Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

The Obama team made what I consider to be a political masterstroke yesterday by announcing their selection of respected former Congressman Leon Panetta to head the CIA.

[Cross-Posted on my New Blog, Library Grape.]

Although somewhat mixed, the reactions from the intelligence community have included a lot of praise for the Panetta pick:

Former intelligence analyst Greg Treverton, now with the Rand Corporation, said Panetta's experience as a former White House chief of staff might give him a unique understanding of the presidency and its needs for intelligence. "One of my experiences with people like Panetta who have been chief of staff is that they have a clear sense of what is helpful to the president that most senior officials don't," Treverton told me. "They get it. What he could do and couldn't do. And that's an interesting advantage Panetta brings. Knowledge of what the presidential stakes are like, how issues arise, and what they need to be protected from, for better or worse."

Retired CIA deputy director for the East Europe division Milt Bearden said Panetta is a "brilliant" choice. "It is not problematic that Panetta lacks experience in intelligence," Bearden e-mailed. "Intel experience is overrated. Good judgment, common sense, and an understanding of Washington is a far better mix to take to Langley than the presumption of experience in intelligence matters. Having a civilian in the intelligence community mix is, likewise, a useful balance. Why not DNI?"

Well, what could be the problem, considering that many successful past CIA directors have lacked direct intelligence experience (e.g. George H.W. Bush)?

3...  2... 1...  Cue a tone-deaf, self-immolating Democrat shooting the Party in the foot:

"I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA director," incoming chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was cited by the Los Angeles Times. "My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time."
Yep, that's right.  As the Republican obstruction machine opposition in Congress gears up to turn some of Obama's appointments into partisan political theater, the incoming Democratic chairperson of a key intelligence committee decides to publicly cast doubts on one of Obama's key appointments.

Can't we Democrats even wait until Obama is inaugurated before we start shooting ourselves in the extremities?

Tags: Barack Obama, CIA, intelligence, Leon Panetta, Self-Inflicted Wounds, stupidity (all tags)




her 'blue dog' mindset is part of the problem and not in any way a solution to peace, prosperity, justice or progress.


by the national gadfly 2009-01-06 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: agreed.

yep.  she had ZERO problem with any of Bush's appointments to CIA, FBI, etc.  NOW she wants to get her oversight on.

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: agreed.

much of bush's term- CIA appointment was a carry over from Clinton and the FBI appointment was a good one. Muller was a good choice.

besides those posts when it comes to actually approving them . both parties give the sitting president's choice the green signal.

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-06 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

she has right to her opinion and not consulting the head chairs on the intelligence community was not a 'great' move.

this is bad analogy but bear my larger point. it is like bush not consulting with Powell on many foreign policy issues. They should have been brought into the mix and by that it means simply consulted.

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-06 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

that's her excuse for whining publicly but its wrong.  the obama team already confirmed that they planned to announce later in the week AFTER consulting her but some schmuck leaked it before the planned announcement.  try another one

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

so she has a crystal ball that should have told her of what the obama team was going to do? Kinda convenient of you and them.  

before making any selection their the team should have let both the senators know of which people they were considering for the position and what their criteria was.  after all the CIA does answer to that committee.

It's no big deal but it was sloppy done - that's all.  Just like the Richardson vetting.

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-06 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

well, if you consider inevitable leaks that ultimately can't be avoided sloppy then sure.  unfortunately, there are a lot of self-important douchebags in washington who get their jollies off being a leaker.  not much you can do about it.

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

that's no excuse and the VP elect agrees with moi

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-06 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

as I noted in your sharp, incisive diary:

"Biden said, 'I think it was just a mistake.'  WTF is controversial about that?  The transition team has already said that the leak was unintended (translated: a mistake).  i agree with Joe Biden that feinstein should have gotten a briefing before the announcement was made but leaks happen.  just the way the things work in Washington.  if feinstein was to piss and moan and grab some self-serving headlines by complaining about it publicly, that's her perogative."

look, i agree it could've been handled better by not having the info leaked out.  what's your serious beef?  the info leaked and feinstein decided to have a little self-aggrandizing public hissy fit.  which is worse?

