January 12, 2007

When Barbara Boxer took note of Condoleezza Rice's childlessness.

Senator Barbara Boxer, questioning Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the war, drew attention to the fact that Rice has no children who might have to "pay the price" for the war. The blogosphere is talking. Wizbang demands an apology. There seems to be some notion that it's a special insult to mention the fact that a woman has no children. In the video clip at the first link, we see Rice's reaction, a little irked tilt of the head. I think the negative reaction to Boxer is overblown. It's another one of these statements that we hear all the time about how the people in power who are making the decisions don't have family members serving in the war. Coming to the defense of Condoleezza Rice in this instance is not a feminist gesture. Female politicians have to take this criticism just like their male counterparts. If you think they need special protection, you're not helping the cause of women.

93 comments:

AllenS said...

Maybe Boxer was being coy. As in, did you know Cheney's daughter is a lesbian.

Anonymous said...

All Condi has to do is explain that she has no children because she is a celibate lesbian. That'll make her the darling of the Bay Area.

Joking.

The status of Condi's reproductive organs, or the destination of a male politician's sperm, is not relevant to the political aspects of the War in Iraq. The chicken hawk argument that you can't appreciate the sacrifice of others because you don't have "cheeeelreeeen" of your own to send as cannon fodder or that you haven't been in uniform yourself is specious at best.

I don't know about the reaction to B Boxer, but I believe that anyone male or female should be berated for dredging this type of distracting argument into a serious discussion of national interest.

A person's ability or possibly physical inability to bear children is an intensely personal and private matter.

SteveR said...

You can't get too mad at your dog for licking himself in front of your guests, its is, after all a dog. I can't get mad at Barbara Boxer, in this or any other instance, no matter the issue.

MadisonMan said...

Much ado about nothing. I read some of the commenters on Wizbang. Oy. How is noting whether a person has children or not cruel? Facts are facts. Senator Boxer's comment might be tacky, or politically inept, but that's about it. I think people should save their outrage for things that merit it.

Imagine how the reaction would be different if a man had made the same observation, or if Boxer's comments had been addressed to a man.

Sloanasaurus said...

It's a fair comment - we fight wars so that future generations can live as well or better than ourselves.

However, in the end its the type of comment made by someone who has only thought superficially about the war and the future - therefore its not surprising that Boxer said it. One would hope that our leaders make decisions that are good for the country and not just for themselves (as Boxer implies in her comment).

C. Schweitzer said...

You're right in that if men asked the same question, there shouldn't be any special exemption of women.

Having said that, men shouldn't get that kind of comment either. I'm so sick of that line of argument. No matter what lifetstyle you persue or elect not to pursue, you have a right to have your ideas judged on their merit.

Boxer's comment wasn't a feminist insult, it was just another stupid and vapid argument. Of course, when was the last time you heard a cogent argument from Barbara Boxer? I'm mean, she's not widely regarded as having much of an intellect.

Pogo said...

If only those who are actually "paying the price" of this war are on active duty in the military, we should defer to their judgement.

Unfortunately for Boxer, the military still wants to win this damn thing.
What a pusillanimous idiot.

bearing said...

It's an illogical criticism anyway, whether aimed at males or females. As if childless people might not have other loved ones serving. As if no one ever criticized a warhawk parent because his children made decisions not to serve in the military. As if the decisions of the child actually reflect on the worth of the parent's public-policy philosophy and decisions.

PWS said...

I don't think the issue has to necessarily be viewed through a feminist lens.

What's somewhat unfair about the comment, and similar ones, is that it unfairly implies that your personal status (childless) unduly influences your professional opinions. (It seems like women may be more subject to this accusation than men.)

That logic opens all sorts of paths that I don't think we should be going down. (i.e., investigating people's personal lives as a way to attack their policy positions.)

Anonymous said...

Huh? I don't care if it is a man or a woman, the target a Republican or a Democrat (or a Libertarian, for that matter), the comment was inappropriate and way out-of-line.

hdhouse said...

I would have thought that everyone would have been all over Ms. Rice for her inability to supply specific answers, relying instead on a worn out hash of generalizations and "I don't knows".

Every military mission has a risk assessment attached to it. The projected losses, the costs, the impacts, are all part of it. But as Mr. Bush seems to make up goals on the fly (no strategy..just goals) and Ms. Rice is a willing shill for Mr. Bush's brainstorms, the gloves should come off.

I watched the entire episode on C-span. All I can say its a good thing the grownups are back in charge so they can have half a chance of spanking this child a bit. She needs it.

This war has had little personal effect on Ms. Rice and this administration. That is a fact. Moreover, this war has had little impact on anyone except for the military and their families. We haven't even begun to pay for it, do anything with our personal lives to give anything to it, and particularly, almost all of us haven't profited from it - not that I am jealous of the insane profiteering by insane profiteers - but come on. You send a national guardsman for endless tours at what amounts to be minimum wage and then throw a $40 million dollar re-election gala.

Ms. Rice puts herself out as a point person (ohh where are my friends at Faux News) and she deserves to get shot at just as much if not more than the poor GI grunt who is walking point in Baghdad.

Sloanasaurus said...

Here is historical observation if anyone is interested:

In the west, it has been traditional for war leaders to show personal bravery is part of their ability to lead men into combat. This originated in ancient Greece where the Spartan kings were fighting in the phalanx along with their men. During the Civil War, Lee lost a third of his Generals in the battle of Gettysburg alone.

