Dianne Feinstein’s Declining Mental Health

A sad and disturbing report from a reliable source.

A shocking if not terribly surprising report from the New Yorker’s Jane Meyer today: “Dianne Feinstein’s Missteps Raise a Painful Age Question Among Senate Democrats.”

In a hearing on November 17th, Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who, at eighty-seven, is the oldest member of the Senate, grilled a witness. Reading from a sheaf of prepared papers, she asked Jack Dorsey, the C.E.O. of Twitter, whether his company was doing enough to stem the spread of disinformation. Elaborating, she read in full a tweet that President Trump had disseminated on November 7th, falsely claiming to have won the Presidential election. She then asked Dorsey if Twitter’s labelling of the tweet as disputed had adequately alerted readers that it was a bald lie.

It was a good question. Feinstein seemed sharp and focussed. For decades, she has been the epitome of a female trailblazer in Washington, always hyper-prepared. But this time, after Dorsey responded, Feinstein asked him the same question again, reading it word for word, along with the Trump tweet. Her inflection was eerily identical. Feinstein looked and sounded just as authoritative, seemingly registering no awareness that she was repeating herself verbatim. Dorsey graciously answered the question all over again.

Social media was less polite. A conservative Web site soon posted a clip of the humiliating moment on YouTube, under the headline “Senator Feinstein just asked the same question twice and didn’t realize she did it,” adding an emoji of someone covering his face with his hand in shame, along with bright red type proclaiming “Time to Retire!!” Six days later, under growing pressure from progressive groups who were already outraged by her faltering management of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Feinstein released a statement announcing that she would step down from the Democrats’ senior position, while continuing as a non-ranking member of the committee.

Feinstein, 87, was elected to another six-year term in November 2018—meaning she won’t face re-election until 2024, at which point she’ll be 91.

And, sadly, the hearing was not a one-off:

[M]any others familiar with Feinstein’s situation describe her as seriously struggling, and say it has been evident for several years. Speaking on background, and with respect for her accomplished career, they say her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have. They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said and getting upset when she can’t keep up. One aide to another senator described what he called a “Kabuki” meeting in which Feinstein’s staff tried to steer her through a proposed piece of legislation that she protested was “just words” which “make no sense.” Feinstein’s staff has said that sometimes she seems herself, and other times unreachable. “The staff is in such a bad position,” a former Senate aide who still has business in Congress said. “They have to defend her and make her seem normal.”

[…]

[T]he former Senate staffer who still works with Congress declared, “It’s been a disaster.” As the ranking Democrat, Feinstein ordinarily would be expected to run the Party’s strategy on issues of major national importance, including judicial nominations. Instead, the committee has been hamstrung and disorganized. “Other members were constantly trying to go around her because, as chair, she didn’t want to do anything, and she also didn’t want them doing anything,” the former Senate staffer said. A current aide to a different Democratic senator observed sadly, “She’s an incredibly effective human being, but there’s definitely been deterioration in the last year. She’s in a very different mode now.”

[…]

According to several sources, Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Minority Leader, was so worried that Feinstein would mismanage Barrett’s confirmation hearings that he installed a trusted former aide, Max Young, to “embed” in the Judiciary Committee to make sure the hearings didn’t go off the rails. He had done the same during Kavanaugh’s confirmation as well. Schumer brought Young in from the gun-control group Everytown to handle strategy and communications and serve as Schumer’s “eyes and ears” on Feinstein, as one Senate source put it. Schumer’s office declined to comment.

[…]

Schumer had several serious and painful talks with Feinstein, according to well-informed sources. Overtures were also made to enlist the help of Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum. Feinstein, meanwhile, was surprised and upset by Schumer’s message. He had wanted her to step aside on her own terms, with her dignity intact, but “she wasn’t really all that aware of the extent to which she’d been compromised,” one well-informed Senate source told me. “It was hurtful and distressing to have it pointed out.” Compounding the problem, Feinstein seemed to forget about the conversations soon after they talked, so Schumer had to confront her again. “It was like Groundhog Day, but with the pain fresh each time.” Anyone who has tried to take the car keys away from an elderly relative knows how hard it can be, he said, adding that, in this case, “It wasn’t just about a car. It was about the U.S. Senate.”

