Home Politicians Rematch=Redraft: Should the Web Draft Webb Again?

Rematch=Redraft: Should the Web Draft Webb Again?

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by Paul Goldman

Despite Politico.com having recently published an article by Professor Rozell and yours truly   originally entitled [Kooks with Nukes = Webb will run for re-election], recent comments from the former Navy Secretary indicate our certainty isn’t yet shared by Virginia’s senior Senator.  “Should I go or should I stay?” asked The Clash in one of rock and roll’s all-time great songs [“It’s always tease, tease, tease, So you gotta let me know, Should I stay or should I blow?”]. Having never hungered for political power, Senator Webb is naturally contemplating the practical side of another 6 year tour of duty eating up a good chunk of the quality time left for his stay on Planet Earth. He had a life before politics: there is a good chance he found it more rewarding in many ways.. There is also the possibility he would rather serve at the cabinet level in a second Obama term. Thus, if Webb runs and wins, he couldn’t resign without giving Governor McDonnell the chance to appoint Ken Cuccinelli to the seat and get the AG out of His Excellency’s hair, at least day to day.

Back in 2006, a case can be made for digital activists having been the drafters of Webb, as they used the Internet to deliver carrots and sticks, making the case for his candidacy in general and him in particular. Might a redraft now be needed?  Moreover, it might even be fitting since former Senator George Allen is the big favorite to win the Republican nomination.

 

Rematches are rare, indeed Allen is going for the record books, trying to the be the first person to defeat two incumbent Senators. The current polls show former Senator Allen has retained a good deal of his political support, an impressive feat since voters have a history of not wanting to re-litigate their choices, Americans prefer looking forward, not rehashing past political contests. The two state wide rematches that come to mind both ended the same way: real bad for the guy who lost the first time by a whisker, the second loss reached landslide proportions. True, they were contested first for Attorney General, and then for Governor, not the situation for a Webb vs Allen II.

Still, the polls show Webb in a strong position to win unless President Obama morphs into George McGovern. Last month’s mid-term election turnout would have greatly favored Allen: but the far larger voter universe going to the polls in a presidential year will be much better for Webb. The days of Republican White House nominees running up landslide  wins in a presidential year here in Virginia are things of the past unless Democrats nominate a real dud.

If Obama gets 47+, Webb should be able to win with a good solid campaign. This is one reason Ken Cuccinelli said he wasn’t going to run for the Senate, but made sure  everyone could see the daylight coming through the crack in his door leading to the 2013 gubernatorial race.

Bottom line: George Allen has shown remarkable strength so far in terms of a comeback, but logic suggests he would do better against former Governor Kaine even though the polls say otherwise at this point. Webb’s ace of trumps is his super credentials on military matters, which is why he figures to be a lot stronger than Kaine among male voters, a key GOP constituency. Webb then, is the strongest Democratic candidate although Kaine, while not “born fighting” is one heck of a campaigner.  

If Webb was Warner’s age, then I would say he should be abducted by Navy Seals, taken to a safe house on the Eastern shore and let released until agreeing to run. But he is older and has surely done sufficient service to his country.

Thus, I think the Seals need to stand down – the Marines too – and instead a more traditional draft Webb campaign seems the appropriate choice. Another politician might be giving off mixed signals in order to bask in the glow of people begging him to run. But if that were true here, then he wouldn’t be Jim Webb.

Net, net: Those who want Jim Webb to run need let him know it, which shouldn’t be a surprise given 2006. Webb is one of the few guys who could walk away from politics and not look back. So a redraft, like the original draft, laying out the case for him to run, is going to have impact on his thinking. In the end, he is soldier, duty, honor, country. But he can’t beat George Allen when his heart isn’t in it, which many feel was the situation with former Senator Robb in 2000.

Does the possibility of a rematch = a redraft? We will soon find out.  

  • Tom

    Back a few months ago Webb sent out a “broadcast” message testing the waters in the form of a fund raising inquiry. My reply to him was that I couldn’t make a financial contribution commitment but I promised that if he ran for re-election I would work as hard for him again as I had worked for his election in 2006. My point to Webb was that in 2006 he had thousands of grassroots volunteers whose energy and dedication were the best that “money cannot buy”.

    I’m 6 years older now, and might not be able to work as many hours per day as I did in 2006, but I and most of his former core volunteers can still generate enough enthusiasm and energy to repeat the success we enjoyed in 2006.

    But I do believe it is very important to Webb to know that he can count on us to deliver like we did in 2006, and if he sees a couple thousand volunteer names on a Draft Jim Webb blog initiative he will know we are serious about wanting to help him once again. He needs our help to win and we need him to remain in the Senate for another 6 years. He will be Medicare-eligible (65 years old, 5 years younger than I am) and he still has the energy and intelligence to do a lot of good in the Senate. Of course, he would be a great SECDEF, but we need some real leadership in the Senate and Harry Reid is no leader so Webb is about the only Senator who is willing or able to speak up when Reid goes too far off the deep end.

    Short version: Count me as among the first to sign the “Draft Jim Webb” petition.  

  • Catzmaw

    although I’m pretty sure he’d be shortlisted for the SecDef job and this might affect his decision.  Didn’t Gates say he wants to be done in a year or two?  He’s already stayed past the time he told Obama he’d stay for and I get the sense that he wishes he could hand the football to someone else likely to run it into the end zone.  Webb would make a good SecDef.  Being ex-ground forces his focus would be on getting our troops on the ground what they need instead of being interested in Star Wars type trinkets.  However, he has also made waves in the past with his criticism of our entry into Gulf War I, the Iraq adventure, and the conduct of the war in Afghanistan.  He may be too much of a lightning rod for the White House to want to chance having him in a position where he would have such a substantial influence on policy, and he has made a few enemies among the brass, I’m sure, with his strong attacks on the military base closings and other proposals affecting Virginia’s military families and industry.  If you ever listen to Armed Services hearings on C-Span you know what I mean.  

    At this point the best place for Webb is in the Senate, even though I’m sure he’s chafing under its bizarre rules and pointless strictures against getting anything done.  If only for him to keep his strong attack on our current incarceration crisis I want very, very much for Webb to stay in the Senate.  He’s got plenty of work left to do.