November 6, 2006

"The most sophisticated right-wing reactionary to run on a Democratic ticket since Grover Cleveland."

It's Jim Webb!
Webb's trick is to adapt this history of white folk to the categories of contemporary multiculturalism. He turns liberalism's assumptions of ethnic grievance and victimization to the service of people who, in more conventional accounts, have themselves been seen as the victimizers. Webb rails against "the wielders of cultural power such as Hollywood, academia, and major media [who] chip away at the core principles that have defined the traditions and history of [Scots-Irish] people." And now his people are fighting back. "In a society obsessed with multicultural jealousies, those who cannot articulate their ethnic origins are doomed to a form of social and political isolation. My culture needs to rediscover itself, and in doing so to regain its power to shape the direction of America." Using diversity dogma to put the white man back on top--it is a marvelous inversion...

[T]he use of multiculturalism to advance the ethnic interests of white people, and the use of warrior rhetoric to discredit the Bush administration's war--might be extremely valuable to Democrats, if they knew what they were doing.

But that's never a safe bet. Webb's right-wing populism and the liberalism of today's Democratic party make for an abrasive fit...
Yes... but isn't that a good thing? I find myself rooting for Webb. I want to see what he will do to the Democrats, who are so deeply invested right now in what he might do for them.

36 comments:

The partisan moderate said...

Webb is likely to be populist-a libertarian's worst nightmare. He will rail against free trade and big business and focus on pocketbook issues like raising the minimum wage and universal healthcare while mainly avoiding social issues like affirmative action and when he has to occasionly supporting Republicans on issues like guns or maybe on a Supreme Court appointment.

That said, I hope we never find out what type of Senator is and that Allen wins. Allen is a good Senator with an odd background who has run a bad campaign. While he is partially responsible for some of his own mistakes the national press has been unfair to Allen http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/03/AR2006110301462.html I suspect there will be some more mea culpa's after the election.

For more commentary on this and other things check out my blog http://holdthesenate.blogspot.com/

Ken Stalter said...
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Ken Stalter said...
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Seven Machos said...

I would vote for Webb -- at least over his opponent -- if I lived in Virginia. That brings the total number of Democrats I would ever vote for ever, ever to two: Webb and Hizzoner May-er Daly.

reliapundit said...

the prob is not webb; it's that he mighttip the power of the senate to reid/durbin/leahy/kenedy.

a vote for webb is a vote for ted.

George said...

Grover Cleveland?

The partisan moderate said...

Ken, unfortunately it is "railed" as in the past tense. As someone who also goes to a top law school I do enjoy on occasion the bashing of academic elitists. Although I actually find that most people at my law school including faculty as fairly grounded. That said, there is a long history of Democrats (some Republicans as well) running a certain way and than voting another once they built up seniority.

Tom Daschle, Al Gore, Jim Sasser, Max Cleland, and Mark Pryor to name a few. Would it surprise you to know that Al Gore campaigned originally as a pro-lifer?

In Webb's case he is mainly campaigned as a liberal populist domestically (which appeals to a decent number of people but not the majority in VA), it just that the issue in the campaign has been Allen and not Webb, so most people are not aware of Webb's platform.

The partisan moderate said...

Please excuse my numerous typos in my last post.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think Webb may win by a hair. Who knows how he will vote in the future. He could be the Dems worst nightmare, or he could be just another democrat.

It will all come down to Court nominees. If Webb votes for Bush's strict constructionist nominees, he can stay. If he votes against them he reveals his liberalism.

Al Maviva said...

Boy Ken, we could sure commiserate over a beer. I'd describe myself as a fish out of water, except most of my (Top 10 educated) legal peers would only accept sushi, and I'm afraid I'm straight up lake trout.

Don't sweat it though. When you leave dreamland and enter the real world you'll find most practitioners and clients have little use for somebody who wants to apply Critical Race and Gender theory to a breach of contract case. Fearless prediction: your hate will turn to pity within 5 years of graduating from law school. Thanks for reminding me how much of a treasure my more practically minded, non-ideological law profs were.

WT said...

I live in Virginia, and I disagree that Webb will be a "sophisticated right wing reactionary" that will drive his own party nuts. I get emails every single day from his campaign, which may be the shrillest I have ever experienced. They are straight out of the playbook -- they are "written" by Jack Murtha, Bill Clinton, Al Gore -- I even got one from "John Kerry" before he completely jumped the shark. The only reason Webb is even in this race is because Allen has been so completely inept at being a decent candidate -- the "macaca" incident is a symptom of his campaign's inability to let the wackiness of Webb's campaign (e.g. calling Allen "George Felix Allen" all the time, as if your given names are something to be ashamed of) slide. Allen has a record, and a solid majority of Virginians appear to think it's fine. They are really turned off by Allen's ineptitude during the campaign, however, and independent types are leaning toward Webb because he is a person of substance. I intend to hold my nose and vote for Allen, for precisely the reasons stated by reliapundit -- chairman Leahy scares the hell out of me.

madawaskan said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if a victory for an old chauvinist-meant a victory for the world's oldest chauvinists?

