I sent her the following note on your webpage --
"I was embarrassed and distressed by Sen. Feinstein's comments to Chairman Lindsey Graham at the Judiciary Hearing, thanking him that 'I just want to thank you. This has been one of the best set of hearings that I've participated in. Thank you so much for your leadership.' The hearings were a disgrace to democracy -- they shouldn't have even been held and being held they've been rushed through against most tradition. Republicans stole Merrick Garland's appointment and against all their own "reasons" are stealing this seat. Lindsay Graham had given his word that there would be no such hearings when he was chairman, that he was SO adamant he said the tape of him could be used against him. And he bulldozed over that. And Sen. Fenstein -- DEMOCRAT from CALIFORNIA -- laid down for him like a tamed lapdog. I was embarrassed for my state. And galled by her words that gave aid and comfort to such disgraceful actions by Lindsay Graham and the Republicans.
"Please don't put me on Sen. Feinstein's mailing list. I have no interest in hearing from her, except to announce her retirement."
Actually, it's even worse than this. Her full quote was -- Mr. Chairman, I just want to thank you, this has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in and I want to thank you for your fairness and the opportunity of going back and forth. It leaves one with a lot of hopes, Thank you so much for your leadership.”"
Actually, it's even worse than that. After the hearings, she not only gave Lindsey Graham a big hug. Without either of them wearing a mask.
Dianne Feinstein is 87 years old. Lindsey Graham is a young whippernapper at only 65. They had both better hope -- but most especially her -- that neither is infectious
The hug aside, and that's a lot to put aside, her comments were wildly inappropriate with this thoroughly unacceptable confirmation hearing The hug though can't be put totally aside since it is a part of the whole package.
This is not the kind of representation you expect from California, of all place. This is not the kind of Democratic leadership you expect from their ranking member on the Judiciary Committee.
Happily, I'm not alone in my thinking here. Sen. Feinstein has been excoriated for her words and actions. There have been calls, as well, to have her removed from her leadership position. That includes the respected scholar Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute who wrote, "Diane Feinstein praising Barrett, and then inexplicably praising Graham, is a clear sign that she should not remain as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee."
That won't happen right now, although I'll be curious what occurs after the election, especially if Democrats win back the Senate and instead of being "ranking members" become committee chairs and can set agendas.
The reality is that this has always been Dianne Feinstein. She isn't "out of touch" because she's 87. And she isn't a "conservative" senator. Rather, she's always had an occasionally liberal side coming from San Francisco, but mostly a moderate-to-conservative side deeply unexpected for a Democratic Senator from California.
It was thought that she wouldn't run for re-election in 2018, since she'd be 86 and that would mean she would hold her seat until age 92 -- unless she left early for health reasons. Several impressive politicians were preparing early interest in running for the seat -- people like Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Eric Swalwell and Gov. Gavin Newsom. But when she announced that she would run, they all pulled back.
It was a shame. A six-year shame.
Hopefully, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will win, on general principle, of course, but that also would open up a Senate seat in California for one of those candidates who deserved a chance in 2018. And then there'd only be a four-year wait ("only..."), when I have to assume Dianne Feinstein won't run for re-election and so another seat will be open for some of those fine contenders. By that point, someone like Rep. Katie Porter might be a contender, as well. And yes, these are all Democrats, but I don't see any Republican in the state now with the stature to mount a competitive run.
It shouldn't have mattered. I think Dianne Feinstein had every right to run in 2018. People could vote for her or not, knowing that she would be in office until the age of 92. And they voted for her I also think it was a selfish, wrong-headed decision for several reasons, including that it went against laying the groundwork for her principles to be carried into the future.
Unfortunately, we have to deal with it in the present. And it was a totally irresponsible, galling thing for the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee to say and then do. And I hope that, whatever happens in the general election, Democrats make a change in their leadership of the committee.