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By David Podvin

The second biggest political problem faced by the American people is that the Republican Party is a vicious, dishonest, corrupt organization that governs with the purpose of providing more money and greater power to those who already have the most money and the greatest power.

The biggest political problem faced by the American people is that the Democratic Party is a weak, ineffectual, cowardly organization that has the ability to stop the Republicans from hurting the average citizen, but does not have the integrity.

Meet California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. In 2000, she ran for reelection by promising to protect the interests of the people of her state. More specifically, she pledged that she would be a champion for the middle class and the poor, for women and minorities, for the environment and for human rights.

It was all a lie.

Her term is just a few months old, and she has already managed to betray virtually everyone who supported her. It began immediately after the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to the guy who lost the election. Her reaction was not to object to the theft of the nation’s highest office from the man who was the overwhelming choice of the people of her state. Instead, she responded by saying that the perversion of democracy offered “a wonderful opportunity for bipartisanship”. She exulted as her constituents saw the Supreme Court rule that their political allies in Florida had no right to have their votes counted.

Her behavior since that point has been consistent, and consistently despicable. While her colleague, Barbara Boxer, has honored her word and voted exactly as she had promised Californians that she would, Feinstein has sought to become a “player”. In Washington jargon, that means that she wants her vote to be in doubt, she wants to be courted; she wants to be the focus of attention. In short, she wants to be the kind of Democrat whom the establishment loves, a new kind of Democrat – a Republican.

In pursuit of the coveted Sam Nunn/Patrick Moynihan chair at the University of Stabbing Democrats In The Back, Feinstein has been a loyal Bush operative.

She voted for the plan to give the surplus to the rich, thereby making a mockery of her pledge to increase spending on programs to help average citizens. The extraordinary magnitude of this vote must not be underestimated. It defined which party’s philosophy would govern the budget for the foreseeable future. The money for education, the environment, and other Democratic priorities will not be there to spend, because she and other Republicans gave it to the wealthy.

She voted against John Ashcroft, but only when it became apparent that her vote wasn’t needed to confirm him. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, she could have helped to derail the nomination by objecting to the many perjurious statements that Ashcroft made. When it counted, she choked.

She did the same with the nomination of Theodore Olson as Solicitor General.

She has failed to speak out against the extreme corruption of an administration that is blatantly governing to reward its campaign contributors at the expense of her constituents. She did finally call for one hearing, to investigate the $10 billion rape of her state’s energy consumers. She then withdrew the request when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a ruling that said to Kenneth Lay and the other Bush energy patrons, in effect, keep what you have stolen but be more discreet in the future. That wasn’t good enough for California’s other Democratic elected officials, but they’re too busy opposing the energy heist to position themselves as “moderate, thoughtful Democrats who lack hostility to the president”.

While Boxer has been a hero in vigorously challenging the legitimacy of extreme Bush judicial appointments like Christopher Cox (who called President Clinton a “traitor”) and Carolyn Kuhl (anti-choice, anti-civil rights, pro-tobacco), Feinstein has refused to oppose them.

Feinstein voted to allow the government to censor the Internet. She voted to strip the federal courts of much of their power to correct even the most inhumane prison conditions. She voted to restrict the writ of habeas corpus, which gives citizens protection against the government imprisoning them without formally filing criminal charges. She voted to force the military to immediately discharge all H.I.V. positive members. She voted for a constitutional amendment to outlaw flag burning. She voted to give corporations the right to access the confidential personal medical records of private citizens. She voted to repeal the estate tax, which will benefit wealthy Americans like her, but will create a revenue shortfall that will have to be subsidized by the middle class.

These are not the votes of Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond. These are the votes of Dianne Feinstein.

Actually, these are the votes of Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond and Dianne Feinstein.

Senator Feinstein knew that if she told the Democratic voters of California what she really planned to do to them after she was reelected, then there would have been unpleasant consequences. Over ninety percent of the state’s Democrats voted for Al Gore. If Feinstein had been honest and told them that she was going to vote for the Bush economic plan, and that she would be an enabler for the rest of his extreme agenda, then she would have been rejected in the primary.

Which, of course, is why she lied.

In order to defeat the bad guys, there must be good guys. Toward that end, and to belatedly keep her promise to help the average Californian, Senator Feinstein should immediately resign. Democratic Governor Gray Davis could then appoint a replacement who would vote the way Feinstein promised that she would vote during the campaign. A good choice would be Martin Sheen, assuming that the Constitution would allow him to serve in the executive and legislative branches simultaneously.

A resignation by Feinstein would provide the people of California with another senator to fight for their interests. It would give the voters someone who would represent the point of view that they selected in November. It would give the middle class someone who would oppose transferring their money to the wealthy. It would give California’s huge minority population someone to defend their ever-tenuous rights against the Confederate appointees in the Bush cabinet. It would give Democrats a voice, not an echo.

It would be the honorable thing for Dianne Feinstein to do.

You can therefore be assured that it will never happen.  

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Last changed: December 13, 2009