Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jim Webb for VP

Fred on why Jim Webb should be Obama's vice president.
If you hang out with people in the Veterans of Foreign wars or American Legion or Disabled American Veterans (I’m a member of all three) you find that they are not nearly as robotically Republican and warlike as they are often painted. They are often intelligent and think about things. But they want a candidate who is Like Them. They can spot a slick phony and if you run with one you aren’t doing yourself a favor.

(Webb) is Like Them (and like me). He is very heartland, Scots-Irish, and did not grow up drinking designer water. He saw a lot of heavy combat as a Marine in Viet Nam. People know it because they have read his book, Fields of Fire, which he actually wrote.
Fields of Fire is an excellent book.
He would be a splendid counterweight to McCain. On his war record, McCain is not a phony like Bush, Kerry, and Hillary the Sniper Dodger, but neither is Webb. I doubt that there exists a VFW post that would not be delighted to have him speak. If Hillary or Kerry came within telephone distance, they would probably put up concertina wire. Rich brats don’t play well in Legion halls.

Now, the Democrats are traditionally terrified of seeming Soft on Defense, and sometimes think they need to do something stupid but ferocious, so as not be come up a quart low on their virility dipstick. Webb, to put it mildly, in not vulnerable on this issue. He would provide an excuse for adult behavior.

I know Jim slightly, from days when I was on the military beat and he was Secretary of the Navy. In person he is not recognizable as a politician, which in any event for most of his life he wasn’t. No swagger, no show, no slime, not full of himself. If you talk, he listens. He isn’t always looking over your shoulder for a better name-tag. As best I can tell, he is incorruptible. This is a novel approach in politics, but I think the country can stand it. It’s worth the risk.

My own reasons for liking him? He resigned as SecNav after refusing to agree to a smaller fleet, and he insisted that Al Gray become Commandant of the Marine Corps.

I don't know about force requirements for the Navy in 1988 - but I had the feeling then that more was better. I do know that General Gray was the finest CMC we ever had.

Jim Webb
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