As a legacy of the western way of war, today we criticize generals who sit safely behind the lines or criticize our society when it does not send the most productive members of the economy off to war.

Contrast this with the Mongols, the most effective army that has ever existed, who thought it stupid to waste the lives of their most intelligent tacticians or ever award a medal to an individual soldier.

Ken Stalter said...

I agree that women don't deserve *special* protection. But I do think that this is just another ad hominem tactic that is unwarranted whatever the gender of the target.

There are plenty of policy grounds for attack. Criticizing anyone's family life is not fruitful.

David said...

Boxer owes Secretary of State Rice an abject apology for a violation of common decency, a violation of the EEOC guidelines that prohibit gender discrimination, and criminal poor taste.

As I have stated previously, the left in this country, led by the San Francisco elitist America bashers and military haters Pelosi and Boxer have again showed their true colors.

From Pelosi favors to the local Del Monte packing company (Tunagate) to the assault on a choir from Yale that was mishandled by SFPD, to Boxer's attack on Rice, this is what the left thinks of the promise to "drain the swamp" and lead us down the rabbit hole to the shining city by the bay.

This is inexcusable especially considering what would have happened if a Republican had uttered the same dreck. Let us listen to the outrage from the women's caucus of the Harvard Science faculty a la Larry Summers.
Key up the sound of crickets!

This is an outrage that cannot be overlooked, especially since it is in the golden 100 hour of democratic activism under Speaker Pelosi. These people are falling apart like a cheap suit!

Anonymous said...

Isn't this an especially female kind of attack? Isn't childbearing part of the "choice" so holy to feminists?

This is another variation of the chickenhawk meme. The "progressives" that like to toss that word around seem to be agitating for a society where only military vets have the privilege of voting.

The Drill SGT said...

I don't think it's a huge deal, just usual snarky sniping. It does however fit a pattern of thought from the Left such as :

1. chicken-hawk
2. absolute moral authority
3. draft the Bush daughters and send them to Iraq
4. Webb has the moral authority cause his son is in Iraq

this stuff only seems to apply to Democrats for some reason. strange.

The partisan moderate said...

I think the reaction may be overblown, however I think Boxer's and many liberal and Democrat's reasoning is absurd. There is no draft in this country. Every person in the military is there because they signed up. They presumably weighed the costs and benefits and decided it was worth joining.

Unlike Vietnam, where you had Senators sending other people's children in to harm's way and using unfair patronage to keep their own child out of risk, this is not the case now.

No one is drafted into the military and this argument that if you favor the war, you should be prepared to send your own child is flawed. Namely, no one can force their child to enlist in the military (especially if you don't have one i.e. Rice:-)) Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that economically and racially the military is fairly representative of America.

While Senators might be more reluctant if they had children to vote for a war, it is unclear if that is even true. Senators McCain, Johnson, Biden all had sons enlisted in the military and all voted in favor of the war.

I would hope Democrats can articulate their opposition to the war in a more persuasive manner than recycling this "chickenhawk" argument.

vbspurs said...

In the video clip at the first link, we see Rice's reaction, a little irked tilt of the head.

Nonono.

It was not just a irked tilt of the head, it was the most wonderful double-take I've ever seen.

Sec'y Rice's thoughtful, polite tilt to the head is normal to anyone who has ever seen her speak. It speaks to her personality, which is diplomatic by nature (the tilt suggests that she is paying close, respectful attention to what you are saying).

What is absolutely DELICIOUS in this clip, is Condi Rice's quick, shocked raising of the eyebrows.

Again, she's a diplomat, and we the public are 'stuck' having to read minor movements or parse her statements to gauge her real thoughts.

But to me, this quick eyebrow raise screamed:

"What. Oh you didn't just didn't go there. Bee-atch.".

I think the negative reaction to Boxer is overblown.

Boxer is a feminist. For a feminist to use the 'barren spinster' argument, in ANY context, is insulting, surprising, and should be decried by all people, not just feminists.

Of course, it would be nice if feminists understood they can't be sexist, just when THEY are trying to make a point.

That, (the fact that a feminist must steer clear of these kinds of remarks if they are to call themselvew feminists) rather than the lame argument of "you're not helping women by not insulting them" is the point.

Cheers,
Victoria

monkeyboy said...

Feminist defense? Probably not, it is still the idiotic chickenhawk attack thats directed at both sexes.

"You can't begin to imagine how you celebrate any holiday or birthday. There's an absence. It's not like the person's never been there. They always were there, and now they're not, and you're looking at an empty hole."

I admit to knowing nothing about Boxer's personal life, but does she know what that's like? What war did her family member leave for? Did she consider that the families might be proud? Might understand that its a dangerous but required job? Like the families of cops or firemen?

The left sees the military only as victimized, stupid children. Yea they support the troops, like PETA supports animal.

Ricardo said...

You couldn't have picked a better example in showing how worthless the blogosphere can be. Here a politician is putting pressure on a government functionary who is going to be responsible for sending Americans to war, and possibly to their deaths. Instead of supporting the politician in her fact-finding function, and in putting pressure on an administration official, the blogosphere demands an apology because the poor baby (Rice) is being insulted. Sending Americans into combat is a decision-making process that needs to be substantiated by all possible means, and elected representatives have the right to say anything, and do anything, to perform this function. If Secretary Rice feels insulted, she's in the wrong line of work. But somehow, I think that Secretary Rice is a real professional and understands this, and it's merely the worthless chatterers on the blogosphere who are making this into an issue.

Akiva said...

