Last night at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, Jim Webb and Jim Moran spoke to around 200 Democrats – including many from the amazing, grassroots, pro-Webb, “ragtag army” of 2006 – at a fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Virginia. There were many members of the “ragtag army” (now “Webb Brigades”) in attendance, including (largely) unsung heroes like Mary Detweiler, Wasim Entabi, Sue Langley, Chris Ambrose, Laura Sonnenmark, Karen and Dan Duncan, Florence Upson, Kenton Ngo, Frank Anderson, Tania Hossain, Todd Smyth, Rose Chu, Antonia Scatton, Ken Kukovich, and several others. Also in attendance were Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple. Sen. Chap Petersen, Sen. Dave Marsden, Del. Mark Keam, Del. Bob Brink, Del. Charniele Herring, former Del. Brian Moran, Cathy “Smitty” Connolly, DPVA chair/master of ceremonies Dave Mills, super-Democrat Pixie Bell, former Alexandria Democratic Committee chair Sue Kellom, current Alexandria Democratic Committee chair Clark Mercer, etc.
For his part, Jim Webb thanked the “Brigades” for their great work in 2006 and beyond, then spoke about “daily courage,” this “very serious time for our country,” the terrible situation we inherited from the Bush Administration (economy, debt, Iraq war), the Republican Party decision “to play stalling tactics” and not let anything get done, the need for us to get out the vote next Tuesday, and the deluge of negative ads from people who don’t even have to identify themselves (Webb: “that’s not the country I want to live in”). I also got a shout-out from Webb, including a side-remark that I’m “mad” at him for not supporting “cap and trade.” Well, hmmmm…let’s just say I’m not thrilled at Webb’s stands on energy and the environment. Overall, though, I’ve been pleased with Webb’s record, including his great work on the GI Bill of Rights and the Crime Commission. I’m also proud to have co-founded the “Draft James Webb” movement (with Josh Chernila and Lee Diamond, in Colorado and Israel, respectively) and to have served as Webb’s netroots coordinator – helping organize the 14,000-strong “ragtag army” and helping raise $4 million online – in 2006.
Now, as we approach the start of the 2011-2012 cycle, it appears that Webb will be a candidate once again – although he did NOT officially announce last night – possibly against George Allen once again (or maybe against Ken Cuccinelli? “Sideshow Bob” Marshall? Corey Stewart? Other?). In this election, however, Webb won’t be at the top of the ballot – Barack Obama will – and the situation in the country will not be the same at all as in 2006, so it will be a significantly different dynamic. The question is, can we recreate that grassroots, “ragtag army” energy in 2012? We’ll see. Stay tuned.
For his part, Rep. Moran praised Jim Webb as an “American hero,” devoted to “making this country as strong as it can be” and “represent[ing] the very highest standards of this nation.” Moran talked about how Jim Webb understands that American greatness comes from “new Americans who come to this country to live out the American dream and by doing so they keep regenerating the American dream.” Moran also said that Jim Webb “understands that America has to be about the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class.” Moran recommended that we read Jim Webb’s books, in which we’ll learn (among many other things) that having 90% of the wealth go to 10% of the population is not a good thing. Moran praised Webb for the GI Bill and for his efforts at reforming our criminal justice system. Moran concluded that Jim Webb represents the “defining characteristics of the Democratic Party” and “every day makes us proud that he’s our United States Senator.”