by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonathan Tobin writes for the Federalist about an interesting double standard among Democrats and their ideological allies.
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., went back to work after spending several weeks away from Congress due to being hospitalized for severe depression. But while Democrats, who were sorely pressed to maintain their narrow majority in his absence, celebrated his return, C-SPAN video of him chairing a Senate subcommittee provided sobering evidence of the recovering stroke victim’s limitations. Much like his disastrous election debate last October, at the hearing, Fetterman’s halting speech, barely understandable comments, and inability to communicate without electronic aid illustrated his incapacity.
But while Democrats are quick to slam as bigots anyone who had the temerity to notice Fetterman’s problems, they are not feeling quite so generous about another member of their Senate caucus. The double standard creates an ominous precedent that ought to hang over the 2024 presidential election.
While they’ve been circling the wagons around Fetterman, Democrats have been pressuring Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to resign due to the perception that she lacks the physical energy or the mental acuity to do her job. But unfortunately for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the California Democrats who want to replace her, the ailing 89-year-old has refused to step down, though she has already announced she won’t run for re-election next year.
Feinstein was hospitalized for shingles in February and has remained absent since then. With no date set for her return, the vacancy on the Judiciary Committee, where her absence leaves the Democrats without a majority, has created a serious problem for the efforts of the Biden administration and Schumer to confirm federal judges. The duel between the ailing Feinstein and her party has, at least for the moment, benefited Republicans. But the implications of the controversy go beyond its impact on her desire to stay on until her term expires in January 2025.
There are currently four senators who are over 80, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who returned this week from an extended medical absence after a fall.