Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jim Webb for Vice President

Just after I ordered Jim Webb's new book A Time to Fight, I looked at the copy of the NY Review of Books that came in the mail today and found that the cover story is The Rise of Jim Webb. I've read a great deal about him the last few days, and this is the best short bio of Webb I've seen.

The end of the article talks about the speculation that he might be Obama's VP pick:

... to a number of people the idea of an Obama-Webb ticket makes a lot of sense: an African-American (actually of mixed race) and a man of Scots-Irish working-class descent; a war hero who can stand up to anyone on military expertise and patriotism. In fact, in his writings, as well as in his new book, Webb has argued that a combination of blacks and the Scots-Irish working class could form an electoral majority. He argues that they have similar grievances: lack of adequate education and health care, job training and job opportunities; and that both have been put upon or neglected by the elites. To him, the basic issue is more one of class than of race.

Webb's roots lie in exactly the area in which Obama has shown his greatest weakness so far—in the Appalachian region. Though both are freshman senators, Webb combines substantial government service with close knowledge of the military and the world....

Like Obama, Webb offers a fresh approach to politics and stirs an excitement that would provide the ticket with more pizzazz than would some of the more conventional figures whose names are in play.
We'll write more later about why Webb would be a great VP pick (I say "we" because I know Jonah is a Webb fan, too). But briefly, an overlooked plus is that he would be a very valuable public face for the administration when President Obama tries to extricate the United States from Iraq. It's going to be extremely difficult for Obama to follow through on his promise to get out of Iraq: the Republicans are going to be screaming bloody murder and calling him a traitor, and in the short-term things may well get worse for Iraqis. I think it would be a big help to have at his side Vice President Webb, who like Obama was a fierce critic of the war and occupation before in started.

He's also a great speaker. Here's his superb response to Bush's State of the Union address last year:

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