The Cast of Characters in California is Starting to Become a Comedy

Elena LAtkun /
Elena LAtkun /

Everybody is talking about the startling exchange that took place between a report from “Business Insider” and the 89-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). She is the oldest senator in the U.S. Senate and has held her position longer than any of her Democratic colleagues, serving since 1992.

If you haven’t heard, here’s the story in a nutshell. A Feinstein aide repeatedly had to intervene to correct her and remind her that her office has taken a “not interested” position on whether or not she would run for the Senate president pro-tempore position. This is the position that is usually given to the senator in the majority party who has the most seniority. It also puts her as number three in the line for the presidency.

Another element in this story is that Sen. Feinstein at first insisted to the reported that she hadn’t thought about it, but then she came back and said, “but I’ll let you know when I do.” This made people think she might be interested in the position after all. That is when the aide found it necessary to step and take over the talk.

It has been a prevalent rumor for two years now that Feinstein’s mental health has been steadily deteriorating. There are even some Democrats in the California delegation who are questioning her ability to continue her service. Even the liberal San Francisco Chronicle enters the discussion with periodic updates and status reports on Feinstein.

In a story just this week, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), changed his position on talking about Feinstein. Previously, he refused to share details of his conversations with the senator when asked about her. But now he has decided to backtrack on that position and he is actively nominating Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to the position that would have gone to Dianne Feinstein.

Schumer announced at a Democratic lunch that Murray will be nominated as Senate president pro-tempore and will be the first woman to hold the position. The decision will be voted on by Senate Democrats on December 8 to make the decision formalized. Murray is expected to easily win the position, she has been in the senate since 1993.

The pot is being stirred though by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif), who is supposedly thinking about a possible senate run.

“Adam Schiff has decided not to seek a top House Democratic leadership post in the next Congress and is instead turning his focus to a potential Senate run,” according to multiple people familiar with his decision.

The shifty California Democrat has been weighing alternatives in his political future recently. He met with Democratic colleagues to talk about support for a potential House leadership bid. He looked at a run for the caucus’ No. 1 role, which now would be Minority Leader.

Sen. Feinstein and her office have not declared whether she will run again in 2024. If she moves forward with another run and Schiff does as well, there would be a whole lot of catfighting in California in the next few months.

And here is another pot-stirring storyline, there are rumors that California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been weighing his options about a potential 2024 presidential run if President Joe Biden bows out. Can you imagine what it will be like in the presidential primary season if Vice President Kamala Harris – who is an ally of Newsom’s – now has to go up against the state’s governor?

There is certainly nothing dull about California politics right now. So get comfortable, get the popcorn and get ready to watch the show.