Carol Platt Liebau - Columnist
Platt Liebau is a senior member of the CaliforniaRepublic.org
editorial board. She is an attorney, political analyst and commentator
based in San Marino, CA, and has appeared on the Fox News
MSNBC, CNN, Orange County News Channel, Cox Cable and a variety
of radio programs throughout the United States. A graduate
and Harvard Law School, Carol Platt Liebau also served as the
first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. [go
to Liebau index]
For Boxer, Ideology and Special Interests Trump Constituents’ Needs
[Carol Platt Liebau] 1/26/04
Nothing will surprise me now. Nothing. Not after learning that
Barbara Boxer refused to support a $373 billion appropriations
bill is a budget-buster. But California’s junior
senator – so whiny and ill-informed that she qualifies
as “the Barbra Streisand of the Senate” – has
never earned any grade but an “F” from the National
Taxpayers Union throughout the course of her Senate career. In
fact, according to the NTU, in the 107th Congress, had all the
legislation Boxer supported passed, the United States would have
seen its budget increase at an annualized rate of $88.8 billion.
Clearly, this is a woman who loooves to spend the taxpayers’ money.
spending record and fervent support for big government, it’s almost impossible to believe that Barbara Boxer would
vote against a pork-laden bill funding government operations.
But what removes her decision from the realm of the surprising
to the simply unthinkable is this: The bill that Senator Boxer
opposed (and which was supported, incidentally, by Dianne Feinstein)
included: $225 million to prevent mudslides, eliminate trees
destroyed by bark beetles, and provide relief for farmers who
lost their crops in last autumn’s devastating wildfires.
It also awarded the state $300 million to help reimburse state
and local governments for the costs of jailing illegal immigrants
who commit crimes, and provided $85 million in grants to facilitate
communication between police, firefighters and emergency workers
in case of an emergency.
It’s ironic that Boxer would choose this moment to reject
federal help – particularly for the damage inflicted by
the fires, after she worked to stymie forest thinning initiatives
that might have made the fires less destructive. Certainly her
refusal to support much-needed assistance to Californians now
stands in sharp contrast to some of the other spending she has
supported through the years.
Boxer once slipped $3 million into the Senate’s
fiscal year 2000 Defense Appropriations Bill to have the battleship
USS Iowa towed to San Francisco from Rhode Island. And back in
1998, she found herself able to support a Senate transportation
bill that included nearly $1 billion to develop and construct
high-speed magnetic levitation trains throughout the country – and
inserted in that bill language that would have enabled San Mateo
County to receive “emergency” funding for a $146
million highway project.
month, Boxer called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to
cow disease testing on all slaughtered cattle
intended for the food supply during the next six months – even
though cattle officials insist that such testing is neither practical
nor necessary. The price tag? A cool $1 billion. And in delivering
a response to the President’s weekly radio address back
in November, she suggested raising the minimum wage and passing
a “manufacturing jobs” bill. That agenda doesn’t
sound cheap, either.
Asked to explain her opposition to the appropriations bill,
Boxer pointed to two provisions within it: New overtime rules
supported by the Bush administration and a measure requiring
gun background checks to be destroyed more quickly after their
these measures that supposedly justify Boxer’s
vote? The overtime rules enable employers more easily to classify
employees earning more than $65,000 yearly as managers (which
might deprive them of overtime) – but at the same time,
the rule will actually help lower-income workers by guaranteeing
them overtime. And the gun rule would merely require destruction
of background check records for gun purchases – when no
red flags are detected by law enforcement – in 24 hours,
rather than allowing records to be held for 90 days.
So what we
have learned is this: Barbara Boxer will cling to her left-wing
even when it threatens the legitimate
needs of Californians. Apparently, the demands of her special
interests – unions and the far-left anti-gun lobby – matter
more than the safety and well-being of her constituents.
In the September
2002 Washingtonian magazine’s “Best
and Worst of Congress” poll of Capitol Hill staffers, Barbara
Boxer was named first runner-up in the “No Rocket Scientist” category
(she was edged out for the big win by Washington Democrat Patty
Murray). Even so, it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist
to understand that, as a senator, her first loyalty should be
to the people who elected her to the U.S. Senate – not
to the special interests who are subsidizing her efforts to remain
is an embarrassment. And it’s time for her
CRO columnist Carol Platt Liebau is a political analyst and
commentator based in San Marino, CA.