The San Francisco Chronicle surfaced new concerns regarding longtime Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein’s cognitive fitness, and some of the examples shared are rather brutal.
Feinstein, who is 88 years old, has lost the ability to function as a lawmaker, if some of the anecdotes are to be believed.
In particular, one member of Congress who has known Feinstein for at least 15 years relayed an episode in which they had to repeatedly reintroduce themselves to the Senator throughout a meeting, with Feinstein repeating the same questions.
The unnamed Rep. said of the incident, “I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea. All of that is gone.”
A hairy situation, considering Feinstein isn’t up for re-election in 2022.
Did anyone else catch Dianne Feinstein repeating her question to Jack Dorsey of Twitter at the hearing today?
— Texan (@Texan_21C) November 17, 2020
Mental Fitness Previously Questioned
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And it’s not just that lone Rep. who is concerned. The San Fransisco Chronicle notes a whole slew of individuals expressed similar concerns: Four U.S. senators, including three Democrats, as well as three former Feinstein staffers.
Senator Feinstein was first elected to the Senate 30 years ago in 1992 after serving as Mayor of San Francisco for 10 years.
She currently services on the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Judiciary and Appropriations Committees – places where you need a clear head.
This isn’t the first time rumors of colleague concerns over Senator Feinstein’s mental acuity have been raised.
In 2020, Jane Mayer of the New Yorker reported that Democratic colleagues had tried to convince her to step down after concerning episodes in which she repeated questions to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Former Democratic California Senator Barbara Boxer had also suggested she step down.
Questions on cognitive ability and the mental state of our elected officials have become more and more prevalent. Given that an analysis of the current 117th Congress revealed that it’s the oldest, on average, of any Congress in at least the past 20 years, it is no wonder.
The question of age also applies to our court system. According to a 2010 ProPublica Survey, 12% of the roughly 1,200 sitting Federal District and Circuit judges were 80 years old or older.
Given that elected officials and judges make significant life-altering decisions on behalf of the American people, it isn’t unreasonable for citizens to raise concerns over their cognitive abilities. And interestingly enough, Nancy Pelosi of all people introduced a bill a few years ago that would establish a panel to determine a president’s mental fitness.
The bill would create an expert panel that serves for four years with members appointed by both parties in both houses of Congress. The board would include doctors, former Presidents, and Cabinet Secretaries.
At the time Pelosi insisted the bill had nothing to do with then-President Trump, but rather future presidents. Now that the President is a Democrat, there isn’t much motivation on Nancy Pelosi’s part to press this bill any further.
There is fear – rightly so – that cognitive testing could be weaponized by opposing political parties. There is speculation that this recent report on Senator Feinstein is based on a political attack versus a place of concern. A transparent and fair process based on science would be paramount.
Cognitive testing for older individuals isn’t new in a lot of ways. For example, Charlotte Alter from Time pointed out that many states require anyone over 70 to take additional cognitive testing to meet driver’s license renewal requirements.
Surely creating laws that affect 320+ million Americans and voting on policies that have the potential to affect the entire planet are more important than a driver’s license.
The Easter bunny retrieves Joe Biden after he wanders off to talk to some children pic.twitter.com/Wrd5L8p68B
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) April 18, 2022
The American Academy of Neurology has estimated that at least 15% of those over 75 have some cognitive impairment. For reference, below are the ages of our most powerful politicians :
- President Joe Biden: 79
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: 82
- Senator Mitch McConnell: 80
Considering all of the above, a majority of Americans of all political stripes believe there should be a maximum age limit for politicians.
As Dr. Marc Siegel relates in The Hill, studies have shown that many who underwent open surgical brain aneurysm repair or had subarachnoid hemorrhage can develop cognitive difficulties.
President Biden had two such repairs and a brain bleed in 1988.
The world looks to America for leadership and strength. With rising tensions between China and North Korea and an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the world is looking to America for competence and leadership.
As stated in the below clip from Sky News Australia, it is “increasingly clear that America’s weakness can have damaging consequences.”
Too Far Gone
Our perceived weakness is our aging President. While at times the President’s gaffes are brushed aside as either humorous or just an example of ‘usual Joe’ antics, the mere possibility – denied by official channels and fact-checkers, of course – that he or other elected leaders are suffering from cognitive decline poses a risk to our national security.
Senator Feinstein’s term runs through the end of 2024. With rumors that her staff is doing much of the work and that she is incapable of fulfilling her job, one can’t help but raise an eyebrow at her apparent plans to run for reelection.
In January of last year, she filed her paperwork to seek reelection in 2024.
The lawmaker that spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle who has known her for 15 years, stated:
It shouldn’t end this way for her. She deserves better. Those who think they are serving her or honoring her by sweeping all of this under the rug are doing her an enormous disservice.
Senator Feinstein will be 91 years old in 2024.