In today's age of an all volunteer army, the issue itself is spurious. Those 'children' involved are adults who chose to be involved in that profession. They weighed the risks and advantages for their personal situation, and selected it as their profession and committement to their country.

This is not drafted 18 year olds with no choice. (I think the average age is even in the mid-20's or later.)

Children do many things their parents don't like. Adult's set and follow their own path. Parents may agree or disagree, but rarely are involved in the decision.

So, what's Boxer's point? None. Only to draw an emotional reaction against the war. "SAVE THE POOR CHILDERN" So many good arguments to make, and this is the best she's got?

Indeed, the next 2 years are going to be ugly.

Christy said...

Timing is everything. This comes after we saw Granny Pelosi ascend with a babe in arms and surrounded by progeny.

But you are right, it is an everyday dig. Those of us women with neither spouse nor spawn hear it regularly. Compound it with the standard no-family-to-lose attack, and I'm not surprised Rice was irked.

Would it have been worse comming from a male senator?

Thorley Winston said...

How about just condemning Senator Boxer for grandstanding with an idiotic and insulting comment that has no bearing on what should have been a serious hearing?

George said...

George Washington never fathered any children, so he wasn't qualified to make military decisions, either.....

(He was, however, stepfather to Martha's two children.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think Condoleeza Rice needs special protection. Sheesh! I think the Democrats need to examine the failed logic of the Chickenhawk argument.

By her own reasoning, Boxer shouldn't have an opinion either--as she has no immediate family affected by the decisions. It's just stupid.

And why is this logic only applied to Iraq and not Afghanistan? And why should she be allowed an opinion if she isn't willing to go fight with the "freedom fighters"? She has no moral authority unless she's personally affected.

If a Republican hinted that Barney Frank shouldn't share an opinion about Iraq because he is childless, the Left would be up in arms.

Are the only ones allowed an opinion the actual soldiers? Good. Let's listen to them.

yetanotherjohn said...

Not every aspect of every issue should be viewed through the lens of feminist sensibilities. I agree that as a woman she should have no more protection than a man on the question. What I disagree is on the appropriateness of the question. Since every aspect of life has risks associated with it, is Boxer's claim that only those who have passed their genes down to the next generation should have a say in what we do as a society? Police and firemen die in protecting our society from crime and fires. Should only the voices of those who have children be allowed to have a say about where and how we use our police and fire fighting resources?

Perhaps the irritation is not associated with Rice having or not having children, but that a senator was so lacking in fundamental logic to be making the point.

Sissy Willis said...

Even so, Barbara Boxer has no class.

tcd said...

It's still a volunteer military, is it not? Cheap dig on Boxer's part. You are right about not having to defend Rice for the sake of feminism.

Anonymous said...

There are people - both men and women - for whom not having children is a choice. There are others, however, for whom this is not the case - whether due to failed relationships or infertility. Reminding that latter group of an unforunate outcome in an area that is this important and sensitive, is, well, insensitivie.

Anonymous said...

Condi can take care of herself, yes.

Still, it's oh-so-tempting to use mirror-image arguments...

SteveWe said...

Boxer is in the Senate only because she has a very rich husband. In line with her backhanded slap on Rice, she can have no defense against the first assertion here.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to know why the MSM never shows the huge legs this woman has. Or, Hillary's legs, for that matter. But, they never fail to show Republican bellies. If pointing out the personal aspects of one politician is fair game, then they are all fair game until this stupid sniping stops.

Anonymous said...

Victoria: Once again, "Ditto."

Sissy: True. And according to legislative staffers on Capitol Hill, not much in the way of brains either. (A finalist for "dimmest bulb" in the Senate in the Washington Monthly contest)

Dr. Melissa: You are right. She doesn't. You're right about Barney Frank, too, not that most will care or understand the point.

dick said...

What it does is just open up the gate for any comment you care to make at any time. It was a tasteless and insulting remark to make to anyone. Suppose someone said that Teddy can't have any input to women's issues because he killed Mary Jo Kopechne or that Byrd can't have any input on earmarks since he has been using them by the boatload for years. Just totally not an appropriate remark at all and she should have to apologize immediately.

I don't care whether a politician should have thick skin or not, no politician should have to have that kind of remark made about them under any circumstances. Boxer has shown yet again that she is not ready for public service.Total idiot.

dick said...

Would you say that Barbara Boxer is helping the cause of women by even making that outrageous remark?

JimNtexas said...

I hereby volunteer my son for temporary adoption by Secretary Rice whenever she testifies before Congress. He recently returned from Texas National Guard basic training.

Maybe she can use her diplomatic skills to get him to pick up the dirty clothes in his room.

Alan said...

Gee, I'm about as outraged over this as when "conservatives" were outraged over the Supreme Court declaring it unConstitutional to execute minors for capital crimes.

It's outrageous! LOL

vbspurs said...

the blogosphere demands an apology because the poor baby (Rice) is being insulted.

You could look at it that way.

Or you could look at it in the way of Blogosphere providing an outlet for people's opinions, which are not canvassed, covered, or regarded by traditional media.

In other words, without blogs, this kind of chickenhawk remark, would have gone unnoted, or down-played.

Unless, of course, you have a problem with the frank exposition of normal, everyday people's opinions, as a rule.

Tell me, when a black girl says she was raped, and there is a rally on her behalf, including parade with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, only later turning out that what she said was a lie -- do you also condemn people for rallying to her support?

Or do you pontificate about how the real problem is violent mistreatment of women and how people are ignoring that angle?

