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I know this will come as a shock for some, but I'm about to effusively praise a liberal.

There are liberals who can be counted on to hardly ever do the right thing, and then there are liberals I think should be commended for doing the right thing when the chips are down.

My favorite liberal in this regard is Sen. Dianne Feinstein. I covered her when she was mayor of San Francisco and I saw her do two big things there that proved to me she knows how to do the right thing when it counts.

First, she told gay people that bathhouse sex was not free speech; it was a public health issue. And at the start of the AIDS crisis she shut the bathhouses down, despite screaming from a constituency that might have been able to bully someone else.

Then one day an engineer came to her office and said the canopy on Candlestick Park will fall down in a major shaker, and she said fix it. No studies, no committees, busted the budget. But when the '89 quake happened with the World Series crowd watching both the A's and the Giants, 20,000 people didn't die from those canopies collapsing, and Dianne deserved credit.

So last Friday she did it again. She didn't drink the Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi Bush-hating Kool-Aid. She voted for the wiretapping law because it was the right thing to do, and she sensed the danger in not doing it.

There are many things about Sen. Feinstein's politics I don't agree with, but I have always believed she is a prudent judge of danger and has acted in the right way to head off disaster and death, especially on this law that will help us listen to terrorists which many believe — even the British government — are in our midst right now.

So as stunning as it may seem to some, hat's off to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She did a good thing, while others in her party couldn't bring themselves to vote yes when it mattered.

May more of our liberal friends turn out like Dianne… eventually.

That's My Word.

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