Dianne Feinstein Would Like You To Respect Her Authoritah
California's senior Senator has heard the talk, has heard the voices of her constituents, and basically doesn't care.
"We are getting to the point if people aren't going to respond to the patience and openness of Senator Baucus, we should begin to make a different plan," said Andrew Stern, president of the 2 million-member SEIU.
Stern said his organization issued a release chastising Feinstein last week, because she should "put her foot on the gas, not the brake" on health reform.
"The gas pedal to go where?" Feinstein replied, explaining she has questions about how a broad expansion of health coverage will be paid for.
"I do not think this is helpful. It doesn't move me one whit," she said. "They are spending a lot of money on something that is not productive."
What we have here is a difference of opinion over the nature of representative democracy. Are politicians elected to reflect the will of their constituents, or are they elected to provide their own enlightened opinion on public affairs and public policy? Sen. Feinstein has already given her perspective before. She acknowledged that public opinion in California was sharply against authorizing the war in Iraq, but she voted for it anyway, arguing that she knew things her constituents didn't know (namely, hundreds of lies told by the Bush Administration). On health care, she has the same perspective; we, the citizens of California, had an "accountability moment" in 2006, Feinstein was elected, and now we can all STFU as she applies her own reasoning and belief on health care and other topics.
Needless to say, I don't agree with her perspective. It sounds to me like something that a member of the House of Lords would say rather than a politician in this country. Not to mention the fact that it cuts completely against the trend of participatory democracy that has energized the Democratic side of the aisle since Howard Dean's campaign in 2003-04. Dianne Feinstein thinks your role as a citizen is to vote for her and then keep quiet for six years and she bequeaths her wisdom.
If you don't agree with her, contact her office. I'm sure her staff will file that away somewhere.