Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

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.

Tags: George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Jim Webb, sotu (all tags)

Comments

59 Comments

Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

Maybe Webb's speech will serve as a kick in the ass to some weak in the spine Dems.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-01-24 04:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

John Edwards: "I was really disappointed not to hear him talk about what I would describe as the struggles of working men and women in this country, and particularly in New Orleans, which he made a big deal about a year ago and said, you know, he would stay with it until problems in New Orleans were solved. Well, he hasn't stayed with it and the problems aren't solved" (MSNBC, 1/23).

 from hotline..

by TarHeel 2007-01-24 04:57AM | 0 recs
Webb and New Orleans vs. Edwards NO.

Edwards really doesn't get it about New Orleans as Webb's address demonstrated.  

Webb focused on New Orleans as what government in general and Bush Jr and Republican government in particular are doing wrong as a government.

Remember, Edwards opening of his campaign in New Orleans didn't focus on that at all but instead on some  "lets all volunteer" crap that sounded more like a Republican faith based initiative than the real issue...what US government didn't do it New in Orleans and what it needs to do now.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-24 05:28AM | 0 recs
does Obama know your representing him?

by TarHeel 2007-01-24 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb and New Orleans vs. Edwards NO.

Of course it focused on that. However, Edwards goal is to eliminate poverty in 30 years, and to do that it is necessary to "de-wedge" Reagan Democrats who were convinced that the Democrats were about government programs as the only solutions to national problems.

Of course that was propaganda, but it was propaganda that the Democrats were very clumsy at tackling.

The Reagan use of personal responsibility as a slogan and excuse to undermine effective government action cannot be fought if we cede that ground to the Republicans.

Indeed, I doubt that Webb would actually agree that the Republican definition of "personal responsibility" should be allowed to rule the roost.

Of course, Webb was not launching a campaign, he was firing off a strong salvo in the ongoing fight in this legislative session, and with a different purpose at hand, a different focus is perfectly natural.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-24 06:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

Is that Edwards talking about Webb's speech, or Bush's?

It sounds like Bush's since Webb's address did talk about the troubles of working people and did specifically mention New Orleans.

by scientician 2007-01-24 05:52AM | 0 recs
IF that's a serious question

it was about Bush's speech

by TarHeel 2007-01-24 05:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

What, no Draft Webb for President movement yet?

by DrewEM 2007-01-24 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

He's better off in the Senate .. unless Hillary wins the nomination ... she really is all about herself

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-01-24 06:40AM | 0 recs
I want to win in 2008...

...but losing this election wouldn't be so bad if it meant Jim Webb could run and win in 2012.  How in gods name was this guy ever a Republican?

by HSTruman 2007-01-24 04:57AM | 0 recs
Push for Webb for pres now

if you think he's right person for the job. Four to eight years in the Senate is not really going to add anything.

I don't think he could win the presidency but I think he could help win it as VP.

Democrats have to win 2008 if US is to survive.

US can't survive the $1T in Iraq war costs, the $.5T  yearly deficits and growing $10T national debt, the $1T a year trade deficit, the oil imports, the $1T a year in wasted health care costs.

That will all continue under a Republican administration.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-24 05:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Push for Webb for pres now

I'm not really hoping we lose in 08.  Obviously 4 more years with the GOP in charge isn't acceptable.  I just wish Webb could viably run now, which obviously isn't possible since he's been an elected official for 3 weeks.  Agreed, however, that he'd make a hell of a VP choice.  

Obama-Webb has some real appeal to it.  Both were against the war from the start, and Webb at least already knows how to frame the issue going forward.  Plus, Webb would at "experience" to the ticket without adding washington experience.  Hmmm, I may now have my dream ticket...

by HSTruman 2007-01-24 05:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Push for Webb for pres now

He was not given a chance agains Miller jsut a few months ago. The Iraq war and the way Webb manages to make Bush seem so small on this issue is the equivalent of the Macaca thing that will help someone like Webb win. The guy comes across as direct as one can be. I will still support any Dem nominee with the singular exception of Hillary in the general elections, but I want to see a Webb or a Clark or  Gore represent us. Webb didn't surprise me because I ahve seen him get better in public forums with each passing month. And I think he can only keep getting better. This is a true moderate who is actually reaching out - possibly unintentionally - to the liberal side of the Dem party with his populist rhetoric. Quite the opposite of the DLC types who claim people like Webb were proof that moving to the right helps the Dems win.

I am not saying Webb should jump in. But if he feels like he can counter any negative allegations against him, then I hope he would at least consider jumping in. The only trouble is the primaries. I don't know if he can get much of the woman and minority vote(hell, my dad is a Hillary contributor) from Hillary in the blue states.

by Pravin 2007-01-24 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I want to win in 2008...

It had to do with the whole pardoning those that fled to Canada during Vietnam.  That's what I read anyway.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-01-24 06:41AM | 0 recs
Re: I want to win in 2008...

