Friday, February 19, 2010

Boxer May Be Down For The Count

I'm not quite sure what Madam Senator Her Royal Highness Barbara Boxer is doing in the photo, but I'm pretty sure it's not a gesture of surrender. More like, "Oh, please, you can't possibly think I'm going to lose, can you?" But despite her bravado, even she can't be so stupid as not to know she's in serious electoral trouble.

Boxer was originally elected to the office after the retirement of the effective Democratic Senator Alan Cranston when he decided honorably (unlike some of his fellow Senators) to leave office after he admitted to his involvement in the Keating Savings & Loan scandal that ultimately resulted in massive government seizures and the creation of the Resolution Trust Corporation to salvage what assets remained. Boxer had previously served five terms as the very liberal House Representative of Marin and Sonoma Counties. She also spent liberally, being one of 450 Congressional Representatives involved in the scandal of writing large overdrafts on her Congressional checking account. Practice for the future, I suppose.

In her first run for Senate, she defeated TV personality and political novice Bruce Herschenson by 4.9%. And that was only after her campaign committee ran a late hit ad attacking Herschenson for having attended a strip club. Six years later, she defeated lackluster Republican candidate and former State Treasurer (who at least knew how to balance a checkbook) by 10%. In her most recent bid for re-election in 2004, she defeated Republican opponent, the stolid, fiscally responsible, and uninteresting Bill Jones, former California Secretary of State by a twenty point margin in a state increasingly becoming spending crazy and naturally Democratic (they're really good at spending the taxpayers' money). Needless to say, California is now facing the biggest state financial crisis in U. S. history, going from the richest state in the union (and fifth or sixth largest economic governmental entity in the world) to the closest to absolute default on all its debts. The state's bond rating is currently one step above "junk bond" rating, and for all intents and purposes is already there. Yes, California does indeed lead the nation.

A September 2009 poll showed Boxer at 41% approval rating, with a 44% unfavorable rating. A March 2009 Field Poll had shown 44% "likely to vote against her" and 43% "likely to vote for her." All of that occurred before the Obama programs she strongly supported began to become increasingly and vocally unpopular. It was also prior to the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial surprise Republican victories, and the Massachusetts Miracle of the election of moderate/conservative Scott Brown to replace, of all people, the late Teddy Kennedy. His Democratic opponent ran a terrible campaign, and got last minute support (of a sort) from President Obama, but he was really running against the leftist Kennedy's agenda.

Boxer will now be running on her own liberal record, in an anti-incumbent, anti-liberal Democratic year. Californians have increasingly come to understand why businesses and middle-class resident are fleeing the state in droves, and with them go those all-important taxpayers. And they aren't headed for other tax-and-spend states.

Recent polls have put all three potential Republican opponents in the general election within the margin of error. Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina are within four points, and Chuck DeVore is within five points. Likely Republican voters favor Campbell by a decent margin over the other two. The margin of error is not only very close, but may not take into account the fully-energized Republicans, conservatives, and moderate independents who are definitely facing a dispirited Democratic Party which does not have a coattails president to help (Obama's support has been fatal in every major race he has "helped" with). Race is not an issue this time, which puts the black vote back into traditional low turnout likelihood. Liberal free-spending Democrats are currently about as popular as a warthog at Easter Sunday services, even here in California (never mind the Jerry Brown sure-thing for governor, even Brown doesn't know where he stands on just about anything).

Boxer has a very slim record of individual accomplishment. Can you think of the name of a single Boxer/Senator X bill that became law? Either can I. No Boxer/Feingold, no Boxer/Kennedy, not even a Boxer/McCain that I can recall. But when she votes, it's a sure thing. She'll be with the far left wing of the Democratic Party, joining Pelosi in condemning Obama for being too timid. And speaking of Barack Obama, he won California by 61% just a little over a year ago. Boxer's current numbers are less than 50%, and she is currently hovering in the mid to high 40s, along with all three of her potential Republican rivals. The combination of an incumbent with less than 50% and potential opponents within the most liberally skewed margins of error is a very dangerous thing for Boxer.

The liberal Los Angeles Times recently headlined: New poll--Now, signs of real vulnerability for California's Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer." The equally (if not more so) liberal San Francisco Chronicle recently proclaimed: "Court campaign ruling puts Boxer on alert--and in trouble." The most favorable Chronicle headline in SF Gate (the online version of The Chronicle says "Boxer still leads, but opponents closing in," in a reprint from the online San Diego Newsroom article by Emily Holding. The latter sounds a lot like whistling past the graveyard.