This is a sad story, both for her personally and for the Senate.

Mayer points to critics angry that people are singling out Feinstein, noting that there are other octogenarian Senators—men—who are in further decline and that the likes of Strom Thurmond hung around well past his sell-by date. But in the age of social media and YouTube videos, that sort of thing is simply harder to hide—especially in a prominent position like Judiciary Chair.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    Is the increased scrutiny part of our times, or because she’s a woman? It’s hard to say, it’s hard to know. We can’t do a controlled experiment and replicate this exact situation in the lab, run it a thousand times and compare to a control that’s identical to DiFi only male.

    We have done other experiments, though, and women get judged more harshly on a slate of issues. (Men do too, on a different slate of issues.)

    And, there is absolutely no question in my mind that there is far more visibility, far more awareness, far more scrutiny of the day-t0-day activities of Senators than there was 40 years ago.

    It could easily be both.

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  2. Scott says:

    As someone who had a mother who had dementia at her advanced age, I find this sad. The progression can be slow and often unnoticeable if you see a person on a daily basis. But behavior changes and progresses in often predictable ways. Resistance to reality is one of the predictable ways. And it doesn’t often correlate with physical capability. My mother was shoveling snow the day before she passed away and rarely went to the doctor. Ultimately, Feinstein’s family will get her to resign to avoid a public spectacle.

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  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Mayer points to critics angry that people are singling out Feinstein, noting that there are other octogenarian Senators—men—who are in further decline and that the likes of Strom Thurmond hung around well past his sell-by date. But in the age of social media and YouTube videos, that sort of thing is simply harder to hide—especially in a prominent position like Judiciary Chair.

    When the likes of Thurmond, Helms and Byrd, were doddering around the Senate, their age related foibles were largely went unnoticed by the public. Every now and then an inescapable incident would happen, but it could be quickly papered over. Only readers of the inside Washington baseball press and commentariat noted the concern. Today, as you point out, it is different.

    Beyond Feinstein, age of Dem’s DC pols is an issue the party needs to address. Frankly Rs do a much better job of cycling younger pols into positions of authority and power.

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  4. Jen says:

    Pelosi is 80 and is sharp as they come. Feinstein, Grassley, and a whole host of others should be retired and back in their home states. McConnell *clearly* and visibly has health problems.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but this situation is ridiculous.

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  5. DrDaveT says:

    @Scott:

    Ultimately, Feinstein’s family will get her to resign to avoid a public spectacle.

    My limited but painful personal experience of this situation suggests that her Senate colleagues are both more likely to get through to her and more likely to be believed than her family is.

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  6. Kathy says:

    I’ve one word: Covfefe.

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  7. @Jay L Gischer:

    Is the increased scrutiny part of our times, or because she’s a woman?

    A fair question. I suspect that in part it is increased scrutiny because of the prevalence at the moment of persons in their 70s and 80s in key positions of power.

    Oldest president replaced by an even older president. Pelosi is 80. Three of the major Dem candidates this year were in their 70s, etc.

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    “Pelosi”

    She still has her skills, but when they start to go… We watched my wife’s mother go from easily meeting her needs for independent daily living to needing to be in a memory care unit in less than 9 months and she would have been there earlier, but she was compliant to the structure of her assisted living.

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  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    What I find infuriating is that her staff clearly knew she was losing it two years ago when Feinstein ran for re-election.

    She should retire now. Let Newsom appoint a replacement.

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Age is not the relevant metric. It’s the easy go-to, but it’s not directly relevant. Capacity is what counts. If there were a way to test for capacity I suspect most of those who failed the test would be old. But not all. Not all by a long shot.

    Require annual physicals. People no longer able to cope need to be shown the door.

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  11. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yeah, I know…I just don’t like to paint with broad brushstrokes. My grandmother was completely sharp right up until she passed away in her sleep at 89. Everything I’ve read about RBG says she was the same.

    Still, the clinging to power when these folks should have long since retired is irksome. It prevents the new guard from developing the skills they’ll need.

    OT, did you see that the autopsy came back, and Speaker Hinch did pass away from Covid?

