For weeks, the Senate has been gripped with the sad, strange story of Dianne Feinstein. The chamber’s oldest member, who turns 90 next month, was absent from her duties for two-and-a-half months due to an illness. When she returned, her colleagues expressed concern for her, questioning her physical and mental abilities. Feinstein has remained adamant that she stay on the job, despite alarming memory lapses (that aren’t new). But if she winds up being replaced, it may be by one of the most famous people on earth.
The Associated Press has a new piece about how California governor Gavin Newsom may have to find someone to replace Feinstein should she resign. Amongst powerful circles, names have already been floated. Some are obscure. Some are decidedly not. One of them (in a bit teased out by The Daily Beast) is no less than Oprah Winfrey, who has long been a powerful cultural and even political force but has never held elected office.
In the past Newsom — who ignored calls to replace Kamala Harris, as she headed for the White House, with another Black woman, instead choosing the state’s first Latino senator, Alex Padilla — has vowed that he would select a Black woman to sub in for Feinstein. So perhaps the daytime talk show legend may wind up heading for Congress.
Feinstein returned Congress on May 10 and her frail appearance and concerning interviews with reporters — including claiming that she’d been working on Capitol Hill during her absence — amplified calls for her to resign. But Feinstein, who describes herself as stubborn, has shown no signs that she will.