Dianne Feinstein is dead

September 29, 2023 • 8:36 am

After hanging on as a sitting Senator while being very ill, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein just passed away, and her death was confirmed this morning.  From the WaPo:

Mrs. Feinstein’s death was confirmed Friday by the Associated Press, which cited three people “familiar with the situation.” She was the oldest sitting member of the Senate and the subject of increasing scrutiny over her fitness to serve. Mrs. Feinstein was hospitalized in February with shingles, an illness later reported to have been complicated by encephalitis.

She returned to the Senate in May after a nearly three-month absence. Her inability during that time to vote on Biden administration judicial nominees, along with gathering evidence of her cognitive decline, led even some admirers to urge the senator to resign to avoid tarnishing what was by all accounts a remarkable legacy as a stateswoman. In August she was briefly hospitalized after a fall at her home in San Francisco.

At 90, she was the oldest member of the Senate and the longest-serving Senator from California (she had served six terms since 1992). She had also been mayor of San Francisco for a decade before going to Congress. Feinstein was a reliable Democratic centrist, and although criticized for not paying enough attention to women’s issues, and lately for not resigning in view of her age, she’s still an icon to Democrats.  Her most well known achievement was getting the Federal Assault Weapons Ban passed in 1994. Sadly, it expired in 2004, and it’s not clear that it was efficacious.

Feinstein was in the last year of her current term, and had announced she would not run for re-election in the fall of 2024. What will happen now is that Californa governor Gavin Newsom, with the assent of the California legislature, will appoint a one-year replacement. He’s a Democrat, so we don’t have to worry.

RIP, Senator.

11 thoughts on “Dianne Feinstein is dead

  1. This is interesting. I wonder if Newsom will appoint if Harris to get her out of the succession? Plus Biden could appoint a new VP, assuming he can get the votes for his candidate.

    1. “Plus Biden could appoint a new VP, assuming he can get the votes for his candidate.”

      I have the perfect candidate of Biden’s new VP: Taylor Swift. She’s the only person who gets more play than Donald Trump on Apple News, and she would certainly bring votes.

  2. Gavin Newsom will use this appointment opportunity to curry favor with the far left wing of the Democrat Party in return for their support in the 2028 primaries. I predict an ultra-woke appointee deeply committed to identity politics, someone who picks and chooses what science to follow. A person committed to open borders, trans rights for young kids, etc.

    1. He might well decide that this would only damage the efforts of moderates to prevent more right extremism in states around Cali…

      I don’t have the highest hopes though.

    2. Didn’t Newsom just burn his bridges with the progressives by vetoing AB 957? (Although he signed the bill allowing male prisoners to self-identify into the female prison estate, so maybe he’ll be forgiven…)

  3. From a few weeks ago.


    Newsom, a California Democrat, told host Chuck Todd that it would be unjust to the other 2024 candidates, including Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, if he were to appoint someone who would run for reelection.

    “It would be completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off. That primary is just a matter of months away. I don’t want to tip the balance of that,” Newsom said in the interview.

    Asked whether he intended to stick by his pledge to appoint a Black woman to the seat, Newsom said he did. “We hope we never have to make this decision, but I abide by what I’ve said very publicly on a consistent basis. Yes,” he said.

  4. Like it or not, but the death of Feinstein puts additional pressure on Biden (and Fetterman). There was an argument that she was only being kept around to protect Biden. Now her presence can not be used to protect Biden.

    1. On the contrary, many saw Feinstein as a perceived weakness for Biden by providing a troubling peek into an octogenarian’s future. She was a reminder of how feeble Biden may become and how quickly. Once 2024 comes along, the memory of Feinstein’s age and feebleness won’t enter the thoughts of voters. Unless, of course, Biden actually does take a serious turn for the worse.

      And I have no idea what Feinstein “being kept around to protect Biden” even means. How does that work? Her being older and sick somehow deflected? I see that line of thinking simply as the propaganda-infused right-wing media doing its job.

      And did anyone hear Biden’s speech yesterday honoring late Senator McCain? It sure didn’t instill in me a feeling of a doddering old man, losing his strength and faculties and ready to keel over at any moment. It was one of the most powerful political speeches I’ve heard in a long time.

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