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

PS.  Of course she has a right to her opinion.  She can think that moonbeams come of the lectern in the Senate chamber when she smiles...  It's the PUBLIC VOICING of her criticism that I question and the POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS of it.  People might think her batty if she wrote an article about how moonbeams come of the lectern in the Senate chamber when she smiles -- and thereby have her political power (and that of the Democrats) diminished.  Same with her public voicing of criticism of Obama's pick.  Why have Republicans always been SO good at message discipline and Democrats so BAD?

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

Here's a question, was she really not consulted or just not before it got leaked? My sense Obama isn't stupid and someone leaked this before he or his team had a sit down.

The other option ( a tad tin foilish ) she did know didn't like it and leaked it herself.

For another take: TPM

by jsfox 2009-01-06 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

interesting.  i wouldn't be surprised with feinstein if this was her gambit

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

She made two different comments - 1) that she should have been consulted, and 2) that she didn't like the pick.  The latter is more objectionable than the former.

by rfahey22 2009-01-06 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

I don't get it. you want a yes sir person 24/7 ?

we had Arlene specter that raised many vocal objections about bush's picks prior to the approval process and the dems called him righteous then.

now when the shoe is on our foot...

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-07 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

I think it's irresponsible to provide ammunition against a potential nominee when any such concerns can be addressed and answered by the nominee himself at the confirmation hearing - ultimately, I think it's almost assured that she would vote for the nominee anyway; the question is whether Republicans can create enough trouble to torpedo the nomination, and Democrats should not aid and abet them in doing so.  I can't recall Specter's actions, so I'm not going to get into an argument with you over strawmen.

by rfahey22 2009-01-07 06:21AM | 0 recs
I despise Specter

Whatever convictions he proclaims vanish when he votes. I despised him when attacked Bush nominees, I knew he didn't mean it.

I don't have the same disdain for Feinstein, she is well within her rights here and Obama's transition screwed this up. But my instinct, when she opines, is to weigh the opposite opinion more carefully. Her public reaction in this case seems petty and politically dumb. Her argument on the substance seems too captive to the agency she is supposed to oversee.

by souvarine 2009-01-07 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I despise Specter

if her public reaction was dumb , then why did biden come out and support her part claim of not being informed as inappropriate?

why did obama follow it up with an apology to her?

the characters involved have spoken and apologized  , yet it seems you guys can't handle anyone who is not going to be a yes sir person 24 /7.

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-07 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: I despise Specter

Biden and Obama apologized because they screwed up, Feinstein should have been consulted. She was appropriately angry at being blindsided by press reports, but she could have taken it up privately with Obama and she likely would have gotten a public apology.

She should not be a yes person, just as Harry Reid said today she doesn't work for Obama. But that does not add weight to her substantive objections to Panetta.

by souvarine 2009-01-07 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: I despise Specter

This really doesn't mean a great deal to me. However, I support any American's right to voice their opinion. I guess Senator Feinstein can object without forewarning the transition team if the the transition team did not consult with her. It's a two-fer!

by Check077 2009-01-07 12:08PM | 0 recs
Maybe she sucks on a lemon?

Because that is what her face looks like.

by Pravin 2009-01-06 09:02AM | 0 recs

Seems to think Obama snubbed DiFi and Rock on purpose

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/th e_daily_dish/2009/01/feinstein-and-r.htm l

by mikeinsf 2009-01-06 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Sullivam

an interesting theory.  

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Sullivam

from  that right wing crackpot called andrew sullivan

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-06 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Sullivam

yeah, that right wing crackpot who passionately supported obama for president and rabidly opposes bush's torture policies.  you really aren't that sharp are you?  

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Sullivam

I guess if hitler supported obama you would be a-okay with him too. Do you even know this bullshit artist's background?  Ignorant child.

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-06 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Sullivam

Seriously what is so horrible about Sullivan?

by Pravin 2009-01-06 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Sullivan

Does "fifth column" ring any bells?

People like Sullivan and Hitchens are the enemies of liberals, progressives and Democrats. So occasionally they align with us, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. They mouth the right things when doing so benefits them personally, not out of any coherent principle.

Sullivan was one of the key players who destroyed any opportunity for health care reform in the 90s; he was a major promoter of the racist tract "The Bell Curve" and defends it to this day. In both cases he used his reputation and the reputation of The New Republic (when it had one) to promote intellectually dishonest and politically destructive works.

by souvarine 2009-01-07 06:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Sullivam

You can disagree with someone and still take a look at their thoughts and enjoy their writing. Sullivan has been wrong about a lot of things and right about a lot of things, but he's still entertaining and provocative.  