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  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Is the increased scrutiny part of our times, or because she’s a woman?

    Don’t know. Don’t care. Not my circus or my clown car; this is a job that the good voters of California need to take care of. I can’t vote her out of office and doubt that she cares what I think about her mental capacity.

    As to my state, Patty Murray is 70 and Maria Cantwell is 62. Our voters are going to be facing the same questions sooner rather than later. It would be nice for Democrats if the party and principles were prepared for the eventuality, but sadly, we’re all boomers and 60 is the new 40–even when it isn’t. 🙁

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  13. Fortunato says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    When the likes of Thurmond, Helms and Byrd, were doddering around the Senate,…

    and of course the most revered Republican president in modern history Ronald Reagan. When he was looking for his latest copy of Human Events (which staff tried to hide from him – because it’s early winger sewage), was seeking advice from he and Nancy’s astrologer, Joan Quigley, who was a touchstone for nearly every important decision Reagan would make while in office.
    The same Ronald Reagan whose cognitive challenges would lead Howard Baker Jr. and James Cannon to consider implementing the 25th Amendment –

    Howard H. Baker Jr. was just starting his job as Reagan’s chief of staff in 1987 when he asked two aides to investigate how the Iran-Contra scandal was affecting the White House. James Cannon, the aide who wrote the memo about the investigation, reported back that the place was in chaos.
    The staff “told stories about how inattentive and inept the president was,” Cannon recalled to journalists Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus in Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988. “He was lazy; he wasn’t interested in the job. They said he wouldn’t read the papers they gave him—even short position papers and documents. They said he wouldn’t come over to work—all he wanted to do was to watch movies and television at the residence.”

    ..Stephen F. Knott, a professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College, writes in an email. He (Reagan) “was never a detail person; fell asleep at cabinet meetings in the midst of briefings from droning bureaucrats; was horrible at remembering names… This was a man who required lots of rest and recreation.”

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  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen:

    OT, did you see that the autopsy came back, and Speaker Hinch did pass away from Covid?

    Color me surprised. This is my surprised face– 😐 .

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jen:

    Still, the clinging to power when these folks should have long since retired is irksome. It prevents the new guard from developing the skills they’ll need.

    Who says they should have long since retired? At what age should they have long since retired? You cannot apply a rule which punishes individuals for the perceived failings of a group.

    As for the new blood developing skills, Job #1 for a politician is getting elected. The fact that no one could take down a senile DiFi rather suggests that the young blood were not very good at Job #1. So far the young blood in the Democratic Party is only good at winning a handful of House races in districts that are D+30. Where are the hot new senators and governors?

    The point being that maybe the problem lies less with old fogies clinging to power, and more with younger candidates in the party being too far out of touch with constituencies beyond Brooklyn and Berkeley. Laws are not made by protest or by Twitter harangues, it takes involvement, long term commitment, a degree of collegiality and that most foul of all ‘c’ words, compromise.

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  16. JohnMcC says:

    I’m reminded that the Court-packing scheme that we’ve heard about lately by FDR would have added a new Justice whenever a serving Justice turned 70. Has been looking smarter and smarter, to tell the truth.

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  17. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Who says they should have long since retired? At what age should they have long since retired?

    I thought that by saying “I just don’t like to paint with broad brushstrokes. My grandmother was completely sharp right up until she passed away in her sleep at 89. Everything I’ve read about RBG says she was the same,” I was being pretty clear that I don’t think there’s any set age. But from Feinstein’s repeating questions to McConnell’s health issues, there are some pretty obvious cases of people who should indeed have long since retired.

    It’s completely up to the voters in their respective states. I know that. That doesn’t mean that the nation is served by having US Senators who just aren’t sharp anymore.

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  18. charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Job #1 for a politician is getting elected. The fact that no one could take down a senile DiFi rather suggests that the young blood were not very good at Job #1.

    Or maybe just that “jungle” primaries make it hard to dislodge incumbents with a lot of name recognition.

    What I find infuriating is that her staff clearly knew she was losing it two years ago when Feinstein ran for re-election.

    People whose jobs depend on the principal remaining in office have incentive to conceal problems, not expose them. (So maybe that “young blood” did not have the right material to work with).

