Most of you already know that I was ranked “the” or one of “the” most liberal members of the House of Representatives based on our annual voting records every year of the 20 years I served in the House. Well, there was a year when a few Democrats voted with the more libertarian members on an Iraq war issue, so I didn’t make the cut that year — but only that year.
I remind you of this hoping you will understand my sentiments regarding Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s comments about President Donald Trump at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Aug. 29. To paraphrase her remarks, she said she hoped he would become a better president, and we needed to be patient. She was booed and jeered at the Commonwealth Club, particularly by progressives who can’t stop talking about it.
There can’t be another individual — anywhere — who dislikes our president more than I, but even if the senator felt as I do, she would not state her personal dislike of him at a public forum. Feinstein is a real stateswoman. She fights policy, not personality. She knows that her role is to be heard and respected on both sides of the aisle. She knows that hers is one of few voices that could prevent a total breakdown of communications between the two political parties; between the House and the Senate; between the factions within the parties themselves. She knows her role as a senior stateswoman is to keep us from the disaster of another war. And, she knows all of this is more important than repeating over and over what we all know about Donald Trump. He is a total disaster.
Feinstein may not choose to run for another six-year term. I know I wouldn’t. But I hope she does because we need her.
When she does retire, she will leave a void in the leadership and governance of our country that will take years to fill. Instead of damning Dianne for being a good senator, send her a note thanking her for being one of the voices that makes it possible for the rest of us to vent our opinions, likes and dislikes about those who represent us because we still live in a democracy. She too could damn the president, but she chooses to use her voice to save us.
Former Rep. Lynn Woolsey represented the North Coast in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2013. She lives in Petaluma.