No matter what happens in the primaries, Boxer will actually have to face down serious Republican opposition for the first time. Bad year for Democrats everywhere, and even the most RINOish of the Republican potentials, Carly Fiorina, is very rich, has a huge war-chest, and is very articulate and a good public speaker, though she lacks solid political experience. And Fiorina just ran an attack ad on Campbell entitled "Demon Sheep" which made next to no sense at all, and drew national guffaws from the left and the right. It made the rounds of the internet as a sick joke, and proved her early political ineptness. Yet even Fiorina is within 4 points of Boxer. The subject of her primary attack, Tom Campbell, is a solid conservative with a good political record, and though he runs as a very traditional, thoughtful Republican, he is also extremely internet savvy, and loves Town Hall type meetings, in person and online. He is also within 4 points of Boxer, gaining ground, and now raising good sums of campaign funds using the internet "money bomb" that served Democrats so well a year + ago, and served Scott Brown in Massachusetts even better.

The Supreme Court ruling that gave equal standing to corporations with unions and individuals under the Freedom of Speech First Amendment has ticked off liberal Democrats, and particularly Barbara Boxer. She just recently shot hersef in the foot attacking the ruling because it gave corporations "too much power" and made them into individuals, or so she says. She is definitely no constitutional scholar, and followed the lead of her president, who also got it wrong. But for Boxer, this is a real problem. Though big corporations tend to be largely supportive of Democrats, Boxer has never been one of their favorites. By making the recent announcement she has both damaged what little standing she had with the big corporations, and energized the small to middle sized corporations who intensely dislike her. The big corporations are more likely to spend their money on shaky Democrats in states like Harry Reids's Nevada, where airtime is considerably less expensive than the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego mass markets.

That leaves the field to her major corporate enemies, the smaller corporations who will be delighted to use their ancient, then removed (McCain-Feingold), now restored power to affect elections. The Republican National Committee is very likely to spend major funds on the California election, citing the state as the "next Massachusetts." And unlike Brown taking the seat of a deeply popular Kennedy, Boxer is highly unpopular among her non-supporters and her support among her friends is a mile wide and an inch deep. The Supreme Court ruling has lefties so frightened that crypto- commie and general all-around America-hating George Soros' online mouthpiece, MoveOn.org, has begun a petition to amend the Constitution to override the Court's decision. At least seven pieces of legislation are floating around Congress to try to end run the decision, as if the ruling didn't benefit unions every bit as much as it benefits corporations.

In a race as close as this one, large infusions of cash from non-corporate independent individuals and re-energized wealthy individual Republicans could easily tip the scales in the Republican candidate's favor. Boxer has never faced a truly tough, determined Republican opponent during an anti-incumbent year, and she has about as much charisma as a loaf of stale bread. In addition, her enemies don't dislike her, they hate her. Her recent arrogant treatment of a witness before her committee solely because he called her Ma'am in a very gentlemanly manner instead of Senator did not play well with anybody. It indicated both nastiness and a crippling need for respect she has never earned. Former Senator and Governor Pete Wilson, now chairman of the Fiorina campaign, has pledged to spend the committee's money to the tune of $40 million dollars, and the primaries are only now in high gear. Imagine what the Republicans are likely to come up with for the general election. And Boxer's fundraising activities are floundering, though she's not exactly broke, having raised almost $40 million dollars for her own campaign.

The bottom line is that Boxer is up the poo-poo creek, with a very weak paddle. But it's going to be very hard work. Incumbents are in trouble generally, particularly liberal incumbents who are in lockstep with Obama, but the habits of three former election cycles are not easily broken. Much of the decision may come from Boxer's lack of any deep personal support from most of her Democratic colleagues, and her acid-tongued way of saying the nastiest things to the nicest people certainly doesn't help. Her only genuinely enthusiastic supporter is her buddy Nancy Pelosi (a member of the Unholy Trinity of Boxer/Feinstein/Pelosi) who is also very popular in the liberal portions of the San Francisco Bay, but poison statewide, even in Los Angeles. And even Di Fi is not organizing any big bandwagons for her Senate colleague.

Stay tuned for future articles and updates. The political climate in California is in serious flux. The Republican primary is heating up, particularly between Campbell and Fiorina. If Campbell can pull it off (which is a distinct possibility), and DeVore throws his enthusiastic support to Campbell in the general election (don't expect enthusiasm from Fiorina, but it's not particularly important so long as she doesn't support Boxer in the general), this may very well be the first Republican Senatorial victory in many, many years for California. Although I have voted for the Republicans since 1994, I have not given personal monetary or financial support to any of the Republican Senatorial candidates, until now. My name is Legion (Lawhawk Legion, to be exact), and if I'm really into this election, I know others who have been tepid in their support of Republican Senatorial candidates are equally energized this time.

