It took us a while. And we had to work through the by-laws of the Fainthearted Faction as well as the methodological guidelines our jury has developed. But after careful consideration and some argument we've decided that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California should be removed from the Fainthearted Faction.
As you probably recall, on January 7th, Sen. Feinstein issued a statement to the press in which she said: "I strongly oppose private accounts, which could cost $1 trillion or more and still fail to improve the financial condition of Social Security. Unless I see a proposal that protects the fiscal health of Social Security and does not dramatically increase the national debt, I will continue my opposition."
Now, there was some question and controversy over whether the second clause of the first sentence qualified or merely elaborated on the first. And there were some related questions raised about the precise meaning of the second sentence.
In the end, though, we decided not to be overly talmudic about the matter. So while a very lawyerly interpretation of Feinstein's statement might still reveal some latent Faintheartedness, we've decided that the general thrust of her statement, along with this reference to her opposition in the San Francisco Chronicle, warrants her removal.
You can see the newly updated Fainthearted Faction roll here, as well as the updated roll of the Conscience Caucus, which has a new addition.