(Spare me the reply of "you didn't get the point". I got your point. I'm just giving you another perspective)

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Reminding that latter group of an unforunate outcome in an area that is this important and sensitive, is, well, insensitivie.

Not to mention, ludicrous.

When a woman gets to be president, she won't be the Ovary-In-Chief.

Cheers,
Victoria

Tibore said...

Tasteless cheap shot. Anyone who's daring to crow that "the adults are back in charge" should pay attention to this and realize that that's not the case.

LoafingOaf said...

Yeah, a female has to endure a stupid Senator's stupid questions just like a man. This doesn't mean the spotlight shouldn't be aimed straight at that fool, Boxer, after she made a fool of herself yet again. And this doesn't mean the public has to endure their Senate being disgraced by this nitwit without telling her what we think of her. Democrats might wanna be mad at her as well, because she's "stolen the show" with her idiocy. I'm not attacking any other Democrats for their behavior, though they asked tough questions. Boxer deserves the heat. And though a feminist shouldn't feel obligated to leap to defend Rice, they might wanna notice what a fake feminist Boxer looks like today. Fake Senator too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all those who've said it's an irrelevant argument and nothing worth getting worked up over.

I was amused by hdhouse, though.

I would have thought that everyone would have been all over Ms. Rice for her inability to supply specific answers, relying instead on a worn out hash of generalizations and "I don't knows".

Not having seen the exchange, I thought maybe Boxer was grilling Rice about her lack of children:

"But why don't you have children, Ms. Secretary? Why does this Administration still not have a clear plan? What is the President's timetable? What are the bechmarks for success in childrearing? This Congress has given the President everything he's asked for, but you still have no children."

Revenant said...

In today's age of an all volunteer army, the issue itself is spurious. Those 'children' involved are adults who chose to be involved in that profession.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Boxer's line about her kids being "too old" is a bit odd, too. They're in their late 30s -- there are plenty of people that age in the military.

LoafingOaf said...

Ricardo: Instead of supporting the politician in her fact-finding function, and in putting pressure on an administration official, the blogosphere demands an apology because the poor baby (Rice) is being insulted.

Why should a Senator be walled off from scrutiny? She's powerful in these matters of foreign policy as well. When she conducts herself in important matters like she doesn't have a brain, people ought to comment on that. The public needs to know that there are people like this running around the Senate and House. I'm not attacking Senators Schumer, Clinton, etc.

Speaking of the House, the public ought to know that while Dennis Kucinich is prancing around telling Bush how he ought to be dealing with Iran it turns out Kucinich doesn't know jack squat about Iran.

From Hugh Hewitt's radio program the other night:

HH: Congressman, do you know what the Quds forces are?

DK: (pause) I'm sorry?

HH: Do you...are you aware of the Quds forces?

DK: What are you talking about?

HH: The Quds forces from...they're an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Are you familiar with them?

DK: (pause) Go ahead.

HH: Are you? Because I don't want to pursue it if you're not.

DK: Well, go ahead. I want to hear what you have to say.

HH: Well, they're operating in Iraq. Does that concern you?

***

HH: Pop quiz, Congressman. Do you know who the supreme leader of Iran is?

DK: (pause) You're talking about the religious leader?

HH: Yes.

DK: I can't tell you the name off-hand.


When I walk into a Borders I see 1,000 books calling Bush a moron. Maybe it's time we take a closer look at some of these Democrats. What are their IQs? Have they done their homework? Are they conducting themselves in a serious manner?

Al Maviva said...

It's ironic that a senator who posited that the "right to choose" ends "when the mother decides to take the baby home from the hospital", would be so interested in child welfare.

Pogo said...

I think Victoria's right. There's more than a bit of the 'spinster' dig here by Boxer, who is quick to engage in a bit of pelvic tyranny and the vainglory of her own uterine excess.

And just imagine the wild yelps and gnashing of teeth had Rumsfeld told Hillary she can't complain about Iraq until Chelsea dons fatigues.

Old Dad said...

I agree that this is not news.

Barbra Boxer has been a dope with a big mouth for a very long time.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Imagine how the reaction would be different if a man had made the same observation, or if Boxer's comments had been addressed to a man.

Yes, the headline would have been: "Boxer Outs Bush Official" or "Boxer Presses Deputy on Family Values". The worst part is that the media thinks it's is okay for Boxer to attack Ms. Rice because it's one female attacking another; imagine if a man had said that to her. Do you really think Chris Dodd, who was trying to show off at that hearing, would have said such a vile thing? Rice's being treated worse because she's a woman, not better. And (here it comes) I have never seen Barbara Boxer treat a white woman with such public vitriol. What is really offensive about it is that Barbara Boxer is an idiot and Condoleeza Rice is by all accounts a brilliant woman (whose testimony, by the way, was responsive, direct, and substantive). Where does Boxer get off questioning Rice without the least bit of deference? I'm sorry, but being elected Senator because you pander to liberals isn't the same as earning a doctorate because you've mastered a field of knowledge.

Mortimer Brezny said...

When a woman gets to be president, she won't be the Ovary-In-Chief.

What's wrong with an ovary in chief? That sounds kind of good...if you're into that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

There's a ready-made solution if Condi feels it would help her persona to have a baby - which one doubts.

Our own Jack Straw - then Foreign Secretary - was clearly begging to be allowed access to the inner sanctum of your gal when she was over here last year.

It cost him his job, but I suspect the lust remains. Can't answer for the gene pool, but here's an Anglo-American tie-in for the taking.

hdhouse said...

