Feinstein has died at the age of 90. In political time, her demise seems far more than the end of a mere era — more like the passing of an eon. As politician, policymaker and uncommonly private public figure, Feinstein for six decades modeled attitudes, behavior and values that have become increasingly rare. Reliably favoring civility over churlishness, she preferred independent judgment to ideology, pragmatism to partisanship, problem-solving to power-seeking.
Though she could be a tough-minded partisan, she was always willing to work with the other side, and to recognize colleagues who responded in kind. In 2012, Kitty Felde reported on the retirement of Rep. Dreier:
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein says she admires Dreier, calling him “fair” and “direct” without chicanery. “He’s not a right wing reactionary. He’s a problem solver.” Feinstein lamented the retirement of another Republican colleague who wasn’t afraid to work across the aisle, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. Feinstein says the loss of both meant fewer opportunities for bipartisan cooperation.
May her memory be a blessing.