Like Rice, I do not have children. So the Boxer-Rice exchange hit a nerve. I've received my share of e-mail from readers who believe that no one without children in Iraq can support the war. I'm 52, and I don't know what I'm supposed to do. Have a test-tube baby to raise for combat service?
In citing Rice's childlessness, Boxer was doing what many lefties do -- coming up with conditions that others must meet in order to be entitled to dissenting opinions. It makes about as much sense as arguing, before the war, that only people whose children had to live in Iraq under Saddam Hussein had a right to oppose U.S. troops in Iraq.
Besides, it's not as if Senate Democrats heed the opinion of those who have paid a "personal price." When they talk of families of U.S. troops, it's as if they think only of Cindy Sheehan. "I have begged to go on the media and tell my story," Bastian told me. And, excusing her language, "Any time Cindy Sheehan burps or farts, she's on the news." If anyone is interested, Bastian supports the Bush troop surge. After the brouhaha, Boxer announced she would not apologize because, in confronting Rice, she was "speaking truth to power."
No, Boxer was pitching the propaganda to fellow liberals who don't really respect those who pay a personal price, but say they do. Anyway, if not paying a personal price on Iraq means that your opinion is not particularly legitimate, then by her own logic, Boxer should cork it.