Dianne Feinstein’s extremely awkward, very uncomfortable exit from the political stage

Democrats in her home state are moving on even as she isn’t.

Dianne Feinstein is seen in an elevator inside the U.S. Capitol Building.

LOS ANGELES — Several of her House colleagues are already running for her Senate seat. She isn’t raising real money. And it’s so widely assumed that Sen. Dianne Feinstein is on her way out that Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker, felt free this week to publicly endorse a would-be successor — if Feinstein retires.

An extreme awkwardness has fallen over California political circles, where virtually everyone is acting as if Feinstein is done, but without her explicitly saying so. It’s the electoral equivalent of clearing the dessert from the dinner table as one guest sits there, nibbling at the main course chicken dish that had been served hours prior.

“God bless her,” said Garry South, a Democratic strategist who has worked on major statewide campaigns in California. “But the most pathetic part of politics is when somebody doesn’t know when it’s time to leave.”


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