Do not mess with Senator Dianne Feinstein. During a committee hearing on gun control yesterday, brand-new Texas senator Ted Cruz tried to lecture her on the Bill of Rights. It was a classic case of mansplaining, and Feinstein, who has been in the Senate for more than 20 years, was not having it: “I’m not a sixth grader,” she retorted. “It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here a long time.”
The concept of “mansplaining” comes from a terrific 2008 op-ed by the writer Rebecca Solnit, and the term was coined a few months later. The basic concept, as defined by the Atlantic: “explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee knows more than the explainer, often done by a man to a woman.”
Yesterday’s hearing was a perfect example of this. Cruz, who arrived in the Senate literally just two months ago, launched into a showy civics lesson directed at Feinstein, who is an advocate of stronger gun laws: “It seems to me that all of us should begin, as our foundational document, with the Constitution,” Cruz told her. “And the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” No doy, Cruz!
He went on to say:
The question that I would pose to the senior senator from California, would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First and Fourth Amendments.
And so on, in that condescending teacher-y vein. Feinstein’s response in full:
Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in and I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. … I’m not a lawyer, but, after 20 years, I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here a long time.
And that is why you do not talk down to Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Update, via Mediaite: Feinstein tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer she felt “patronized” by the “arrogant” Cruz, and had to take time to “cool down” after their exchange.