Pastor Jeff:

Frankly I think GWB is on the pill...ohhh did I say that?

Hecla Ma said...

George Washington had no biological children. So what? Boxer made a stupid remark. I don't think the blogosphere is "protecting" Condi, but I do think Boxer - a feminist - made feminists look bad. It was always supposed to be about "choice," wasn't it? Suddenly education, ability and drive are irrelevent because motherhood isn't part of it?

Anonymous said...

Pretty thin skin from the same crowd that called Chelsea Clinton the White House Dog, Hillary a lesbian, accusing the Clinton's of murdering Vince Foster, among other things. You guys have been a rat-f*cking campaign for 15 years, the problem is you can dish it, but not take it.

You can't expect the same soldiers to pull tour after tour, and shorten their leaves, forever. I'm sure Condi will be fine.

Hey said...

The Democrats are right. Only combat veterans who have children in the combat arms of the military should be able to vote or hold office in the United States. It is the only just way to make these decisions.

Harry Truman might be spinning in his grave, but Boxer and the rest are absolutely right. Thankfully this will also remove women from an involvement in politics that just isn't suited to their gender. I am thankful that despite the debilitating disability of her sex, Boxer can see the right approach rather than following her self interest towards the suffragette cause.

paul a'barge said...

Boxer's argument is a variation on the "chickenhawk" argument. In other words, it is multitudinously bogus.

This is a classic Leftist/DHIMMIcRAT logical ploy. It's the flip side of the DHIMMIcRAT ploy that states that Cindy Sheehan has the unquestionable moral highground because her son was killed in the military.

In this case, the argument is that because Rice has no children, Rice has NO moral authority to participate in war.

I'm thinking of a 4 letter word that starts with "C" to describe Boxer. I'll let you be the one to guess it.

Revenant said...

Pretty thin skin from the same crowd that called Chelsea Clinton the White House Dog, Hillary a lesbian, accusing the Clinton's of murdering Vince Foster, among other things.

Please cite some evidence of anyone in this thread doing any of those things.

MadisonMan said...

I do think Boxer - a feminist - made feminists look bad.

That statement is just silly.

I do think Boxer - a Californian - made Californians look bad. I do think Boxer - a Human - made Humans look bad.

Boxer's behavior reflects on herself only.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm thinking of a 4 letter word that starts with "C" to describe Boxer. I'll let you be the one to guess it.

Cute? Do I win?

Seriously, though I no longer live in California, Babs Boxer never ceases to embarass. I don't always agree with Feinstein, but at least she is nominally rational. Not so with Babs. Remember her non-entry into the Romance Novel market? LOL. Babs is clueless about most every topic, with an IQ of an overcooked cabbage.

Cedarford said...

Boxer, as several posters have noted, is perpetually in the running for the dumbest Senator, actually holding that title for several years running before Mel Martinez came in and swiped the trophy from her.

Boxer is also wonderful at debunking stereotypes when she is not perpetuating stupid ones like childless women in high-flyer careers are unable to comprehend war sacrifices:

1. All Jews are smart. "What about Barbara Boxer?". Oh.

2. Women Senators like Boxer are a sign women have made it on their own. "Even if that woman was a housewife propelled into office by her Sugar Daddy husband's hundreds of millions?" Oh.

3. Republicans are mean, nasty and smarmy, while Democrats avoid that. "What about Barbara Boxer?" Oh.

******************
That said, America has a real problem in the separation of the fighting men of the tradesman volunteer Armed Forces away from the Ruling Elites or intelligensia. Few in America's uppercrust families have any acquaintances with people in the Armed Forces, let alone their families. At one time, America's elite Universities had a majority of faculty who were Vets and hundreds of students at each selective top tier school who did ROTC. Now a Vet is a rarity on Faculty and ROTC is down to single digits at some Ivy League schools.

Ideally, the Armed Forces should be drawn from a broad sector of society so the whole nation has a stake in them.

That is not the current case.

****************
hdhouse:

I would have thought that everyone would have been all over Ms. Rice for her inability to supply specific answers, relying instead on a worn out hash of generalizations and "I don't knows".

Rice is in up to her neck in some of the worst calls in Iraq by the Bush bunglers. And should be held to account by credible members of Congress - people like Ike Skelton, John Warner, Chuck Hagle, and yes, Hillary who has shown insight and ability that has won her considerable respect from the small circle of broadly well- regarded senior Senators.
(Which omits Kerry, Kennedy, Spector, and Stevens - obviously, as well-detested senior Senators)

The efforts of skillful House and Senate questioners if Rice are derailed by idiots like Boxer. Who got the airtime?

vbspurs said...

I'm thinking of a 4 letter word that starts with "C" to describe Boxer. I'll let you be the one to guess it.

Blech. I wish Americans were like us British -- that word is only used to a man, in irony.

Those who genuinely call Sen. Boxer a c-nt are as classless as she is, and I don't care what side of the aisle you're on.

Cheers,
Victoria

Dave said...

Gee, I guess that the movie's about the problems young cowboys have meeting women and raising families, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Good call, Althouse. The next couple years will be tough on a lot of political people. I think Condi can hold her own.

MadisonMan said...

I know there are Condi for President advocates on this blog -- I'm curious of your thoughts on how the last several months have helped/hindered her candidacy.

I think she is probably in front of George Allen. I'm not sure who else though. If she were running, of course.

michael a litscher said...

