You have to stop and appreciate the bright spots in this election. Very liberal Senator Barbara Boxer finished as third top vote-getter on Nov 2.

In a campaign year when the GOP picked off most of its Democratic targets, Boxer sailed to a third Senate term Nov. 2 with 6.4 million votes, 200,000 more than Kerry got in the state. Ralph Nader’s total for the country: 407,000 votes.

Boxer crushed former California Secretary of State Bill Jones by 20 percentage points and scored a bigger share of the electorate than Democrat Dianne Feinstein, the state’s senior and more popular senator, got in her last election.

This from a San Francisco Bay Area liberal who’s made a habit of exasperating the GOP, whether taking on the Pentagon over a $7,600 coffee pot — a fight she waged as a junior congresswoman two decades ago — or leading opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“She’s certainly one of the most liberal senators in the country, and one that Republicans love to hate,” said Ken DeBow, a political scientist at California State University, Sacramento. “And they can’t come close to touching her.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding