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Sen. Feinstein, the NSA, and the Left

by: Brian Leubitz

Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 11:00:34 AM PDT


feinstein photo: Dianne Feinstein photo_feinstein.jpgNYT explores her relationship to the left on intelligence

by Brian Leubitz

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has had of a bit of an on-again/off-again relationship with the Left. But to the NY Times, our senior Senator is a "liberal lioness", whatever that means. Clearly she has done a lot for progressive causes, from gun control to fighting for reproductive freedom and many other issues. However, the issue that keeps coming up again and again is the balance between individual liberty and the importance of intelligence. And her position on the NSA leaks, PRISM, and the prosecution of Snowden doesn't help the rift:

She fought so hard to outlaw assault weapons that the National Rifle Association deemed her efforts tantamount to proposing the largest gun ban in American history. Well before the Supreme Court took up same-sex marriage, she sponsored a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. And she urged President George W. Bush, and later President Obama, to shut down the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

But Senator Dianne Feinstein - California Democrat and liberal lioness - has taken on a role that is leaving many of her allies on the left dismayed: as perhaps the most forthright and unapologetic Congressional defender of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.(NYT)

Perhaps some on the Left would have expected something different, but for most, this is exactly what we expected. For better or worse, Sen. Feinstein has placed the needs of intelligence on a pedestal, there is nothing new here.

Brian Leubitz :: Sen. Feinstein, the NSA, and the Left
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ha (5.00 / 2)
Liberal Lioness?  -- Feinstein?!? --  Geez...standards for liberal lionesses have sure fallen.

Sure, she has her few pet issues that she has fought pretty well for. But otherwise she's been a terribly unreliable liberal.  I always think of her as a middle-of-the-road "business/centrist" democrat.  Well, rather than middle-of-the-road, perhaps really I think she is a finger-in-the-wind calculator who always wants to create leverage for herself by sitting at precipice of the decision points of an issue ... just 'cause that's how she rolls.

I am not a fan, but obviously we could have had all sorts of worse.


I'm not sure we could have done worse. (4.50 / 2)
She's a terrible Senator, especially for a state as blue as California.

by which I meant: A Republican (4.00 / 1)
She's a good old fashioned Rockefeller Republican, in my book (of which we have too many these days).

So - we could have a had any sort of real Republican in her seat these years, and, yeah, that would have been worse.


[ Parent ]
Sneaky Pete (4.00 / 1)
Sen SI Hayakawa ?
Sen. Sneaky Pete Wilson ?

Feinstein has irritated me with her Pro-war votes
But, we could have done a LOT worse

I like Sen Boxer's views/votes more
But, you rarely hear of/from Barbara Boxer


[ Parent ]
She's a hawk... (4.00 / 1)
...but holds a fairly progressive social agenda. Methinks the grey lady doesn't want to stretch her mind too much, comprehending such an unfathomably incompatible pairing.

Lockstep is wrong on either side of the aisle. (0.00 / 0)
I consider myself an honorable progressive, but these attacks on Sen. Feinstein are illogical.

Why is it that we denounce Tea Party Republicans for marching in lockstep and  putting ideology ahead of what's best for the country but demand the same of progressives?

I can't believe one of your posters said that we have "too many" Rockefeller Republicans.  That's crazy.  The gridlock and ideological meltdown we are facing today is because we have too few rational, reasonable Republicans, not too many.

And while I certainly have some issues with the Patriot Act,  I am willing to give Sen. Feinstein the benefit of the doubt this time.  If the NSA program has truly meant that we have prevented terrorist attacks on our soil and saved lives, putting the security of our country "on a pedestal" is for better,  not for worse.


Rockefeller Republicans (5.00 / 1)
I think you missed my point (and/or I was too glib about it).

I mean to say that we have too many Rockefeller Repubs...in the Democratic Party !  (Certainly the GOP does not suffer from an excess of rational reasonable Republicans.)

Feinstein has never been a leader for the Democratic brand, a leader willing to take the stage to defend its principles and values.  Except for the specific few issues she's found interest in.  Feinstein has always been for Feinstein.  That's her right, it's somehow gotten her re-elected many times, and I'd prefer her to probably any Republican.  But I don't have to like it.

By the way, I'll bet more people have died from car accidents and gun accidents in the last 12 years than from terrorists attacks (even if you include the ones that the NSA purportedly "stopped" with its secret domestic spying programs).


[ Parent ]
Rockefeller Republicans (0.00 / 0)
I think you missed my point (and/or I was too glib about it).

I mean to say that we have too many Rockefeller Repubs...in the Democratic Party !  (Certainly the GOP does not suffer from an excess of rational reasonable Republicans.)

Feinstein has never been a leader for the Democratic brand, a leader willing to take the stage to defend its principles and values.  Except for the specific few issues she's found interest in.  Feinstein has always been for Feinstein.  That's her right, it's somehow gotten her re-elected many times, and I'd prefer her to probably any Republican.  But I don't have to like it.

By the way, I'll bet more people have died from car accidents and gun accidents in the last 12 years than from terrorists attacks (even if you include the ones that the NSA purportedly "stopped" with its secret domestic spying programs).


[ Parent ]
Di-Fi (3.00 / 2)
 Feinstein has always been for Feinstein.

Not all the time, there are times she only cares about Dick Blum a little contract here and there never hurt the family bank $$$$$$$$.


Really ? (0.00 / 0)
Di Fi only cares about herself......

So, Did you vote for Bill Clinton ?
How about Lying Al Gore ?
or Saint Barack Obama ?
I'll bet you're gonna vote for Hillary, right ??

Di Fi is no worse than the self promoters we've had running for President
How many of the above supported George W Bush in removing  Weapons of Mass Destruction from Iraq  ??


[ Parent ]
An inconsistent "liberal" (0.00 / 0)
I remember the time our senior senator just barely missed a censure vote by the state Democratic Party for her conservative votes. The chair told people later that he called her to tell her about it because he was so shocked by the level of upset from the Party faithful.

At the same time, Democracy for America sent out an email about those same votes to all their members in the state.

And my mother, who is a VERY conservative Republican, says senator Feinstein is the only Democrat she could ever vote for.

Yes, she has supported gun control and a woman's right to choose. And I thank her for that. But a "liberal lioness"? I think not. She has, as other posters have said, been a staunch defenders of Wall Street, property developers, corporations, and the military-industrial complex.


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