Fascinating interview with Jim Webb by Iowa Press (yes, Webb’s in Iowa…hmmm) a bit earlier today; here are a few key quotes:
*Asked if he’s running for President in 2016, Webb says we’re in a “transitional period in the country,” that we “need to have a strong debate inside the Democratic Party and between the two parties” about where we need to go, and that “I’m curious about the political future of the Democratic Party and of our country.”
*Asked how he feels about Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, Webb says “I think there’s time to have that discussion later.” When pressed by a reporter, “Why not now?”, Webb responds, “It would probably take up the whole show.”
*Webb reiterates his three themes from 2006, emphasizes “economic fairness and social justice” and how “the stock market has almost tripled since March 2009” but “real income for workers actually has decreased in the same period.” Webb says things are not going well for working people in this country, and the “solution for that is only going to come from the Democratic Party.”
*Webb says he doesn’t believe the phrase “don’t do stupid stuff” is a fair characterization of the Obama Administration foreign policy, that “it’s a very complicated world right now,” that the “pivot” to Asia for instance was “healthy” and “good.” Webb also praises the Obama Administration for the “careful way” it’s approached the Ukraine situation.
*Webb isn’t a fan of the administration’s Middle East policy and points his finger at Hillary Clinton. “I can’t understand why people would have supported the notion of arming certain groups inside Syria a couple of years ago…I say that not only as someone who has spent a lot of time working on foreign policy, but as a journalist in Beirut in 1983 when the word I got from Marines on the ground was: ‘Never get involved in a five-sided argument.'”
*On Iraq, Webb says “we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world…We opened up Pandora’s Box when we invaded Iraq…[going into Iraq] unleashed this sectarian violence.” Webb says we should be extremely careful in differentiating between terrorism and Sunni animosities towards the government in Iraq.
*”We need to realign our military based on the articulation of national strategy…where our strategic needs are.”
*Asked about not running for reelection in 2012 but putting his name out there for president in 2016, Webb says “I was raised to lead,” and that stepping away from a paralyzed Senate “doesn’t mean that I’m stepping away from public service.”
*On Ferguson, Webb says it’s very difficult to have an “open and frank discussion.” He adds that Democrats should be “very careful about making judgements right now,” that we first need to get “all the facts on the table” about what exactly happened. Webb adds that it’s “unfortunate that the appearance anyway of sort of a militaristic presence among our members of the police is not a good signal to be sending at an emotional time.”
*When asked if he could see himself running in the Iowa caucuses, Webb responded, “I really have enjoyed the past few days I’ve been here” and laughed. He says he hopes that he’ll be coming back to Iowa frequently.