Joe Garofoli

By Joe Garofoli
January 8, 2015 – 12:51 PM

Nothing like a political power vacuum to elicit the quality present in all politicians: the innate ability to suck up.

So it was no surprise that in the moments after Sen. Barbara Boxer’s announcement Thursday that she will not seek re-election, pols everywhere (OK, mostly Dems) lined up to laud Boxer’s career. However, we will only examine the congratulatory missives from those who are measuring the drapes possibly considering a career representing California in the august body known as the U.S. Senate. Her departure will trigger a battle royale to win her seat that we haven’t seen in California politics for a while. For the next 23 months, this place will be the political WWE.

The art of saying something nice about someone whose job (and endorsement) you covet is a practiced one. You’ve got to make the suck-up about them, not you. Yet ultimately, it must be about you.

First requirement of the Boxer Suck-Up Note: You must describe the senator as “a warrior.” Or at least as a “champion.”

Second requirement of the Boxer Suck-Up Note: You must note that Boxer isn’t really retiring, as she will never stop “fighting” for the issues dear to her.

And now, to the Suck-Up Notes:

Early out of the gate was Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who gets points for name-checking Marin County, a nod that he is an old-school Boxer supporter:

“With the courage of her convictions and the unflinching spirit of a true warrior-advocate, Senator Barbara Boxer has earned a seat in the pantheon of great California leaders. On issue after issue, she has given voice to the voiceless, spoken truth to power, shined a bright light on injustices previously ignored, and brought dignity and honor to a profession that too often loses sight of those qualities. A champion for women and children and a force of nature for preserving our natural environment, her public service leaves a proud and indelible legacy.

“Growing up in Marin County, I remember Senator Boxer as my tenacious representative on the Board of Supervisors and I knew at a young age what every American everywhere now knows to be an immutable truth – there’s no “quit” in Barbara Boxer. While she might leave the Senate, she will never retire from her leadership on the progressive causes she’s led for decades.

“I wish Senator Boxer and her family the very best.”

Billionaire former hedge fund manager/environmental activist Tom Steyer drops a cute reference to how Boxer, who is 4-foot-11, often stood on a soap box to make speeches.Of course, mentioned first is that, like Steyer, Boxer is an environmental … wait for it … warrior:

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