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MEMBER DIARY

No, Ma’am

Promoted from the diaries – ed.

A year ago, Barbara Boxer – my state’s junior senator – made news across the country when, during a Senate Committee hearing, she laid into Brigadier General Michael Walsh of the Corps of Engineers. BGen Walsh made the mistake of calling her “Ma’am” in answering a question. She went off on Walsh telling him to call her “Senator” as she had worked so hard for the title.

For many military people and veterans who don’t track political news day-to-day and are relatively apolitical (that was me, until recently), it was one of a handful of political news items to cross our radar. I remember my reaction at the time—a brief “what the hell has her knickers all in a bunch” question, knowing that Walsh was paying her a compliment.

Later, however, I thought about my reaction to the incident and began to see it in an altogether different and more serious light. Barbara Boxer after so many years in the Senate has no idea at all of the culture of the Armed Forces of the United States. She literally does not understand the requirements incumbent on those who have sworn the Oath, to support and defend our Constitution against all enemies.

Boxer has a deplorable record when it comes to the most critical military issue: Troop funding. In 1991, she voted against a supplemental to support troops on the ground in Kosovo. In 2001, she voted against $847M to fund much needed mission critical and force protection maintenance. And in 2003, unlike our senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, Boxer voted with only 12 other Senators to try to defeat a $87B supplemental for supporting troops in the field and their families at home.

The fact is: Boxer is no friend of the military or veterans, and for me, that’s reason number one why she needs to go this November.

For other Californians, there will be other reasons. Recently, a friend of mine who I have known since Vietnam was talking about the water problem in the San Joaquin Valley. He has been trying to find a way around the federal government’s moves to cut water to the farmers in that area– shutting down farms and agribusiness because of concerns regarding a small fish that lives in the area. Barbara Boxer has been the driving force behind these out-of-kilter efforts that put fish before families, and those living in a now dried-up former breadbasket where unemployment stands at over 20% know it.

That’s another good reason why Boxer needs to be retired.

But for those of us who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, which is now under a furious attack thanks to figures like Boxer, we now have two good reasons to send Ms. Boxer home, and send Carly Fiorina to Washington.

Steve Richmond served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is the Statewide Chair of Veterans for Carly.

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