Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is an unabashed liberal. Though her critics use the word derisively, “liberal” is not a disqualification for office in California. A majority of voters are in tune with Boxer on the environment, a woman’s choice on abortion and gun control. Though Boxer has in the past seemed too much the advocate and too little a lawmaker, she has worked during her second term on being more effective. She’s earned election to a third term Nov. 2.
Boxer’s Republican opponent, Bill Jones, compiled an exemplary record during two terms as California secretary of state, running the office with strict fairness and nonpartisanship. In this contest, he has spoken largely in generalities except for following the White House line on the war in Iraq and terrorism. The national Republican Party has offered him little support or funding, and he trails badly in polls. It’s too bad this wasn’t a livelier race.
Jones argues that California needs to balance its representation in the Senate. But a moderate voice already is there in Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She has a strong record of working with majority Republicans to resolve issues important to California. Together, Boxer and Feinstein represent the state well.
Boxer’s critics claim that she remains primarily a shrill voice of opposition. But Boxer’s opposition has helped prevent misguided exploration for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, block confirmation of extremist judicial nominees and prevent new offshore oil drilling in the West. Boxer also is sponsoring a bill to create new federal wilderness areas in California.
Californians benefit, in terms of federal dollars and clout, from having two increasingly senior senators representing the state. Boxer deserves reelection.