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  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    No, I hadn’t seen the cause of death, just the articles that said he died suddenly. That he had covid was not generally known. Which raises the question, as to why the party leadership hadn’t made that known. While I do feel that generally pols are entitled to privacy related to medical conditions, the limits are lower than for most of us. Given that covid has become a political football, the secrecy appears to politically motivated rather than simply privacy.

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  20. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “The point being that maybe the problem lies less with old fogies clinging to power, and more with younger candidates in the party being too far out of touch with constituencies beyond Brooklyn and Berkeley.”

    I think there are a lot of good Democrats who wouldn’t primary Feinstein either out of respect or fear that they would look like assassins. There’s a lot of real talent in the California Democratic coalition — but Adam Schiff or Eric Swalwell, to name a couple, weren’t about to risk his safe and very useful House seat to go on a kamikaze mission against an entrenched senator. The only way to take her down would have been to use her failing faculties against her, and even then you risk being seen as an arrogant bully.

    Not every issue in life can be boiled down to “religion is stupid” or “hippies suck.”

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  21. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I guess I’m a full blown ageist, because I think years accrued is relevant for legislators whose Job #2 is enacting laws.

    This is admittedly supposition, but I believe one of the reasons US policy is so short-sighted when it comes to issues like climate change and the societal impacts of automation and globalization is that the Boomers making the laws and the Boomers voting those Boomers into office won’t be around to live with the consequences of legislative inaction. Persistent drought, rising oceans, and massive worker displacement is less abstract for those folks who reasonably expect to be around to witness the year 2050.

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  22. Kathy says:

    Cognitive skills deteriorate with age, as does the rest of the human organism. But some people deteriorate more than others, some deteriorate earlier, and so on. You can’t put a hard and fast rule on such things.

    You can evaluate cognitive skills in people who make a living of them, or whose function depends on them, like senators, judges, doctors, etc. But absent a law or rule to remove them if they slip past a certain point, the hard task of convincing them to step down remains. It’s all the harder, because someone in cognitive decline may lack the ability to understand they are in cognitive decline.

    Thing might be easier if we discussed cognitive decline openly, and treated it as a condition largely related to aging, without stigma or any implied negative judgment.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Is the increased scrutiny part of our times, or because she’s a woman?

    I would flip that around: Is the relaxed scrutiny and deference to her equally senile colleagues because they are male?

    Also, would she pass the test that Trump claims to have passed?

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  24. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    Thing might be easier if we discussed cognitive decline openly, and treated it as a condition largely related to aging, without stigma or any implied negative judgment.

    You are glossing over a big big difference: – cognitive decline from normal aging is not in the same category as senile dementia etc., that is a category error.

    Let me illustrate with an imperfect analogy;

    Muscle tone declines with age, thus football players seldom last past their late 30’s, even Tom Brady does not have the same juice on the ball as he used to, more short passes now. But that is not the same thing as coming down with Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis or whatever. Similarly, there is a big difference in just getting old vs. any number of various senile dementia’s or other mental diseases. People do not die or become bedridden just from not being as sharp as once they were.

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  25. Kathy says:

    @charon:

    But we discuss loss of mucle tone and other infirmities, as well as Parkinson’s, without stigma. IMO, the principle is the same.

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  26. Kari Q says:

    This is exactly why I voted against her in 2018. Six years is a long time when the candidate is over 85, and showing no signs of decline during the election doesn’t mean anything in terms of ability to do the job one or two years later.

    She should not have run. The people of California should not have voted for her. It really shouldn’t be controversial to say that 90 (which she would be at the end of her term) is too old to be Senator and it’s time to retire.

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  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Require annual physicals. People no longer able to cope need to be shown the door.

    To my intense disgust, I find that one of the strongest lobbying voices against capability testing is AARP. They have not yet figured out that their primary constituency is not the 85-year-old who doesn’t want to give up his car keys — it’s his 60-year old kids who are looking for some outside help to pry them away from him.

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  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    “Religion is stupid” is a way into the question of epistemology. Now, I can say, ‘Hey, I’d like to discuss the role of epistemological choices as they affect the current political climate.” And everyone can go to sleep. Or I can say, to use your translation of my position, “Religion is stupid” to start a passionate conversation.

