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Barbara Boxer orders general to call her "senator"

Well, at least these congressional hearings focus only on the major issues facing the troubled country.

California's Barbara Boxer was chairing a hearing of her Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, examining what in blazes is taking the Army Corps of Engineers so long to properly protect a Louisiana city that sits below sea level from the sea. Good luck with that still. Again.

Boxer was getting a little exasperated, head dramatically on hand and all. As the proper sign of military respect for a female, Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh was answering "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am."

And finally, the ma'am had had enough. "Could you say 'senator' instead of 'ma'am'? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title." No, really. Watch for yourself. She actually said that. A different attitude than on Memorial Day.

Truth be told, even on Capitol Hill, Walsh has taken a few years of service to his country to earn those general stars too. But Boxer did not deign to call him general. Nor did she bother with a please. Of course, the general complied with the Democrat's wishes immediately without complaint.

(UPDATE: 5:28 p.m. A Boxer aide sends word that she did refer to Walsh as general several times during the hearing, though not on this particular clip. The aide also said Boxer telephoned the general earlier today, "expressed their respect for each other" and look forward to working together in the future.)

Next year, Boxer is up for reelection back home. We'll see if Babs gets to keep that title.

  -- Andrew Malcolm

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Hat Tip to Jimmy Orr, who has his incisive "South Park" take over here.

Comments () | Archives (48)

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Boxer's embarrassing behavior demonstrates the power on which many of our politicians appear to be drunk.

The General also deserves courtesy. No way did he mean any disrespect to Boxer. On the contrary, he showed her the utmost regard. The words "Ma'am" and "Sir" are not insolent; Boxer's tone, however, was. The United States of America does not have nobility or titled aristocracy; yet some of our politicians seem to have a misguided sense of self-worth with regard to their elected positions. Her response is indicative of the attitude held by many of our elected official.: They no longer view themselves as servants of the people; rather, they have convinced themselves they reign and rule over Americans.

Boxer lowered herself by interrupting the General in mid-sentence, lecturing him on the fact that she "worked really hard to get that title." She can describe her public service however she deems fit; but the General has dedicated his professional life to protecting our citizenry.

This was the ultimate show of lack of tact. If this 'Senator' had an ounce of it, she would know that. Oh, but did she call him 'Brigadier General' when talking to him? Check the video. HE has certainly 'earned it' as well.

Boxer... this shoddy piece of political legacy-software needs to be removed from California government. She's a virus to our operating system. Sheehan, where are you?

No wonder our state is in a mess. This is the kind of stupidity we have in our government representing our California citizens.

Maybe Senator Boxer thinks she is hot sh*t on a silver platter, but she shows herself to be cold cr*p on a paper plate.

Personally, I don't think the "Senator" has done anything noteworthy to earn her title - just another Nastycrat. She should have been been toast after the House banking scandal many years ago. It'll be a great day when Californians vote her out of office.

Ms Boxer is out of place to insist that she not be called Ma'am. She may have earned her Senator title but so did the General in gaining his stars.

For your information, in the military, all military personnel are taught that to respond to a woman, on is to address the person as ma'am.

Boxer needs to get a life and have her present title removed to the unemployed file.

Amazing degree of arrogance on her part.

For the record, I was curious to see if the General treated her Highness differently and more deferentially than the other senators. I randomly started at about 46.00 of the hearing and went to 1.09.00. In that time period Gen. Walsh addressed Sen. Vitter as "sir" 14 times and as "Senator" twice; he addressed Sen. Landrieu as "ma'am" 6 times and as "Senator" twice (and once as "sir" which he quickly corrected to "ma'am"). Neither Sens. Vitter nor Landrieu apparently had a problem with the polite and respectful way they were addressed -- even though they presumably worked just as hard to earn the same title as her Senatorness.

The only thing Madam Boxer has earned in my book is my contempt.



This girl has some real issues concerning how she views her own competence. Demanding that one be addressed by a formal title in no wise demonstrates an expertise. This "correction" would have been appropriate had the General been rude, or otherwise off the mark in his comments to her. But, he was not. Says to me that she is not all that confident in her ability to function as a Senator.

