easy for us as they say one thing and do another. President Obama promised change and no
more business as usual. Yet, at the end of the day, his healthcare reform leaves the insurance
companies intact, his financial reforms allow the biggest banks to get bigger, and his foreign
policy is no different than his predecessor.
There is one politician who has talked the talk and walked the walk. One politician who,
whether you agree with her or not, votes and acts exactly as she said she would and more
importantly, courageously stood up and voted her conscience on the question of war.
Senator Barbara Boxer should be re-elected based on one vote. She voted against giving
President Bush authority to go to war in Iraq. Her opponent, Carly Fiorina, says she would
have supported the Iraq war even knowing all we know now.
In October of 2002, the country was scared and angry. September 11th scared us.
President Bush and Karl Rove, et.al., played on those fears to frighten us even more. They
touted evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Then Under Secretary of Defense,
Paul Wolfowitz, cynically admitted to Vanity Fair that pushing weapons of mass destruction
was the only way to sell the American people a war with Iraq. Do you remember the time?
The corporate media was scared to death to take on Bush. Dan Rather later admitted no one
wanted to ask a tough or aggressive question for fear of being accused of being unpatriotic.
Judith Miller was writing propaganda pieces, fed to her by the White House, for the New York
Times. The Washington Post was burying stories critical of the administration or which
raised questions about the validity of their claims on page 18. CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, along
with CBS, NBC, and ABC were beating the drums of war and dissension was not tolerated or
covered. Colin Powell went before the United Nations and lied. He lied about mobile germ
warfare vehicles. He lied about Iraqi missile technology. He lied about possible nuclear
weapons and that very night Chris Matthews gushed about the power of his presentation and
how the case for war had been made. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, quoting
a Judith Miller story, went on CNN to claim metal tubes were being imported by Iraq to make
centrifuges to process nuclear bomb material. She said this even as scientists at Oak Ridge
Labs in Tennessee disputed her characterizations. Rice famously opined "...we can't wait for
the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud over Manhattan." By the time they were done,
over 50% of the American people thought Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks of
September 11th and that he had nuclear and biological weapons to give to terrorists.
Into this hysterical mess, President Bush asked Congress to give him the authority to go
to war. Hillary Clinton voted yes. John Edwards voted yes. They understood it was political
death to be seen as soft on Iraq. In fact, 74 senators voted "yes" and only 26 voted "no" and
Barbara Boxer was one of those "no" votes. She knew it was a lie. She knew this was a
disaster waiting to happen and she voted her conscience. For that one vote she should be
There is more to consider. Boxer voted against Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court,
Alito and Roberts. These two have turned the court into an aggressive haven, recently opening
the doors to billions of dollars of political contributions from corporations drowning out the
voices of average Americans in the electoral process. She voted against the Patriot Act, which
was a direct assault on the Fourth Amendment; and she voted against tax cuts for the rich
which cost the treasury $2.3 trillion. She voted against immunity for the telecom companies
who illegally spied on their customers for the government. She opposed torture and the policy
of rendition. She voted for the economic stimulus package, preventing a global depression
from getting worse. Fiorina would have voted against it.
Fiorina would have voted for war, torture, illegal spying, and unlimited executive
authority. She is opposed to same sex marriage and even to a woman's right to choose.
We complain and perseverate about feckless politicians who act like political windsocks
with their fingers constantly in the air. Once in a while we should reward someone who has
lived up to her public persona and who had the courage to take on a frightened constituency,
cowered media, and out-of-control President to try and stop a tragedy which cost upwards of
5,000 American lives and as many as 250,000 wounded and injured at a cost of well over
$1 trillion. She was right and should be rewarded for that.
If you agree, you need to vote. If you agree, you need to get your friends and neighbors
to vote. If you agree, you cannot let low voter turnout cost us a valuable voice. If you agree,
you have to work to get her re-elected. Vote to reward a Profile in Courage.
(In the spirit of disclosure, I was Barbara Boxer's chief legislative assistant for three years.
We didn't always agree then and we still don't, but she deserves another term.)
What do you think? I welcome your comments. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org