Home 2014 Races Jim Webb for…President?!?

Jim Webb for…President?!?


It’s amazing, no matter how long you are involved in politics, it’s still possible to be surprised. For instance, check this out:

Former Virginia Sen. James H. Webb Jr. refused Monday to rule out a run for president, saying he is weighing his options.

“My wife and I are just thinking about what to do next. I care a lot about where the country is, and we will be sorting that out,” Mr. Webb, a Democrat, said during an appearance on the the Diane Rehm Show, on which he was promoting his new book “I Heard My Country Calling.” “It takes me a while to decide things. I am not going to say one way or the other.”

Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. Of course, I didn’t see Jim Webb saying in October 2005 that he’d be interested in running for U.S. Senate from Virginia as a Democrat either! Ha. Just a few quick thoughts on this.

First, if Webb DOES run, I can see him focusing on the three themes he ran on in 2006:

1. Re-orienting America’s Foreign and National Security Policies

2. Promoting Social Justice and Economic Fairness

3. Government Accountability and Balance of Powers

I could also see Webb really stressing Jacksonian Democracy and economic inequality issues (e.g., the space Elizabeth Warren has staked out in the Democratic Party in recent years), especially given that things have only gotten worse on that front since the Great Recession of 2008/2009. And I could see Webb talking about reining in the national security state, including the NSA; civil liberties; criminal justice reform (possibly including legalization of marijuana?); and of course veterans issues (particularly healthcare given the situation/scandal at the Veterans Administration).

How would Webb do? I can’t see him beating Hillary Clinton in a primary, but he’d certainly get his issues out there and possibly pull Clinton in a more populist direction. If Clinton doesn’t run, then it’s a totally different story, and Webb could certainly be a top-tier candidate along with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Martin O’Malley, Deval Patrick, Brian Schweitzer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and possibly a bunch more (Mark Warner? Amy Klobuchar?). Webb would have to explain some positions of his to Democratic primary voters, such as his generally poor record when it comes to energy and environmental issues. That would be…interesting, let’s just put it that way. Also, let’s not forget that Webb HATES raising money and doing a lot of the things you need to do to be a successful politician in America these days. So we’ll see.

If Webb were to win the Democratic nomination for President, I could see him doing VERY well in the general election, potentially putting states in play for the Democrats that haven’t been in play for years (e.g., think about Appalachian states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee; also states with large Scots-Irish populations).

Anyway, one thing about Jim Webb: just when you think you’ve got him figured out…well, you haven’t. 😉  Never a dull moment in politics.

  • The Richmonder

    Webb hates to campaign.

    I love the guy and would happily work for him but . . . for Webb, campaigning is like having teeth pulled.

    I’ve ridden along on several statewide campaigns, and let me share some observations.

    1) Terry McAuliffe likes campaigning and meeting people.

    2) Tim Kaine LOVES to campaign. He really enjoys retail campaigning.

    3) Mark Warner makes Tim Kaine look like an indifferent amateur. Mark Warner SUPERCALAFRAGELISTICEXPALDOCIOUS loves campaigning. One year, I believe it was 2005, I saw Mark Warner sprint up both sides of the street in Buena Vista to shake every hand.  He ran up on to peoples’ porches to shake their hands as they sat in rocking chairs. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    4) Jim Webb does not like to campaign. He finds the rope line unbearable. In part, it is because Webb is so genuine.  If Jim Webb had the time to sit down and have a glass of scotch with everyone in the United States he’d be unstoppable. But the exercise of walking down a line of strangers shaking hands was always a stretch for him.

  • sonofkenny

    I think she would be by far our best candidate…and would be a very good President. However, if she decides not to run I can see myself giving Webb a look…would be interesting at least!

  • kindler

    “…promoting his new book…”

    No better way to sell a book than to gin up a bunch of hype and speculation about whether you might run for president.  Ask Colin Powell about that…

    But my sense of Jim Webb is that he hates politics and despises fundraising most of all.  I’d be willing to bet my house and car that he doesn’t run for anything.  But he’ll probably have a blast talking about it…

  • AnonymousIsAWoman

    I love Webb and always have.  He was speaking about income inequality and the shrinking middle class back in 2006 when very few people were really focused on it.

    But he hates campaigning and he hates fundraising even more.  I am very surprised he’s even thinking about it. One thing I don’t think he’d do is accept the position of VP.

    He’s far too independent to take a subordinate role, especially if it would mean publicly backing positions he disagrees with and keeping silent on policy.  And that’s the duty of the vice president, to publicly support the president’s agenda regardless of his personal opinions.

    That’s a role I don’t see Webb as willing or able to do.

  • Another Scott

    Yup, I can’t imagine him running for any national political office again.

    He might be a good choice for SecDef or something like that, though.  He understands lots of things about SE Asia and defense issues (having been Secretary of the Navy for a while).

    I thought he did a decent job as Senator, but he pissed me off a few times, like when he said, immediately after the results, that Brown getting elected in MA meant that Obamacare votes should be put off – http://voices.washingtonpost.c…  I let him know my feelings and got a pissed-off letter back from him in response.  😉



  • Constable Fraser

    He wasn’t particularly outstanding as a senator and is just barely a Democrat. I’d prefer to vote for someone who is a real Democrat, not someone who decided at a late date that “Democrat” was the only label that might help him get elected.

    That said, I’m grateful that he helped in the nefarious career of that disgusting George Allen in Virginia politics, and I did appreciate Webb’s put-down of Dubya.