When Ted Cruz raised with Dianne Feinstein the question of the constitutionality of legislation she was proposing, the Senator from California reacted testily, stating that she is not a sixth-grader. I would have thought that, if anything, Cruz’s attempt to engage her in a discussion about the Constitution showed respect for Sen. Feinstein.
Too often, Feinstein (a non-lawyer) has marginalized herself as a Judiciary Committee member by opting to play Oprah, rather than engaging in meaningful legal analysis. During the Roberts confirmation hearings, for example, Feinstein famously tried to have the nominee speak to her as a father and a husband, rather than a jurist. No wonder she worries that she’s not taken seriously.
Cruz offered Feinstein the opportunity to join the adults. Feinstein not only turned it down, she complained that the offer was demeaning.
What, then, does Feinstein make of Harry Reid’s decision to strip her proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines from the gun legislation to be proposed to the Senate? Talk about disrespect. This is a signature piece of legislation for Feinstein, who became mayor of San Francisco after the 1978 assassinations of the City’s Mayor and City Supervisor. Reid’s decision to exclude her contribution from the bill led Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post to conclude that Feinstein had “the worst week in Washington.”
Feinstein, I assume, will decide not to take Reid’s decision personally. After all, he pulled her legislation because it doesn’t have enough votes.
But shouldn’t a senior Senator of any stature expect her own party to permit an up-or-down vote on her pet legislation, favored by the party, on an important issue? As President Obama shouted (several times) in his State of the Union speech, the Newtown victims DESERVE A VOTE.
It seems to me that Feinstein has been exiled to the “kids’ table.” Not by Ted Cruz, or through her own antics, but by her party’s Majority Leader.