Thanks, Jim Webb

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    While we all are speculating about who will be the Democratic nominee for senator in 2012, I decided to pause a bit and recall my most vivid memories from the 2006 Webb campaign, a campaign that started out as a long shot, not one not at all sure of victory, but one filled with grassroots and netroots energy and optimism.  

    The first time I met Jim Webb was early in the campaign at a Roanoke Valley picnic. There were about 100 of us Democrats there. Jim Webb arrived in his vehicle with its camouflage paint job. As Webb stood by waiting to be introduced, I was struck by how he seemed ill at ease and concluded then and there that he was an introvert for whom such events could not be easy. However, when he took the microphone and began to talk, he readily warmed to his task, especially when he told us, with great pride in his voice, why he was wearing combat boots in honor of his son serving in Iraq.

    At that same picnic I first met and chatted with Mac McGarvey, Webb’s radio operator in Vietnam who left his small business in Tennessee and came to Virginia to volunteer as Webb’s driver. Mac lost his right arm above the elbow in combat, and Webb introduced Mac to the crowd and told us about a tattoo Mac had put on that arm. It was a dotted line that had the words, “Cut along dotted line,” above it. Mac and Jim Webb had that bond that is only shared by those who have served together in combat. (Mac became Sen. Webb’s liaison for veteran’s affairs.)

    Jim Webb was at his best at all the events I attended as the campaign progressed when he told us his common-sense, genuinely populist program, the reasons he wanted to be a senator. That was a textbook example of what far too few politicians do: tell voters why they should vote for him/her.

    So, what are your favorite memories?

    • Catzmaw

      to tell him how excited I was about his work to do something about the incarceration crisis.  I’m a criminal lawyer and he seemed happy to see support coming from someone in the criminal justice trenches.  I was struck by how sincerely he feels the waste of human lives we promote in this country by putting people in prison for years and years.

      Another time I met him and told him I’d like to have him sign his history of the Scots-Irish for my niece, a Marine who had served two tours in Iraq.  The change in his demeanor when I mentioned a Marine in the family was immediate.  He wanted to know all about her and her service.  I believe Jim Webb is by far the best representative our military and their families have ever had in the Senate and they will miss him.

      I met Mac McGarvey the night Webb won the election.  He’s got a rakish charm.  He seemed like the type of guy you’d wake up in jail next to, only to have him say “Damn, that was fun.”  

    • thegools

       I am really bummed that he won’t continue in the Senate, but I am not really surprised.  I worked early and hard for him in 2006, and I would have again.  I haven’t worked as hard for a candidate since and don’t suppose I ever will again.

        I have long wished for a Senate of 100 people like Jim Webb- Smart, articulate, strong, REASONABLE, and genuine.

    • Sunshine21

      Will never forget trekking down to Buena Vista, Virginia to campaign for

      Jim Webb while he was saying good bye to his son Jimmy at Fort Lejeune.

      We marched in the rain carrying signs for Webb followed by George Allen on his horse.  I also will never forget the excitement election night when we all stood around until the middle of the night waiting for results.  The high point was the next day in Arlington at the press conference celebrating his win with some of his rag tag volunteers.  Loved meeting Mac.  Jim Webb is the real deal.  I, too, probably will never work on a campaign like I did for Webb.  I wish him well in his life and am glad he’s spending time with his family.