If one of the three Republican candidates wins the general election, it will be the first elected Senator from California with an R in front of his or her name since 1992. Pete Wilson resigned to run for Governor, and was elected to two terms. His interim appointed replacement (the eminently forgettable John F. Seymour) lost the special election to Dianne Feinstein. As we say in California, "pray for surf (and for the Republican candidate)."

14 comments:

Libertarian Advocate said...

Truly a spectacular post. Thanks for your hard work.

StanH said...

That’s wonderful news Lawhawk! Go Campbell!

I’ve seen interviews with Devore, and of coarse read his articles over and BH. He seems reasonable, and if the writings on the wall he’ll get behind Campbell?

Babs is a nasty little troll, it would be good for the country, her departure!

Writer X said...

Definite cause for celebration if Boxer loses!

And Fiorina must be using the same PR firm that John McCain uses. His radio and television ads have been nothing short of annoying and bizarre.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that with California in the situation that it's in that the voters would actually put Moonbeam back into power. But there you go. A friend of mine (and CA resident) may have been correct when he said that the state may now actually be ungovernable. It seems to have become a money-grabbing free for all.

I feel for you.

AndrewPrice said...

I would be very, very happy if she goes down. She's one of my least liked Senators, even though she's relatively obscure.

LawHawkSF said...

LibertarianAdvocate: Thanks so much. It was actually a labor of love. I love watching the arrogant discover their own feet of clay.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: I've come to think that even with some of her odd connections outside politics, I could support Fiorina, but not with any enthusiasm. Campbell somehow just seems like an old friend that I'd go to the mats for. And DeVore is certainly no slouch on conservative issues, and has come from pretty much nowhere in the polls to draw within the margin of error.

The first time MegaTroll showed up at our site, I thought it was Babs. LOL

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: It does seem like it, doesn't it? Terrible campaign ads. McCain should know better, and Fiorina is sufficiently unknown politically that her ads should be emphasizing why we should vote for her instead of attacking a longtime,respected conservative Republican on his conservatism.

LawHawkSF said...

Anonymous: The sad part is that California could be governable. I remember the long history of people saying that New York City was ungovernable. They hadn't met Rudy Giuliani yet. Ahnuld started out well, and then, at the first sign of liberal resistance, he caved like a girlie-man.

Brown is dangerous, but largely because he is so completely unpredictable. His liberal social views fit California fairly well, and he's not as strident about it as he was in his previous terms as governor. As Oakland's mayor, he took on the far-left and the race-baiters and stared them down. Best mayor in years. As Attorney General, he's been moderate, but his unwillingness to defend Prop 8 in the appeal is a betrayal of his position, making him a "rule by fiat, not by law" state officer. I'd be much more comfortable if we had a strong conservative Republican running for Lieutenant Governor who could be Brown's next Mike Curb.

Brown is a strange man, but he's not stupid. He knows how to rein in wild spending and "lower his expectations." The question is, does he have the will to do it?

For now, I'm just going to revel in the possibility that we are on the brink of electing a Republican to the Senate, and take the gubernatorial election as it comes.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: You have no idea how much I would love to see at least one of those three California Harpies disappear from my TV screen forever. Boxer has spent her entire time in the Senate smirking, mugging and tossing out liberal bombs with absolutely no single major accomplishment--even for her own people. She's arrogant and just plain nasty, a true schoolyard bully, and I'm experiencing a strong sense of Schadenfreude watching her dissemble.

CalFederalist said...

Fiorina keeps popping up in soundbites (not ads) on all our local stations. It's obvious that she's California's McCain. A "maverick Republican" that the MSM can get behind, then drop like a hot potato as soon as the primaries are over and they can go for the throat. I have yet to see them do anything on Campbell or DeVore, which is to the candidates' credit, but not to to their advantage.

LawHawkSF said...

CalFed: It's the same here in San Francisco, and you can add Meg Whitman to the "maverick Republican" list. Half the time, I can't even remember who the other two Republicans in the race are.

I'm not a fan of conspiracies theories, so I'm simply chalking it up to the concept that the MSM is so conditioned to being pro-Democrat that they'll pick the Republican most like them to highlight simply out of force of habit. Then, when the primaries are over, they decide the Republican nominee is no longer enough like them to be worth decent comment.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--You mentioned that Boxer came in after Cranston's resignation. Wasn't McCain also involved in that scandal?

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: Indeed he was, as was John Glenn of Ohio, who also failed to exit the Senate after being caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I bought into McCain's explanation that he was only tangentially involved because he wouldn't abandon Keating, a personal friend, in his time of troubles. I'm not so sure I buy that these days. I'm beginning to tire of McCain's "I'm not perfect, but I'm honorable" routine. I've tended to give him too much leeway because I was an anti-Vietnam activist, and have tried over the years to be completely fair with Vietnam-era warriors lest my old prejudices guide my thinking.

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