Well today, I read a short but wonderful article by Jeffery Jena in which he discusses we allow different people to call us by different names depending on how well we know a person & in what manner we are associated with them. Then he went on to reveal that by Sen. Boxer making this request of Brig. Gen. Walsh, she actually was asking him to insult her...which after her scene, I'm sure he was more than happy to oblige.
In his article, Jena talked about how he, a comedian by trade, was doing a show where the commanding officer happened to be a woman &, not wanting to insult her by calling her by the wrong title, he asked another decorated officer as to the proper way to reference her. He told him to refer to her as ma'am but then he went on to warn him never to refer to a military person by their title only unless you are trying to insult him or her.
Imagine, for example, you are an enlisted man and you are under the command of a Lieutenant Smith. If Lt. Smith is a competent leader you would address him as “Sir,” “LT” or “Lt. Smith.” If Lt. Smith is an arrogant moron you would always address him simply as “Lieutenant.”
So when General Walsh quickly came back with “Senator” and not “Senator Boxer” I laughed because I knew what he meant; this is a substandard person for whom I have no respect!