Is This the End of Dianne Feinstein?

California Senator Dianne Feinstein is facing a potential ousting attempt by her fellow Democrats as nervous discussions in the party address the mental state of the 88-year-old lawmaker. The San Francisco Chronicle has published a stunning article that alleges that Feinstein’s health and memory are rapidly deteriorating, prompting fears from those close to her and concerns that she may no longer be capable of serving in the Senate.

Feinstein reportedly concerning colleagues

The Chronicle doesn’t name names, but several testimonies are included in the article and it appears that at least some prominent Democrats have genuine concerns about the senator.

Some apparently feel that she is facing unfair scrutiny after the recent death of her husband and at a time in which other equally old senators are not being subjected to the same questions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several other Senate Democrats denied having any concerns about Feinstein, saying that they are in close contact with her and have not noticed any cognitive changes.

Anonymous lawmakers and staffers, however, told The Chronicle that Feinstein is increasingly forgetful and struggles to keep up with important discussions.

One unnamed Democrat reported that, after working with the senator for 15 years in Congress she had to reintroduce herself multiple times over the course of a conversation.

Like all of the individuals who spoke to The Chronicle anonymously, that lawmaker expressed deep admiration for Feinstein and claimed that her characteristic energy and attention to detail are now absent.

Democrats worry about aging Senate

The senator herself says that she is still fully capable of fulfilling her duties and supporters cited recent anecdotes from their interactions with her which showed that she remains sharp.

The anonymous sources, however, acknowledged that Feinstein’s apparent decline is inconsistent and is not constantly noticeable. Feinstein has made few public appearances in recent years, but even in the Senate she is always accompanied by at least one staffer.

All of this scrutiny suggests that many Democrats are both concerned about the health of their colleague and concerned about the health of their Senate majority.

All of this appears to be aimed at quietly pressing Feinstein to retire before the situation gets worse. California isn’t in any danger of electing a Republican senator in the next election, but the party as a whole will suffer if one of its number is seen to be no longer capable of serving.

Some are even discussing an age limit for the Senate, which is older now than ever before. A senate is by definition intended to be a body of older and more experienced statesmen (coincidentally it shares the same Latin root as the word senile).

If senators are staying in office even after their abilities to represent their states are declining, however, there will inevitably be serious conversations about how they might be politely pushed into retirement.

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