In the Senate, the Golden State is represented by two Jewish women, both Democrats, each originally serving jurisdictions in the Bay Area, but with entirely different temperaments. Our senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein, shows respect for her more conservative colleagues and has worked with them to see 26 of the bills she has introduced (since first her first election in November 1992) enacted into law. You can imagine her taking criticism, civilly offered from a constituent, without questioning his motives.
Our junior Senator, on the other hand, Barbara Boxer berates her ideological adversaries and has seen a total of three of the bills she introduced become law. And she took office only two months after her colleague (Feinstein was elected to fill the remainder of the Senate seat Pete Wilson abandoned when he was elected Governor in 1990 and was sworn in soon after she ousted appointed incumbent John Seymour).
Mrs. Feinstein joins her Indiana and Virginia colleagues in reading the tea leaves in the wake of the Massachusetts special Senate election; she understands “the situation has changed dramatically“:
You see anger. People are worried. And when they’re worried they don’t want to take on a broad new responsibility, [like health reform] . . . .
I think we do go slower on health care. People do not understand it. it is so big it is beyond their comprehension. . . .
In my view when people are earning, when their home is secure, when their children are going to school, and they are relatively satisfied with their life and there’s a problem like health care – they want it solved. It doesn’t threaten them. The size of this bill threatens them. And that’s one of the problems that’s got to be straightened out.
So, she’s saying Congress needs to slow down and first tackle the economy. Not just that, in perhaps a slap at her junior colleague, “Feinstein said it is clear that attempts to pass sweeping legislation to address climate change by capping carbon emissions cannot pass this Congress.” Mrs. Boxer has introduced the Senate version of cap ‘n trade. Guess Ma’am won’t be getting that 4th bill enacted into law any time soon.
Given that her seat is up this fall, one wonders if Mrs. Boxer has as clear a reading on the popular mood as does her senior colleague. Methinks that even a decent Democrat like DiFi might be vulnerable in the type of environment that elects a Republican in a state that Obama won by 26 points.