Flag the post...let the record show that we are the first to to advocate the electoral defeat Democratic Senator-elect Jim Webb in 2012. We've already read puff-pieces in the MSM and the blogosphere suggesting that Mr. Webb "won't be so bad," noting his support for gun rights and past military experience, both as a Marine officer in Vietnam, and later, as Navy Secretary in the Reagan Administration.
But if you really want to know where Jim Webb stands on the critical issues of the day, look no further than yesterday's "victory" speech in Arlington. Speaking shortly after incumbent George Allen graciously conceded--without requesting a recount--Webb promised to restore "responsibility" to U.S. foreign policy and advocated a "new approach" in Iraq that will lead to a diplomatic solution.
And, if that weren't enough, the millionaire lawyer and novelist took another page out of the DNC talking points, pledging to "work hard on issues of economic fairness in a country that has been too divided by class." He even announced plans to have lunch with George Allen, and discuss how they can help stop the "politics of divisiveness, character assassination and distraction."
Rather odd that Mr. Webb now prefers the political high road after waging one of the most vicious Senate campaigns in recent history. Admittedly, his opponent gave him an opening (the infamous Macaca gaffe), but it was the Webb campaign that resurrected charges that Allen has used the "n" word as a college football quarterback more than 30 years ago. Never mind that the accusation came from a former player who is now a Democratic activist--and the charges were refuted by Allen's other teammates--the baseless "n" word accusation was enough to unfairly brand George Allen as a racist. By comparison, Allen's attack on erotic passages from Webb's novels was almost tame, even quaint. Despite his status as a political novice, Mr. Webb proved quite adept at the politics of personal destruction, a practice he now apparently abhors.
As for his economic plan, "economic fairness" is nothing more than Democratic code words for income redistribution. Given his apparent interest in leveling the economic playing field, we can apparently count on Mr. Webb to support an increase in the minimum wage (despite ample evidence that such hikes actually reduce jobs) and higher taxes for anyone above the middle class. Hope you enjoyed the Bush tax cuts, and the prosperity they produced. If Jim Webb has his way, you'll soon be sending more of your paycheck to Uncle Sam, in the name of "fairness."
But my greatest concern is Mr. Webb's vision for Iraq. Who does he propose that we negotiate with? "Mookie" Sadr's Shiite militia? Al-Qaida in Iraq? Other terrorist organizations? Iran and Syria? All of the above? In Webb's sophisticated world view, you can supposedly negotiate with almost anyone, and extricate the U.S. from a difficult position. But apparently, the Senator-elect never learned one of the cardinal rules of geopolitics: you can only negotiate with terrorists from a position of strength, preferably with the barrel of your gun against the side of their head. Trying to negotiate a quick way out of Iraq now--which appears to be the Webb approach--is an invitation to disaster. However, even the Bush Administration seems to be leaning in that direction, so at least the sell-out of Iraq (and the bloodbath that will inevitably follow) will be a bi-partisan affair.
Judging from Webb's rhetoric, it would also seem that "responsbility" in foreign policy is a fairly new invention, something required only after George W. Bush moved into the White House. Someone ought to ask the Senator-elect about his new party's systematic "irresponsibility" in foreign affairs during the 1990s. Perhaps if his good friend Bill Clinton hadn't taken a pass on the global issues of the day--namely the rise of Islamofacism--there wouldn't be such a need for a "new approach" right now.
The MSM is already fawning over Jim Webb as one of the leading lights of the "new" Senate, but I'll crawl out on the limb and predict that he'll be a disappointment in that chamber, if not a disaster. Fact is, the Marine hero from Vietnam (where he earned the Navy Cross) long ago morphed into a Washington elitist, with little appreciation for the lives of ordinary Americans. This sterling quality is best illustrated by a pre-election anecdote from the Newport News (VA) Daily Press. Heading into a "meet-and-greet" event at Hampton University, one of the nation's oldest predominately black universities, Webb turned to an aide and said "what will I say to those people?" Those people, indeed. The paper dismissed the remark as evidence of Webb's inexperience at retail politics--and that may be a valid interpretation. But I'd say it also smacks of a man who's more at ease in the salons of Georgetown than in the neighborhoods of Norfolk or Isle of Wright County.
Please note that I am not calling Mr. Webb a racist. He is a man of great accomplishment, who served his country with distinction in Vietnam. I have admiration for his skills as a writer; Mr. Webb's first book, Fields of Fire, remains the definitive novel of the Vietnam War. But somewhere between his exit from the Reagan Administration and Election Day 2006, Mr. Webb became a Democratic Party hack, eager to embrace ideas and policies that won't play well in Virginia. We'll see just how "independent" he is when Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi push for that hike in the minimum wage, or a mandatory troop withdrawal from Iraq. Sooner, rather than later, voters in the Old Dominion will discover that they made a mistake on election day, and hope that Mr. Webb becomes "one term Jim."
One more thought: I caught a bit of Pat Buchanan on Hardball last night, although watching anything with Chris Matthews strains my patience. While praising Webb's abilities, Buchanan described him as a "curmudgeon" (Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle) and someone who can be difficult to get along with. That ought to play well in the Senate, where deal-making and back-scratching are the name of the game.