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.