Wednesday, February 08, 2006



First the good news: the Virginia U.S. Senate seat held by reactionary Republican George Allen is now in play. Former Reagan Administration Secretary of the Navy James Webb declared his candidacy yesterday. Everyone who comments on the story is sure to mention that Webb is running as a Democrat, not challenging Allen in a Republican primary. And that brings up a worry: how much better would Webb be than Allen. Well, for starters he'd vote for Harry Reid as Majority Leader and he'd vote to organize the Senate along Democratic lines so people like Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, Carl Levin, Patrick Leahy and John Kerry will be chairmen of key committees instead of right-wing robots like Grassley, McConnell, Hatch, Lugar, Cochran, Stevens... Tactically, if you're a Democratic Party person first and foremost, you can take comfort in the fact that he will totally energize the electorate in a state that has been trending kind of Democrat lately and that he will be extending the Senate playing field into a state the Repugs thought was "safe." He adds to the whole "fighting Dems" image the party is cultivating which is a plus for many people and not much of a negative for anyone. And this'll force Allen to take more moderate positions and not just cater to his drooling base of religionist nuts, homophobes, xenophobes and racists and will also keep him hard at work in Virginia, not running around the country raising money, etc for a presidential bid in '08, a bid I hope Webb reminds Virginia voters about at every opportunity.

But, more important than any of that tactical political party stuff, Webb is a national defense hawk who is aggressively opposed-- and has always been opposed-- to the neo-conservative Middle East agenda, adopted by the weakest-minded and most utterly unfit "president" ever installed in the White House. However, other than that stuff... well, would he have been the 20th vote for cloture in the Alito debacle? How is he on women's issues? Gay issues? Trade issues? Is he another DINO? I posed the question today to someone in Virginia who was crowing about how great it was that Webb had thrown his hat into the ring on Daily Kos. The answer was great-- and very encouraging:

"Parent" writes that Webb is "a good Democrat with a strong history and that's a good thing.
James Webb however is something truly special, and where Northern Virginia Democrats may be willing to listen to Harris Miller, all Virginians will be willing to listen to James Webb. James Webb was first in his class at Quanico, a member of the legendary Annapolis class of 1968. The winner of a Navy Cross, Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars and Two purple hearts in Viet Nam, he was the only Officer in history to graduate Annapolis, serve in the Military and become Secretary of the Navy." [No doubt the Republican swift boat crowd is already preparing. Whenever these GOP shills hear about heroism, they get out their knives-- and the mass media are always ready to accommodate their vicious and anti-patriotic excesses and partisanship.] "As Secretary of the Navy, he opened up more positions for women than anyone before or since. James Webb was also an early, reasoned opponent of the Iraq war, calling it a 'mousetrap', saying that our soldiers there would be seen as 'targets' not liberators, and asking the question 'Do we want to occupy Iraq for the next 30 years?' All this before the war began. Webb is an Emmy Award winning journalist with 6 best selling books under his belt, and a list of film credits. He defended Chuck Robb against Oliver North's unfair attacks and John Kerry against the 'Swiftboat' attacks. He is the author of a book called Born Fighting, which chronicles the history of the Scots-Irish who helped to build the nation and
still have a powerful voice in Virginia politics, especially in the Shenandoah.
James Webb also went out on a limb and said the following:

'the greatest realignment in modern politics would take place rather quickly if the right national leader found a way to bring the Scots-Irish and African Americans to the same table, and so to redefine a formula that has consciously set them apart for the past two centuries.'

"There are many statues on the national mall, but there is only one statue of a black man. That statue is in the Viet Nam memorial, and it's there because Secretary Webb fought to put it there.  In fact, Mr. Webb's combat boots from Viet Nam were used to craft the boots on that statue. Northern Virginia, the capital region, Shenandoah, Tidewater, across every region of the Commonwealth Democrats have not been able to get their message heard over the right wing scream machine. Democrats will listen to Harris Miller. All Virginians will listen to James Webb. There's a storm coming, we need to get ready. When James Webb stands up to fight the radical conservatism of George Allen, we have the chance to be ready to support him. I, for one, am dying for the chance."


At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thegools says:

Here Here!!

Let's see what Webb has to say. I am leaning his way to be sure but will decide for sure during the primaries.

Allen will never get my vote!

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've known Jim Webb for more than 40 years. He is a man of principle whose moral compass points due north. Characteristically, when he was invited to take the salute at the revered Evening Tattoo and Retreat at Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C., a few years back, he invited the enlisted men he led in Vietnam to stand beside him. Our nation needs his compassion, leadership, and courage now more than ever. Go Jim!

At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am encouraged to see James Webb running for political office. He is a man who has courage, and will not be swayed by the business machine that is running both major political parties. He is a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak political horizon.


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