Likewise Hitchens, he's certainly an ass and I  disagree with him 75% of the time, but his writing is always amusing and worth a look.

by mikeinsf 2009-01-06 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

I think Glenn Greenwald makes a great point that sums up a lot of my feelings on Bush-enabler Feinstein / http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/ /: "Spencer Ackerman reports that Sen. Dianne Feinstein is upset with the selection of Panetta, petulantly complaining that she wasn't consulted in advance and that it would be best to have an "intelligence professional" in that position.  CQ's Tim Starks reports that Sen. Jay Rockefeller is making very similar noises about this selection.  Few things could reflect better on Panetta's selection than the fact that Feinstein and Rockefeller -- two of the most Bush-enabling Senators -- are unhappy with it."

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

Another interesting take on Feinstein from dkos:

I'm reminded that Senator Feinstein voted for all of Bush's nominees to run the CIA, including the hapless Porter Goss, and of course illegal-wiretapping advocate General Michael Hayden.

When it was President Bush appointing an idiot like Goss, here's what Feinstein thought:

I believe the President should have the prerogative to appoint who he wants to be the DCI, or for any other senior position, subject only to the requirement that the person be qualified for the job.

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

DiFi always talks tough about nominees, then backs down when it comes time to vote -- she's like a Democratic version of Arlen Specter. DiFi is my Senator and I really can't stand her, but I do follow her votes for nominees, and she's doing exactly what she always does. I am certain she has every intention to confirm Panetta, but now that she's earned the chairwomanship she thinks it's her duty to pretend that she's tough.

by LakersFan 2009-01-06 09:55AM | 0 recs
She wants Burris to be seated

Read this:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) broke with her party's leadership Tuesday in calling for Roland Burris to be seated in the Senate once his paperwork is signed by the Illinois secretary of state.

Feinstein, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said that not allowing Burris to be seated could broadly undermine future gubernatorial appointments.

"I can't imagine the secretary of state countermanding a gubernatorial appointment," Feinstein said. "The question, really, is one in my view of law. And that is, does the governor have the power to make the appointment? And the answer is yes. Is the governor discredited? And the answer is yes.

"Does that affect his appointment power? And the answer is no until certain things happen."

She added if Burris isn't seated "it affects gubernatorial appointments all over the country."

Feinstein's break with her party's leadership is the latest headache for congressional leaders, who blocked Burris Tuesday morning from being sworn in because of the cloud surrounding Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor arrested last month on accusations of selling Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder.

by Joshuagen 2009-01-06 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

the old guard political hacks like feinstein are really scared of an obama presidency, aren't they?

by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

Indeed... and she can't retire soon enough. At this point the only difference between her and Schwarzeneger (if he ran) would be which caucus they sat in.  Outside of that, their policies are virtually indistinguishable. As far as I'm concerned, Boxer is my senator.

by mikeinsf 2009-01-06 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

Really? I didn't see Schwarzenegger say a thing about No on 8 until after the election. DiFi was all over the TV telling us not to H8.

by LakersFan 2009-01-06 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

You're right on that score. She stepped up to the plate in the final weeks.  Nevertheless, the differences are wafer-thin on most important issues.

by mikeinsf 2009-01-06 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

I really dislike DiFi, but I dislike Arnie even more. As hawkish as DiFi is, I have to believe he would be much, much worse if he were in her position.

by LakersFan 2009-01-06 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

I'm being rhetorical.  Of course I would hold my nose and vote for her, but she really is awful.

by mikeinsf 2009-01-06 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

Oh I know. I am constantly disappointed by DiFi and I write her often to let her know how poorly she is protecting the Constitution and representing the people of California. She is very good about responding, but the responses are always filled with completely lame & weasely excuses. I don't think she's running again, but if she did I would certainly support another Democrat over her (as I tell her every time I write her).

