End of Feinstein's Career Gets Nasty as She Cedes Power of Attorney, Refuses Calls to Resign


When even The New York Times is tacitly admitting that Sen. Dianne Feinstein is too decrepit to serve in the upper chamber, you know the gig is up.

Feinstein, a California Democrat, is the oldest member of the Senate and easily the most senescent elected member of a party that includes President Joe Biden and Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania. Calls for her to resign due to numerous illnesses and absences — as well as the fact she gives off the undisguised, undisguisable air of someone who has zero clue where they are at any given moment — have gone unheeded, meaning the 90-year-old San Franciscan is playing out the end of her career in a very public and very ugly way.

The latest embarrassment for Feinstein involves the distribution of her considerable fortune after her passing — which, let’s face it, will come sooner rather than later. The suit involves a dispute between Feinstein’s daughter Katherine and three daughters fathered by her former husband Richard C. Blum, a financier, in a previous relationship.

“In one legal dispute, the family is fighting over what’s described as Senator Feinstein’s desire to sell a beach house in an exclusive neighborhood in Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco,” the Times reported on Thursday. “In another disagreement, the two factions are at odds over access to the proceeds of Mr. Blum’s life insurance, which Senator Feinstein says she needs to pay for her growing medical expenses.”

However, the tone of the piece by the Times’ Tim Arango and Shawn Hubler played into a wider narrative about, using their words, the “long and painful public drama about [Feinstein’s] health and ability to do her job.”

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“Senator Feinstein, 90 and in her sixth term in the Senate, has long been in frail health with increasing memory and cognition issues,” the Times noted.

“When she returned to work earlier this year after a monthslong absence because of shingles and various complications, her further decline shocked colleagues. She has relied on a cadre of aides in order to function in the Senate, even as she has resisted calls to relinquish her seat before her term expires after next year’s election.”

Amid that drama is the fight over Feinstein’s finances; according to the Times, Katherine has power of attorney over her mother and some of the lawyers for the other trustees of the Feinstein-Blum fortune allege that Katherine, who serves on San Francisco’s fire commission, is “acting out of personal interests and not out of those of her mother.”

“My clients are perplexed by this filing,” said Steven Braccini, the lawyer representing the trustees. “Richard Blum’s trust has never denied any disbursement to Senator Feinstein, let alone for medical expenses.”

Should Feinstein resign?

Moreover, the lawsuit filed by the trustees indicates that Katherine Feinstein hasn’t “made it clear, either in this filing or directly to my clients, why a sitting United States senator would require someone to have power of attorney over her.”

Let’s face facts: We all know the answer to this question, even if it’s not possible to phrase it that way in court documents. Since winning her last re-election bid in 2018, sotto voce concerns about Feinstein’s cognitive capacities have turned into an open — and loud — debate on whether she should resign now or limp to the finish line. Nobody, however, seems to openly question whether or not she’s competent, because she so clearly isn’t.

This scene from the Senate Appropriations Committee last week accurately sums up just how Democrats now view Feinstein: as a barely warm body who delivers the votes they want.

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“Just say aye” isn’t a new Nike ad. Instead, it’s a curt (but fair) way to keep grandma from embarrassing herself yet again. Which — let’s be honest, that’s exactly where this train was headed.

Reports have indicated that Feinstein not only struggles to remember her colleagues and often confuses them, she’s gotten to the point where she lacks clarity on the vice president’s role in Senate votes. (Given that Democrats only have a slim 51-49 majority — with two swing votes in Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — it’s a rather outsized role, and one any educated observer should know, to say nothing of a very experienced senator.)

A 2020 of Feinstein from The New Yorker, which quoted several high-placed anonymous Democrats, revealed just how serious her struggles were: “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,” the outlet reported. “They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said and getting upset when she can’t keep up.”

It hasn’t gotten any better in the intervening two-and-a-half years. And just in case you needed more evidence that Feinstein’s decline reached a terminal stage long ago, consider that a sitting U.S. senator needs her daughter to have power of attorney for her in a lawsuit involving the trustees to her own fortune. Now more than ever, it’s clearly time for Feinstein to leave the upper house and set her own house in order while she still has some limited faculties about her.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture