Enough with the mau-mauing from elderly Democrats that questions about Dianne Feinstein’s age are ageist or even anti-woman.

The hypocrisy of those crying ageism is outrageous. If you want to hear real ageism, just listen to how Boomers and Silent Generationers talk about us Gen-Xers, now in middle age, as if we were children.

The hard fact is that Dianne Feinstein’s age is a huge issue.

Look at the actuarial tables. She’ll be 85 at the beginning of a new term. Even with relatively good health, the odds are only little better than 50-50 that she’ll make it to age 91. (The actuarial tables suggest an 85-year-old woman has an average life expectancy of 7 years). And it’s far more likely than not that she is disabled by the end of a six-year term.

This makes age a fundamental question in the race. Voters are not just casting a ballot for an octogenarian Feinstein – they are quite possibly casting a ballot for her and whoever might be appointed to replace her.

Which means two things. First, that Feinstein should be prodded to release extensive information about her health. She also should be asked what sort of process she has in place, among aides and friends, to monitor her health and cognition. If she declines to where it affects her ability to do the job, is there someone who can tell her to step down? This is a real question, given her famous stubbornness (which has long been of value to her and to California politically) and the incredible contentious times that the country and the state are in.

This wouldn’t set precedent. I once covered Walter Sondheim, a vital civic figure in Baltimore who led Maryland’s board of education into his 90s, who had people monitoring him because he didn’t want to stay in office if he had lost his edge.

Second, Feinstein’s should be discussed not only in the Senate race, but in the governor’s race as well.

Because the next governor would appoint a Feinstein successor.

Reporters should be asking Newsom, Villaraigosa, Chiang, Eastin, Ose, Allen and Cox the following question, as politely as possible:

“I’m sure you appreciate Dianne Feinstein’s service and wish her good health and a very long life. But. given her age, there’s a very good chance that she won’t be able to complete her term due to death or disability. In that event, what process would you go through in appointing a successor. And which specific people would you consider for the job?”

If they try to dodge that as a hypothetical, reporters should keep asking until they get an answer.

It could be one of the most consequential decisions the next governor makes, particularly given the total hostility of the federal government to California.