There are any number of things that were expected to be raised by critics against the reelection of the senior California senator, Dianne Feinstein. There is her support for the death penalty or expansions of surveillance programs or her presumed knowledge of the torture program or her husband’s financial dealings. However, the thing that is galvanizing opposition is Feinstein’s statement this week that she would not back impeachment of President Donald Trump and her suggestion that citizens might have to be patient. That has caused an outcry that now threatens her consideration of running for a new term. In the age of rage, even saying that you would not support a clearly unjustified impeachment effort makes you not only someone outside of the resistance but a reactionary.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León denounced Feinstein’s remarks for being too measured and restrained: “It wasn’t the proper tone or tenor, especially given the current state of politics at the national level. We don’t owe Trump patience. We owe Californians resistance.”
For a politician who has not faced serious opposition in two decades, the angry response is a telling measure of the mind and mood of voters in California. Impeachment has become the new qualifying threshold issue despite the dangers presented in what I have called the “no confidence impeachment model.”
There is a growing feeling of a Robespierran climate. Instead of “revolution,” we have “resistance” and former allies like Feinstein are being devoured by a new and more extreme generation. Jacques Mallet du Pan, a French journalist, once said “like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children.” The same, it appears, can be said about resistance.