Democrats and the Diane Feinstein Question

After all, South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond (right) served until he was 100 years old. West Virginia Senator Robert Baird (Democrat) died in office at the age of 92.

But Democrats may be ready for that decision these days, as two stories have surfaced in recent months that suggest Feinstein, now 87, is in a clear cognitive decline.

This paragraphAttributed to sources “familiar with the situation of Feinstein”, they emerged:

“Speaking of background, and while respecting her successful career, they say her short-term memory has become so poor that she often forgets that she was briefed on a topic, and they accuse her employees of failing to do so right after that. Feinstein described that she forgot what she said and gets upset when not You can keep up. “

The New Yorker story follows John Bressenhan and Marian Levine of Politico The story shattered the growing concerns among Democrats about Feinstein Specifically, her ability to effectively navigate the hearing of Judge Amy Connie Barrett.

These fears are justified. At one point, Feinstein repeated the same question to Barrett within minutes of being asked for the first time. (Barrett answered her the first time.) At the conclusion of the hearing, Feinstein’s comments to Judicial Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham that “this is one of the best set of hearings I have participated in” angered liberal groups, who demanded to give up her position as a senior member of the committee.

Late last month, I did just that – after a “long and serious conversation” with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York).

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic Whip, praised Feinstein’s comments during hearings on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper”, but described Feinstein’s recent comment to Graham “misleading.” (Durbin would replace Feinstein as a minority member of the judiciary.

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At the time of the court announcement, Feinstein said she plans to increase her interest in wildfires and droughts in California, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and access to healthcare.

In response to a request for comment on Thursday, a spokesperson for Feinstein told CNN: “Senator Feinstein is working as hard today as it has ever done and is still getting bills even as the Senate’s legislative work has slowed to the point of creep. Especially now that the state is facing many more.” The major challenges, and that will remain the focus of her attention. “

The question for the Democrats is, well, what now? Feinstein’s tenure won’t come until 2024 – when you turn 91. She was re-elected by California voters just two years ago. Feinstein has a pioneering five-decade career in politics that CNN’s Dana Bash wrote in 2017 that “made her an icon – one of the pioneering women in Washington who made their way into the overwhelmingly male power structure and figured out how to stay here.”

But Meyer piece I can not Overlooked or dismissed as being the work of a party journalist – Meyer is widely regarded as one of the best investigative reporters in the country.

Schumer, Durbin, and the rest of the Democratic leadership – not to mention President-elect Joe Biden, who served nearly two decades with Feinstein – have to figure out something to say about Mayer’s article and a strategy for what they’re doing next.

the pointIt is uncomfortable to discuss how to deal with a peer’s apparent cognitive decline. But when we’re talking about a strong elected official from the nation’s largest state, that’s a conversation Schumer and the rest need. And so on.

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