« Muller on US News and Law-Professorial Salaries--Which Surely Ought to Be Lower | Main | Some Generalizable Points About Institutional Crisis »

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Lest We Forget

Of course it is worth focusing on the trash-fire in the House, but I hadn't realized until this week that the Senate has also broken with tradition in officially electing Senator Patty Murray as president pro tempore, rather than the senior member of the Democratic caucus, Senator Dianne Feinstein. The news did receive coverage when the caucus selected her after nomination by Sen. Schumer in early December. But it certainly did not receive sustained coverage or deep-dive reporting. Stories like today's in the Times are not atypical, describing Feinstein as having "turned the position down" (the Times) or having "declined to seek" the position (the Post). Today's story in the LA Times elides the question by simply not discussing it at all. The story may have been covered differently in the more openly partisan press, which I mostly don't read, and the occasional story

Of course this is a dignity-saving lie on the part of the caucus and half-truth on the part of the press, which, despite earlier, better, and braver coverage, has been less willing in the latest round of stories to say the obvious: that Feinstein is not able to serve in the job, certainly lacks her colleagues' confidence that she can, and may not be competent to serve in her office at all. (The story may have been covered differently in the more openly partisan press, which I mostly don't read, and the occasional story elsewhere is more forthright.) But it seems worth remembering to me, as we continue to slide into gerontocracy. At least Sen. Murray is only 72--unlike Patrick Leahy, who just passed along that office (and retired from the Senate) at the age of 82, or Feinstein, who is 89, or the President, who is 80, occupies a less ceremonial and more demanding job than at of president pro tem, and, like the rest of us, is not getting any younger.  

Posted by Paul Horwitz on January 4, 2023 at 08:54 PM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink

Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.