My guess, Mal, is she wins handily. 'Babs', as you so tactlessly put it, currently enjoys a greater advantage in the latest Field Poll over her named (Gov.Schwartzenegger and Carly Fiorina) and generic opponents, than the same poll showed at this point in either of her first two election cycles. I was initially taken aback by the snark in your piece but then I read your bio and found Laura Bush lurking and it all made sense. Senator Boxer is a strong personality and not for all tastes but the Republican Party is presently in the desert and it appears it may be a long sojourn.

Boxer didn't want to be called "ma'am" as the gender of this specimen of deranged political insanity is hard to discern. Who in their right mind nowadays would be PROUD to be called a "Senator" with the likes of Franken, Boxer, & other examples of lunatic egomania roaming the aisles? Byrd is sharper than Boxer & he was born before the Civil War!!

I sent this via the 'contact us' page on the Senator's website -

Senator Boxer,

M'aam, I just want to say how shocked and saddened I am after I saw your egocentric and terse comment to Brigadier General Michael Walsh, regarding how he addressed you. Obviously you don't understand that this is standard protocol in the military, to address as 'sir' and 'm'aam'. Are you that out of touch with our young men and women who serve daily, to ensure that you had the chance to "work hard for your title"?!?

Your arrogance and lack of priorities is disturbing. I'm glad I don't live in California.

Makes you proud to be a Californian doesn't it? What a stupid blowhard.

Jeesh, lady! Get a grip and get over yourself! Your self importance is unfortunately mostly in your own mind.

My, my, how grandiose you are, SENATOR Boxer!
What an airhead!

She lost my vote for dogcatcher let alone Senator. There was no disrespect shown, she needs to get over herself.

Barbara should listen to herself before she opens her big mouth. I think the General works hard to be a General in the Mlitary. She needs to respect these men because without the Military that risks theirs lives she would be speaking Japanese or German.
I wonder if she would be able to sleep peacefully without the men and women in the Military. I tfeel that Military deserves more respect than her highness; all she does is embarrass herself when she opens her mouth.

The current Congress and Senate has destroyed our nation every last one of them needs to be tossed out on their keester, and that BS pension package needs to revoked. After that the Justice Dept needs to take a hard look at their finances. They've played us all for suckers and if you fall for the Dems VS Repugs games they play you desreve to eat the potatoes three times a week they'll have us living off.

I've voted numerous times for Sen. Boxer, and I agree with the "Man-Bunny Matrix"; it wasn't fair, it wasn't nice, and I would add it wasn't necessary. Unnecessary.

Seems like the title was what she worked for instead of public service.

Both of our Senators are a impediment to the welfare both CA and the US. They are a walking advertisement of the need for public financing of elections and term limits.

Fellow Californians, we need fresh air untainted by the legacy and hubris of our two current "Madams".

What a piece of work she is! Grandma always said you can't buy class. Boxer proves it! Apparently, she was never taught manners either.

Just goes to show how little the Senator knows about the military. Of course she professes to know just as little about other government branch operations and protocols. Especially when something goes wrong.

His address was appropriate. Her request, through appropriate, shows just how petty S. Boxer is. Just like many other Kali politicians she concentrates on the small stuff at the expense of the big stuff. She should just get stuffed.

she is a goverment employee. she owes the american public more respect than her snob attitude. i wish the general would have said " sure thing barbie"

Boxer, ma'am your very existence as a Senator is demeaning to the title and office. How dare you talk down to a person who serves his country will you sit there stealing and raping it.

Boxer embarrassed me as a Californian. What an insecured woman! Why is the title so important to her ? The General deserves a lot of respect and her just contempt. She definitely won't get my vote.

Boxer is an insecure, arrogant, hypocritical BITCH, and I don't use that word lightly. Imagine chastising an Army GENERAL for showing her respect"I worked so hard to get that title." Like the general didn't have to do anything to get his title? And aren't democrats the "equality" party? The "spread the wealth" party? She has gone off the deep end if she needs those ego strokes instead of accepting a term of respect used in all the military services, all over the south, and is THE PROPER WAY TO ADDRESS THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND!! Look it up!! But what would this low-class creep know about protocol? Boxer doesn't hide her contempt for the military very well.

