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Barbara Boxer Discovers Family Values By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Senator Barbara Boxer has overtaken Rosie O’Donnell as the “Queen of Mean.” During a Senate hearing last Thursday, she scolded Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for supposedly not understanding the human toll the Iraq war is exacting because she has no children. Arch-feminist Boxer all but accused Rice, whom she had vehemently opposed when Rice was first nominated for the top diplomatic cabinet position, of making life and death decisions with reckless indifference to other families’ tragic losses: “You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family.”

“So who pays the price?” Boxer asked rhetorically. “The American military and their families,” the sanctimonious senator responded sophomorically to her own question.


Of course they do. Which is why all Americans should be grateful for the ultimate sacrifices for freedom our brave men and women in the military are making in Iraq, but Boxer has no real regard for the feelings of our troops. This is the same senator who once declared, “our troops there really are causing more and more terrorism. They are fueling terrorism.” How about that for a statement that single-handedly gave Al-Jazeera a nice headline to rationalize the Islamic-fascists’ terrorist acts and told our troops that they were the cause of terrorism? Did she consider even for a moment, when she made that insulting and historically incorrect remark, the price that was paid by those Americans directly affected by the horrific September 11th terrorist attack that preceded the war in Iraq?


Let’s examine for a moment the absurd results that flow from Senator Boxer’s flawed premise. Cindy Sheehan gets a free pass to spout off whatever anti-American drivel she chooses for as long as she chooses because she lost a son in the war, while Secretary of State Rice is barred from providing her honest input about the war to the president whom she is serving. By that way of thinking, no senator or congressman without immediate family involved in the war, including Boxer herself, should vote on any military appropriations related to the war. Taken to its logical extreme, our whole system of representative government would crumble, because our government officials would not be able to make decisions on behalf of the American people unless they always bear the direct personal impact of those decisions. For example, why should any elected officials who send their children to private school be able to vote on the voucher system for public education? And if an elected official or his or her immediate family member never personally experienced a violent crime, why should that official participate in a decision on gun control or anti-crime measures?


Then again why should we expect any logic from Senator Boxer who has come out with such doozies as the following: “Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, ‘Thank God, I'm still alive.’ But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.”


In 2004 and 2005, Secretary of State Rice was ranked as the most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine and number 2 in 2006, right behind German Chancellor Angela Dorothea Merkel. Boxer did not even make the top 100. (Senator Clinton ranked 5th in 2004, 26th in 2005 and 18th in 2006). Yet despite being the Senate’s leading defender of “a woman’s right to choose,” Senator Boxer apparently does not think it is a valid choice for a woman to choose to forego marriage and motherhood and decide to serve her country instead. In an interview with the New York Times the day after the Senate hearing, Dr. Rice said in response to Boxer’s attack, “I thought it was O.K. to be single. I thought it was O.K. to not have children, and I thought you could still make good decisions on behalf of the country if you were single and didn’t have children.” Why haven’t other feminist leaders like Senator Clinton spoken up in Rice’s defense? The answer is simple. In their eyes an independent woman with conservative ideas must be delegitimized.


Moreover, Dr. Rice is not the first prominent conservative African-American whom Boxer has vilified for daring not to tow the leftist line. For example, while still a member of the House of Representatives in 1991, she made a big show in front of reporters by marching to the Senate to demand a new hearing on Anita Hill's sexual harassment complaints against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. In this regard, it is disappointing that Senator Barak Obama, who respectfully raised his own substantive concerns about the direction of the Iraq war during Rice’s testimony, did not rebuke Boxer for crossing the line with her personal attack on an African-American leader just days before Martin Luther King Day.


There is certainly nothing wrong with honest dissent on the merits of the president’s Iraq strategy. Bush himself admitted in an interview with 60 Minutes, “I think history is going to look back and see a lot of ways we could have done things better.” Well-meaning Americans have every right to question the wisdom of the troop “surge” as too little, too late and yet another mistake in the making. Senators from both parties raised legitimate concerns that we are escalating the war without a clear Plan B if the surge does not work. Healthy skepticism cuts across party lines. But let’s debate the substance of the policy rather than engage in the kind of adhominem attacks that Senator Boxer so shamefully put on display.


The sad truth is that Boxer is a member of the hard-core Left who would rather see President Bush (whom she has called “King George”) totally humiliated with a loss in Iraq than for America to prevail. She has voted time and again to put suspected terrorists’ rights over the safety of our soldiers and the American people. She even voted against an amendment to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government from criminal prosecution by the International Criminal Court – to which the United States is not a party.


Boxer’s attack on Rice is reminiscent of how the loony Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky responded to Rice’s call early last year for Russia to “act responsibly” in supplying natural gas to Ukraine. Zhirinovsky is an ultra-nationalist whose party has supported restoring Russia to its previous imperial borders, including Alaska. Zhirinovsky also admired Saddam Hussein “as a man who cherishes most of all the well-being of his country”


Zhirinovsky opposes the participation of women in politics. He chalked up what he described as Rice’s “coarse anti-Russian statement” to her being “a single woman who has no children.” Zhirinovsky went on to say:


[T]he civilized world needs to think about a decision when single politicians are not allowed to stay in power…Complex-prone women are especially dangerous. They are like malicious mothers-in-law, women that evoke hatred and irritation with everyone. Everybody tries to part with such women as soon as possible. A mother-in-law is better than a single and childless political persona, though. This is really scary. Ms. Rice's personal complexes affect the entire field of international politics. This is an irritating factor for everyone, especially for the East and the Islamic world. When they look at her, they go mad.


It is time for Senator Boxer to take a long hard look in the mirror and apologize to Secretary of State Rice for her demeaning remarks that put her in the company of someone like Zhirinovsky.

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