Among California Democrats, a grand total of 9% approve of Feinstein’s beloved President; 90% disapprove. Obviously, nothing could be less relevant to Feinstein than the views of her constituents, but still, the disparity between what they believe and what she is doing is just striking, even for the Beltway.
She even showed up at the press conference, where Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) asked her to speak before the Mississippi senators who lined up the votes for Southwick.
“This may be out of precedent,” Specter said, “but if I may, with the concurrence of the home-state senators, yield to the hero — the lady — of the day, Sen. Feinstein.”
“I don’t know about this heroine business,” Feinstein demurred.
Moments later, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) got choked up talking about her.
“She took a tough stand and showed a lot of courage,” Lott said, tears collecting in his eyes and his voice quivering. “It is emotional for me because this is a good man, and he will make a great judge on behalf of my state, which I feel has been maligned in this and other instances.”
He later accepted a congratulatory call from President Bush.
Fred Hiatt concurs wholeheartedly: “It is reassuring when not one but two lawmakers show the moral fortitude to defy party politics to take a stand on principle. Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) showed such courage Friday when they announced their support for attorney-general nominee Michael B. Mukasey.”
Dianne Feinstein may be betraying the overwhelming majority of her constituents. But as a result of her “heroic” work in the Senate, her husband sure is getting richer. And she is beloved — just beloved — by Arlen Specter, Trent Lott, Fred Hiatt and George W. Bush. And in Beltway World, that is far, far more important.
UPDATE: Feinstein herself spent inordinate sums of money from corporate donors in 2006 to ensure she was re-elected, so she is not up for re-election until 2012 (when she’ll be 80). Hopefully, though, the ethics process relating to her highly questionable behavior in directing multi-billion-dollar defense contracts to her husband’s companies will proceed in earnest.
While Feinstein is not up for re-election, there are many Bush-enabling Democrats who are. And as this rather good Washington Post article this morning details, liberal blogs are doing what is, in my view, the most important thing they can be doing — targeting for defeat those incumbent Democrats who deserve it by supporting and funding primary challengers.
The article details the highly successful campaign by bloggers such as Jane Hamsher, Matt Stoller, Duncan Black, Digby and others to counteract fundraising efforts by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic establishment for any Democratic incumbents — including those who continuously support the Bush agenda — by raising equal amounts (and, in many cases, more) for the primary challengers. The article documents how bloggers raised more than $100,000 over the last week for Donna Edwards, the primary challenger to the pro-war, pro-Bush Democratic Rep. Al Wynn (and you can aid their effort by donating to Edwards here). That is exactly what is needed — incumbent Democrats knowing that they will be targeted and will face credible primary challenges for following in Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein’s Bush-enabling footsteps.