Coming Soon: Barbara Boxer's Retirement Announcement?

Posted: Dec 08, 2014 3:16 PM

Just when you thought the electoral politics news couldn't get much better, this Politico report drops out of the clear blue sky. One of the Senate's most aggressively liberal and insufferable members is apparently preparing to walk away from politics -- and may make her call public within a few weeks:

A parade of ambitious California public figures, who’ve spent years itching for a shot at the state’s top political offices, are anticipating a shake-up of the state’s political hierarchy that could begin in a matter of weeks with the possible retirement of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. And some big names — including the mayor of Los Angeles — are already sizing up possible bids to succeed her. Sources close to Boxer, 74, say the outspoken liberal senator will decide over the holidays whether to seek reelection in 2016 and will announce her plans shortly after the new year. Few of her friends believe she will run for a fifth term. Boxer has stopped raising money and is not taking steps to assemble a campaign. With Republicans taking over the Senate, she is about to relinquish her chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee...Boxer’s office declined to comment on the jockeying for her seat, or, for that matter, on her future plans. A spokesman, Zachary Coile, pointed to Boxer’s previous statements that she would announce her plans early next year. Boxer’s lack of fundraising — she has just $150,000 in her campaign account, a fraction of the $3.5 million she had at this point before her most recent campaign — has fueled the speculation that she will leave the Senate.

First of all, Boxer is 74?  Even if you loathe her politics, you must admit she looks great.  Secondly, Boxer remembers vividly how unpleasant life in the minority can be.  Might some additional Senate Democrat fixtures be eyeing the exits? In any case, the Senator's likely departure is more or less where the good news ends.  It's highly unlikely that Republicans will even sniff the vacated seat if Boxer calls it quits; California is exceptionally inhospitable political terrain for the GOP at the statewide level.  I chalked California up as a lost state after traveling with Carly Fiorina during the 2010 campaign.  Fiorina ran a disciplined, strong, well-funded campaign in one of the best Republican years in history…and still lost by ten points to Boxer, who ran a torpid, paint-by-numbers race.  Politico's piece lists a who's-who of prominent lefties who are reportedly jockeying for position, from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to Attorney General Kamala Harris, to environmental extremist billionaire Tom Steyer, to several members of the state's Congressional delegation.  The story doesn't even float a single name for who the GOP may select as a likely sacrificial lamb.  But even if the election of another hard-charging liberal to replace Boxer is inevitable, her absence from the upper chamber will be a welcome development.  A few lowlights from her career, starting with her notorious "ma'am" tantrum:

Getting crushed by Rick Santorum in a debate over the ghoulish practice of partial-birth abortion, which Boxer of course supports:

Her turbulent interaction with the president of the Black Chamber of Commerce, who accused her (to her face) of playing the race card and acting in a condescending manner:

heated exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham on the irresponsibility of jamming through the so-called "stimulus" bill without even reading it, which she naturally defended by blaming Bush:

Climate change as a top national security issue:

And following the Newtown massacre, Boxer proposed legislation that would allow governors to deploy the national guard to patrol public schools.  If she does, in fact, choose to pack it in, good riddance.