problem and some political math took place. Frankly, I don't love it. It's a little more serious than the conversation about whether Mama should still be driving, but definitely along the same lines.

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