Having won what she called the "toughest and roughest" campaign of her career, Sen. Barbara Boxer needs to rededicate herself to helping end California's economic misery.
In the face of a Republican wave in most of the rest of the nation, Boxer won easily and will be returning to Washington as a fourth-term senator. She needs to use that seniority and her position as chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee for the good of the state and nation.
On election night, Boxer's victory speech was far too partisan and displayed way too much swagger, given the hard times California and the nation face.
She reverted to her form, recounting her support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays. Such hot-button social issues may play well to her liberal base, but they are hardly the top priorities of people seeking to survive in these troubled times.
Lest anyone needs reminding, California's jobless rate is 12.4 percent. The vast majority of Californians have never seen an economy that is in such disrepair, and they are counting on their elected leaders to do what they can to piece it back together.
While no one expects Boxer to quickly transform into a bipartisan stateswoman, there are issues where she is uniquely positioned to help California.
Unlike Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Boxer hasn't sided with corporate farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, so she could play a more neutral role in mediating conflicts over water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
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