So the new, new left-wing double standard is:

1) If you have never served in active combat, and
2) You don't have any children which might be caught up in Charlie Rangel's entirely unnecessary military draft, and
3) You support the war on terror (that being terrorists, terror organizations, states which harbor terrorists, states which train terrorists, and states which finance terrorists)

KEEP YOUR PIE HOLE SHUT! The first amendment doesn't apply to you.

Oh, and if you do meet all of the above criteria, you should still keep your pie hole shut, as you're nothing but a baby-killing jack-booted imperialist war-mongering jingoistic fascist.

On the other hand if you:
1) Oppose the war

You are free to express your opinion, often and loudly - preferrably inches from someone's face, under any circumstance you may find yourself in, because the first amendment is sacrosanct.

Should anyone offer a counter-argument or refuse to go see your movies or buy your CDs or your books because they disagree with you, scream opression, censorship, McCarthyism, and fascism.

paul a'barge said...

credible members of Congress - people like Ike Skelton, John Warner, Chuck Hagle, and yes, Hillary.

Oh boy. Credible? Hagel? Warner?

Spare me.

Anonymous said...

'Boxer is a feminist. For a feminist to use the 'barren spinster' argument, in ANY context, is insulting, surprising, and should be decried by all people, not just feminists.'

Oh for heaven's sake, turning Ms. Rice into a victim is what's insulting. In no way was Boxer using a'barren spinster' argument. Her rhetoric applied to herself as well, "So who pays the price? Not me, not you."

The comment wasn't a personal attack and I expect Rice didn't take it as such. She's made of sterner stuff than to have an attack of the vapors about an argument that Boxer is trying to make.

Anonymous said...

'Boxer is a feminist. For a feminist to use the 'barren spinster' argument, in ANY context, is insulting, surprising, and should be decried by all people, not just feminists.'

Oh for heaven's sake, turning Ms. Rice into a victim is what's insulting. In no way was Boxer using a'barren spinster' argument. Her rhetoric applied to herself as well, "So who pays the price? Not me, not you."

The comment wasn't a personal attack and I expect Rice didn't take it as such. She's made of sterner stuff than to have an attack of the vapors about an argument that Boxer is trying to make.

Anonymous said...

'Boxer is a feminist. For a feminist to use the 'barren spinster' argument, in ANY context, is insulting, surprising, and should be decried by all people, not just feminists.'

Oh for heaven's sake, turning Ms. Rice into a victim is what's insulting. In no way was Boxer using a'barren spinster' argument. Her rhetoric applied to herself as well, "So who pays the price? Not me, not you."

The comment wasn't a personal attack, nor was it about the ability to produce children, and I expect Rice didn't take it as such. She's made of sterner stuff than to have an attack of the vapors about an argument that Boxer is trying to make.

Pogo said...

Chum,
I agreed with part of your first post, but the next two posts made absolutely no sense at all, and in fact contradicted each other. What gives?.

Brendan said...

Jeez. First she was attacked for not being authentically black. Now she's being assailed as a less than authentic woman. Since when is being childless the same as being callous or indifferent to suffering? Can you imagine if Bush insinuated that non church-going citizens are "bad" people? The Dems and their toadies in the MSM would go apeshit crazy. But hey, Condi's a black Republican, so she's expendable. For shame.

Revenant said...

That said, America has a real problem in the separation of the fighting men of the tradesman volunteer Armed Forces away from the Ruling Elites or intelligensia. Few in America's uppercrust families have any acquaintances with people in the Armed Forces, let alone their families.

If I recall correctly, children and grandchildren of members of Congress (Republican ones, anyway, and I think all of them over all) are actually slightly overrepresented in the armed forces.

I suppose a case could be made that the American public in general is unfamiliar with our military, since only a small percentage of us serve. There's nothing to be done about that, though, since we've no need for a military big enough to actually impact most Americans (tens of millions of troops).

Anonymous said...

This war has had little personal effect on Ms. Rice and this administration. That is a fact. Moreover, this war has had little impact on anyone except for the military and their families. We haven't even begun to pay for it, do anything with our personal lives to give anything to it, and particularly, almost all of us haven't profited from it - not that I am jealous of the insane profiteering by insane profiteers - but come on. You send a national guardsman for endless tours at what amounts to be minimum wage and then throw a $40 million dollar re-election gala.

This is one of those agitprop lines of argument that annoys me the most. So What? Evidently, the "sacrifice" isn't necessary. If it was, we'd be partaking of it. War profiteering comes with the territory. To say we shouldn't go to war because we don't want war profiteering is a tiny tail wagging a massive dog.

The reason I don't have any family in Iraq is because no one in my family chose to enlist in the military at the present time. But if they had done so, it would be because they, as adults, made a decision that this is what they wanted to do. I assume this would apply to the children Condoleeza Rice doesn't have. They wouldn't have enlisted unless they were old enough to do so, old enough to make that decision for themselves.

This is a variation of the "chicken-hawk" slur, e.g. if your "children" (even though they're adults) haven't been "sent to Iraq" (even though they volunteered), then you have no legitimate role in policy-making.

This pernicious idiocy also assumes that because your offspring aren't in the war, well then it's a free ride for you -- you don't care. How do you know that Rice doesn't care? The men and women in Iraq are much better people than I am, and I am deeply pained by the loss of each one of them, whether I know them personally or not. They are there to do an important job, benefiting not just this country, but the world. Losing any of them is a huge sacrifice.

vbspurs said...

Her rhetoric applied to herself as well, "So who pays the price? Not me, not you."

Many people have already stated that if the people allowed to have valid positions are based SOLEY if they are qualified to have them based on personal life choices, our society will go bust.

