Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Elizabeth Drew On Senator Jim Webb

The latest issue of The New York Review of Books has an informative article on Senator Jim Webb by Elizabeth Drew. We learned all sorts of interesting things about the junior Senator from Virginia, including: 1) He has had a decades-long rivalry with Oliver North that goes back to their time at the Naval Academy, 2)Webb is a recipient of two Purple Hearts, and, 3) He sees the poor, uneducated mountain people of Appalachia in the same manner as many of us see the African-American underclass -- as unjustifiably downtrodden but worthy of our respect. From NYRB:

"Webb's roots lie in exactly the area in which Obama has shown his greatest weakness so far—in the Appalachian region. Though both are freshman senators, Webb combines substantial government service with close knowledge of the military and the world. One drawback is Webb's inexperienced staff, which may not be up to the challenges he faces. (Politicians are in part judged by the press and others on the quality of their staffs; word gets around, and the effects usually show.)

"Like Obama, Webb offers a fresh approach to politics and stirs an excitement that would provide the ticket with more pizzazz than would some of the more conventional figures whose names are in play. (The thinking of some of Obama's advisers and members of the press reflects the old politics of selecting a running mate by geography, or to appease a particular group—which is not the politics Obama has represented in his campaign.) Anyway, picking a male 'surrogate' of Clinton, as some suggest, won't appease the women who are insisting that she be on the ticket. For all the recent talk about selecting Clinton herself, this wouldn't be consistent with Obama's concept of change, and could present all sorts of complications, especially when it comes to governing. Obama hasn't tipped his hand, but it's quite possible that even if Jim Webb isn't chosen for the Democratic ticket this time around, the country will be hearing more of him in the future."

The article is a must read for Webb boosters. Here.

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