Last Sunday was my birthday. A friend of mine had invited me to come hear John Dean interview Barbara Boxer about her new novel at a synagogue here in Los Angeles. The event was sponsored by a local writer’s group. (God bless writers!!)

I was excited to see Boxer because although I’ve followed her for years, I’ve never seen her in person.

She’s fantastic. Passionate. And the most articulate person on the subject of abortion and why a woman’s right to choose should not be considered a “liberal” or “Democratic” issue but indeed a bill of rights issue. When challenged about her opposition to a move to make women notify their husbands in writing in advance of getting an abortion, she turned that back on the males pressuring her, and said, do you think you should have to notify your wife before getting a vasectomy? Not one man said yes.

I took notes. I’ll share. Boxer was fantastic. But Dean stole the show…
He opened by joking that usually he was the one answering questions from Senators, not asking them. He asked Boxer to describe her book, and she described it as a political page-turner. From the excerpts she read, I was less impressed with her writing abilities than at the way she was throwing light on how government really operates. On that basis alone I think it will be an interesting read.

Just about everything Boxer said brought a YES out of me. “Secrecy is unAmerican.” YES! “The truth is a commodity not well respected by this administration.” YES!! Regarding the Democratic party’s lethargy in addressing the Iraq war and the administration’s wrongdoings, “We have awakened.” YES!!!

Dean and Boxer talked briefly about how, especially in comparison to Bush, Nixon could almost be called an environment president. Boxer said something about how some of the best environmental legislation was signed in by Nixon. If he were campaigning today, Dean said, Nixon could run as a Green. “Well, I wouldn’t go THAT far,” laughed Boxer.

And then, almost from out of the blue, as the talk moved to the spying on Americans, Dean blurted out how Bush was “the first president to ever confess to an impeachable offense.” I sat there stunned, for a moment. Then I wrote it in my notes. But was it true? It seemed like too rich candy, a too expensive toy – something to desire but not actually have. So imagine my joy this morning to see that Boxer had been quickfooted, had contacted four presidential scholars, and had concluded from them that Dean was right. This IS an impeachable offense. Wow!

That wasn’t the end of the talk, however. That comment came early on. There were other notable comments. Re the Republicans who voted in support of torture, Dean decried, “May it haunt them forever.” When justifying the title of his last book, “Worse than Watergate”, Dean succinctly stated, “No one died as a result of Watergate.” That was succinct, but perhaps not entirely accurate. E. Howard Hunt’s wife was killed in a plane crash that many feel was deliberately sabotaged.

But it was the title of Dean’s next book that sent shivers through me. I couldn’t believe he would dare. His next book is “Conservatives Without Conscience.” Wow. That really sums up the current administration and Congressional leaders.

Hearing the words “admitted to an impeachable offense” was perhaps the sweetest of birthday gifts I received Sunday. Sharing that experience with a friend was a close runner up.

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