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SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN—DISHONESTY, BUT NOT AT THE
EXPENSE OF DISLOYALTY
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
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
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.
More David Podvin
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