Each week, the editor’s of LA Progressive pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Clifford Tasner, who commented on the article by Hans Johnson and Karen K Saurez, "“A Progressive Case for Senator Feinstein”"
When I saw the headline, “A Progressive Case for Senator Dianne Feinstein,” I assumed that LA Progressive managed to poach satirist Andrew Borowitz from the New Yorker. But the resulting article, while tremendously wrongheaded, was devoid of humor. The author’s managed to cherry pick the couple of inoffensive stances our senior senator has taken in the 26 years she’s been representing California, while ignoring an atrocious record of conservative positions that have grown more and more out of step with our increasingly liberal state.
Yes, Di-Fi is fairly good on wanting to limit the proliferation of assault-style weapons. One wonders why, in the 14 years since the Assault Weapons Ban lapsed, she hasn’t managed to rally her fellow Senators to reinstate it. And yes, she shares with the vast majority of us a belief in the rights of LGBT folks.
Among the mountains of corporate contributions that Di-Fi has amassed, no checks came from Cadiz, so she’s positioned herself as a protector of the Mojave Desert. But this is not enough to burnish any kind of environmental bonafides. Recall how Di-Fi partnered with Republican Kevin McCarthy to slip a rider into Barbara Boxer’s last piece of legislation, a water infrastructure bill, which would gut Endangered Species protections all to benefit AgraBusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley.
Her biggest donors over the years have been Defense Contractors, which is why she enthusiastically embraced every war and military action that the Senate has been allowed to vote on.
Her biggest donors over the years have been Defense Contractors, which is why she enthusiastically embraced every war and military action that the Senate has been allowed to vote on. Not just the disaster that was the Iraq War, but our ill-advised adventurism in Syria and Libya.
She also gets a lot of donations from Health Insurers, which is why she is resolute in her opposition to Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All proposal, preferring for America to be the only developed nation millions lack healthcare altogether and many more millions are underinsured thanks to high-deductible policies that essentially keep them from getting the healthcare they need.
She’s had a history of standing with Wall Street over Main Street. She voted for that awful Bankruptcy Reform Act which prevents consumers from meeting their needs before they pay off their credit card debt.
How about Criminal Justice? Di-Fi supported a bill to try 13-year-olds as adults. Anyone who lived in California in the ’90s will recall her speech to the California Democratic Convention touting her support for the death penalty and scoring the Democratic Party for not doing so.
While she was miffed when she discovered that the NSA was spying on Senators, but that didn’t stop her from voting for the Patriot Act and authoring a bill to allow the NSA to spy on us via our cellphones.
After witnessing the depredations caused by the Drug War, Californians too a different path, legalizing Recreational Marijuana with the passage of Prop. 64 in 2016. Guess who was the chairperson for the No on Prop. 64 Campaign, as well as the previous ballot measure to end prohibition? Dianne Feinstein!
These are challenging times for the country. California is the bold blue bulwark against the ravages of Trumpism. And yet, Di-Fi has famously urged Californians to be patient with the President in hopes that he might turn out to be a “good president.” She votes with the Republicans around 30% of the time. Only Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp and a very few other Senators are more on board with the Trump agenda!
Californians recoil when Trump spouts vitriol against Undocumented People, but Feinstein not only ran for reelection in 1994 with a racist ad that talked about upwards of “3000 immigrants trying to cross the border many nights,” and sponsored the “Illegal Immigration Control and Enforcement Act of 1994. She called for a wall with Mexico back when Donald Trump was only a loudmouthed real estate tycoon. Here’s what she said about it:
“When illegal immigrants try to cross the border, they know that if they make it, they can easily buy counterfeit credentials that enable them to work illegally. And they know too that they will be eligible for certain federal benefits. My bill would end these abuses. This legislation passage of the bill that would require the Homeland SecurityDepartment to authorize the construction of about 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border. The bill would require a study of implementing security systems along the U.S.-Canadian border and direct the agency to evaluate the ability of personnel to stop fleeing vehicles at the border. created a counterfeit-proof work identity card; prohibited direct cash assistance to immigrants who are not permanent residents, refugees or asylees; required sponsors of legal immigrants to provide financial support for them until they become United States citizens so they do not rely on public assistance; and established an “interior repatriation” program to return illegal immigrants caught at the border to the interior of their country.”
People talk about her seniority in the Senate, suggesting that California has more power in that legislative body because Dianne Feinstein is there. There’s no more powerful Senator right now than Mitch McConnell. If you lived in Kentucky, would you refuse to vote for an actual Democrat because you feared your state losing Senatorial power? It’s not enough to have someone representing us who does such a shoddy job of representing us!
Usually when Dianne Feinstein runs for reelection, she draws only token opposition from the wide swath of politics to the Left of her. This year will perhaps yield a different result. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León is mounting a progressive challenge to her. Unlike Feinstein, De León has actually been opposing Donald Trump on the Environment and Immigration. He’s championing Medicare for All. And he’s forsworn contributions from Oil, Tobacco and Big Pharma. Being on the right side of just 2 issues does not a progressive make! California has a chance to do a lot better as far as how we’re represented in the US Senate!