San Francisco Chronicle Slams Barbara Boxer

Normally, you’d expect a newspaper like the San Francisco Chronicle to wholeheartedly endorse a candidate like Barbara Boxer, but not this year:

Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year. The incumbent, Democrat Barbara Boxer, has failed to distinguish herself during her 18 years in office. There is no reason to believe that another six-year term would bring anything but more of the same uninspired representation. The challenger, Republican Carly Fiorina, has campaigned with a vigor and directness that suggests she could be effective in Washington – but for an agenda that would undermine this nation’s need to move forward on addressing serious issues such as climate change, health care and immigration.


Boxer, first elected in 1992, would not rate on anyone’s list of most influential senators. Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. Although she is chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it is telling that leadership on the most pressing issue before it – climate change – was shifted to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., because the bill had become so polarized under her wing.

For some Californians, Boxer’s reliably liberal voting record may be reason enough to give her another six years in office. But we believe Californians deserve more than a usually correct vote on issues they care about. They deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts.

Boxer’s campaign, playing to resentment over Fiorina’s wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.

Of course, the Chronicle didn’t endorse Fiorna, but the slam against Boxer is about the best a Republican candidate can expect from a newspaper in a heavily Democratic city, and it can’t be making people at Boxer HQ happy this morning.
Will it have an impact on the race ? That’s hard to say. Newspaper endorsements, or in this case non-endorsements, don’t carry the weight that they used to with the public. However, to the extent that the Democratic voters of California had doubts about Barbara Boxer, this editorial reinforces them. That can only work to Fiorina’s benefit.
FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, Climate Change, Environment, Media, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Alex Knapp says:

    I would not want to be a Californian this year. But at least Boxer’s accomplishments are more notable than simply running a Fortune 500 company into the ground…

  2. wr says:

    “But we believe Californians deserve more than a usually correct vote on issues they care about.”

    Is this the single dumbest thing ever written in a newspaper? You’re damn right I want a usually — that is, almost invariably — correct vote on issues I care about. The Chronicle seems to think what I really need is a senator is a someone who will “reach across party lines” — in other words, vote like a Republican to fulfill some editorial page writers vision of comity. Sorry, but the Republicans have declared war on the poor and middle class, and I want a senator who will fight their corrupt, decadent agenda, even if if makes the poor dears at the Chron uncomfortable.

  3. old and peevish says:

    As a Democrat voter involved with this election, the Chron has read my mind…. I’m not happy with Boxer and I can’t stand Fiorina….so what to do? There will be some third party candidates, the usual ones, but none of them represent my thoughts or ideas any more than the the two mainstream parties do. My choice is between a hard core right wing Republican who seems hell bent to destroy my particular demography, or a very progressive liberal who defies centrist common sense on so many issues.

    Is this another of the hold my nose and vote Democrat or not mark any of those boxes, elections? Probably. I don’t want a Republican who doesn’t represent me in anything or in anyway, nor do I want Boxer who is only marginally better in my view. I’ll still vote, it won’t be for any Republican…but God I’m have a harder time voting Democrat each election.

  4. wr says:

    What, exactly, is centrist common sense when you’re dealing with the two parties as they are? Only destroying half of social security? Denying coverage to half of the kids with preexisting conditions? Giving half of the nation’s wealth to the super rich?

  5. old and peevish says:

    @wr says:

    I get the feeling you are trying to pick a fight…..where you have no reason. Maybe you are just cranked up on caffeine today. Apparently i’m a more moderate and reasonable Democrat than you since i’ve seen more and experienced much much more, you on the other hand express the same ideology as the tea baggers…maybe just the flip side of their coin.

    I still maintain my idealism, after 50 years of voting, that someday we can have a country which reasonably represents all its citizens, not just those of the controlling ideology….unlike yourself. 🙂