The likely winner is incumbent Barbara Boxer, who is a co-sponsor of the Induce Act, which is designed to stifle innovation by outlawing anything that “intentionally aids, abets, induces”, etc. copyright violations. This is broad enough that it is hard to know whether it would outlaw the iPod (as the EFF suggests) or Silly Putty, and would probably have scared companies away from trying to introduce Tivo or the VCR if it had been law then. Anyone who would support this is fairly reckless about how she goes about promoting special interests.
I looked over her web site for any signs that she wants the government to be fiscally responsible. Instead I found things like “Senator Boxer is a leading voice opposing military base closures in California. … Senator Boxer and her allies successfully pressured the Bush Administration to postpone a new round of base closures from 2003 to 2005” and “Senator Boxer has voted for the three largest defense budgets in history and the largest increase in defense spending in two decades”. It’s hard to decide whether to be more upset that she supports blatantly wasteful spending or that she doesn’t question whether a defense budget that is about equal to the military spending of the rest of the world combined is a bit more than what defensive purposes would require.
Her Republican opponent recently sent me a letter containing three complaints that she voted against spending increases, versus only one complaint about her voting in favor of a spending bill (to raise her own pay; hardly a big fraction of the budget). He’s also a proud author of the poorly written Three-Strikes Law.
Why are people planning to vote for one of these advocates of special interest groups and/or demagoguery rather than a respectable candidate such as Libertarian Jim Gray? Maybe Boxer’s environmentalism convinces people she sometimes supports the public good. I feel I ought to examine that assumption closely one of these days. But I just remembered my investments in oil companies are likely to be helped by Boxer’s opposition to drilling new oil wells, since it will reduce the risk of an oil glut. Maybe I don’t have time to examine her record any more carefully than that.