California Forum

Why Sen. Dianne Feinstein needs to run again in 2018

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, and California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, right, confer during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Trump Administration's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals otherwise known as DACA. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, and California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, right, confer during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Trump Administration's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals otherwise known as DACA. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) AP

Three days after a mass murderer in Las Vegas killed 58 concert goers and injured hundreds more, Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposed legislation to ban “bump stocks,” which effectively turn a semi-automatic firearm into something closely resembling an automatic weapon. Stephen Paddock reportedly had 12 weapons fitted with the device in his hotel suite.

Feinstein has targeted bump stocks with legislation before that didn’t go anywhere. This time, some of her Republican colleagues say they’re open to the ban. If it does take effect, it will mark a milestone in efforts to finally get Republican members of Congress to stand up to the National Rifle Association.

The senator from California knows all too well the horror of gun crime, ever since George Moscone was murdered in his San Francisco mayor’s office and Feinstein stepped up to pull the city together in the wake of that tragedy.

The ability to work across the aisle is a hallmark of Feinstein’s service in the U.S. Senate. Remember the late-night scene on the Senate floor when Arizona Republican John McCain and Feinstein hugged before he cast his thumbs-down vote that killed a GOP Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort?

Feinstein has made a career of solving problems, and she has demonstrated the courage to stand up for what’s right, even if it angers members of her own party. We need someone of her stature to stand up to the Trump Madness.

Those who are discouraging her from seeking another term or threatening to run against her are straightjacketed by same type of extreme ideological dogma that has paralyzed Washington. This isn’t about ideology. It’s about experience, integrity and competence.

Even though we have been involved in Democratic politics in California for a long time, we are not close to Feinstein and have never worked with or for her. But we care about our democracy and are committed to supporting elected officials who stand up to those who threaten its future.

In politics, problems are solved in the middle. Very few of our current elected representatives in Washington seem to understand this reality. Feinstein is one of the few who gets it.

She understands that, if you want to get things done in Washington, you have work with the president, even if he’s a narcissist. So-called progressives attacked Feinstein for saying if Trump changed, he could be a “good president.”

You can disagree with her choice of words, as we do. But her intent is clear. If Democrats can make progress on important issues in his remaining time in office, they should work with Trump, because that’s what responsible elected officials do.

Was there a similar outcry from the left when minority leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi cut an important deal with Trump to protect young immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy?

Feinstein has served in the U.S. Senate with distinction since 1992. We need her to run again in 2018.

In this time of polarization, our country cannot allow bipartisanship and political moderation to become an anachronism.

David Townsend and Chris Tapio are principals of Townsend Calkin Tapio Public Affairs. Reach them at david@tctpa.com and chris@tctpa.com.

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