    As for, “Hippies suck,” what exactly is hippie about Democratic up-and-comers, most of whom were born around the time the last hippie bought a McMansion? Tune in, turn on, drop out doesn’t strike me as being the motto of the Squad. Are you perhaps conflating this generation with a rose-colored view of your own youth?

    I think there are a lot of good Democrats who wouldn’t primary Feinstein either out of respect or fear that they would look like assassins. There’s a lot of real talent in the California Democratic coalition — but Adam Schiff or Eric Swalwell, to name a couple, weren’t about to risk his safe and very useful House seat to go on a kamikaze mission against an entrenched senator.

    Out of respect? That’s sweet. Refer to my original remark: Job #1 is to get elected. You either succeed, or you don’t. You’re not doing the young gorilla any favors by killing the Silverback for him.

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  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:

    Thing might be easier if we discussed cognitive decline openly, and treated it as a condition largely related to aging, without stigma or any implied negative judgment.

    We treat age as a failure of some sort when obviously it’s a success. It means you’ve outplayed, outlasted. You’re winded and sore at the end of life or the marathon, but that’s what victory looks like. And we tend to turn illness into a morality tale. Oh, what did you do to cause the cancer? Shouldn’t you have exercised more? People still think in terms of, ‘if’ I die, not when.

    I’ll go on record: I will die. 100%. So will everyone I care about. But then, so will everyone I dislike, so there’s that. Also dead will be everyone I am indifferent toward. Eventually the sun will die. Sometime before that my wife’s toothless Chihuahua will die and we can get a dog.

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  30. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We treat age as a failure of some sort

    Thank you. this encapsulates my point neatly.

    People still think in terms of, ‘if’ I die, not when.

    Oh, that’s an easy one to explain. though we see people die all the time, we ourselves never do (duh!), and don’t particularly want to under normal circumstances. think about it: every day since you were born, you’ve woken up alive each morning. That’s normal and expected.

    We’re like the livestock who trusts humans. People feed them and otherwise take care of them, so they trust us. Until one day, as Phoebe sang in Friends, “the farmer hits them on the head and grinds them up.”

    So we know we’re going to die someday, but I don’t think most of us actually believe it.

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  31. raoul says:

    @Michael Reynolds: So someone running against DiFi in the primary should bring up her mental shortcomings? You are ignoring so many other factors (power of incumbency, name recognition, machinery) that frankly I am surprised by you. There is a problem with octogenarians recognizing their limits (see RBG), what are going to do about it before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

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  32. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kari Q: @Michael Reynolds: Come on Reynold’s –as sharp as Pelosi may be at 80–she’d be lapped by 40-somethings. There comes a point when you just aren’t capable of running with the young bucks. They should go enjoy their lives.

    Part of the reason Democrats keep under performing against Republicans is that they are simply too old and out of touch. If you are a young talented politician that wants to success–which party would you choose—they one where you can get noticed and ushered to a position with exposure–or the one where you MIGHT get an opportunity in your late 60’s if the 80 something in front of you retires or dies?

    Democrats subconsciously project that they are the Party the elderly, seniority, and Government programs–and wonder why they under perform. Who the heck want’s to be associated with that? Except other elderly people in senior positions with an interest in Govt programs. Dems aren’t even smart enough to have leadership from regions they want to make enroads into. California, New York—seriously? Tim Ryan should have been House Speaker years ago.

    Imagine if the Republican party were only half as crazy—they’d run the table against Dems Federally AND Locally pretty much everywhere outside of the North East and North West. Is any Dem ever going to demand accountability for an under performing Party? Doesn’t look like it–so then the Cocoon Party will continue repelling young charismatic and innovative talent.

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  33. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Dems aren’t even smart enough to have leadership from regions they want to make enroads into. California, New York—seriously? Tim Ryan should have been House Speaker years ago.

    We had Harry Reid a few years back. I’m not a fan of Schumer — he’s fine, I guess — but I think that’s a problem of temperament rather than geography. We need a ruthless fighter in the Senate, who isn’t afraid to blow shit up. Whether they share politics with Elizabeth Warren or Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t matter so much, as the Democrats are going to be boxed in by either needing a few Republicans to do something, or the 50th least liberal Democrat if they get a majority.