What do you call a female Boxer?

Good for Senator Boxer. That General must have hated to be held accountable!

Boxer is useless. Time for new blood. Oh, sorry. I meant to say "SENATOR Boxer is useless." There, all better now?

Babs needs to get a grip. She was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY outta line addressing a BRIGADIER GENERAL in that tone and that manner. Here in the south, we have a word for that. I'm fairly sure that she hasn't worked 1/1000th as hard as Brig. Gen. Walsh has in his career. I can appreciate how courteous he was, even though she was over the top rude to him. When, WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN will you folks in California realize that you facilitate the problem by not voting her out of office. Senator Roger Wicker had no problem being referred to as 'sir'... probably b/c he's from Mississippi, and he realizes the respect that's shown w/ that word. I pray you folks will wise up and vote her and Pelosi out of office next election.

One word.....hubris

"I'm not a Madam! I'm a concierge!"

Name that film.

So, SENATOR Boxer was annoyed at being called Maam.
Maybe she is not a REAL lady, and that is why she objects to being addressed as one.

Carl, Jun 18, 2009, 7:45PM. read Article I, Section I, of our constitution.

He too has worked hard for his position, if not harder. When Boxer interrupted him with her request, he should have said, "Senator, could you please address me as Brigadier General, I have earned that as well". If we are going to be professional, then let us all be professional.It is part of the Military customs, and courtesies to refer to women as ma'am, and men as sir. Once again customs, traditions and values are so easily swept by the wayside.Now THIS IRISH GIRL would have replied "I'll call you something, but it wouldn't be Ma'am or Senator"!!!!!!!!!Maybe I'd do a Letterman---I'd have called her a slutty flight attendant. Apparently that's perfectly acceptable.

Barbara Boxer, notice I did NOT use a title for fear of you not understanding my intent. You need to apologize to all our military past and present. Just so you are aware, they are risking life and limb for us and their titles are very, very much earned. You, my dear, are elected. I'm sure all your efforts to reach your current status were great, but I seriously doubt you have ever risked a hair on your head for anyone. I pray that CA wakes up and moves you out of your position. Maybe you can find a job working at a VA hospital were you can educate yourself of the proper usage of titles and practice being respectful to those who provide our freedom.

Still no apology from Boxer!...had it been a mistake or misunderstanding she would have apologized by now.

I found a contact address for Senior Army Leaders, and I'll be sending my own apology as a Californian to:

Brigadier General Walsh
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1400

Boxer, what an embarrassment to the people of California!

First, she cannot balance her checking account. Now she insults an officer in the Army.

When will people stop voting for her?

Well BOXER, you have to earn the respect in which you desire. It won't be to long and we won't have to address you in any other term as has been. Good bye you sorry title starved idiot.

Senator Boxer is correct. Only ladies should be addressed as "ma'am."

When an accomplished woman dares to stand up for herself and demands the respect she deserves- the woman-haters come out of the woodwork. Most of the comments on this blog are examples of the misogyny that poisons our society and cripples our country.

We need MORE women like Senator Boxer in power. We have relied too long on mediocre, white men to run everything and have underutilized our brilliant women and minorities.

Thank you, Senator Boxer.

To Jane. Don't hate on the men on this. I am a woman and I'm as offended by Sen. Boxers comments as anyone here. I'm sure she has worked very hard for her position and good for her. I have the utmost respect for women who've achieved what she has. The issue is, she was extremely unprofessional and acted like a petulant child to a Brig. General who has worked far harder and risked far more to earn HIS title. A respectable, professional woman would have addressed this in a more mature manner after the hearing. An INTELLIGENT woman would have realized this is how people in the military address women. It's a show of respect. You Jane need to step away from your 1960's womens lib mentality and see the facts for what they are.

An open letter to Senator Boxer:

You were so right on when you scolded the general on TV for using the term, “ma’am,” instead of “Senator.” After all, in the military, “ma’am” is a term of respect used when addressing a female of superior rank or position.

