Saturday, August 28, 2010


It is so easy to be cynical about politics and politicians these days. Many of them make it

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,, 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


  1. I've always admired Barbara Boxer. Saw her speak once at Diablo Valley College in the Bay Area. She didn't leave me unimpressed.

    But the biggest problem the Democratic party has right now is not Barbara Boxer - but it is Obama and his foolish blindness and unwillingness to take on corporate America or the fanatical right wing in this country - much like FDR once had to do.

  2. Well written blog post Mr. Ward... It is great to read what you think on the issues.
    Keep the blog post coming as ofter as possible
    Thank You Bernie

  3. Great post, bernie. it's so important that people don't forget the 'hysteria' that the bush administration both created and profited by. i think boxer should stand on her record and remind the voters of it at every turn. i put fiorina and whitman in the same camp....wannabe posers who think they can just buy their way in.
    miss your show....
    joe in concord