“The staff is in such a bad position. They have to defend her and make her seem normal.” – Refinery29, Dec 10, 2020
Feinstein’s missteps raise a painful age question among Senate Democrats
Dec 10, 2020
The New Yorker – In a hearing on November 17, Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who, at eighty-seven, is the oldest member of the Senate, grilled a witness.
Reading from a sheaf of prepared papers, she asked Jack Dorsey, the C.E.O. of Twitter, whether his company was doing enough to stem the spread of disinformation.
Elaborating, she read in full a tweet that President Trump had disseminated on November 7th, falsely claiming to have won the Presidential election.
She then asked Dorsey if Twitter’s labeling of the tweet as disputed had adequately alerted readers that it was a bald lie.
It was a good question. Feinstein seemed sharp and focussed. For decades, she has been the epitome of a female trailblazer in Washington, always hyper-prepared.
But this time, after Dorsey responded, Feinstein asked him the same question again, reading it word for word, along with the Trump tweet. Her inflection was eerily identical.
Feinstein looked and sounded just as authoritative, seemingly registering no awareness that she was repeating herself verbatim. Dorsey graciously answered the question all over again.
Social media was less polite. A conservative Web site soon posted a clip of the humiliating moment on YouTube, under the headline “Senator Feinstein just asked the same question twice and didn’t realize she did it,” adding an emoji of someone covering his face with his hand in shame, along with bright red type proclaiming “Time to Retire!!”
Six days later, under growing pressure from progressive groups who were already outraged by her faltering management of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Feinstein released a statement announcing that she would step down from the Democrats’ senior position, while continuing as a non-ranking member of the committee.
Feinstein’s office declined to comment for this article … Read more.
Democrats and the ‘Uncomfortable’ Dianne Feinstein Question
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Dec 10, 2020
When California Sen. Dianne Feinstein ran for — and won — a fifth Senate term at age 85 in 2018, few establishment Democrats said a word publicly.
After all, South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond (R) had served until he was 100. And West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd (D) died in office at age 92.
Democrats, however, may be ruing that decision these days, as two stories have come out in recent months that suggest that Feinstein, who is now 87, is in clear cognitive decline.
On Thursday, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer published a piece offering a series of details — and quotes from former Feinstein aides — that paint a troubling picture of the California Democrat’s ability to do the job.
This paragraph, attributed to sources “familiar with Feinstein’s situation,” stood out:
“Speaking on background, and with respect for her accomplished career, they say her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have. They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said and getting upset when she can’t keep up.”
The New Yorker story comes after Politico’s John Bresnahan and Marianne Levine broke the story of the growing concerns among Democrats about Feinstein — and specifically, her ability to effectively navigate the confirmation hearing for Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Those concerns were well-founded. At one point, Feinstein repeated the same question to Barrett within minutes of first asking it. (Barrett answered it the first time).
And at the conclusion of the hearing, Feinstein’s comments to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham that “this is one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in” enraged liberal groups, who demanded she step down as ranking member of the committee.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein (Dianne Emiel Goldman; June 22, 1933) is an American politician who has served as the senior United States Senator from California since 1992. A member of the Democratic Party, Feinstein was Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988.
Born in San Francisco, Feinstein graduated from Stanford University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts in history.
In the 1960s, she worked in city government. She was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969. She served as the board’s first female president in 1978, during which time the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk by Dan White drew national attention.
Feinstein succeeded Moscone as Mayor of San Francisco and became the first woman to serve in that position. During her tenure, she led the renovation of the city’s cable car system and oversaw the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
After losing a race for governor in 1990, Feinstein won a 1992 special election to the U.S. Senate. Feinstein was first elected on the same ballot as her peer Barbara Boxer, and the two women became California’s first female U.S. Senators.
Feinstein has been re-elected five times since then, and in the 2012 election, she received 7.75 million votes—the most popular votes in any U.S. Senate election in history.
Feinstein was the author of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban which expired in 2004. She introduced a new assault weapons bill in 2013 which failed to pass.
Feinstein is the first and only woman to have chaired the Senate Rules Committee (2007–2009) and the Select Committee on Intelligence (2009–2015), and is also the only woman to have presided over a U.S. presidential inauguration.
At the age of 87, Feinstein is the oldest sitting U.S. Senator. Upon the retirement of Barbara Mikulski in January 2017, Feinstein became the longest-tenured female U.S. Senator currently serving.
Should she serve through November 5, 2022, Feinstein will become the longest-serving Californian and longest-serving woman in U.S. Senate history.
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