September 6, 2017

Senator Feinstein Faces Undue Criticism for Urging Patience With President Trump

Recently Senator Feinstein has come under fire for comments she made concerning the need to have “patience” with respect to President Trump. Senator Feinstein was expressing her hope, which she admitted was perhaps fleeting, that President Trump can become a better President than he has, in her opinion, shown to date. Since making those comments the Senator has come under fire by Democrat activists and even elected leaders like state Senate President pro tem Kevin De Leon. That is unfortunate.

Those attacking her today have either never learned or have forgotten history. They have no sense of the statesmanship Senator Feinstein embodies and seeks in others. Those attacking her feed the political cynicism that has paralyzed our legislative process. It is a cynicism that is symptomatic of those who scorn any attempt to forge political compromise.

I have written before of the need for a return of statesmanship in America’s politics. We need to resist the temptations of extreme rhetoric. We need to work together, Republican and Democrat, to help our country achieve greater heights, no matter who occupies the White House. Those who attack Senator Feinstein now for daring to hope for constructive change are the reason our country seems to be stuck. Fight for your ideals, fight for policies you think are right, but don’t wish paralysis on our nation.

Some on the left claim that Senator Mitch McConnell did the same thing to former President Obama, promising to obstruct every initiative of the President. But that’s not quite right. McConnell did say that his objective was to make Obama a one-term president, but in the same interview he also said that if Obama would “meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.” Later in the same interview, McConnell went further: “I don’t want [President Obama] to fail, I want him to change.”

It seems to me that this is not all that different from what Senator Feinstein is saying now. She didn’t pledge to cooperate with President Trump today, but she did express her hope that he would change, that maybe he could meet her halfway on some of the biggest issues, and from there strike compromises that produce real legislation on major issues. Not perfect legislation, but legislation that is badly needed. 

I have known and had the pleasure of working with Senator Feinstein for many years. While I have had my disagreements with her, I have also worked with her many times to do good for the people of California and the country. In every instance, doing good required us to push and prod each other, to listen to each other with sincerity, and ultimately to step beyond the comfort of our ideological comfort zones to produce compromises that can withstand the rigors of the legislative process. She embodies statesmanship. She embodies working together for the greater good. I applaud her for her hopeful comments.