The late Don Rickles used to kid elderly entertainers, people who hung around a little too long. To Frank Sinatra, he teased, “Hey, Frank–it’s over.” Or to Jimmy Stewart, “Hey, Jimmy, the home called, you have to be back by 9pm.” Laughter. “Is this too fast for you, Jimmy? Look, his head is in his plate.”
All was in good fun, but he was also making a point. These entertainers were long past their prime and new talent had supplanted them. They had all made their mark, but with time comes change and new blood—in every industry.
Politics is no different. It is time for a great Senator, Dianne Feinstein to retire. In short, “It’s over Dianne.” Now some loyalists well remain, just as a Sinatra fan still went to his concerts when the crooner was 70 years old. But let us not believe it was the same Sinatra who was a hit in his thirties.
Feinstein has done a great job, but her time is past. The Senate is no longer the elite body it once was, yet Feinstein remains rigid and is slow to evolve. She fails to challenge the status quo or Donald Trump’s illegitimate presidency and refuses to advocate for progressive positions such as single-payer health care. Meanwhile, she continues to support a defense budget predicated on a Cold War mentality–with no regard to technology or changing world conditions that call for less steel and more resolve.
These positions leave her vulnerable in California, which has become a more liberal and progressive state than the one she is used to representing. In short, Feinstein represents the once moderate wing of the Democratic Party, but her philosophy has grown antiquated for this changing world.
That is not to say she made no mark. Far from it. Feinstein had been a positive, progressive force for her era. But that era is over.
In 1986, Alan Cranston was running for reelection at the age of 79. Feinstein was 78 when she last ran for re-election. At that time, her view was that Cranston, though a great Senator, had served too long. She said it was time for him to allow others—namely herself—an opportunity to lead.
Cranston served until he was 85, and Feinstein would be 90 at the end of her next term. The idea of her being wheeled into the chamber and having aides make decisions on her behalf—a la Strom Thurmond—is not the best way to end an otherwise distinguished career in public service.
We only ask that Ms. Feinstein heed her own advice to step down and give others an opportunity to lead.
Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.