There is a younger generation of military that see through Webb and call him out as a pig, and see through the NR types arguments and belief when they back Webb on Tailhook.

Tailhook went well beyond what the NRO and Webb alliance want you to believe.

But then again you could still believe that Iran Contra ended with a LTC....

Think I'll pass on waiting for the Webb Revolution-for women.

Revenant said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if a victory for an old chauvinist-meant a victory for the world's oldest chauvinists?

What do the Chinese have to do with this? :)

DRJ said...

I'm conservative and I want the Republicans to retain control of the Senate. However, I agree that electing James Webb might not be a bad thing if it prompts even a few Democrats to think seriously about the war on terror. The only thing they've done so far is say they are against war - any war - and while this kind of peace-loving view of life is quaint, it's not at all practical or realistic.

If we want to be a nation of Gandhis, we better make sure we're fighting a civlized nation like the British. Otherwise we don't have a chance.

madawaskan said...

Actually because military service seems to be multi-generational-I know old retired guys that would kick his testicles up into his tonsils for saying what he did about their daughters....

A guy like my dad. But then my dad having served in three wars knows that some gals have more of the right stuff than guys and he learned through the military not to judge people by color, race or creed.

Sex too.

Oh and a lot of the old guard believes in a thing called honor.

Elizabeth said...

Webb will bring a welcome note of diversity to the large group of white men that make up the Senate.

Chad said...

Everyone should just get real. George Allen is an idiot. If it were possible to kill a political career twice, he would find a way to do it. I don't necessarily like Jim Webb, but Allen just doesn't have what it takes to take the next step...and we'd all be better off if his career ended tomorrow, instead of the Republican Party nominating him, my party not fielding someone competitive and getting another George.

Fenrisulven said...

Why hasn't WaPo done any research on Webb's term as Sec of Navy? He served ten months and then resigned? If true, why? Was he forced out?

chsw10605 said...

From reading your post, I think that Webb will get along just fine with Senator Byrd.

Dave said...

I said this yesterday - I think it's really good if the Democrats have some people in their caucus who think differently from the rest of them.

A Democratic caucus that's controlled by the Kennedy-Leahy-Durbin types is bad for the Senate and the country. Webb can help change that. Lieberman should be more aggressive in changing it from now on. Harold Ford and Tester, too, if they get there.

AST said...

His book "Born Fighting" tells a lot about his ancestry, specifically the Scots-Irish.

When I heard he would run as a Democrat, I thought it would be as a Jacksonian Democrat and wondered how a real Jacksonian would ever get along with the modern Democrat party.

If the majority and the war weren't so crucial, I'd probably root for him too.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- Is skin color all there is to diversity? What does it matter if the Senate is 100 different people from 100 different ethnic origins and a handful of genders if it makes bad law?

I think ideological diversity, sincerity, and political intelligence ("the art of the possible" and all that) is more important than ethnic diversity in that august body, or any body, august or not.

Also, I presume you are a woman. Are you black? Or Asian-American, or Native-American, or Samoan? Anything? Why not get off your lazy ass and run for the U.S. Senate?

The Game said...

looking for liberals (and conservatives) who like to debate the other side....feel free to come by and say hi...tomorrow could be a good day to do that

Elizabeth said...

Seven, I'm not a millionaire, so that leaves my lazy ass right out of the Senate. What crawled up your ass and ate your sense of humor?

Joan said...

Elizabeth, you listed only one of the prerequisites for a senatorial campaign. You're also obviously lacking in the egotistical lunacy and latent masochism requirements also.

I don't think Webb will be able to accomplish much as a freshman, nor will he wield much influence. Especially if Republicans hold, or the Democrats win by a very small margin. There will be legislative gridlock. (Hooray!)

MPH said...

This is making me sick. Save the ethnic strife for Europeans.

Cedarford said...

Elizabeth - Elizabeth said...
Webb will bring a welcome note of diversity to the large group of white men that make up the Senate.


Good point, ELizabeth! White men are overrepresented in the Senate, as are Mormons and Jews.

Not to mention millionaires. Or in the past, astronauts. Significantly, given total astronaut numbers...

Care for court-imposed quotas to achieve Congressional "balance"? Less white males, less Jews, less millionaires? More Filipino-Americans?

Or, should we just leave who serves up to the voters?

(Interesting aside on Barack Obama and "diversity" - his black father comes from the East African genetic pool that 99.99% of black Americans - from West Coast Congoloid stock - have no ancestry in. Ironically, they have more in common with Barack from the genes of his white mother's ancestors expressed in the black American population than from his Dad.)

