Sunday, September 10, 2006

# Posted 11:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WHO IS JAMES WEBB? Michelle Cottle of TNR has written up an interesting profile of George Allen's challenger. He is the candidate who is too authentic even for a nation that loves authenticity.

If all you looked at was his resume, you'd think James Webb was a dream candidate for the Democratic Party. He won a chest full of medals in Vietnam, including a Navy Cross for throwing himself over a friend just before a grenade was about to explode. He later became a bestselling author and became an expert on defense, rising to become Secretary of the Navy.

And of course, Webb was a loyal Republican until the misconduct of the Iraq war made him a Democrat. But even if you have the perfect resume, you may be no good at running for office.

Michelle Cottle describes Webb as a man who simply isn't shameless enough to introduce himself to thousands of strangers, brag about his accomplishments, and beg rich contributors for their money.

Thus, Webb was almost bankrupt and wasn't getting much support from the national party until Senator Allen stepped right into the macaca. Up until the end of July, polls showed Allen anywhere from 10 to 20 points ahead of his challenger. The last three polls show Allen ahead by an average of four.

Significantly, Virginia may become the magic sixth state that allows the Democrats to contend for control of the Senate. In Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, Republican seats are vulnerable. Add those five to the Democrats column, and the Blue team has 50.

Add one more, and Harry Reid becomes the majority leader.
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I guess TNR didn't find Webb's "Confederate nostalgia" as interesting as Allen's, since the article mentioned it once in passing and didn't bring it up again.
Jim Webb went to the Naval Academy; he served and was decorated (Navy Cross) as a Marine in Viet Nam. He was born in Virginia to a military family and in particular to a military family that traces its history back to the Confederate Army. It isn't Confederate nostalgia; it's family history.

George Allen didn't serve in the military, taking a student deferment instead. He was born in California to a football family. The Confederate thing was an affectation.
Of course in addition to being ahead in Virginia, Republicans are currently ahead in New Jersey and Missouri... In addition, history suggests it is very dangerous to say incumbents are losing before the votes are counted. Even Rick Santorum is now competitive, and as I recall he was also the underdog in his first reelection bid. DeWine and Burns might lose, sure, but they also could easily win again. You should demand long odds if you think those magic six seats will materialize. You are also bucking one of the great electoral Svengalis of all time in Karl Rove.
Webb is a sign that at least parts of the Kos Crowd is willing to accept candidates that aren't true-blue liberals everywhere. James Webb has done the required backtracking on affirmative action, but he's still a lot more pro-gun, anti-immigrant, etc. than the Kos crowd would normally tolerate. (That Jim Webb gets along with Rev. Falwell is apparently now a cause for glee among the Left as a sign of Sen. Allen's troubles.)

like Webb, Kos also served in the military, in the Army as an MLRS/Lance Fire Direction Specialist (artillery) between 1989-92.

And George Allen is now famous for stealing "Senator Durbin’s veterans bill by changing one word and pawning it off as his own."
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