Sen. Boxer to retire

Sen. Boxer to retire

Barbara Boxer wikimediaSen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., today announced her retirement. In office since her 1992 election, she has been considered one of the country’s most liberal senators.

Elected the same year as the more moderate Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the two were called the “Thelma & Louise” of the Senate, after the 1991 feminist “buddy movie” starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon.

Yet Boxer has been amenable to compromise with Republicans on some issues, such as water policy. As reported last November, “Remarkably, Sen. Boxer had co-sponsored with Feinstein the Senate bill that became the basis of Feinstein’s negotiations with California’s House Republicans” on water policy over the state’s severe drought.

After serving as a supervisor in Marin County, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and quickly became a major liberal voice in Congress. As she ran for the Senate in 1992, a brief scandal erupted over her bouncing 87 checks on the special House Bank.

The scandal only fazed her campaign, as she went on to beat conservative Republican stalwart Bruce Herschensohn by 4.9 percentage points. He was hampered in the last weeks of his campaign by revelations that he had attended a strip club, something that wouldn’t matter in the post-Bill Clinton era, but did 23 years ago.

After that, Boxer more handily won her re-election bids against Republican opponents: in 1998 against Treasurer Matt Fong; in 2004 against Secretary of State Bill Jones; and in 2010 against former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

However, Boxer’s victory margins always were less than those of Feinstein.


On economic issues, Boxer opposed President Bush’s tax cuts. But she supported his 2008 bailout of the financial system at the start of the Great Recession.

She has been a major supporter of President Obama’s programs, especially his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. And she backed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

On social issues, throughout her career Boxer has been pro-choice on abortion. And she strongly backed legalizing same-sex marriage.

On foreign policy, she broke with Feinstein over Iraq policy. Feinstein supported the resolution in Oct. 2002 authorizing force against Iraq, which gave the green-light to President Bush invading Iraq in March 2003. Boxer opposed it.

She has favored more gun control. But oddly for a liberal, she has opposed legalizing marijuana because it could increase crime and car accidents.

After Boxer

Boxer’s exodus from the Senate sets off a scramble to replace her in the 2016 election. With Republicans doing much better in last November’s election, even they might have a chance of taking the seat in Nov. 2016. Should he choose to run, Neel Kashkari, who lost to incumbent Jerry Brown for governor, would have a leg up this time because this would be an open seat.

But most attention would be on the Democratic field in the June 2016 primary. Top candidates include Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Treasurer John Chiang, a rising star the last eight years for his open-government reforms as state controller.

A new Democrat in Boxer’s seat won’t so much be less liberal, as a different kind of liberal because of a change in generations.

Currently, the three top elected posts in the state are held by Democrats who came of political age way back in the 1960s: Brown, 78; Boxer, 74; and Feinstein, 81. Like Boxer, Feinstein lives in wealthy Marin County, something unlikely to be repeated by a new senator.

Boxer’s retirement is the beginning of the changing of the guard in state politics.


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  1. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 8 January, 2015, 13:48

    Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris are both happy people today. I can’t decide which one will be better as a U.S. senator and which will make a better governor. Happy days are here again.

    Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 9 January, 2015, 10:46

      She has been a great senator and any one of the three mentioned here would be good senators for CA. Only downside to that scenario would be that their current CA office when have to be filled with a special election–I don’t want Villaraigosa to get any ideas.

      Reply this comment
  2. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 8 January, 2015, 13:51

    BTW, Feinstein lives in San Francisco – city and county. She has for at least 70 years.

    Reply this comment
  3. maximilian
    maximilian 8 January, 2015, 14:32

    What a delight to finally hear Boxer has decided to throw in the towel and move on. A legacy of hypocrisy will follow her out of office, beginning with her flip-flopping on economic issues and questionable positions regarding gun control and use of marijuana. I could never get a straight answer from her on how she would vote on these issues. Her pro-abortion stance and strong feelings about women’s issues are admirable, only because she took a position and I never had to guess…whether I agreed or not.

    My angst with her reached a peak when when I would travel to Washington to testify on employment, taxation and immigration issues in the tech community. With a few colleagues, I would always stop by and inform both Boxer and Feinstein what I planned to say. Entering Boxer’s office, I was initially quizzed by her staff (even though I had an appointment with the Senator) on what my topics included. The response I received was something like this, “What do those subjects have to do with women’s issues?” Ouch!

    Who will replace Boxer? Well, anybody would be acceptable, although I think Kamala, Kashkari & Chiang (top notch) will run and Newsom will run for Governor. FYI, Feinstein still resides in SF (wealthy Pacific Heights) and Newsom moved to Marin County, where I live.

    Reply this comment
    • bob
      bob 8 January, 2015, 17:52

      Don’t get your hopes up. The idiots in this state will elect someone just as bad or worse to replace her. Just look at the crooks Skippy is jumping up and down about for crying out loud.

      Reply this comment
  4. bob
    bob 8 January, 2015, 17:50

    “…a brief scandal erupted over her bouncing 87 checks on the special House Bank.”

    Scandal? That is a near pre-requisite to be in the Imperial Senate in the District of Criminals.

    Reply this comment
    • NTHEOC
      NTHEOC 8 January, 2015, 21:16

      Boxer was smart enough to cast a NO vote on the war in Iraq! Which happens to be one of the biggest scandals in American history!!

      Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 9 January, 2015, 10:49

      All of the principals have staffers–one of her staffers apparently dropped the ball regarding the bounced checks–I doubt that Boxer even knew what was happening in regard to the bounced checks.

      Reply this comment
  5. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 9 January, 2015, 06:57

    Barbara, we hardly knew ya…You’ve come a long way baby from being a Marin County supervisor, and astoundingly, in all these years of spartan penury in ‘government service’ you’ve also become gob-smackingly rich, just like your sister Difi…Whoda thunk..

    Barbara Pro: Your vote against the Iraq War was clearly the high point of your career. The Iraq fiasco was essentially a proving ground for all the lethal toys and methods cooked up by our fine, well-connected ‘defense’ contractors. The various reasons for attacking Iraq were all proven false. Bravo for your courage. Seriously.

    Barbara Con: You bounced 87 checks? Really?

    Reply this comment
  6. Ken
    Ken 9 January, 2015, 10:49

    Californians should be dancing in the streets. But they elected this airhead over and over. This old fraud helped bring California down to a state ranking near if not really and truly at the bottom. Thanks Boxer. Great work. Now get lost.

    Reply this comment
  7. Wolfman
    Wolfman 9 January, 2015, 12:07

    I hope Feinstein is next

    Reply this comment
  8. Donkey
    Donkey 9 January, 2015, 18:14

    She was a RAGWUS feeder in the first degree and very dumb. It is no wonder the regular RAGWUS feeding lackeys will miss this lazy bum. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  9. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 9 January, 2015, 20:54

    Donkey……..your prunes……and add some Karo to sweeten ya up Bro-

    Reply this comment
  10. Tom in SoCal
    Tom in SoCal 10 January, 2015, 11:07

    Good Riddance!’

    Maybe now we can get a Republican in office.

    Reply this comment
  11. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 10 January, 2015, 19:39

    I nominate Toni Atkins. Seriously, the San Diego state delegation is primed for the national stage. Among these luminaries Toni and Christine Kehoe really stand out as female gay community activists who ‘cut their teeth’ in San Diego city politics. Additionally, Ben Hueso looks a lot like a west coast Cuomo who hits all the right notes for governor: latino (of course) super-mega pro public employee unions, etc. Lori Saldana: not quite ready for the big stage. Environmentalism is a little too local..

    Reply this comment

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