Despite the opposition of 97 percent of the California Democratic House delegation, despite the fact that the bill will still leave seniors wanting and will imperil Medicare itself, only half of California’s Democratic senators are voting no on this bill: the Barbara Boxer half. Her colleague, Dianne Feinstein, announced Sunday that she would support this monstrosity.
Just one month ago, in an October 22 op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Feinstein wrote with Senator Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma) that “Seniors may be forced into a government-run drug benefit system that is destined to collapse because it is overcommitted and underfunded.” The bill now before her gives seniors a choice of entering government-subsidized HMOs, andit leaves Medicare just as overcommitted and even more underfunded than before. Only now, Feinstein supports the bill.
On the three major congressional votes of the Bush presidency — the ruinous tax cut of 2001, the authorization of war in Iraq and the current assault on Medicare — Feinstein has been on the president’s side in two, the tax cut and the Medicare bill. To the best of my recollection, she did not win re-election in 2000 on a platform of helping George W. Bush destroy social responsibility and the public sector in America. As one of the wealthiest senators, she surely did not campaign on a platform of making the rich richer at everyone else’s expense. Yet these things are precisely what she’s done.
DiFi acts as if Californians are just itching for the social agenda of George W. Bush, though all evidence is way to the contrary. There is on occasion an almost glazed look in her eyes; it could just be the effect of appearing on Larry King so often, but — and this is the one plausible explanation for her voting — maybe, in her confusion, she believes she actually represents a Carolina. Let’s buy her a one-way ticket in the luggage bin and send her there.