February 19, 2003


Time for a Boxer rebellion?: Republicans lining up for the chance to replace state's liberal poster child (Doug Gamble, February 18, 2003, Orange County Register)
A few weeks before the Democrats moved into the White House in 1993, Vice President Dan Quayle told me the defeat that stung the most, aside from that suffered by the Bush/Quayle ticket, was Bruce Herschensohn's loss to Barbara Boxer in California's Senate race.

The conservative Los Angeles radio and TV commentator and ex-Nixon aide had kept the 1992 campaign close until its waning days, when he was blindsided by a smear of his character sprung by state Democratic political director Bob Mulholland. It made the difference in a five-point Boxer victory.

The GOP's hope for revenge in 1998 evaporated when their senatorial nominee - bland, moderate state Treasurer Matt Fong - allowed Boxer to get away with portraying him as a right-wing lunatic. He was also unable to raise enough money to be competitive with ads, and was off the air most of the fall.

For California Republicans, this was the first of three election efforts that can best be described as the axis of awful: Fong in 1998, Attorney General Dan Lungren's pathetic performance against Gray Davis in the 1998 governor's race and Bill Simon's laugh-a-thon campaign against Davis last year.

But redemption may be at hand. With Boxer up for re-election next year, potential challengers are forming a line on the right, including radio talk-show hosts Michael Reagan and Dennis Prager, Reps. Doug Ose, Darrell Issa and George Radanovich, Assemblyman Abel Maldonado, Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona and Simon.

Her initial win wasn't that disturbing, in what was a very bad year for the GOP. But the failure to knock her off in '98 was galling. She is after all, besides being extremely liberal and personally corrupt, widely recognized as one of the least bright congressmen now serving, no mean feat. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2003 8:11 AM

The worst part about 1992 was that Herschensohn very nearly won that race despite the fact that Bush/Quayle didn't put much in the way of resources into the state. Herschensohn would have made a fine senator, and in fact was one of the first to argue for a war on terror
that did not distinguish between terrorists and the nation's that harbor them. *sigh*

Posted by: Kevin Whited at February 19, 2003 11:10 AM

And if you didn't see Fong's performance in 1998....hoo boy. He was certainly qualified for the position, but he presented everything as if he was reading from a phone book. He was certainly not an effective communicator.

Posted by: Dreadnought at February 19, 2003 10:56 PM