Free Markets, Free People

San Francisco Chronicle’s non-endorsement of Boxer underlines anti-incumbent feeling in US

Of course the Chronicle – the state of California’s liberal newspaper located in America’s most liberal big city – didn’t endorse Carly Fiorina either, but no one in the state expected that would happen.

However, the fact that the Chronicle’s editorial board couldn’t find it in itself to support Barbara Boxer’s 4th Senate term is news.  There’s debate as to how much weight endorsements carry with voters, but the refusal to endorse a candidate which it has supported in the past is indeed something voters should sit up and notice.

The most positive thing the paper could say about Boxer was she was a “reliable liberal vote”.  But it also called Boxer a Senator of little note or accomplishment and one whose only claim to fame is her rabid partisanship.

The Chronicle is not at all enamored with Carly Fiorina’s politics which should surprise no one.  But the editors all but say, “but for her politics, she’d be our choice”.

It is an odd and rare sort of editorial that you should take the time to read if, for no other reason than to understand the anti-incumbency movement has reached even into the editorial rooms of newspapers. There’s also something else important captured in the first sentence in the non-endorsement:

Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year.

Replace California with “Americans” and “US Senate” for “any national office” and make "choice" plural and you pretty well sum up the reason for the rise of the Tea Party, the unrest on the left, the confusion in the middle and the large majority that continues to say, in poll after poll, that the country is on the wrong track. 

California’s Senate race is a microcosm of races all over the US and the Chronicle’s non-endorsement reflects the feelings many voters have as they consider the candidates they’re left with, with rare exceptions.  This continues to be what the GOP is missing as it attempts to run (and support) the same old people for office.  They’ve done nothing to search out and recruit the candidates for which the voters are literally clamoring.  Thus the rise of insurgent candidates in GOP primaries.

“Politics as usual” or  “establishment politics” if you prefer, are under attack.  While there are certainly specifics in law, legislation or among issues that are important to voters, their general frustration is mostly driven by the fact that they’re unable to meaningfully change a political system  in any fundamental way that they view as non-responsive and broken. 

Instead they see an out of touch, out of control Leviathan blindly charging ahead and spending us into ruin whose only concern for the desires of the people manifests itself at reelection time.  And, as soon as the offices are again secured for the appropriate time period, they are quickly forgotten in the world of party politics and special interests.  As the SF Chronicle implies, Barbara Boxer is this problem’s poster child.

The first party that truly dedicates itself to defining and executing a plan that fundamentally changes the system under which we suffer now and makes it more responsive and reactive to the will of the electorate is the party that will rise in prominence and remain there for the foreseeable future.



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17 Responses to San Francisco Chronicle’s non-endorsement of Boxer underlines anti-incumbent feeling in US

  • Could be that the Boxer pursuit of pork from the military budget has the SF types conflicted.  She’s being a particularly brazen hussy this campaign, trying to cram C-17s into the military air-lift fleet…that they tell anybody who will listen they don’t want.

  • And i don’t know about you, but when I consider the source I consider the non-endorsement to be an endorsement of Fiorina.

  • “The first party that truly dedicates itself to …”
    There already is one – the Libertarian Party. Look at its platform not the cherry picked “loonies” people like to use to denigrate the LP and you will see that which you claim does not exist does. The American voters are crawling through the desert dying of thirst and they are ignoring wells filled with water because Evian and Daysani are telling them that it doesn’t taste good.
    I read your editorials daily and think you all do a great job, but you ignore a viable alternative to the Reps and Dems – The LP. The LP has actually stood for decades for the principles that you are looking for now. The reason there aren’t any LP reps in congress or federally elected positions is that the Repubs and Dems continually stack the deck with ballot restrictions, legal hurdles and restrictions. Also, there is the media, union and corporate push against third parties because those groups have already spent billions securing their interests with the other two parties.
    Seriously, I am gonna gouge out my eyes next time I hear about how desperate the American people are for something other than the status quo. Really? then why don’t you stop supporting multiple choice government and cast your vote for a candidate that represents you. “throwing your vote away” only occurs when you vote for someone because you are afraid that someone worse might win. Vote your conscience and vote against R and D.

    • Key word, “viable”. Open borders and no foreign policy (isolationism) are not “viable” concepts in today’s political world.

      Even with that said, I’ve voted LP for years.

