Doug Gamble- Contributor
Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and
in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]
Of Mouth Destruction
[Doug Gamble] 2/2/04
talk show host Dennis Prager calls Barbara Boxer’s election
to the U.S. Senate in 1992 one of the darkest days in American
politics. Former Vice President Dan Quayle said her victory
caused him pain second only to that inflicted by his and President
George H.W. Bush’s defeat to Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
of Boxer’s recent rants, including essentially
calling Condoleezza Rice a liar during her Senate confirmation
hearings for secretary of state, the darkness and pain of the
liberal Democrat’s victory over then L.A. radio and TV
commentator Bruce Herschensohn have been revisited. It’s
fair to say that perhaps even some Democrats are embarrassed
by Boxer’s antics -- since parodied on “Saturday
Night Live” -- not the least of them California’s
senior senator, Dianne Feinstein.
The lingering resentment of Boxer by California Republicans
does not stem so much from the fact the ex-congresswoman won
a Senate seat a little over 12 years ago, but the way she won.
Heading into the week before Election Day it seemed likely she
would lose to Herschensohn, one of the sagest and most principled
gentlemen ever to grace California politics.
Then, a dirty bombshell. State Democratic political director
Bob Mulholland, not exactly a poster boy for Marquis of Queensbury
rules, charged that Herschensohn was a frequenter of Hollywood
strip clubs, conjuring up the image of a rain-coated, black-socked
lowlife skulking into shadowy places with lust on his mind.
The fact was that while double-dating one night with another
couple, Herschensohn, his companion and their friends had stopped
in at a club for an after-dinner
drink. Yes, exotic dancers were present, but that fateful, just-for-fun visit
was a far cry from “frequenting strip clubs.” But the damage was
done and Boxer came from behind to pull out a five-point win over the man many
Republicans consider the best senator California never had.
frustrating as Boxer’s 1992 win was the inability
of a weak-benched California GOP to confront her with a strong
challenger in 1998 and again last year. The result has been continued
representation by an obnoxious blowhard with one of the most
liberal voting records in the Senate. And with the year just
over a month old, Boxer has distinguished herself as the only
senator refusing to certify President Bush’s 2004 Electoral
College win and with the spectacle of her spiteful tirade against
In an attack
lasting almost 15 minutes that had nothing to do with vetting
Rice or her qualifications and
do with excoriating the Bush administration, Boxer derided Rice’s
truthfulness and character. In doing so she took advantage of
a double standard favoring all Democrats -- the ability to attack
an African-American without being branded a racist. Similar disparaging
remarks directed at an African-American by a Republican would
have resulted in that politician being hounded into resignation
by Democrats and the media.
But Boxer showed what she was really made of in an appearance
on CNN’s “Late
Edition” when she said of Rice, “She turned and attacked me.” Rice’s
attack? Requesting that Boxer “refrain from impugning my integrity.”
herself as the victim is hypocrisy typical of Boxer. This is
the same person who led a march of
women on the Senate
to protest the alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill by then
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, but who had little to
say about President Bill Clinton’s confirmed dalliances
with a young intern.
I’m not sure what Boxer is trying to achieve by positioning
herself as the Democrats’ weapon of mouth destruction,
beyond the fundraising pitch she has made on behalf of the Democratic
Senatorial Campaign Committee, promising to “raise my voice
on the Senate floor” and asking for money from donors.
But if she’s trying to keep her party from moderating,
which is exactly what it must do to have a chance in 2008, Democrats
may have more reason to worry about her than Republicans do. tRO
California-based Doug Gamble contributed speech material to
Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and writes a twice-monthly
column for the Orange County Register and CaliforniaRepublic.org.
2005 Doug Gamble