For Condoleeza Rice, the USA IS her life. She's spent half of her adult life in its service.

To criticise her lack of sacrifice on this regard, is patently insulting.

It's like a Republican criticising Senator Boxer for having the temerity to divide her time as a legislator, to have kids.

Cheers,
Victoria

Cedarford said...

revenent - I suppose a case could be made that the American public in general is unfamiliar with our military, since only a small percentage of us serve. There's nothing to be done about that, though, since we've no need for a military big enough to actually impact most Americans (tens of millions of troops).

With 1.4 million active duty and 1 million reservists, that sphere of influence should spread out to at least 5 other immediate family members and at least 5 close friends if sacrifice was spread evenly. Or 24 million people and over 10 years with people coming and going, at least 60 million Americans.

But that is not the case because the Armed Forces are becoming insular and coming from only a very narrow strata of American society....and their family is the source of other soldiers, their closest friends now not civilians, but other soldiers and Vets. So the "sphere" has narrowed to perhaps only 15 million people over 10 years having ties to military.

And now we have a Ruling Elite growingly disconnected from the military and a volunteer force unwilling to invest in a volunteer seeking out of the underclass who has a low IQ or "troubles".

The majority of top-tier college student have never known a soldier and have absolutely no intent of bringing top intellect ot talent into the military because of the income they would lose in a nation that values wealth over service.

In major regions of the country(New England, Pacific NW, wealthy "blue" enclave towns), military service is now beginning to be looked on as a place "losers" who don't do the right moves to get on track for a high-paying job have to go to. Or it's a Walmart job.

The military ignores underclass who would make good additions on limited duty assignments - garrison, truck driving, cleanup, light defense tasks using low tech gear..because they want much "more" for the good wages and benefits they are forcing on the taxpayer to be able to get good volunteers able to do needed complex jobs elsewhere.

I am a proponent of a Draft that would put 200,000 more in boots and be expandable to more as needed. That would hit every 18 year old. No gender or other exemptions. And as we have a special Draft for critical medical people - perhaps we need a Special Draft for children of the Ruling Elites. Enough to ensure the whole pool of them is at risk of military service.

That would be good for democracy and help prevent military servive from devolving into a "soldier caste" of Americans from lower middle class, mainly rural or smalltown, Southern areas.

Anonymous said...

It's understandable that Conservatives would bristle at a comment like that from Boxer. Pretty much from day one Liberals have gone after Condi's lack of a husband and children, snidely implying that it makes sense that no man would want to marry and have children with such a horrible woman. After all, how is it possible for a normal woman of color to buy into the ideologies of the white male phalocentric hierarchy? There must be something wrong with her.

If she knew her place and was a proper liberal feminista, her lack of husband and children would be a "choice", instead, because she works for the enemy, it's a character flaw.

Maybe conservative bloggers are making a little too much of this, but their reaction isn't entirely unreasonable.

Tim said...

Good thing Condi had the class not to ask Boxer about the time she was caught in the closet with a janitor while serving on the Board of Supervisors in Marin County, CA, and whether or not that display of judgement had any impact upon her abilities to perform as a Senator...

AJ Lynch said...

Boy how ironic would it be if Condi someday ran for the Senate and took Boxer's seat?

Revenant said...

With 1.4 million active duty and 1 million reservists, that sphere of influence should spread out to at least 5 other immediate family members and at least 5 close friends if sacrifice was spread evenly.

First of all, there's no "sacrifice". They're a paid volunteer force. By definition they get enough out of the experience for it to be worth their investment, or they wouldn't be doing it at all.

Secondly, service is not and will never be spread out evenly, unless we start (for example) forbidding people from following their parents and siblings into the service.

And now we have a Ruling Elite growingly disconnected from the military and a volunteer force

What's your basis for that claim? A quarter of Congress served in the military at some point, as did the President and both of his Demoncratic challengers.

Where's the disconnect?

AJ Lynch said...

What is Andrew Sullivan saying about this statement from Boxer to Condi?

OhioAnne said...

"You can't begin to imagine how you celebrate any holiday or birthday. There's an absence. It's not like the person's never been there. They always were there, and now they're not, and you're looking at an empty hole."

Senator Boxer chose to say this rather than ask some hard questions of Rice when she had the opportunity. She played the "emotions" card rather than behave like an adult and ask questions of accountability when she had the chance.

Do I think Rice should have been protected from her questioning? No, I agree with many and say she should be able to take it.

However, I disagree with those who think Boxer should be protected from criticism for her extremely offensive comment quoted here. She's playing in the same league as Rice and should also be able to take responsibility for her actions/comments.

While I don't see Boxer's comment as a "feminist slur", I am tempted to think that of those who think Boxer is being unfairly criticized.

As a member of the "childless not by choice" group, I would never presume to speak to the pain of someone who has lost a child. I have not had that experience.

However, Boxer's presumption in saying that you can't miss a child that isn't there is a display of blatant hypocrisy. She has children. She has no more understanding of childlessness than she does of losing a child.

No, as someone else said, she doesn't reflect badly on Californians, women or other senators - she demonstrates she lacks even the basic human values we hope to see in others.

boston70 said...

As someone who is single with no children I don't think this is a big deal.
My "singleness' and having no children has been referred to a couple of times at work and I have taken no offense.
I actually am not ashamed of it and it has allowed me to move up because of my flexibility and willingness and ability to travel when needed.

