It's a Republican year. The writing is on the wall. Americans are fed up with incumbents unwilling or incapable of listening to taxpayers concerned about the direction of our country. The real guessing game is the speculation over the outcome for the Senate - will it fall to Republican control? If I had to place a bet today, I would say that the House of Representatives will go to a Republican majority while the Senate will be just barely held by the Democrats. That is why the Senate races listed as toss-ups are so important.
The mind-blowing possibility that the State of California may actually elect a Republican to the U.S. Senate this year is truly present. As of today, sitting Senator Barbara Boxer is just one point ahead of former Fortune 50 CEO Carly Fiorina. The one and only scheduled televised debate between the two candidates was shown on C-SPAN and it was good entertainment for political junkies.
Let's make this clear - Fiorina, a political virgin, won the debate with the three-term Senator, who held a seat in the House before moving to the Senate. Even with the biased questioning against Fiorina and her underdog status, Fiorina came through as a winner. It is reported that this race is a first for Boxer - a truly competitive challenge for her seat. It is also reported there may be another debate scheduled between the two before voting begins. That is a sure sign the Fiorina camp feels pretty darn good about her performance.
Fiorina is a statistician. She spits out numbers and percentages like a machine, but not in the boring way. She has an air of confidence about her that must serve her well in leadership positions. This trait along with the unflinching assertiveness she showed in describing Boxer's legislative record was a knock-out. Boxer was flummoxed. She could not answer Fiorina's charge that Boxer has completely failed to shepherd any significant legislation through the Senate in her three terms of service - that's 18 years. California is a large and powerful state. Fiorina described Boxer as "one of the most bitter, partisan members of the U.S. Senate". The zinger was Fiorina citing a quote from Vice-President Biden, then Senator Biden, of his disgust with Boxer and her game playing for political gain over a war-funding bill. Ouch.
Those who keep up with the back and forth of politics remember an incident Boxer, as sub-committee chairperson, questioning Brigadier General Michael Walsh to call her "Senator" not "ma'am" as is military etiquette. It was a painfully classless request by the Senator but the General rolled with it gracefully, as you would expect. When questioned about that incident, Boxer claimed she called Walsh after the hearing and asked if he felt he was owed an apology. He told her there was no need, according to her story. Well, what was he to say? He was a gentleman. She is a shrew.
The incident with the General made Boxer's boasts of support for the military and wounded warriors harder to stomach. She is known as a partisan gamesman and plays her games with military funding. Would she have pushed for funding for veterans support in California had she not been concerned with re-election? We have no way of knowing, but given her history, it is reasonable to be skeptical. Boxer is just desperate enough now to stake a claim as a strong military personnel supporter. If she was so knowledgeable of the military members and protocol she would know the General was required to call her "ma'am".
Boxer proved she is a bitter, out of touch incumbent. She is the old school feminist Democrat who uses fear tactics of abortion politics and class warfare. It sounds ridiculous in the year 2010 and yet, she doesn't seem to realize it. She is a card carrying member of the far left Democrats - the ones who realized their dream of controlling Congress under one of their own, President Obama, and have utterly failed in leading this country out of recession and misread taxpayers on the needs of social programs.
Boxer is either clueless or deliberately dishonest about knowledge of how a Fortune 50 or 500 or smaller companies pay CEO's compensation. She made much of the bonus Fiorina accepted as HP floundered and she left its employment. Fiorina stated her salary was always voted on and approved by the Board of Directors and shareholders before it was issued to her. Boxer all but accused her of stealing money or improperly taking compensation as the company hit a rough patch. Boxer is of the wing of the Democratic party that doesn't understand job growth and creation. She prefers to demonize business.
Carly Fiorina made honest, common sense arguments to counter the nonsensical answers of Boxer. Fiorina spoke to the issues of abortion and civil unions for the gay community as states rights decisions. She is of the true conservative school that believes in individual thought and practical solutions to the needs of citizens. She is a breath of fresh air.
Here's hoping this is the last debate for Barbara Boxer.