      • McQ, Im glad to hear you vote LP, but I fear you may have been misinformed about the foreign policy of LP. Isolationism is much different than non-interventionism. LP advocates staying out of other countries’ business unless our sovereignty is directly threatened. The problem with intervening in other people’s business is that they stop taking care of themselves and then we take on that burden (ie Europe, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Taiwan, south Korea, etc etc).
        Michael Sherer (Marching Towards hell) advocated immediately taking out Al-Q in Afg with special forces and bombing (also probably would have caught OBL since we wouldn’t have waited weeks for coalition building) and then leaving. No nation building, no trillion + dollars and thousands of American lives lost. You then send a message to the world than any country that lets Al-Q set-up will be destroyed – no questions asked, no rebuilding. I find it hard to believe that a harsh rebuke to anyone that threatens our sovereignty with an otherwise mind our own business military policy could possibly make us less safe and less popular than what our current policy has produced. Plus, the cost of lives and money would be infinitely less. Also, Lp advocates intense diplomatic and economic relationships, just not military – unless our sovereignty is threatened.
        And open borders does not mean let anyone in. it means stop the ridiculous quotas that cause our illegal immigration problem. You should screen for criminals and terrorists. And Lp insists that the welfare state be ended to go along with the Open border.

        • You may be right, but I’m continually confronted by those who claim to be some version of libertarian who further claim we have no business other than business outside the US (how you watch out for the interests of those in business here without alliances and engagement remains a mystery) and that the only “real” libertarian position is open borders where, in their utopia, free people travel and trade in peace and I assume, if we’d just do it, all the rest would take care of itself.

          Look around you – is that a viable concept? It may be a goal at some point in the distant future, but there are one hell of a lot of steps in between they seem to either not understand or choose to ignore. You have to deal with reality to be “viable”, and many “libertarians” seem to want to ignore that.

          Much as the left is tripped up by their fringe (and the right by their social cons), the LP has a whole bunch of self-identified libertarians who cause it more harm than good if what you put forward is the true platform. And they don’t help themselves particularly with many of the candidates they run for office at all levels. That said, they are the only sane choice going for the most part.

          As an aside – I’m fine with the “no nation building” and “stay out of other people’s business”. And obviously diplomacy is a key component to any foreign policy. That doesn’t mean, however, that I think all mutual defense treaties are bad or that we shouldn’t have a strong military that can be projected if our nation’s existence is threatened. If ever there’s a situation where true anarchy is ascendant, it is among the nation-states of the world. Screw up in that arena and despite the so-called rules of “international law”, some other big dog will gladly take the opportunity to put you out of your misery if they think they can get away with it. So in the real world, military power and the willingness and ability to project it if necessary for survival is the best “peace maker” and has a tendency to make “free people trading freely” more of a viable concept rather than less. The obvious debate is about what is “necessary” in that regard and I understand that. But for some “libertarians” they reject that sort of thinking out of hand.

          Just some thoughts.

          • I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think there is this myth that a libertarian foreign policy would be one without a strong military. I feel (and I dont think I am alone in the party) that a strong military and the ability to project that power is essential to a free society. That being said, our keeping of hundreds of military bases in hundreds of countries as well as our “blank check” guarantees to NATO countries, Taiwan, South Korea etc are ridiculous, expensive and crippling. I would maintain a well trained well equipped army that could be used to strike out at enemies quickly and ruthlessly to defend the country. I think that the LP platform is misunderstood in that respect. A wise soldier once said “War is cruel. There is no use in trying to reform it, the crueler it is the sooner it will be over”. I think the Rep and Dems try to avoid this notion with “Guns and butter and nation building”. I personally see an LP military action as being reserved, quick, deadly and brutal. And a deterrent to all other who would threaten us. But when your military actions are long drawn out PR campaigns and so frequent as to almost not be newsworthy, it looses its usefulness as a deterrent (not to mention the cost)

          • To project power you have to have an ability to supply and support such projections. While all of the bases may not be necessary, a certain amount of them certainly would be. And that includes forward deployed combat units and air assets as well as log sites.

          • According to the DOD, we have bases in over 150 countries and almost 400,000 troops abroad. This doesn’t even take into account troops and bases we have here. the question is – when is enough enough? Here is the other issue, quick strike and projection of power does not require large bases and massive ground forces. those are needed for occupation. Those are the more expensive. These are what we are spending our money on. Remember, Libertarians are (for the most part) the ones who feel that one should be allowed to respond with deadly force when someone breaks into their home. Do you really think these people are ones who will back down from military action needed to defend the country? The neo-cons and defense contractor lackeys in federal gov.  have perpetuated this myth that if we don’t spend a trillion dollars a year on bases and troops abroad that we will be “ripe” for the picking. For a fraction of that we could better develop a missile defense shield, increase port security, and upgrade foreign intelligence collection on terrorists. Besides, what will make this country weaker – Less spending on foreign wars and bases or allowing our economy to collapse due to continued racking up of massive debt? The LP is the only party talking about drastic cuts in both Military and entitlement spending and that is the ONLY way we have a chance to avoid a complete economic collapse. Until the R or D commit to that, the LP is the only serious party.

  • So the SF Chronicle doesn’t want to endorse Barbara Boxer because she’s too liberal?  That’s a hoot.

