Wednesday, March 10, 2004
AFFAIRS OF STATE (Column)
Barbara Boxer Rarely Agrees With Her Constituents
By DAVID KLINE
California’s political pundits say former Secretary of State Bill Jones doesn’t stand a chance in his campaign to replace incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.
The reasoning is that Jones is badly outfunded and doesn’t have the name recognition or history of electoral success claimed by Boxer.
In a state as big as California, the equation pretty much ends there: less money for television ads plus less name recognition equals less need for a victory speech on election night.
But are the skies really that gray for the Republican challenger? Are the self-proclaimed political experts correct when they say the GOP primary served only to determine which sacrificial lamb will be annihilated by the Democratic incumbent?
The Republican candidates certainly did their best to foster that line of thinking, approaching the primary as if it was a waste of time. If any of the three major candidates came out with a television, radio or newspaper ad, this columnist missed it.
But now that the general election campaign is underway, Jones has a golden opportunity to prove the pundits wrong.
Really, it shouldn’t be that difficult considering how often Boxer has been out of step with her constituents. Compare Boxer’s position on statewide ballot measures with the voters’ position, and you’ll notice a significant difference.
In the March 2 election, Boxer sided with the left-wingers who were pushing Proposition 56 to make it easier for the Legislature to raise our taxes. A whopping 66 percent of the voters took the opposing view and sent the measure to defeat.
That’s just the latest in a long line of examples of how Boxer disagrees with the people she purports to represent in the Senate.
Boxer opposed the “three strikes” sentencing law. In 1994, voters approved it with a 72 percent majority.
The senator signed the ballot argument against Proposition 22, which says California recognizes only those marriages between a man and a woman. Voters approved that measure with a 61 percent majority.
And those are just the tip of the iceberg. As a liberal’s liberal who supports higher taxes, affirmative action, government-mandated health care and welcome wagons for illegal aliens, Boxer has been on the losing side of many other issues:
•Proposition 185, to raise gas taxes for public transportation spending, was opposed by 81 percent of the voters in 1994.
•Proposition 186, to establish government-run health care, was opposed by 73 percent of Californians.
•Proposition 187, to eliminate government benefits for illegal aliens, passed with 59 percent support.
•Proposition 209, to eliminate race-based discrimination and government preferences, passed with 55 percent support.
•Proposition 217, which would have raised income taxes on the state’s highest earners, failed with 51 percent voting “no.”
•Proposition 218, which requires voter approval of local government tax hikes, passed with 57 percent support.
•Proposition 227, which requires public schools to use English in the classroom, passed with 61 percent support.
And let’s not forget last year’s recall election. Boxer wanted Gov. Gray Davis to remain in office, but 55 percent of the voters disagreed, and 62 percent voted for Republican candidates to replace Davis.
So it goes. Rarely has Boxer been on the same side as the majority of the voters on a hot-button political issue.
Now, these same voters will decide whether they want Boxer to continue serving as their uncooperative representative in the Senate.
The political pundits could have it all wrong. As talk radio shows and Internet sites begin buzzing with examples of how Boxer always disagrees with the taxpaying public, she might be the one who finds herself in a hopeless race.
— Capitol News Service
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company