With Sen. Dianne Feinstein's career longevity the subject of doubt due to her apparent physical and cognitive frailties, a Los Angeles Times columnist has now suggested that California Gov. California Newsom could effectively kill two political birds with one stone by appointing Vice President Kamala Harris to fill her seat if the nonagenarian lawmaker were to retire before the end of her current term, as Breitbart reports.
In the eyes of the Times' George Skelton, such a move would give President Joe Biden the leeway necessary to select a 2024 running mate who would be more palatable to a larger portion of the electorate and who would help alleviate growing voter concerns about his age and fitness.
It was earlier this week that Skelton floated what he sees is a workable approach for addressing a number of dilemmas facing the Democratic Party all at once.
“President Biden has a problem. So does Vice President Kamala Harris. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a problem. There's a solution for all of this,” Skelton mused.
The columnist went on to explain that Biden's problem comes in the form of the heavy “drag” Harris is having on his chances of securing a second term, and Feinstein's is embodied by the fact that she can no longer capably serve her constituents as a result of her declining faculties.
After attributing the idea to the proposed remedy to a reader who sent him an email, Skelton declared, “Feinstein could resign from the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom could appoint Harris to replace her.”
“Biden could then find a more popular running mate, one more acceptable to voters as a potential successor,” he added.
Despite the fact that a recent poll indicated that only 20% of California voters believe Feinstein has the capacity to fulfill the obligations of her role, and several prominent Democrats – including fellow California lawmaker Rep. Ro Khanna – have opined that it is time for her to go, to date, the senator has thus far offered no indication that she intends to depart the job early.
Indeed, Feinstein biographer Jerry Roberts recently declared that the lawmaker has “a belief in herself to the point of stubbornness, where nobody is going to tell her what she can or cannot do. She has tremendous belief in her own strength and her own ability.”
Those traits, Skelton admits, would make it difficult for anyone – even Biden – to successfully lobby for her to resign, but that an Oval Office “heart-to-heart” would be a worthwhile exercise if it ended in Feinstein's acquiescence.
The second herculean lift, according to Skelton, would be for Biden and others to convince Harris to voluntarily leave her position as vice president serving under an elderly president many suspect may not be long for the job even if reelected.
“Harris would need to be pushed – dumped, as two great presidents have done,” Skelton wrote. “Franklin D. Roosevelt dropped Henry Wallave in 1944 and replaced him, fortunately, with Harry Truman. Abraham Lincoln cast aside Hannibal Hamlin in 1864.”
Executing the strategy set forth by Skelton would also allow Newsom to fulfil a previous pledge he made to appoint a Black female to any vacancy that should arise, a promise he felt compelled to issue after choosing a Latino male to take over for Harris when she left the Senate to become Biden's VP.
It is regrettable, indeed, in Skelton's view, that the end of Feinstein's long and prolific career is now subject to such strategic machinations, and while he is confident that the plan he outlined would solve a lot of what currently ails the Democratic Party, even he acknowledges that it all “verges on a midsummer night's fantasy,” given the thorny political realities at play.