With 80 days to go before the November election, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer turned her energies to mobilizing volunteers Saturday, tapping into the Democrats’ national get-out-the-vote network, Organizing for America, during an appearance near downtown Los Angeles.
Joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Boxer asked a group of about 100 volunteers to begin making phone calls and walking neighborhoods to ensure that first-time voters who supported President Obama in 2008 will turn out again in November when she will face former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Carly Fiorina
Villaraigosa may or may not have been helpful with his remarks:
Villaraigosa, who described Boxer as one of his heroes because of her “unabashedly progressive” outlook, was on hand at Saturday's event to fire up volunteers and defend Boxer's record on local issues like his 30/10 plan, which would accelerate 12 transit projects to complete them in a decade instead of three.
“When you’re mayor of L.A., you go to two places when you’re looking for money,” Villaraigosa said. “You go to — well you used to go to Sacramento — and you go to Washington D.C., and I can tell you whenever I knock on her door, she’s there.”
The "unabashedly progressive" outlook may be a bit of a liability. Even in the 2008 election, the conservatives outnumbered liberals among California voters, with self-described moderates holding the balance. And talking up pork for Los Angeles may be less popular outside the city limits than within. Furthermore, the national debt has diminished the political appeal of pork in general. “Earmarks are no longer there to bail you out,” said Steve Ellis, vice president at Taxpayers for Common Sense recently told the New York Times. “They don’t make you bulletproof anymore.”