UPDATE 10:53 am: Caller asks about climate change (finally!), says Webb’s record “not the greatest” on that. Webb says our environmental record in this country is “very strong.” “I think we need to focus on cleaner air, clean water programs.” On global climate change, we have to go after global solutions. OK, this is utter bull****, avoiding the issue and U.S. responsibility for massive carbon emissions. Claims China isn’t signing up, blah blah blah. Webb says investment in solar and wind are “good invstements.” “I’m an all-of-the-above” when it comes to energy (blech). Bottom line: Webb really doesn’t “get it” on this issue, just doesn’t understand energy and environmental issues at all, and he makes it clear every time he opens his mouth on the subject(s). That alone disqualifies him for president, IMHO. Ugh.
UPDATE 10:51 am: Question on returning jobs to the U.S., stopping tax credits to companies that ship our jobs overseas. Webb says first find ways to “grow our economy,” which means “reducing the corporate tax rate but eliminating the loopholes.” Invest the money on infrastructure projects here. Strengthen the nature of collective bargaining, “I’m a union guy.” Germany is one of the healthiest economies in the world, and unions are a “part of the formula.”
UPDATE 10:49 am: Question on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Webb says he’s supported “a number of free-trade agreements.” “The TPP is…more complex,” concerned about lack of “transparency” when this agreement was being negotiated. On the agreement itself, Webb says he generally supports free trade agreements, but it really depends on labor provisions, and at this point he wouldn’t say he supports TPP.
UPDATE 10:48 am: So far, utter fail by Diane Rehm in this interview, really just going over ground that’s already been well covered, nothing new or interesting, no really penetrating questions, disappointing.
UPDATE 10:40 am: Question on the Confederate flag. Basically, we’ve already heard this answer multiple times, not sure why every interviewer feels the need to keep asking it (as if there aren’t far more important issues out there, starting with climate change). “There are no two cultures in America that are more closely intertwined…than the southern Black and the southern White.” Uh, that’s one way to put it! “Thin veneer at the top manipulating the emotions” of whites vs. blacks. OK, what the hell does any of the even mean? It’s not just a “thin veneer.” This all sounds like a complete bunch of bull**** to me. Webb takes a shot at Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican Americans.
UPDATE 10:36 am: Question on Hillary Clinton’s economic plans, feeling that working class Americans have not made the gains that the wealthiest Americans have made, how would his plans differ from hers. Webb says he started talking about this “nine years ago,” that “wealth accumulation has gone very heavily to capital” as opposed to labor.
UPDATE 10:32 am: Question on criminal justice reform. Webb says this is a “leadership problem for the country when we have so many people in prison…at the same time people don’t feel any safer in their neighborhoods” (on that latter point, it’s so strange people feel that way, given that crime rates have been falling for decades…). Webb says if he were elected president, he would issue an executive order to establish a commission on criminal justice reform.
UPDATE 10:29 am: Asked about the Affordable Care Act, Webb says it was a “journey.” Claims that as the bill made its way through, there was never a specific legislative proposal from the White House, and “that’s what caused the country to become so worried” (utterly untrue, not sure where on earth he gets that from! also, ever hear of the “making of sausage?”). “I voted 17 times with different Republican proposals” but “we are better off than if we hadn’t had the program.” Webb notes that people have always claimed big programs like Social Security and Medicare were “socialist.”
UPDATE 10:26 am: Question about Webb’s comment that the Democratic Party supposedly had moved “too far to the left.” Webb says it’s on the “social issues we’ve been debating.” Huh? “I’m worried that the Democratic Party’s message has become less inclusive even as it’s become focused on interest groups…” Again, huh? Webb talks about Wise County remote area medical clinic, says “these are people who should be naturally affiliated with the Democratic Party,” but supposedly nobody’s focusing on helping people in the “rural mountain” areas. Again, huh? Isn’t that what Democrats have been doing with the Affordable Care Act and much else?
UPDATE 10:24 am: Question about Webb getting into positions of power and then walking away. Webb says it’s “healthy” to come into government and be “citizen servants as the constitution originally thought of us and then go back into private life…” Webb says in the Senate he was able to focus on issues of economic fairness and criminal justice reform, plus the post-9/11 GI Bill.
UPDATE 10:20 am: My god, is this entire interview going to be on the Middle East? Bizarre and not newsworthy, given that we’ve heard Webb’s views on these issues for years and they haven’t changed.
UPDATE 10:18 am: OK, this is wayyyy too much time on the Iran deal, just repeating the same thing over and over again. Time to move on to something else.
UPDATE 10:15 am: Webb says he’s “comfortable with having left the Senate.”
UPDATE 10:13 am: I disagree strongly with Webb on the Iran deal. First off, these negotiations should NOT have been a Congressional process, as that would have 100% guaranteed no chance of a deal (plus, it’s the executive branch’s role to negotiate with foreign governments, not Congress’). Second, it sounds like Webb sees no benefits to the U.S. of this deal, which I just think is absurd. Third, I disagree with Webb’s leaning towards opposing this deal and basically his whole attitude on it. What are the alternatives to this deal? Webb doesn’t say, because there really aren’t any, other than “bombs away.” On this, Webb sounds much more like a Republican super-hawk than a Democrat.