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March 27, 2007

Webb's First Months

Terry Samuel's been paying close attention to Jim Webb's early months in the Senate, and Webb's surprisingly confident and effective performance have Terry wondering whether "this ex-Republican red state senator might serve as an exemplar for Democrats, as they head into 2008 trying to wrest the White House from the GOP while defining themselves as more than just the anti-Bush, anti-war party?"

Webb hasn't just been harshly critical of the war, he's been lamenting the incarceration rates of black men and bragging about walking picket lines, spouting inequality statistics and inveighing against CEO pay. All this is, if nothing else, charting a new path for red state senators, who can see in Webb's aggressive populism an alternative to the traditional coping mechanisms of tentative centrism. Webb is proving that there's no fundamental incompatibility between hard-edged progressivism and a state like Virginia. His cultural signifiers are so defiantly, aggressively "red," that his liberalism comes off as an altogether different beast as that of a Boxer or a Kennedy. One more suited to his electorate, but no less ferociously concerned with class inequality and sane foreign policy, and possibly more effective for the superficial contradictions.

As for Terry's primary question, I see no one capable of bringing Webb's unique bundle of cultural attitudes and progressive opinions into the 2008 race, and those elements of Webb's comportment are inseparable from his appeal. Stylistically, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton are worlds away from Webb, which is fine. Sometimes it's okay for a promising politician not to run, or be absorbed, into the presidential race.

Update: And this is the sort of thing that probably gains you votes in VA:

An aide to Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) was charged this morning with trying to carry a loaded pistol into the Russell Senate Office building," reports the Washington Post.

"The gun was discovered as the staffer passed through an x-ray machine at the C Street entrance at about 10:30 a.m... He also had with him two fully loaded magazines."

Early word is it was Webb's gun, with the Senator had handed the aide at the airport.

March 27, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Webb's got more relevant experience than Obama for the job of President-- why don't you throw your weight behind him, if you think he's got the right mix of views and actions?

Posted by: Wisewon | Mar 27, 2007 10:33:08 AM

trying to wrest the White House from the GOP while defining themselves as more than just the anti-Bush, anti-war party?"

Totally. Instead of just being anti-Bush, Democrats should spend their time on other, more worthy pursuits, like a hike in the minimum wage, or making it easier for unions to organize. Or dealing with the House and Senate rules that have made it so easy for lawmakers to behave unethically with lobbyists - why can't they do anything about that?

And the Dems raft of presidential candidates! You'd think that at least one of them would come up with a proposal for universal healthcare or something.

But no. All we ever get is "I hate Bush" and "Bush is teh suxxors!"

Posted by: Stephen | Mar 27, 2007 10:41:58 AM

Edwards already has come up with an actual, detailed healthcare plan, and it looks pretty good.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 27, 2007 11:33:50 AM

Oops. I must have forgotten my "sarcasm" "/sarcasm" tags again.

They all have healthcare proposals of varying degrees, and the Democratic Congress has dealt with each of the issues I mentioned and much more. But even Democrats still buy into the whole "we're just anti-Bush" story and I'm tired of it.

Posted by: Stephen | Mar 27, 2007 11:36:42 AM

id love to see webb in the veep slot with obama on top of the ticket assuming that didnt interfere with webbs senate seat becoming republican. who would choose who gets his seat? he would seem an unlikely choice for hillary considering his more militant anti-war position although it would be a good way to assuage the base.

anybody know if hillary and richardson get along? he would seem like a more obvious choice for her on paper although i am unsure of his position on the war.

Posted by: alias | Mar 27, 2007 11:58:27 AM

Well ... there is one person who could.

Jim Webb.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Mar 27, 2007 12:06:39 PM

Though, if he ran, I fear The Onion headline "Democratic activists make the case for human embryo to Join Presidential Race".

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Mar 27, 2007 12:07:41 PM

Cultural Signifiers. YES YES YES.

To learn more, listen to ED SCHULTZ.

Posted by: chimneyswift | Mar 27, 2007 12:38:09 PM

Isn't Gen. Clark a dem. presidential candidate with similar atmospherics to Webb? Mil. background, tough talker, strong, decisive, but liberal attitudes and anti-(this)-war stance?

Posted by: M. Peachbush | Mar 27, 2007 1:16:36 PM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 27, 2007 3:14:16 AM

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