Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?
by Matt Stoller, Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 04:27:13 AM EST
As far as I can tell, the only significant outcome of the State of the Union was Jim Webb's entrance onto the national scene. Bush was his usual pathetic and pathologically dishonest self, and is at this point horribly unpleasant window dressing. But Jim Webb brought a new sense of power and maturity to the table. Webb's response was powerful because of its simplicity, and there's a lesson to take from it. Here's the meat of his argument.
There are two areas where our respective parties have largely stood in contradiction, and I want to take a few minutes to address them tonight. The first relates to how we see the health of our economy - how we measure it, and how we ensure that its benefits are properly shared among all Americans. The second regards our foreign policy - how we might bring the war in Iraq to a proper conclusion that will also allow us to continue to fight the war against international terrorism, and to address other strategic concerns that our country faces around the world.
The speech was powerful because Webb acknowledged the national mistake of the war in Iraq and argued for ending it. He also used a careful phrase, 'largely stood in contradiction' to describe the two parties, which suggests that there are a few Republicans who want to end the war and there are a few Democrats who don't.
The lesson is clear. If you are a Democrat who isn't upfront about the war in Iraq as a clear mistake, and if you are not for ending the war in Iraq, you are going to sound weak and disingenuous.
UPDATE: I'm not suggesting that Webb run for President. What I'm trying to point out is how desperately weak our field is right now without a real commitment to end the war in Iraq.