Yeah, I know he says he left the party over national security issues dating back to Carter.  It's just amazing to me that a guy with such seemingly strongly held beliefs regarding economic justice could ever have swallowed Reagan's BS.  

Regardless, I'm glad he's on the right side now.  Moreove, I'm happy to welcome as many principled former Republicans into the party as we can find.  

by HSTruman 2007-01-24 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: I want to win in 2008...

I was going to let this pass, but this needs to be corrected. Webb did not leave the Democratic party over the Carter's pardon of Vietnam deserters. Webb campaigned for Ford in 1976, he had already left the party.

by Alice Marshall 2007-01-24 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: I want to win in 2008...

I was just referencing that era, but thanks for the info.  

by HSTruman 2007-01-24 10:38AM | 0 recs
Prepare for US Leaving Iraq

What I want to hear on Iraq--

Give Iraq, neigboring countries,UN a year's notice to leave and they should come up with transition plans such as:

1.  Bring all warring parties at the table

  1.  Conference on regional countries how they can help and stop escalation of civil war
  2.  Replace american troops with multinational or international forces
  3.  Disband militias,
......etc and other transitional steps

by jasmine 2007-01-24 05:14AM | 0 recs
But we have given notice before ...

... not with any deadline, but the timing for every benchmark that we have ever stated has come and gone without the benchmark being achieved.

If we are serious that we are going to go, the only way to make that clear and inarguable is to start going.

Of course, John Edwards made that clear an unequivocal argument before, made it last night, and will make it again. As a candidate for President and not a sitting Senator, he is free to be more specific than Webb was able to be last night, but there is very little difference between the position Edwards has already set out and the position set forth by Webb last night.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-24 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

Webb isn't even calling for a timeline. He's simply arguing forcefully  and simply why the war needs to be brought to an end. This is something that '08 candidates could do without really changing any of their policy proposals.

If Webb needs a second job, he could be a speechwriter for Obama.

by tparty 2007-01-24 05:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

Jim Webb = Democratic Party Linebacker?

by blueflorida 2007-01-24 05:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

Best part--"international war on terrorism" not "war on terror."

by Forward with Feingold 2007-01-24 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

Webb would be a perfect VP for either Edwards (preferably) or Obama. Or Clinton, if we are unlucky.

by Populism2008 2007-01-24 05:38AM | 0 recs
IF you believe the "pundits"

if Hillary wins they're saying she needs a more conservative "appearing" VP  and Obama can't be on the same ticket with Hillary.

So Webb would make a lot of sense with HIllary.

The inside favorite is Bayh for VP for hillary or someone like that.

In a close election don't be surprised if both McVAin and Hillary both want Lieberman for VP.

by TarHeel 2007-01-24 05:43AM | 0 recs
Re: IF you believe the "pundits"

I don't want Webb on the ticket. Every time a refreshing voice comes along, there's always talk of that voice being President or, at least, Vice President. That's all well and good, but the White House isn't the only important institution out there. The Senate and the House still matter, and we need voices like Webb's there. That was something in Feingold's statement about not running for President - he feels that, with a majority and added seniority, he can be a more effective voice in the Senate (as well as the fact that he can't win the White House). So hope for Webb to become a Subcommittee Chair in a couple years, and a Committee Chair further down the road, where he'll have real Senate power and influence.

http://waywardepiscopalian.blogspot.com/
The Wayward Episcopalian: Nathan in New Orleans

by Nathan Empsall 2007-01-24 06:28AM | 0 recs
New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

It was an interesting contrast on how Bush Jr, Webb and Edwards have addressed the New Orleans issue.

1. Bush Jr by ignoring it.

2. Edwards by saying we can fix it by volunteer work.

3. Webb articulating that New Orleans was an example of government gone wrong and a reason for electing Democrats to use government effectively to solve national problems.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-24 05:40AM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards
<snip>2. Edwards by saying we can fix it by volunteer work. </snip>

Are you really saying you think John Edwards is running for President so he can be a cheerleader for charities, a promoter for "a thousand points of light" and will not run a progressive government?

All his work with unions, with raising the minimum wage, coming to opposing the war including a call on Congress to block funds for an escalation, his demand for truly universal healthcare - all of that just so OneCorps can become the dominant volunteer organization?

Lets stop attacking progressive Democrats.
by inexile 2007-01-24 06:15AM | 0 recs
BrionLuntz is an Obama troll

learn to ignore him except for the most odious misrepresentations.

by TarHeel 2007-01-24 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: BrionLuntz is an Obama troll
BrionLuntz (as you call him) is an Edwards-basher
because he's a Lamont-basher. In actual fact I'd call him a Lieberman troll.
by Baltimore 2007-01-24 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

John Edwards has called in clear and unequivocal terms for the government to do its job.

And he has also said that we cannot wait two more years to get started on the many problems facing this country, to that we all should do what we can to make progress, instead of sitting around waiting for a Presidential candidate to deliver us.

