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Tipsheet

We've Learned More About Dianne Feinstein's Health And It's Not Good

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is the one Democratic Senator that’s in the crosshairs of the progressive wing of her party. She’s pushing 90, her mental facilities have lost more than a step, and her absence over a case of shingles has clogged numerous Biden judicial nominees. The age and mental competency have been weaponized by the far left on the Hill to take her out or at least place enough pressure on this longtime Senate fixture to break and turn in her papers. The California liberal already said she wouldn’t be taking any new roles in the upper chamber, specifically Senate Pro Tempore, which she’s entitled to, and declined to run again. This last term is it for her; she’s out of public life by 2025. 

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Yet, we’ve learned more about her condition, and it’s not good. Reportedly, she suffered more health complications than initially reported, and many in her immediate circle are shocked she’s even working in the Senate in her current state. I believe the term “frightened” was used in The New York Times article (via NYT): 

Using a wheelchair, with the left side of her face frozen and one eye nearly shut, she seemed disoriented as an aide steered her through the marble corridors of the Senate, complaining audibly that something was stuck in her eye. 

Ms. Feinstein’s frail appearance was a result of several complications after she was hospitalized for shingles in February, some of which she has not publicly disclosed. The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles, according to two people familiar with the senator’s diagnosis who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe it. 

Characterized by swelling of the brain, post-shingles encephalitis can leave patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking. Older patients tend to have the most trouble recovering. And even before this latest illness, Ms. Feinstein had already suffered substantial memory issues that had raised questions about her mental capacity. 

The grim tableau of her re-emergence on Capitol Hill laid bare a bleak reality known to virtually everyone who has come into contact with her in recent days: She was far from ready to return to work when she did, and she is now struggling to function in a job that demands long days, near-constant engagement on an array of crucial policy issues and high-stakes decision-making. 

Ms. Feinstein’s office declined to comment for this article beyond providing a statement from the senator: “I’m back in Washington, voting and attending committee meetings while I recover from complications related to a shingles diagnosis. I continue to work and get results for California.” 

Many people close to Ms. Feinstein, a six-term senator, described seeing her operating in the Senate in her current state as “frightening,” a tragic end to a formidable career in politics that they worry is casting a shadow over her legacy and her achievements. More immediately, it has resurfaced questions about whether Ms. Feinstein, who has announced she will retire when her term ends next year, is fit to continue serving even for that long.

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When you’re marked for termination within the Democratic Party, it’s brutal. We all see the ulterior motive here: vote Dianne off the island—the tribe has spoken. Yet, for those who know about or have had shingles, these are the risk for any who contracts the viral infection. One in three Americans will get shingles in their lifetime, and if you’ve had chickenpox, those odds rise dramatically. It’s treatable, but yes—if the infection gets near the eyes or face, paralysis, and blindness can occur. It’s no walk in the park. This article, however, insinuates that Dianne could be braindead, her mind eaten alive by encephalitis potentially. Spencer already wrote up her unfortunate remarks to a reporter, where Ms. Feinstein denied ever being away from work; she’d been gone for two months.

 And yet, the voters of her state re-elected her to this final term, and just because she’s old and dealing with health issues that usually befall someone pushing 90 years of age isn’t a reason to usurp what California liberals demanded in 2016: the return of Dianne Feinstein. If judges are a source of concern for Democrats, maybe they could nominate people who aren’t Marxists; that would speed up the process.

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