Video: Different senators different standards on titles

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UPDATED 11:50 pm

Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.,demanded Brigadier General Michael Walsh call her “Senator” instead of “ma’am”. Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, on the other hand, was addressed as “sir” by General Peter Pace on January 16, 2007. Unlike Ms. Boxer, Mr. Inhofe did not lecture the General over the issue of calling him “sir”.

Video of Senator Inhofe 

At 3:37 of the video-

Sen. Inhofe: “If you determined in the near future that we need more troops, will you come back and ask for them?”  

General Pace: “Sir, yes to both.  On the Iraqi side….”

Compare Senator Inhofe’s non-reaction to Senator Boxer’s reaction this week:

Sen. Boxer: “You know, do me a favor, could you say ’senator’ instead of ‘ma’am? It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you,”

In the same hearing, Brigadier General Walsh also addressed Senator David Vitter, R-LA, as “sir” and Senator Mary Landrieu, D-LA, as “ma’am” without a negative reaction from either Louisiana Senator(at 70:55 and 64:22 of the linked video).(h/t to commenter zaphenath)  Maybe southern gentility does not go very far with with California Democrats.

Interesting to note, the Brigadier General was indeed following military protocol.  According to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command:

“Sir” or “Ma’am” works for most everyone, but more specifically —

House:                        Congressman or Congresswoman; Representative;

                                    Mr. or Ms.,  Sir or Ma’am

Senate:                       Senator, Sir, or Ma’am

Committee Chair:      Mr. Chairman or Madam Chairman, Sir or Ma’am

Ranking Member:House:   Congressman or Congresswoman;

                                    Mr. or Ms., Sir or Ma’am

                                    Senate:  Senator, Sir or Ma’am

Staff Member:                 Mr. or Ms., Sir or Ma’am

Senator Boxer may owe Brigadier General Walsh an apology considering he was simply following protocol. 


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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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