Can We Still Count on Dianne Feinstein? Will Her Trump Comments End Her Career?

LOS ANGELES

DEEGAN ON CALIFORNIA- (Editor’s note: there is a link in this article for a pop up poll asking you to interact with this article and express your opinion. Please take a moment and join the poll after reading). For twenty-five years, Californians have relied on the dependability of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to fight for our state's interests and to be a significant voice in the U.S. Senate on national and international issues. 

As the senior Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (a former committee chair when Democrats held a majority in the Senate), Feinstein is positioned to be in the middle of the investigations of possible Russian influence in our elections, as well as any byproducts of the alleged Trump-Russia connection. As the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Feinstein is at the center of potential Supreme Court nomination activity. There is no denying that Californians and Democrats nationwide benefit from her leadership on these two committees that are so crucial in today's Washington. 

Could this change, though, now that the primary election for the 2018 Senatorial election in California is just several months away? Voters are beginning to look at the unbalanced national political environment as context for what needs to be done in California to maintain our prominence and strong voice. 

Would a newcomer to the Senate have the credibility in that Feinstein does? Would a newcomer’s time spent on the learning curve and appointments to lesser committee positions than Feinstein occupies hurt us as a state? Would California, with Feinstein’s absence, lose a strong voice on judicial and intelligence issues that have national impact? 

Why could Californians consider thinking twice about Feinstein? Could her two recent remarks, sounding like support for Trump, be the reason? 

Speaking about Trump, Feinstein recently said, "I think we have to have some patience, I do. It's eight months into the tenure of the presidency . . . We'll have to see if he can forget himself and his feelings about himself enough to be able to have the empathy and direction that this country needs.” 

Are these the words of a seasoned, calculating political pro, or a sign of tiredness after several decades in politics? 

Feinstein came onto California’s political stage -- where she has spent nearly a half-century -- in 1970 with her election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, on which she served until 1978. Next, she was Mayor of San Francisco for a decade from 1978 to 1988. In 1990, she ran unsuccessfully against winner Pete Wilson for Governor of California. In 1992, she was elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election to serve out the last two years of Senator Pete Wilson’s term when he was elected Governor. She won her first 6-year term in 1994 and is currently in her fourth full term. Now, she must decide if she will run again in 2018, winning another 6-years to represent the state of California and the country. 

Feinstein’s voter support has increased with each successive election, with the following margins of victory: 

  •   2.3% in 1994 vs. Michael Huffington
  • 19.2% in 2000 vs. Tom Campbell 
  • 24.4% in 2006 vs. Richard Mountjoy  
  • 25.0% in 2012 vs. Elizabeth Emken

As honored and respected as she is for her decades of public service, the hard left (and possibly some moderates) may feel that Feinstein went too far in giving comfort to the “enemy.” They may fear that her remarks could signal her future attitude and policy toward the President and this could turn off her most liberal supporters. No worse legacy could befall this deeply appreciated elected official; she does not deserve to leave office with such a disaffected base. But she may decide to run again and could prevail over a neophyte candidate – even with this threat from the left hanging over her. 

Feinstein has a solid political fundraising record, accumulating $35 million over her three previous statewide elections; she and her husband are also very wealthy. She would have a huge advantage over any competitor for the seat in terms of name recognition, a half-century record of service, and the ability for substantial funding. 

Will Dianne Feinstein’s attitude toward Trump become her Achilles Heel? Is this turning her loyal base away from her or can she recover in their eyes? Can California and the country afford to lose her? 

Did the Chuck Schumer-Nancy Pelosi debt ceiling deal that seems to have driven a wedge between the President and the GOP give Feinstein political cover for saying last week about Trump, I just hope he has the ability to learn and change. If he does, he can be a good President.” 

What do you think? Was Feinstein right or wrong in expressing her support for Trump? Interact with this article by taking this quick poll …  and then view the cumulative results after you vote. 

Do you agree with Senator Feinstein that Trump “can be a good President”?
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:
 

Would you vote to re-elect Dianne Feinstein?
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

 

(Tim Deegan is a long-time resident and community leader in the Miracle Mile, who has served as board chair at the Mid City West Community Council and on the board of the Miracle Mile Civic Coalition. Tim can be reached at timdeegan2015@gmail.com.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

-cw

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS