Senator Dianne Feinstein Passes at 90

    Senator Dianne Feinstein Passes at 90
    Last updated Sep 29, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) died Thursday night at her home in Washington, D.C. In a statement, her chief of staff James Sauls said she "never backed away from a fight for what was just and right" and "was always willing to work with anyone, even those she disagreed with, if it meant bettering the lives of Californians or the betterment of our nation."
    • Feinstein's office-holding career began in 1978 following the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk, after which Feinstein became the first female mayor of the city, serving in the position until 1988. She became Senator in 1992 to fill a seat vacated by Pete Wilson, who had defeated her in the governor's race.
    • Continuing her track record of firsts, she then became one of the first two women to join the Senate Judiciary Committee, a position she used to successfully push for an assault-style weapons ban in 1994. In 1996, she was one of the 14 senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.
    • Her record also included voting against a bill to end partial-birth abortion, pushing to lift the Senate filibuster to allow pro-abortion legislation to pass, opposing former Pres. Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. She also sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, which would require both the federal government and state governments to recognize gay marriage.
    • Feinstein, who also served as the first female chair of the Intelligence Committee, was a staunch supporter of the nation's spy agencies. She helped block former Pres. Obama's attempt to repeal the CIA's authority to conduct drone strikes and, after the National Security Agency's secret surveillance scheme was exposed, defended it by saying, "It’s called protecting America."
    • Feinstein, who had planned to retire at the end of her term in 2025, faced calls to resign as her health grew worse — including a bout with shingles that led to encephalitis — causing her to use a wheelchair in the Capitol. As a crowded group of Democrats have already lined up to primary for her seat, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom must appoint a temporary replacement, who he has previously said will be a Black woman.


    Democratic narrative

    From Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to Republican Mitch McConnel, politicians and Americans from all sides can easily cherish the life and legacy of Dianne Feinstein. She was a consensus-builder who on Capitol Hill built personal friendships and brought opposing sides together on policy issues, yet she always remained true to her core values. She has and will always inspire upcoming leaders, particularly women, on how to act, lead, and govern the right way.

    Republican narrative

    Even Republicans can recognize the honorable legacy of Senator Feinstein's career. She had major ideological differences with the GOP but often reached out across the aisle in a spirit of bipartisanship. Unfortunately, jockeying for her successor has been going on for some time within the Democratic Party. As Democratic leadership ages, there seems to be a groundswell to install a new regime of less compromising left-leaning replacements. Now should be a time to remember Feinstein's accomplishments and remember that America cares about getting business done across both parties.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that the mean age of the next 5 US Presidents from 2022 to 2040 will be at least 64, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Political split



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