I realize this is going to get quite a bit of derision on this site but I do think there is something fabulous about some of the democrat women from California in the house: Boxer, Harman, Feinstein, Pelosi. Each of them are fabulously wealthy, dress well and in my opinion look good.

I liked the quote in Maureen Dowd's editorial about Harman and Pelosi getting their hair done together at The Four Seasons.

Also, three of four of them are from San Francisco and that is obviously fabulous.

OK, now you may go off on me.

SGT Ted said...

"The military ignores underclass who would make good additions on limited duty assignments - garrison, truck driving, cleanup, light defense tasks using low tech gear..because they want much "more" for the good wages and benefits they are forcing on the taxpayer to be able to get good volunteers able to do needed complex jobs elsewhere."

Wow, the ignorant elitist patronization drips from this post.

hdhouse said...

ahhh but Plorrian...the reason that they are harping on this is that they have no other bullets for their zipguns. They are out of ammo and have General Custer at the helm.

Chum said...

Pogo;

Oh my. Stammering multiple post syndrome. Blogger does not like my work computer.

Victoria;

'Many people have already stated that if the people allowed to have valid positions are based SOLEY if they are qualified to have them based on personal life choices, our society will go bust.'

Many people have, but what's that got to do with the price of fish in China? My take on Boxer's meaning was that she was pointing out neither she nor Rice have a family member who will pay the price. Simple enough to understand.

Nor do I think Boxer's comment was noting Rice's childlessness.

I think most people do know what Boxer meant, but it's not bash worthy unless Rice is made into a victim. Something, given her life experience, seems something she absolutely is not.

OhioAnne said...

I think most people do know what Boxer meant, but it's not bash worthy unless Rice is made into a victim. Something, given her life experience, seems something she absolutely is not.

Of course we know what she meant - we read what she said.

She said that neither of us know what it feels like to lose a child because neither of us have had the experience of losing a child.

She then went on to say that, despite the fact she has children, she completely understands what it is like to *not* have a child and can lecture Rice on how she should feel about it.

She not only negates the basis of her own argument, but it is blatant hypocrisy and - frankly - demonstrates Boxer isn't particularly bright.

No one needs to think Rice is a victim - which she certainly is not - to make what Boxer said wrong or ignorant. There is also no reason to see Boxer as the victim in this. She's an adult - there is no reason to protect her from her own actions.

Anonymous said...

Madison Man wrote:
Imagine how the reaction would be different if a man had made the same observation, or if Boxer's comments had been addressed to a man.

Yeah, because we all know social conservatives always get a pass when they get lathered up over Rep. Barney Frank (who happens to be gay and has no biological children of military age AFAIK) opining on education, child welfare, family tax credits, or pretty much any other subject.

Fritz said...

Senator Boxer is the gift that keeps on giving. The writers at Saturday Night Live are going to have some fun with this exchange. The absurdity and ignorance of Boxers contradictory remarks. Secretary Rice frequents this dangerous region, how often she can be viewed wearing body armor, she is a high value target. Talk about risk. Boxer was playing the soccer mom card, while at the same time contradicting her own authority to render policy judgments. Her leftist buddy Hugo Chavez has also taken such liberty with Secretary Rice's personal life.

Ann, I think you miss the point. Rice doesn't need to be defended, but we should be sensitive; that she is part of our generation that may have forgone a family to succeed in her career. Such personal references has no place in our politics. Boxer should apologize. Perhaps SNL's skit about this will bring this to light.

hdhouse said...

Fritz said...
" Secretary Rice frequents this dangerous region, how often she can be viewed wearing body armor, she is a high value target. "

Rice never ever ventures out of the Bunker in the Green Zone you idiot.

Fritz said...

hdhouse,
You should join Boxer's staff. You don't think Rice's frequent travel in the region is not perilous? How does she get to the Green Zone, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Israel?

hdhouse said...

fritz fritz fritz...keep taking those meds ok?

by plane and or by helicopter with escort and what do you think, its announced the day before on TV?

you are too easy. find an adult ok?

Anonymous said...

What barbara boxer said was fact, As a matter of fact I bet Condoleezza Rice never put her life on the line to fight a war that she had no choice in. Oh and hey if everyone is so for this war then go join, no ones stopping you, but don't commit our men and women so freely if your not willing to do the same.

Anonymous said...

jax2026:

And there we have it, the shabby 'chickenhawk' argument that I find obnoxious and tiresome in all it's forms. Here's a reality check, Jax, the United States is not Israel. If Congress wants introduce a term of compulsory military service for all adult citizens - including members of Congress - there's nothing to stop 'em. Ditto for folks who want to introduce a fertility qualification to vote or hold public office.

Until then, perhaps we would just fraking grow up and stop behaving like a viable reproductive system is some sign of moral authority?

Anonymous said...

Senator Boxer [i]did[/i] also say that she herself didn't know about the personal sacricifices the soldiers and their families are making. "My children are too old and my grandson is too young. You don't have any children, so who pays the price?"

Boxer was acknowledging that neither of them are personally involved in running the war or know what it's like to have a family member serving in the military, as opposed to say, Senator Webb of Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Senator's Boxer's kids, Doug and Nicole, according to internet articles are under 41. They are not "too old" as she claims and are well within the age requirements to join the Army. The Army's current age for enlistees is 41.

http://www.goarmy.com/JobCatList.do?redirect=true&fw=careerindex&bl=

Doug is a lawyer, and is eligible for a commission in the JAG as an officer. If he is over 41, he can apply for a waiver.

http://www.goarmy.com/jag/procres.pdf