Phone call with reporter adds to concerns about 89-yr-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s cognitive health

More often than not, matters that raise concerns for members of the Democrat Party are those that are obstructing their agenda. So, it would seem that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has made that list as a recent conversation has rekindled discussions of her being “mentally compromised.”

Rebecca Traister, a journalist who writes for The Cut, sat down for a half-hour phone conversation with Feinstein days after the shooting massacre in Uvalde, Texas. The piece titled “The Institutionalist” was meant to be about the senator’s more than 50 years in public office but Traister couldn’t help but find concern in the cognitive health of the 89-year-old who is currently the oldest member of the U.S. Senate.

The journalist joined Mary Louise Kelly for NPR’s “All Things Considered” to discuss the article and the host pressed her on the senator’s fitness.

“So you set out to do this big legacy piece. And in fairness, your piece does cover a lot of that ground. What caused you to change course and focus on mental health?” Kelly asked after Traister had already clarified the piece was not about Feinstein’s cognitive abilities.

Traister eventually arrived at the conclusion that her concerns stemmed from the manner in which Feinstein answered her questions, saying, “It felt to me to be deeply disconnected from the very urgent and chilling realities that we are very much in the midst of.”

In the article, she wrote, “Nothing she said suggested a deterioration beyond what would be normal for a person her age, but neither did it demonstrate any urgent engagement with the various crises facing the nation.”

“Every question I asked – about the radicalization of the GOP, the end of Roe, the failures of Congress – was met with a similar sunny imperviousness, evincing an undiminished belief in institutional power that may in fact explain a lot about where Feinstein and other Democratic leaders have gone wrong,” she went on.

Feinstein’s mental acuity has been a concern for some time as previously reported with unnamed colleagues in Congress making statements like, “I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea. All of that is gone.”

Traister noted in her article, “[Feinstein’s] declining cognitive health has been the subject of recent reporting in both her hometown San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. It seems clear that Feinstein is mentally compromised, even if she’s not all gone. ‘It’s definitely happening,’ said one person who works in California politics. ‘And it’s definitely not happening all the time.'”

While the concern about Feinstein is warranted, the journalist seemed to reveal the greater issue at hand is the obstacle that fixtures in the Senate have posed to the progressive agenda. “We are run by a gerontocracy on both the Democratic and Republican sides,” she told NPR. “The Senate works by offering increased power to those who’ve been there for the longest.”

With the number of aged senators remaining in office, it’s no wonder that the Democrats would attempt to question their ability to continue in public service while turning a blind eye to the concerns of President Joe Biden’s mental health.

He remains a useful tool to forward the progressive agenda, whereas the lasting mission of eroding the institutions of the American Republic requires a constant infusion of fresh radicals.

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Kevin Haggerty

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