Which circles back to what Webb was saying with "diversity". Within choice spots in elite schools or later in the halls of power - many ethnicities are badly underrepresented while others are overrepresented - all while the quota people get their various race and gender "beans" in proper ratio. Filipinos are badly underrepresented among Asians at Berkely and U of Honolulu. Italian Americans are badly underreprsented at elite law schools, Jews badly overrepresented..With the great diversity within races, should we (1)Strive for balanced ethnic outcomes and selections (2) Finally admit that race preferences and creation of artificial races (Hispanics, Pacific Islanders) is a 35-year old folly??
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madawaskan said...
Actually because military service seems to be multi-generational-I know old retired guys that would kick his testicles up into his tonsils for saying what he did about their daughters....


I don't think Webb and others seriously debating the role of women in the military care one whit about the promise some general made that his baby girl would fly fighters because she wants it even more than a pony.

Military nepotism is a problem. Not the huge problem it is in politics and Hollywood, but still a problem.

The debate is whether women can do the MOS without standards being lowered so they can "meet the requirements", if they can do it under harsh, stressful conditions including war - and wether they can do it without the terrible attrition rates and attendent loss of military training investment that many categories of "women in the military".

If some Vet swears that his little darling will cut it and be in the 5% of women that can do a particular task, great..Except the military still fails out disproportionately more women and thus loses resources on far too many women that don't cut it....Some deployed units have had up to 70% of females (USS Samuel Gompers, Gulf War) starting a tough tour not finish it due to medical, pregnancy, children need their single-parent momma, etc.
And very troubling - - Units have found integrating women in on orders has frequently been destructive to good order and discipline. The Abu Ghraib men, for example, said one reason they acted all Alpha male and beat on the prisoners was it excited the females in their Reserve group and led to more sex. In the lower ranks, resentment over sexual favortism by senior NCOs so they can be tapping some young E-1 to E-3 piece, smolders or comes out in the open in all branches of the service.

There are valid reasons to recruit women. It makes military sense to include half the population who could potentially volunteer rather than leave them out of consideration - and many jobs far away from the front lines where a good number of top quality female performers makes up for their high attrition and unavailability for duty stats.
But various panels who debate this and set policy weigh both sides, and also debate the questions of individual rights vs. military requirements and mission coming before individual rights are considered. There is division in views, which is precisely why the panels trying to hash it out exist so the outcomes recommended strengthen vs. weaken unit readiness, ideally.
Which is something civilians, focused on the primacy of individual rights and notions like "fairness and equality" have great difficulty wrapping their minds areound.

Ernst Blofeld said...

Webb resigned as SecNav in something of a snit. He had signed on to implement the 600 ship navy. Budget cuts at the time prevented this from happening on his watch, so he resigned.

He is, obviously, a bit prickly and has a tendency to make grand gestures. And I can totally see him shifting his populist focus from Japanese imports to Chinese imports and globalization in general.

Serenity Now said...

Fenrisulven: Why hasn't WaPo done any research on Webb's term as Sec of Navy? He served ten months and then resigned? If true, why? Was he forced out?

From the Weekly Standard articled linked in this post: Webb resigned "only when Reagan ordered cuts in the military budget that threatened the Reaganite goal of a 600-ship Navy."

From Wikipedia: Webb "resigned as Secretary of the Navy after refusing to agree to reduce the size of the Navy."

Syl said...

If Webb is elected Senator, I predict he'll quit after ten months.

Wouldn't be the first time. ')

dave said...

Wow! The Weekly Standard?

You're not even fucking trying anymore, are you, you blithering idiot?

Christy said...

Query me this: How is James Webb being a senator diffrent from Zell Miller being a senator? It's not as though we haven't had conservative Democrats along side Ted Kennedy for decades.

Seven Machos said...

I wish the parties were a little more diverse within themselves. That would be cool. It makes no sense, but it would be cool.

AJ Lynch said...

The first think the Dems will do is push Webb into a corner. If that does not work , they will try to castrate him so he will be more like them. So , if Webb wins, it will be a lot of fun to watch.

Timothy K. Morris said...

For background on what Webb is saying about the Scots-Irish and the Jacksonian world view, read Bradley Graham's article The Jacksonian Tradition - Walter Russell Mead and American Foreign Policy"in the winter 1999 issue of The National Interest. It can be found at

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2751/is_1999_Winter/ai_58381618

The interface is a bit clunkly and the best way to read it is by hitting the "print" button, which does not print but produces a printer friendly version of the text.

As for Grover Cleveland - well, a good bio is "An Honest President: The Life and Presidencies of Grover Cleveland" by H. P. Jeffers.

Elizabeth said...

You're also obviously lacking in the egotistical lunacy and latent masochism requirements also.

Joan, thank you. And if I did have a million dollars, I would buy a pony and ride far and fast from any desire to run for office.