Senator Barbara Boxer announced today that after 2016, she will end her long and illustrious career in the US Senate. To announce this, she released a very awkward video that included a seemingly random cameo by her grandson, a poem, and a stated desire to "make history" with the 2016 Democratic nominee for President that sure sounded a hell of a lot like an allusion to Hillary Clinton.
Boxer was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 1982, behind the blog-friendly slogan "Barbara Boxer Gives a Damn" (It would be more blog-friendly if it was "Barbara Boxer Gives a Fuck," but we were decades away from memes in the early 80's.) She won her Senate seat in 1992 and is among the most senior members of the Senate. During her decades-long tenure in Washington, she's unapologetically fought for women, the environment, working wages — standard California hippie-dippy liberal stuff — and she has plenty to show for it. Furthermore, if it's not already there, Barbara Boxer's hair belongs on everybody's Banging Septuagenarian Looks Pinterest board, because that hair rules.
On a strategic level, it makes sense for a liberal Senator to retire after a Presidential election year; those elections, in recent history, have seen much bigger turnout across demographics that tend to benefit liberal candidates — the young, the nonwhite, and the non-crusty xenophobic dick. But — elephant in the room (or donkey, if we're talking the DNC) — Boxer also dropped what sounds like a big hint about why she may have decided that 2016 was the year to stop focusing on her own candidacy and start focusing on the candidacy of... somebody else. In the video, she says,
Zach, I am never going to retire. The work is too important. But I will not be running for the Senate in 2016. I will continue working on the issues that I love. I'll have more time to help other people through my PAC for Change community. I have to make sure the Senate seat stays progressive, that is so critical. And I want to make our Democratic candidate for President... make history.
Hillary 2016 dog whistle? Politically friendly argle bargle that's ultimately meaningless? There are a few reasons why I have been driven by either logic or skull-numbing boredom to conclude it's the former.
First, the boy in the video — Zachary — is related to more than one Washington power woman. His father is Hillary Clinton's brother. His mother, Barbara Boxer's daughter. The pair married in 1994, shortly after Clinton moved into the White House as First Lady and Boxer began her Senate career, and divorced 6 years later. But just because their family blood commingles in the veins of young squire Zachary doesn't mean that Clinton and Boxer always been in political lock-step. As a superdelegate in the 2008 Democratic primary, Boxer originally promised to back the winner of California's primary (Clinton). But after Clinton conceded the nomination, Boxer cast her vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention.
Cryptic clue-dropper or not, at least we can all agree that based on her poem performance at the end of the video, 74-year-old Senator Barbara Boxer is definitely a better freestyler than Iggy.