    But denying unanimous consent and calling for quorum calls every seven minutes? Preventing the Republicans from getting anything done that they want to get done through every nasty, filthy trick of procedural nonsense they can find, until they sit down to compromise? That’s not something Chuck Schumer would ever seriously entertain doing, because he cares about the comity of the institution more than the people he represents.

    That assumes the Republicans want to do anything at all though. It’s possible the McConnell will just adjourn the Senate after one minute every day.

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  34. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Scott: I remember well how my mother-in-law changed in the last years of her life. While she couldn’t have told you she was suffering from Alzheimer’s, it was obvious to everyone who dealt with her. Thankfully, my wife was able to manage her affairs under a power of attorney, because MIL knew she wasn’t capable of handling them.

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    If age were the problem and youth the answer The Squad would be a net plus for the Democrats. Are they? I see no evidence. Miami-Dade.

    In fact Democrats are most openly associated with Blacks and other racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, and Antifa. So if we’re looking to cast blame, maybe look at the racial spoils system that at least rhetorically sees every white cabinet appointments as a failure. Or maybe we could look at the alienating rather than inclusive rhetoric of LGBTQ groups. Or maybe ask just what was accomplished by trashing downtown Portland for months and then failing even to unseat the mayor that Antifa targeted.

    The problem is Pelosi’s age? No, the problem is that this is still a majority straight, white, patriarchal, Christian country and we alienate those people by standing up for the people the straight, white, patriarchal, Christian majority dislikes. Democrats take electoral risks to defend minorities the problem is the 80 year-old woman who so stands so strong against bigotry?

    Do you generally believe in judging individuals by the group they’re assigned to?

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  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @raoul:
    I’m not ‘ignoring’ anything. I’m perfectly well-aware of the power of incumbency. But that’s the game. If you want to win the game, you play the game. What would you prefer? Setting a retirement age? Would you have applied it to RBG?

    This is just the newest form of bigotry. Let’s see, we can’t judge people by the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual preferences, their ability or disability, their religion. . . My goodness, what’s left? Age! Yay, we’ve found a new way to attack individuals not as individuals but purely as members of a group.

    We are each a unique product of DNA, environment, free will and random chance. There is no one identical to you. Now, if I want to be stupid, I could decide to judge you, categorize you, assess your abilities by your gender or your race or your religion. . . Or, I could judge you solely by your actions. Which would you prefer?

    Greta Thunberg was IIRC 14 years old when she first appeared on the scene. RBG was 87 when she died. Explain to me why age is the criterion by which we should judge either of those women, when we could instead treat them as unique individuals?

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  37. Raoul says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It is definitely on the individual, and we should not be averse to criticizing individuals who fail to see their own frailties. Pelosi should be already grooming someone and Biden by selecting Harris is well aware of the inevitable problem that arises with age. Nobody wants to be remembered like RGB where in her dying moments she plead for her position to be replaced by another president lest her whole legacy be washed away. Such are the perils of self-delusion and the myth of our own importance and for those around DiFi, someone needs to tell her that she must step down.

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  38. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I believe in Leaders being accountable for performance…and much of being a leader is finding common culture threads within their organization’s factions to keep everyone playing from the same sheet of music. Its glaringly obviously current Leaderships inability to do that.

    I didn’t make the rules about race, white people did so its only a relevant factor because they made it so. We all know that practically, race is irrelevant. But there is no way around the fact that age is related to physical and cognitive decline. So if we are evaluating performance in a job that requires cognitive acuity…yes it is a factor when objectives arent being met.

    Outside of the 2018 cycle, Democrats have a pretty solid record of underperformance. And its clearly related to natural age-induced inability of Dem Leadership to see things in new ways and create a culture that encourages their younger members to innovate within a framework of values. This is manifest in Dem Leadership’s adversarial relationship with the Squad, the most high profile of which mostly refers to Democrats in 3rd person terms.

