• Good

    Strong stuff as usual on economic inequality, as well as on the need for social justice and economic fairness. Real, blunt talk about how the American Dream looks dramatically different if you (for instance) live in a poverty-stricken, crime-infested neighborhood. Also blunt talk about prison and what it does to people’s future (or lack thereof, more likely) once they get out of prison. Good stuff on the importance of rebuilding our infrastructure and “repair[ing] the torn, divided fabric of our national spirit.” Great stuff about how the stock market has tripled while real income levels among working people have suffered a steady decline, how the “growth of our economy has been increasingly reflected in capital gains rather than in the salaries of our working people.” The question is, what would Webb do about it? Tax capital, as Thomas Piketty suggests? Increase the progressivity of our tax code significantly? Crank up the inheritance tax? I’d love to hear details on those things from Webb. Great stuff about reforming the criminal justice system — I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that Webb’s criminal justice reform legislation never made it out of Congress, despite being supported across the political spectrum. WTF?

    I also liked Webb’s strong reaffirmation that he’s a Democrat and WHY he’s a Democrat – “basically, if you want true fairness in this society, if you want to give a voice in the corridors of power to the people who otherwise would not have it, I believe that will come from the Democratic Party.”

    Mixed

    Webb talked about developing a clear statement of our national security, says our foreign policy is a “tangled mess” of “situational ethics,” that we’ve been adrift since the end of the Cold War in our foreign policy. That’s fine, but I’m not sure I heard any answers from Webb, other than repeating what we’ve done wrong (e.g., the Iraq War, our “inadvisable actions in Libya”) and how he was (supposedly) right about…well, pretty much everything. 😉 In addition, Webb stated that if the president wants to launch offensive military operations, he or she should be able to explain clearly “the threat, the specific objectives of the operations, and the end result.” Webb added that we should honor all our treaty commitments, but not if they’re outside the direct boundaries of that treaty commitment (as in Libya for example). He says we should maintain superiority in our strategic systems and we should preserve/exercise the right of self defense. Maybe I missed it, but is there anything new there?  Seems like the same stuff I studied back in grad school in my national security policy classes. The devil, as always, in the details, also in how you define objectives, national interest, etc., etc. Webb says we shouldn’t ever occupy territory in fighting terrorism, and that seems like a no brainer in a way, but unless I’m  mistaken, I don’t believe Webb opposed the initial U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.  I’m also not sure what Webb meant exactly when he talked about how the answers to complex, intractable problems is simply to “find good leaders.”  I don’t know, but having just watched Ken Burns’ series on the Roosevelts, I wonder if even great leaders liked TR and FDR could get anything through the Teapublican House of Representatives or overcome the insanity of the far right wing (not to mention the brain-dead idiocy of the 24/7 media environment we currently suffer under). I’m not sure what to make of Webb’s constant dodging of questions about Hillary Clinton. He says he’s “not here to undermine her,” but he certainly is critical of U.S. foreign policy, and last I checked Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term. Hmmmm.

    Webb’s answer on “Obamacare” was odd: such angst, hemming and hawing, but ultimately he says he voted for it even though it had so many flaws because he realized poor people (like his mother’s family in the 1930s in eastern Arkansas) need access to health care. I’m not sure how he can argue that the Obama administration made a strategic error in trying to get health care reform passed in its first term. Seems to me that in the middle of the Great Recession, poor people needed health care worse than ever. As for the ACA being “costly,” that’s just false according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. So I’m confused about what Webb’s saying here, although in the end he says he doesn’t “regret” his vote for “Obamacare.” I’m also not sure what specifically in “Obamacare” could be “tightened.”

    Not mentioned at all, ergo #FAIL

    The purpose of Webb’s speech was “what’s going on in our country and what we can do to make things better.” He said we’re at a historical crossroads for our nation’s future. Yet not one mention of what is, by far, the greatest threat to our nation and to the planet – that being, of course, global warming? No mention of the urgent need, for a variety of reasons (environmental, economic, national security) of the need to transition rapidly from dirty to clean energy? Ugh. Sorry to say, but Webb’s failings on this issue alone, given its salience, could singlehandedly cause me not only NOT to support him for president in 2016, but to strongly oppose him. Bottom line: anyone who fails to confront the one issue that threatens the future of entire species, and every other species (and our economic future, and the future of our national security, etc, etc.), has no business running for president (which Webb said he’s seriously thinking about doing), let alone actually BEING president. I continue to await a serious conversation from Jim Webb on this subject.

  • DrSheldonCooper

    I voted for Jim Webb against George Allen, because there isn’t enough money in the world for me to ever vote for that macaca-spouting hick.  However, I knew going in that Webb was ten pounds of crazy in a five-pound bag, and I can’t say I was surprised or disappointed when he decided he didn’t like being a senator.  What does he think would be different about being president?  What makes him think he has a snowball’s chance in hell at the nomination?  I hope his latest bad idea dies by the wayside, because if he’s the Democratic nominee, the GOP will slide right into the White House.

  • Sunnyjane

    Jim Webb has the charm of a toothache and the charisma of a dead house plant.  

    He has a terrible record with women, going WAY BACK.  He’s something of a DINO besides, on other issues.

    Here’s a long but good article on him from 2008, when rumor was being floated around that he was on the short list as then-Senator Obama’s choice as a running mate.  

    Ixnay on the Ebbway

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol…