Tuesday, June 06, 2006

James Webb vs. A Pig In Slop

The June 19 American Conservative has a good article by James Antle about the Senate campaign of James Webb in Virginia. If Webb wins the Democratic Primary, Virginia will surely be the most interesting state to watch in the fall campaign. And I believe, with no real basis, that the incumbent, George Allen, Jr. has a glass jaw and feet of clay; and he can be beat, or at least wounded enough to kill his presidential ambitions. Antle notes the danger to Allen:

The outcome of this primary fight will have national implications. The most obvious pertain to 2008. If Allen is forced to spend this fall defending his seat or ends up losing, his Republican presidential bid may be derailed. By contrast, a Democratic Senate pickup in Virginia would aid the presidential aspirations of former Gov. Mark Warner, who has held fundraisers for both men. While a Rassmussen poll shows both Webb and Miller trailing Allen badly, a Zogby survey has Webb down by just 7 points—and Allen below the critical 50-percent incumbents’ threshold.

The New Republic article about Allen a few weeks back, once you get past Ryan Lizza's silly obsession with the Confederate Battle Flag and race, is an interesting character study. One of the details that stood out to me was that when his father left the Los Angeles Rams in 1971 to go to the Washington Redskins, Allen transferred from UCLA to the University of Virginia. Its probably what I would have done, but then I don't put on Allen's tough guy schtick. The biographies of the two men present a startling contrast. Lizza notes that when Allen went to UVA that he was,

like a pig in slop. Even at Virginia's own state school, Allen stood out for his showy brand of good ol' boyness. Under the headline "allen and country living," a 1973 profile in the school paper noted his penchant for country music had earned him the campus nickname of "Neck." He drove a pickup truck (paid for by the Redskins). He wore cowboy boots. He supported Richard Nixon and the war in Vietnam. He once shot a squirrel on campus, skinned it, ate it, and hung its pelt on his wall.

If this sounds like a privileged, rich kid's idea of being a "good ol' boy" that's because it is exactly what it is. Contrast Allen's sideline support for Nixon and the Vietnam War with Webb's record of being a heavily decorated veteran of the war that Allen was content to cheerlead for. Biography alone isn't enough, but Webb's bio is about 1000 per cent better than John Kerry's. Webb has issues as well, particularly the Iraq quagmire which he opposed back when Kerry and most other Democratic politicians were afraid to do so.

Antle notes that Webb has been wearing the combat boots of his son, an Iraq bound Marine. Glenn Reynolds, who has frequently recommended Webb's book, Born Fighting : How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, called wearing the boots a "gimmick reminiscent of 'John Kerry, reporting for duty.'"

Here's a prediction: Reynolds, who is less and less distinguishable from Hugh Hewitt; will, if the Virginia race is close, join with the yet to be formed "Naval Academy Grads for Truth" in calling for Webb to release all of his military records to prove if he really "earned" that Navy Cross.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I once listened to Hewitt and a caller was knocking Hewitt with well chosen words. Not an easy thing to do since Hugh contolled the callers ability to be heard, but the caller did it, slipping through every crack that Hewitt briefly opened. The guy wasn't being rude either.
Rather than respond, Hewitt cut him off. Then, basically asked (taunted) the caller how it felt to be stuck in his car with no chance to respond. I'm sure Hewitt got an honorary debate degree from some alternative school junior high for that great moment.
But then again, Hugh was unable to go a few rounds with Helen Thomas. Having an old lady from the MSM knock out a big bad blogger was great entertainment. Well, at least now when Cheney shows Hugh his war injury, that bum hand from signing up for all those deferments, Hugh can show Dick the imprint left on his skull from Thomas' purse.
Steve N.