  • What’s happening in California is simple. The crazy state policies, taxes, regulations, and illegal immigration have ruined a large part of the ecnomoy. The liberals and progressives have noticed the results of this – closed shop fronts, jails full of illegals, EBT food stamps everywhere, but they cannot yet find it in themselves to blame the policies just quite yet.

    So, they start to non-endorse Sen. Boxer as a simple baby step. If the process continues, the mental models would slowly change over time, provided they see some results from the change in parties. Instead I suspect we will see the GOP unable to do much – and its not really their fault – the economy is horrible and rooting out entrenched bureaucracies and de-regulating will not be popular as the results take time to show. Then, the liberals and independents will swing back and forth as nothing happens until finally someone like Chris Christie gets elected in each state – except in CA they are going to have a lot more work to do than just tinker with a few pensions.

    In other words, it may be a case of having to destroy the village in order to save it.

    • I want to make sure to note that food stamps or other progressive policies could probably be kept going as a worthy program if the state employees didn’t suck every red cent they can from the budget. This will end up being a major divide on the left. Jerry Brown is attempting to run like this – the Christie style pol doesn’t have to be a GOP leader. The Dems will come around to this when they finally realize they have to do this to survive.

  • Believe me, many of are all too aware of the LP. I was active in the Tennessee Libertarian Party for several years, and visited Harry Browne’s home (which is about ten minutes from my house) many times. I’ve had long discussions about these issues with him and many others.
    It comes down to this: When all the significant foreign threats could be stopped on the beaches, the attitude of the LP made sense. We no longer live in that world. In a world where a single cargo ship can incinerate an American city without leaving any indication of the state or organization that did it, the LP’s position makes no sense to me (and many others). There are no good answers, but the US needs sufficient engagement and sufficient deterrence throughout the world to prevent that occurrence (and worse) if possible.
    I know strict LPers disagree. That’s fine. But you have to recognize that reasonable people can disagree on this. This most diehard LPers refuse to do.
    I thought the Somalia and Yugoslavia involvements were both silly and wrong, in agreement with the stated position of the LP. There was no goal in Somalia, and Yugoslavia was a regional problem better handled by Europeans (even though I think they would have handled it poorly).
    The rescue of Kuwait was not in that category. It prevented a Hitler wannabe from controlling the lion’s share of the world’s oil supply (after he took Saudi Arabia, which was pretty obviously his next target). I remember the discussions on the party newspaper of the LP, and that’s when I first realized that the majority of the LP had a foreign policy that depended on faith, not reality.
    Later actions were unfortunate, but I still supported them as our least bad choice. Afghanistan was a necessary retaliation. And as mismanaged as Iraq was, we were already in a de facto state of war with Hussein and had good reason at the time to believe the WMD claims. Plus pulling out and leaving the Middle East to stew another generation or two means acceptance of likely see more and bigger terrorist attacks into the indefinite future.  Now at least there is a chance to see Iraq, Kuwait, and others rise to become valued members of the modern world. I believe that the alternative is to see Islamic supremacists push the issue until millions or hundreds of millions on both sides are killed, so I think even as badly as it has gone and the high price we paid, Iraq was worth it and continues to be.
    I believe in limited government, much much more than most people who call themselves conservatives. That, plus their regrettable tendency to want to run other people’s lives by telling them what drugs they can use and what their sex lives should be, means I’ve never called myself conservative and never will.
    Libertarian is the closest label I can find to my political philosophy. But I will not pretend that the foreign policy of George Washington makes any sense today. As long as the LP does that, they’ve lost me. They’ve also lost enough others who are sympathetic to the LP’s limited government aims that the LP will not be taken seriously as long as that foreign policy position is in place. LPers may feel they are justified in refusing to compromise on their principles, but the rest of us will continue to regard that position as hopelessly naive.

    • Billy,

      A point on foreign policy. From sometime before 1805 until the 1940s, the royal Navy dominated the oceans. This significantly impared the capabilities of the bad guys during the period, enabling peace, commerce, and wealth creation. Since the 1940s, the US has taken on that role.

      The classic LP thinking on this issue ignores the Royal Navy influence that allowed the US to create wealth despite the lack of US military spending.

    • When all the significant foreign threats could be stopped on the beaches, the attitude of the LP made sense. We no longer live in that world.

      Actually, we never did, particularly with several THOUSAND MILES of beaches. Furthermore, if you let the enemy get that close, you’ve always going to be on defense.

  • Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year.

    I’m having trouble thinking of a better choice than the one I have this year. Bruce Hutchenson (SP?) perhaps?

    Boxer wasn’t a better choice in any of the elections in which I voted against her.

  • Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year.

    “If God wanted us to vote he would’ve given us candidates.”