Applauding Dianne Feinstein’s independent stand
by Susan Estrich
July 09, 2013 12:00 AM | 1180 views | 2 2 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“I feel I have an obligation to do everything I can to keep this country safe. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

That’s how Sen. Dianne Feinstein explained her view, which is winning her buckets of liberal criticism, as a defender of the NSA program.

Edward Snowden’s leaks? “An act of treason.”

She is 80 years old, and she is not pulling her punches.

Right on.

This is what politics should be about. She is not doing what most of her friends want her to do. She isn’t even playing around with some kind of middle ground — some yes, I’m for security, and yes, I’m for privacy, and of course there doesn’t have to be a tradeoff between the two.

Actually, there does.

I can’t really say I agree with Feinstein. How could I? She chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. She knows as much about this program — how it works, what we’ve learned, plots that have been thwarted — as anyone.

I don’t. I know there are tradeoffs. I know the threats are real. But as for evaluating the effectiveness of this program, how can anyone who doesn’t know the details do that? As for specific abuses of privacy, we don’t know about that, either, with the exception of the most egregious, which is of course Snowden’s abuse.

What I find so admirable about Feinstein’s stand is just how nonpolitical it is.

It isn’t based on a poll. A poll would never tell her to go so hard on this one. And why would she need a poll, anyway?

It has nothing to do with who has given her money in past campaigns. Liberals give her money. I’m sure she’s hearing from them. But so what?

It isn’t intended to win friends. She’ll still be reviled for her ardent support of gun control by many of those who agree with her on this. She’s a longtime supporter of gay marriage. Feinstein is never going to be the darling of the right, and I don’t think she cares two whits about that.

She is doing what she thinks is right. She is standing up because she thinks it’s what’s needed to protect our country.

Agree with her or disagree with her, I defy you not to smile a little on this July 4th weekend and remember that standing on principle for what a leader believes is right — throwing the usual rules of “politics” to the wind — is the essence of the miracle we call America.

That’s why we want “great” men and women in public office and on the bench. Most of the time, in the run-of-the-mill vote or decision or dispute, you may not need “greatness” to pick a side. “Greatness” is not a very good predictor of how someone will do at fundraising or whether they can endure months or years of canned speeches and town halls without making a ridiculous mistake. “Greatness” is not necessarily the same thing as never having done anything in your life that you wouldn’t want to go viral.

We need great men and women for important moments, when what counts is courage and conviction, when you need to risk the wrath of your friends in order to seek what you believe to be the larger good.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has always been known for a streak of independence.

It’s what makes a great senator.

It’s what we celebrate with joy on the Fourth of July.

Susan Estrich is a law professor in Southern California.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 12, 2013
If Ms Finestein feels she has an obligation to make this country safe can the parents of Saint Trayvon sue her for failure to protect their precious one? Obviously, she didn't carryout her duty.
Dwight Neller
July 10, 2013
"What I find so admirable about Feinstein’s stand is just how nonpolitical it is."

It not politically aligned in any way because her view and voice are in alignment with garnering deals for her big biz hubby Richard C Blum. He does defense contracting through affiliations with: Booz Allen Hamilton (Edward Snowden's former employer), EG&G, Carlyle Group (Bin Laden Family Money) and many more. Think big war profiteer, massive surveillance of the US citizen and you won't be far from the real picture.

He is also a big real estate guy affiliated with CB Richard Ellis (CBRE Group): They just made tons of money pillaging the US Public by buying and selling a number of USPS facilities through another insider deal during one of the worst recessions in US history as well as during federal sequestration and many federal employees (even at the NSA) facing furloughs.

These people are not good people to look up to or admire in any way. They abhor the US Constitution. This is self evident in their actions, not just their words. Feinstein is actively undermining the 1st, 2nd and 4rth amendments under the guise of "public safety". They believe that they are above the law, are far more intelligent and entitled to anything they wish for no matter how twisted or insane it looks to everyone else (except for this author). Feinstein is not a maverick in the positive sense of the word. She does not have an independent voice or view of the world. She is deeply embroiled in several major political catastrophes and is now laying really low for the election season.

Don't believe me? Here are some refs:

USPS Deal:

Defense Dept. Furloughs:

Attempted abolition of 2nd amendment rights:

Feinstein lies about NSA 4rth Amendment Violations:
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