BARBARA BOXER RAISES THE GLOVES TO DEFEND HER TITLE…
"Who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."
Then, to Rice, she said: "You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."
What a sucker punch that was! Boxer apparently believes that an accomplished, seasoned diplomat, a renowned scholar and an adviser to two presidents like Rice is not fully qualified to make policy at the highest levels of the American government because she is a single, childless woman. What if these comments were directed to a female Democratic Secretary of State from a female Republican Senator? There would have been a media frenzy and a public outcry from fellow Democrats. This scenario sounds so familiar, doesn’t it? (think Sotomayor’s "Latina woman" comment against white male justices). Apparently, only the Democrats are isolated from scrutiny when it comes to delivering left-handed jabs to another political party. If there is any justice in this world, the Democrats’ reigning party days will soon be over.
It may appear that Boxer is defending her title here, and some of you may agree with her saying she’s exercising her right. Well, if that is true, then maybe Brigadier General Michael Walsh should have exercised the same right by telling Boxer that she ought to call him Brigadier General, a title he has earned.
Boxer, the U.S. Senator, Chides Brigadier General for Calling Her ‘Ma’am’
In case you forgot, Barbara Boxer is a senator.
The feisty California lawmaker felt the need to remind an Army brigadier general of that fact Tuesday during a hearing before her Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where the military officer testifying had the apparent gall to call Boxer "ma’am."
Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was testifying on the Louisiana coastal restoration process in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He began to answer one of Boxer’s questions with "ma’am" when Boxer immediately cut him off.
"You know, do me a favor," an irritated Boxer said. "Could say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?’"
"Yes, ma’am," Walsh interjected.
"It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you," she said.
"Yes, senator," he responded.
However, Walsh surely meant no disrespect, as military protocol advises that officers may use "sir" or "ma’am" when addressing anybody higher than them on the chain of command.
"We would call them ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ or ‘senator such-and-such’," Army spokesman Lt. Col. Nathan Banks said. Banks said any of those terms would be "appropriate" when addressing a senator.
According to one guide, the Navy and Coast Guard typically use "mister" or "miss" to address officers below the rank of commander, and "sir" or "ma’am," or a specific title, to address anyone at that rank or higher.
"You can never go wrong by using ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am,’ but it is a nice touch if you can properly address a senior officer," says the guide, Military Protocol: Uniformed Services.
A rep for Boxer said she and Walsh later spoke and discussed their respect for each other.
"Senator Boxer called Brigadier General Walsh earlier today. They had a friendly conversation, expressed their respect for each other and talked about how they look forward to working together to protect our communities from natural disasters."
Tuesday’s hearing was hardly the first time a military officer used those terms during sworn testimony.
The same day at a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing, two Navy officials repeatedly referred to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., with the title, "sir."
"Yes, sir," Navy Vice Adm. Bernard McCullough said when answering questions.
Wicker raised no objections.