    The Squad is not representive of the next generation of the Country’s Leadership so being young obviously doesn’t help if you have poorly thought out, unexecutable ideas. The future is Buttigieg types that have a couple of big ideas and shoot for incremental improvements everywhere. For every system the Left wants to radically change, there are people that spent decades building a livelihood around it. They cant just go down to the local Community Training center and pick something else to do to continue where they left off. The people that are on board with that are the really rich and really poor who have little investment in systems that keep the middle class going.

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  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Raoul:
    I agree DiFi should step down. But not because of her age. She should step down because her powers have faded and she is no longer effective. At the same time, I can give you a long list of people who should step down because they are not effective but who are quite young.

    @Jim Brown 32:

    But there is no way around the fact that age is related to physical and cognitive decline. So if we are evaluating performance in a job that requires cognitive acuity…yes it is a factor when objectives arent being met.

    Age is also related to experience and it is related to success. You don’t get old in any job without success. Do you imagine for a moment that AOC could wrangle the House with anything even approaching Pelosi’s ability? Pelosi has seen tricks AOC can’t even imagine.

    The future is Buttigieg types that have a couple of big ideas and shoot for incremental improvements everywhere.

    One of those big ideas I’m very interested in is UBI – Universal Basic Income. The idea was first proposed in 1953 by G.D. Cole when he was 64, which was pretty old in those days. In fact, six years later he was dead.

    Every human being has a right to be judged on his or her own accomplishments, abilities, ideas, etc… Judged as individuals because that is what they are. Judging people by category, by class or group, is simply unjust. That principle is true whether the ‘category’ is race, ethnicity, gender or age.

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  40. al Ameda says:

    Again, nobody beats Father (Mother) Time.
    I have a lot of respect for Dianne Feinstein, however it appears her time is up.

    I hope that she steps aside and the Governor can move ahead and fill 2 senate slots – Alex Padilla and Katie Porter would appear to be at the front of the line, and both are young (47 and 46) and really do change the guard.

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  41. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: We could probably sell UBI to the nation if established as dividends from a Sovereign Wealth “Freedom Fund” funded by a mixture of corporate taxes and blind trust investments by USG. Frankly, Social Sec should convert to a similar model.

    The definition of “work” will undoubted change as there isn’t enough labor intensive efforts to provide the long-term stability humans need to for mental wellness and to plan and raise families.

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  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    Hitler was 44 when he came to power.
    Stalin: 40.
    Mussolini: 39

    Churchill first became PM at the age of 66. He was fat, a heavy drinker and smoked more cigars than I do.

    At the start of WW2, Franklin Roosevelt was just shy of 60, crippled by polio, a drinker and a smoker.

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  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Jim Brown 32: In all the pilot studies I’ve seen, UBI seems to work for people who are already working. At which point one wonders if we’re just going to see the Walmart effect all over again–corporations taking advantage of the “help up” to cut the standard employment salaries.

    UBI would also help for people who are looking for a job; especially if tied together with free training and other assistance.

    The third group wanting UBI are NEETs, who at least over at Reddit live in a morass of self-pity, whine incessantly, and constantly find excuses for themselves.

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  44. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    Age related mental decline and dementia / Alzheimer’s are very distinct as you point out.

    In early stage dementia it can look like age related memory issues. People can mask symptoms well when the threat of lack of independence looms.

    When I cleared out my mom’s house I found bullet points she wrote to herself before she made phone calls on the back of bills.

    God, that place was a mess. Syringes everywhere. Takeout containers. I strongly believe she fed herself with takeout and snacks pre-packaged stuff for several months.

    At the end she forgot to pick up her mail, take out her trash, clean, bathe, change clothes, inject insulin.

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  45. Bruce Jackson says:

    @<a href="@Scott: #comment-2574909″>Scott:
    I agree with Dr Dave T Collegues are a better judge of her abilities and if she should keep the
    the Senator position . The article states she didnt do her job and resisted staffers helping The state of her health explained in this article explains clearly why the Susan Blassey Ford documents remained in her office unprocessed better than any excuse offered to date. I’m sorry for some reason her husband does not drive her to work, she does not drive herself, and apparently thinks she is too good to ride public mass. Its been reported her driver is a possible Chinese Spy. She has to get to the job to do the job and she shows no ability to do so. She has to go. Not at the end of her term but now.

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