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May 16, 2023

Feinstein Today Is Biden Tomorrow

Unlike the Republicans, Democrats don’t have a clear future. No Democrat as young as DeSantis stands out as their next-generation leader.

Democrats insist that President Joe Biden, who turns 81 this year, isn’t too old for a second term.

But another Democrat undercuts their argument.

Nobody likes to talk about getting older.

And because we live in sensitive times, the idea that age can affect a person’s abilities is abhorrent. No one is supposed to be too old for a job.

Yet Dianne Feinstein obviously is too old for her job as a United States senator.

Progressives are the first to admit it. Even they consider competence more important than anti-discrimination scruples when something they care about is on the line.

A Democratic majority in the Senate, and on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is of the utmost importance to them. So Feinstein, who turns 90 next month, must go.

Yet she won’t — or her staff won’t let her.

Last week, as Feinstein returned to her duties after two months’ absence, Rolling Stone reported it’s been years since her staff would so much as allow her to walk the Senate’s halls unescorted.

“They will not let her leave (her office) by herself, but she doesn’t even know it,” former staffer Jamarcus Purley told the magazine.

Feinstein’s decline into incapacity has not been sudden.

Yet she ran for reelection, and won, as recently as 2018, at age 85.

If Biden serves a full second term, he will leave office at 86. By then will he be as much a ward of his aides as Feinstein now is?

Republicans have no doubt — Biden is already in decline, mentally and physically. If he hasn’t reached Feinstein’s condition yet, time will only take him closer. Her present is Biden’s future. The question is how quickly he gets there.

But if Democrats have a hard time dispelling concerns about Biden’s age, they can easily resort to whataboutism.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was born the same year as Biden.

And Donald Trump, who turns 77 next month, was born just four years later.

If Biden is too old, what about them?

Trump answers that in action, on the campaign trail. Voters get to judge for themselves by seeing him in person at rallies here, there and everywhere.

If Trump gets the Republican nomination, he’ll put Biden’s stamina to the test.

In 2020, COVID gave Biden a reason not to campaign in person. Next year, he won’t be able to avoid it.

Do Democrats who tell voters Biden is still fit really want to see him compete with Trump’s barnstorming?

The contrast between Biden and the other top contender for the GOP nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, would be even more striking. DeSantis is 44 years old.

That points to an even bigger problem for the Democrats. Unlike the Republicans, they don’t have a clear future.

No Democrat as young as DeSantis stands out as their next-generation leader.

Ten years ago, that was supposed to be Barack Obama. But instead of ushering in a new Democratic Party, the Obama years ended with a nostalgia trip.

The party looked back to Hillary Clinton as its 2016 nominee. It looked backward again, to Joe Biden, in 2020.

Biden was supposed to be the elder statesman on the Obama ticket, the link to the past as Democrats advanced into a future of hope and change.

But little change came to the party of Clinton, Biden and Feinstein.

And what change there was led not to hope but to despair — the deaths of despair from opioids and suicide that proliferated during the Obama years and the ideological despair of progressives who thought America was more racist than ever after electing its first Black president.

The party of FDR and JFK was a party of hope, looking forward to new deals and new frontiers.

The party of Biden is a party of fear, looking back with hate upon an America founded on slavery and ahead with disgust to an America that will never be rid of racism, transphobia, guns, greed and God.

Donald Trump is not young, but he gave the GOP a new identity in 2016. And it’s telling that in 2024 the Republican contest is between the original visionary and a younger leader who promises to carry the party even further in a populist, culturally right-wing direction.

Obama had no heir, not because Democrats haven’t changed at all — but because what they’re changing into is a party whose progressive ideology is too extreme to produce electable national leaders.

The Obama era embittered progressives because the young president dared not pursue a bolder left-wing agenda — hence the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter outbursts.

Clinton and Biden were old, familiar faces to reassure regular voters, even as the party moved left — toward defunding the police and changing the definition of “woman.”

The crisis confronting the Democrats isn’t just old leaders. It’s the radicalism of their new ideology. And that makes the new Republican brand a winner.


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