The general was totally wrong. You are not a person of superior rank or position. You are a member of one of the world’s most corrupt organizations, the U.S. Senate, equaled only by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Many Americans believe Congress is a cesspool of liars, thieves, inside traders, traitors, drunks (one who killed a staffer, yet is still revered), criminals, and other low level miscreants who, as individuals (not all, but many), will do anything to enhance their lives, fortunes and power, all at the expense of the People of the United States and its Constitution, in order to be continually re-elected. Many democrats even want American troops killed by releasing photographs. How many of you could honestly say, “We pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”? None? One? Two? Certainly there are decent folks among you, but many opt out after a term or two. Perhaps you can tell me why.

Your reaction to the general shows several things. First is an abysmal ignorance of all things militaire. Your treatment of the general shows you to be an elitist of the worst kind. When the general entered the military (as most of us who served) he wrote the government a blank check, offering his life to protect your derriere now safely and comfortably ensconced in a multi-thousand dollar leather-covered chair, paid for by the general’s taxes. You repaid him for this by humiliating him in front of millions.

Second is you puerile reaction, lack of sophistication, and arrogance which borders on the hubristic. Or was it merely a “bad hair” day? Some who display this brattish behavior might be called a virago, termagant, harridan, nag, scold or shrew, unfit for any position, regardless of the support from the unwashed, uneducated masses who have made California into the laughing stock of the nation.

What I am writing, Senator, are the same thoughts countless millions of Americans have toward Congress, but who lack the energy, ability or time to convey them. Under the democrats, some don’t even have the 44 cents to buy the stamp. Regardless of their thoughts, most realize politicians are pretty much the same, and will vote for the one who promises to bring home the most bacon, even if they do consider how corrupt that person is.

Lord Acton (1834 – 1902) so aptly charged, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Unbeknownst to you and your colleagues, Mr. Power has had his way with most all of you, and we are all the worse for it.

Finally Senator, I, too, have a title. It is “Right Wing Extremist Potential Terrorist.” It is not of my choosing, nor do I deserve it, but was given to me by your Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano (D). How many millions of veterans feel betrayed by her and your party? We are no threat to anyone! And you were offended by “ma’am”?

Live long and prosper!

Bill Schoonover
3096 Angela Lane
Oak Harbor, WA 98277

typical elitist Liberal.

If the woman knew anything at all about the military she would realize addressing women as Ma'am is fundamental training in basic training. Its considered a demonstration of respect to say Yes Sir, Yes Ma'am

And yes, he should avoid addressing hr that way as she hasn't earned that level of respect

Barbara Boxer did not work hard for her seat. Her husband died and she replaced him. Maybe most of you are too young to remember this? The same thing happened when Sonny Bono ran into a tree....his wife replaced him. No work involved.

What an embarrassing show of arrogant self importance. The General in now way was being disrespectful to our "Senator" from California whom I voted for. Absolutely ridiculous!

I will make this short and sweet. I currently serve in the military. The words Ma'am or Sir are the safest way and best way to show respect to someone superior. Even in enlisted ranks calling a superior Ma'am or Sir is never wrong but shows upmost respect. She needs to worry more about the job/task at hand I could care less about her title she is a public servant. On another note this general is a true leader and it shows. He could have done or said something else but he did as she asked. GREAT WAY TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE!!! What an awesome general in my opinion!
Cpl of Marines

I probably wouldn't have voted for her anyway, but now I'm going to give money to her opponent. As one of her constituents (bosses), let me say to General Walsh and to the nation what she would not, "I'm sorry. My senator was completely out of line." Next chance we get, I intend to do my best to make sure that this surly employee of ours is fired. Henceforth, I also will not address Barbara Boxer as "Ma'am." "Ma'am" is a term of respect, and it would be hard for me to apply it to someone of such arrogance.

Americans! Wake Up to Ma'm Boxer's lies! She shamed a wonderful General Walsh for not calling her 'senator" but she does not say a thing to Mr. Alford who did not call her senator...think she is looking for the black votes...Ma'm boxer...Americans want you on national tv making an apoliogy to both Mr. Alrod and General Walsh.



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A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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