Dianne Feinstein Can’t Thank Lindsey Graham Enough For Such A Thorough, Professional Ass Whooping

SCOTUS

Let's talk about the crazy shit that happened yesterday. The sham confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett had just concluded, and the Senate's ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, had something to say. I didn't expect anything too grand, just a slight acknowledgment of the Republican Party's latest wholly corrupt, norm-shredding power play. I would've settled for a simple “From hell's heart I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath" at Donald Trump and the GOP.

Instead, Feinstein congratulated committee chair and used colostomy bag Lindsey Graham on a job well-done, as if they'd finished up a squash match at their private club. Graham had shamelessly cheated, knocked her to the floor with his racket, and kicked her still quivering body, but who knows, maybe that's a good time for her.

Senate Democrats tried to deny Republicans a quorum, but Graham ignored committee rules and still moved forward with a motion setting Barrett's Judiciary Committee vote for next Thursday. This is what Feinstein considers worthy of a glowing LinkedIn testimonial.

To quote noted American thinker Fred G. Sanford, Democrats had just “been had bad." They'd been "conned, robbed, and ripped off." And Feinstein expressed her gratitude to the head robber. She even hugged Graham afterward, without a mask, because apparently her own life matters as much to her as the millions of Americans set to lose their health care once Barrett's on the Supreme Court.



Normally, when the hero of our story debases themselves before the mustache-twirling villain, it's done with significant regret and solely to save lives. They don't like it but they'll put their ego aside and kneel before Zod if their submissive display spares innocent people. Maybe Feinstein had received a threatening call from terrorists Thursday morning.

TERRORISTS: Say nice things about Lindsey Graham or we'll blow up an orphanage!

FEINSTEIN: One with children in it?

TERRORISTS: Yes.

FEINSTEIN: Damn!

But I'm overcomplicating matters and giving Feinstein too much credit. The senator probably just likes being a chump ... an all-day, fool-flavored sucker. That's what career Democrats consider the privilege of membership in the world's greatest deliberative body.

Jonathan Chait from New York magazine tweeted: “If you told Feinstein Graham will use this in an ad, she'd be pleased. Old-time Senate Democrats see the Senate as a club, don't want anybody kicked out of the club, and care more about their friends than having a majority."

Jaime Harrison is closer than any Democrat has been to unseating Graham, and Feinstein's lovefest Thursday actively sabotages Harrison's efforts to (correctly) paint Graham as a partisan Trump toady. My father has seen Harrison yard signs in Greenville, South Carolina's upscale Parkins Mills neighborhood. Not even Barack Obama at his peak broke through there. South Carolina voters otherwise skeptical of Democrats are taking a serious look at Harrison, who doesn't leave a slime trail behind him when he walks.

The tightening polls and Harrison's fundraising advantage is why Graham white-knuckles it through his Save the Lindsey telethons on Fox News.

Graham has called Democratic leadership “nuts" and blamed Senate Democrats, including Feinstein, for why he reneged on his former position about filling a Supreme Court seat during an election year. He claimed Democrats were so mean to Brett Kavanaugh that he had no choice but to break his public promises. The devils from blue states made him do it. This is not an honorable man.

However, Graham is someone who gets pissed off. He screamed and yelled during the Kavanaugh hearings. Most Democrats don't get mad. They write stern tweets, maybe a scathing op-ed in the Times. They try to shame the shameless. The upcoming six to three conservative majority in the Supreme Court tells us how effective the Democratic strategy has been.

You'll recall that no Republican was stupid enough to throw a bipartisan lifeline to losing Democratic Senators Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, or Bill Nelson just weeks before the 2018 election. The Republican agenda was more important to them than so-called "friendships across the aisle." Republicans play to win, as though they've truly absorbed Alec Baldwin's “pep talk" from Glengarry Glen Ross.

Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you, go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here? Close. [ ... ] You don't like it, leave.

Democrats were already facing a Bolivian Army ending for the Amy Coney Barrett hearings. The odds were insurmountable. Republicans had the votes and were going to ram this nomination through. Period. But instead of shouting “Freedom!" as the GOP disemboweled us, Feinstein exclaimed, “Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Feinstein isn't the senior senator from Alabama, where it takes a miracle or an act of mall perviness for a Democrat to win. Feinstein's from California, where polls show Joe Biden ahead by more than 30 percent. Republican senators from Wyoming or Tennessee wouldn't spit on Elizabeth Warren if she were on fire.

The progressive group We Demand Justice kindly recommended that Democrats remove Feinstein from her leadership position on the Judiciary Committee because she's useless.

She has undercut Democrats' position at every step of this process, from undermining calls for filibuster and Court reform straight through to thanking Republicans for the most egregious partisan power grab in the modern history of the Supreme Court. If Senate Democrats are going to get their act together on the courts going forward, they cannot be led by someone who treats Sunrise activists with contempt and the Republican theft of a Supreme Court seat with kid gloves.

Democrats like Feinstein prioritize “norms" when doing so might literally cost people their lives. It's 18 days until the election and Republicans are installing a rightwing hack who'll spent the next several decades screwing over the powerless and marginalized. Why would any Democrat, any supposed ally of ours, thank the people responsible? Get mad, you son of a bitches, get mad!

Yes, we might defeat Trump. We might even win back the Senate, but if we don't recognize that Republicans aren't our friends, if we let them imprison us in norms they never respect, we're just going to keep losing.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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