Dems Set To Kill Feinstein Censure Resolution

This post, written by Max Follmer, originally appeared on The Huffington Post

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the state's Democratic Party pushed back Wednesday against a proposal by a coalition of progressives to censure the four-term senator for her recent votes siding with the Bush Administration, dismissing the proposal as a distraction put forth by activists who did not speak for the majority of Democrats in the Golden State.

Feinstein's office defended what they called her record of standing up to Bush, citing her role in recent probes into allegations of partisan firing at the Justice Department, as well as her votes against the Supreme Court nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

"She led the Judiciary Committee investigation into [former Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales and the firing of the U.S Attorneys," said Feinstein spokesman Scott Gerber. "What Sen. Feinstein is going to continue to do is fight for this issues that are important for all Californians."

On Monday, a coalition of progressive Democrats said they would ask the California Democratic Party to censure Feinstein at its executive board meeting this weekend, citing her recent votes in favor of confirming Attorney General Michael Mukasey and controversial appeals court judge Leslie Southwick.

They argued that in backing the Bush Administration's nominees, Feinstein had lost touch with the core principles of her party's base.

State party insiders Wednesday predicted the censure resolution would almost certainly be swiftly defeated when the party gathers in Anaheim, outside Los Angeles.

They said its supporters made up a small minority of Democrats with a big bullhorn, and dismissed the censure as a mere distraction for party members focusing on recapturing the White House in 2008.

"It is going to be thrown out and rejected," said Bob Mulholland, a veteran party strategist in Sacramento. "Sometimes people can't anticipate or can't understand the big picture."

State Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres did not return messages seeking comment. But his spokesman Roger Salazar told the Sacramento Bee, "this party supports our Democratic senator and will continue to do so...Period."

Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign, one of the progressive organizations backing the censure resolution, said such statements sent the wrong message to California Democrats.

"I'm concerned that party employees don't want to hear from party members," Jacobs said. "I think such statements send a message that is very simple: that we will make the decisions and you shut up and do as your told."

Democratic Party rules are stacked against any censure resolution, and the reaction of party leaders had been widely anticipated.

Yet the mere existence of a movement to censure a veteran politician who enjoys high approval ratings - 70 percent of Democrats approved of Feinstein's job performance in an October KABC/SurveyUSA poll - indicates the deep anger felt among grassroots activists over her recent statements and votes.

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