But I think Arnie would have the scariest foreign policy ever. I am so glad he can't run for Prez.

by LakersFan 2009-01-07 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: She wants Burris to be seated

I guess she's batting .500 in my eyes - I agree that Burris should be seated (even though I'm not sure that I actually like him) but I think that she should not have gone public with criticizing Panetta, at least at this time.

by rfahey22 2009-01-06 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg
Wait, so a Democrat cannot criticize a Democrat? Since when did Obama become King? If we cannot criticize Obama then we become the Republicans who allowed Bush to run wild in government. I don't want that.
by RJEvans 2009-01-06 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

yeah, that's EXACTLY what i'm saying.  how incisive of you.  this article is talking about the political implications of her throwing a public hissy fit.  of course, that, by extension, means that "a Democrat cannot criticize a Democrat" -- ever!!  NOT FOR ANYTHING!  Fascism!!  Censorship!


by campaignmonitor 2009-01-06 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

A democrat can bash another. But considering her past of not being critical enough of Bush in this area, why should she choose this moment to be outspoken?

She loses any slack we might give her.

by Pravin 2009-01-06 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

If only Feinstein were a Democrat...

by Captain Bathrobe 2009-01-06 01:36PM | 0 recs
Much as some around here despise them,

she is an excellent example of why I think that the folks over at Kos are on to something with the "more and BETTER dems" thing.

by lockewasright 2009-01-06 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

Would you fly on a plane if the first officer could expect to be shredded by company executives if he voiced opposition to a decision made by the captain?  I would hope not.  According to studies, opposition voiced by other crew members have saved thousands of passengers lives.  

I have worked for companies where dissent with top executives was frowned upon.  None of them did well.  I'll never again work for an employer with such a policy.

Bush was a piss-poor President precisely because his supporters trusted him 100% to always make the right choice.  To always have all the strategic information, and to never let his personal biases cloud his judgment.  If they had demanded the data, demanded that the Republican leadership question his decisions and appointments, his Presidency would have been much more successful.

I'm a Democrat because I demand the evidence.  I'm not willing to just believe and hope and trust a career politician.  I'm glad Feinstein is taking him on.  She should.

And for the record, I'm not impressed with the Panetta pick and I support Roland Burris.  And no, I don't trust Reid, Pelosi, Obama, or Feinstein any more than I trusted Bush or Cheney.  I want the data.  I want the proof.

To those who say Sen. Feinstein didn't question Bush's picks enough--you're right.  Looks like she's learned a lesson.  Every person in authority needs to be questioned.  Glad to see her doing it now.

by SuperCameron 2009-01-06 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

I doubt Feinstein has learned a lesson. Why is it that Democrats find their voice only when another DEmocrat is in power?

by Pravin 2009-01-07 05:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

My problem with Feinstein is she was a groveling toady to Bush on torture and everything else and now she is finding her spine?

Yes she should have been consulted but she kept her mouth shut for war crimes and as the constitution was shredded but now she is going to take a public stand because she was personally slighted.  A few words privately with Obama could have rectified that. I hope she gets a progressive challenger, she sucks.

by hankg 2009-01-07 05:28AM | 0 recs
I gave you a rec

without reading the diary, simply for the "Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg" comment.  :)

by kevin22262 2009-01-06 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

There are plenty of theories as to why the Obama team didn't consult with Dianne (who is not one of my favorite people), but I suspect somebody just dropped the ball.  I have nothing to back that up, just my feeling.  However, no matter why they didn't consult her, it was a mistake.  It didn't accomplish anything and only served to annoy the chair of the committee. Nothing gained at all, which I was I refuse to believe it was intentional.  I also don't buy that it leaked - not with a team as disciplined as this one is where leaks are concerned.

Either way, it isn't the end of the world, and mistakes are going to be made. Obama and Biden have both contacted Feinstein and apologized, and she's backing away from her harsh rhetoric. The transition team learned a valuable lesson, and now we can move on.

by Denny Crane 2009-01-06 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Dianne Feinstein Can Go Suck an Egg

You have a very balanced explanation. I'll mojo this.

by Check077 2009-01-07 12:13PM | 0 recs
well of course it was a brilliant move

Obama did it, it must be brilliant and of course DiFi has NO right to her own opinion if it is different than Obama's.

Frankly I have no opinion either way on Panetta, I do not care.  But for God's sake, can't we wait for results before we determine what is and isn't brilliant about Obama's every breath?

by Teacher1956 2009-01-07 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: well of course it was a brilliant move

It's got nothing to do with Obama or Panetta. Feinstein spent 8 years kissing Bush's ass. Now all of a sudden she is going to speak out? Torture, shredding the constitution, all of Bush's excesses she kept her mouth shut and went along to get along. Now she decides to take a stand? Pathetic.

by hankg 2009-01-07 01:56PM | 0 recs


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