Suppose that Hillary succeeds in buying the nomination? The country would be far better off for having the Edwards campaign working on those problems in the intervening two years than if grassroots political activity is limited to providing additional support to already extremely well-funded campaigns.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-24 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

Edwards has spoken about the government's role in the situation, just not in his campaign kickoff. Criticizing incompetency for the umpteenth time, while important, isn't flashy.

Besides, he's right: volunteers are needed in New Orleans. I just spent three months there, and I can't count the times residents told me, "Thank God you're here! If it wasn't for you faith based programs and churches, nothing would ever get done!" Well, now, there are a number of good secular groups, but it is true: the government response is a joke. This can be fixed, and should be fixed, but until Landrieu's hearings and held, Jindal is elected Governor, and someone new is in charge of the Executive Branch, the only thing that will get done is by the volunteers. Edward's call for volunteers and his Opportunity Rocks college programs will actually get more tangible work done in the immediacey (when it needs to get done) then calling for more government action when those in power don't listen to you.

http://waywardepiscopalian.blogspot.com/
The Wayward Episcopalian: Nathan in New Orleans

by Nathan Empsall 2007-01-24 06:32AM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

"John Edwards has called in clear and unequivocal terms for the government to do its job."

Not in his announcement speech from New Orleans when everyone was listening.

It was interesting the contrast between Webb, Bush Jr and Edwards in their recent speeches on New Orleans

I'm sure Edwards is wishing he had given Webb's speech.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-24 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

I watched the pre-election announcement, and I see what you are talking about. When John Edwards says "we need to ..." ... he obviously is not talking only about what we can do working at the grass roots, and he is obviously not talking only about what policies government can make ...

... but, just like Webb in his reply on the State of the Union, he was focusing on his main point, which is launching the campaign in the direction of a movement.

And, no, if he had to decide between the launch he chose, and a speech suitable for a State of the Union reply, quite obviously he would still decide to make the launch he chose.

Of course, since he has deliberately and quite explicitly launched a "transformational" campaign, and since he has quite explicitly called for a withdrawal from Iraq, the natural refuge is, "he's saying what I asked for, he must not be sincere".

There is no answer to that on a comment thread in a blog. That's something that has to be hashed out on the ground, over the year ahead, in whatever spare hours the campaign has left over after the fund raising grind.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-24 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

Webb clearly stated that the government response to New Orleans represented stark contrast between Democratic and Republican views of government.

Edward did not do that.

"he[Edwards] was focusing on his main point, which is launching the campaign in the direction of a movement."

"he[Edwards] has deliberately and quite explicitly launched a "transformational" campaign"

Which is meaningless jargon which has nothing to do with New Orleans which is why Webb's comments on New Orleans went right to the bone.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-24 08:50PM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

BS it has nothing to do with New Orleans. If we wait for two years in hope that the next chief executive will pursue the reconstruction and economic revitalization of New Orleans starting in 2009, we give up two years when progress can be made on the ground.

Webb was responding to George W Bush, the current President. He is inside the beltway and is going to have to be finding ways to bring pressure on 10 Republican Senators to get anything done in the Senate now.

John Edwards is running for President, and George W Bush, obviously, is term limited. He has to adopt a longer term and nationwide approach. And do it while going out collecting the $100m toll that has become a pre-requisite for the nomination.

Indeed, if the CW is that the top three are Clinton, Obama and Edwards, all three benefitted from the strength of Webb's reply. For Clinton and Obama, it distracted attention away from the pablum that they gave in response to the SOTU. For Edwards, having someone else give two of his core messages to such a large national audience makes for a better political climate for both building his grass roots organization and for fundraising.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-25 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

"BS it has nothing to do with New Orleans."

Webb's speech certainly did have a LOT to do with the New Orleans.

He used it to emphasize the difference in Democratic and Republican use of government to help Americans.

Edwards speech from New Orleans, his announcement speech, the speech that Edwards used to set the tone of his presidential campaign totally missed the real issues of New Orleans.  He got a lot of flak for using New Orleans as a backdrop without doing what Webb did...explain why New Orleans was an important defining issue.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-25 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: New Orleans: Webb vs. Bush Jr vs. Edwards

Oh, I see. When you say it has "nothing to do with New Orleans", you are not talking about whether New Orleans will be better off as a result of the action. Because it is clear that the primary assistance they will be receiving over the next two years of the Bush White House is the kind of direct action that John Edwards is organizing as an integral part of his campaign.

What you are referring to is whether there is text for the blogosphere to talk about on the issue.

In that case, I understand your frustration. It is far easier to sit on the sideline, cheering what we like and booing what we don't, than it is to actual get out and do something. And so while a conversation residing entirely within the blogosphere can unfold at the speed of light, a conversation in word and deed is going to be unfolding at its own pace.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-25 08:27AM | 0 recs
Web got it right. