The irony of San Francisco’s senator: Diane Feinstein, Bush/military-industrial enabler and

Glenn Greenwald

Just look at what she has done this year on the most critical and revealing votes:

* Voted in FAVOR of funding the Iraq War without conditions; * Voted in FAVOR of the Bush White House’s FISA bill to drastically expand warrantless eavesdropping powers;

* Voted in FAVOR of condemning MoveOn.org;

* Cast the deciding vote in August on the Senate Judiciary Committee in FAVOR of the nomination of far right Bush nominee Leslie Southwick to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2006, Feinstein not only voted in favor of extending the Patriot Act without any of the critical safeguards sought by Sen. Feingold, among others, but she was one of the most outspoken Democratic proponents arguing for its extension (“I have never been in favor of allowing any provisions of the Patriot Act to expire.”). Also in 2006, she not only voted in favor of amending the Constitution to outlaw flag burning, but was, as she proudly described herself, “the main Democratic sponsor of this amendment.”

In October of 2002, she (naturally) voted to authorize President Bush to use military force to invade Iraq. She now self-servingly claims that she “regrets” the vote and was tricked by the Bush administration into believing Saddam had WMDs, yet Scott Ritter has disclosed: “This is far different from the statement Feinstein made to me in the summer of 2002, when she acknowledged that the Bush administration had not provided any convincing intelligence to back up its claims about Iraqi WMD.” And when it was revealed in August of this year that Awad Allawi had hired the most influential GOP lobbying firm to help oust Prime Minister Maliki, there was Sen. Feinstein leading the way in demanding Maliki’s ouster.

Time and again, not only does she vote in favor of the most right-wing aspects of the Bush agenda, she uses her alleged expertise in areas of intelligence to pressure or give comfort to other Democrats wanting to do the same. Several of the 16 Democratic Senators who voted in favor of Bush’s FISA bill in August, such as Jim Webb, cited assurances by Feinstein that she had obtained Secret Information as a member of the Intelligence Committee which proved how necessary this bill was. Similarly, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, she was one of the Democratic leaders urging the confirmation of Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA Director notwithstanding the central role he played as NSA Director in Bush’s illegal surveillance programs.

Her primary allegiance is to the Beltway power system and her overwhelming affection is reserved for Beltway power brokers who are her true colleagues and constituents. That is particularly true of right-wing members of the defense and intelligence communities.

Most of these political officials who feed off of Washington year after year become appendages of it and vigorous defenders of nothing other than the Beltway system. They are drained of all belief, conviction and passion. And in Feinstein’s case, it is particularly easy to understand why this is so. Her current husband, Richard Blum, is an extremely rich defense contractor whose companies have endless relationships with the work Feinstein does in the Senate. It is entirely unsurprising that Feinstein’s affection is reserved for officials in the intelligence and defense communities because those are her social peers, the individuals with whom her husband interacts professionally and socially and with whom she most identifies.

More than anything else, Feinstein worships at the altar of the Beltway power system and its most revered members. Conversely, she has contempt for the liberal base which elects her and the constituents she represents. She long ago ceased being driven by the political values which serve as props for her campaigns, if she was ever driven by them. And that is the story of so many of the Beltway Democrats.

It really is one of the most extraordinary — and downright embarrassing — political facts that more Republicans than Democrats approve of the 2007 Democratic Congress.

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Filed under Congress, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Politics, public corruption

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