What to make of California Senator Dianne Feinstein stepping down from potential chairmanship or ranking-member position in the Senate Judiciary Committee? Democratic Party progressives will claim victory by forcing Feinstein from a leadership role because of heavy criticism against the way she conducted herself during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. But the senator’s move also symbolizes that the quest for moderation on the political landscape, believed to be advanced with the election of Joe Biden, is far from accomplished.

Sen. Feinstein was old school in the sense that she believed in a civil relationship with her colleagues across the aisle and positioning herself toward the political center. These have always been her principles since abruptly taking over as mayor of San Francisco in the aftermath of George Moscone’s assassination.

That kind of middle-of-the-road political belief and conduct has been disparaged in recent years. Frustration with bitter politics and drifting to extreme positions in both major political parties was supposedly a driving force that helped Joe Biden secure the Democratic nomination and the presidency. But pressuring Feinstein to give up her plum position is not a good sign for those who hoped change was on the horizon.

Of course, there are other aspects to Feinstein’s decision that must be considered. California’s senior senator is 87-years old and she may have concluded that the extra burdens of leadership were too much to bear. With more time, Feinstein could help guide California’s new senator that Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint to replace vice-president elect Kamala Harris in the ways of the senate. Feinstein’s stated objective in stepping down is that she wanted to spend more time dealing with climate change and the effect it has on the wildfires and drought that plague California.

Feinstein’s explanation for stepping down is not the way the media or Feinstein’s critics see the move. All news accounts of the senator’s decision emphasize the progressive’s anger with her and the criticism she took over her leadership role in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Feinstein’s announcement should be taken as a sign that despite the exit from the White House of the polarizing Donald Trump and the new occupant’s more moderate appearance, and a sense the established institutions seeking normalcy are lining up behind Biden, the bare knuckles political landscape survives.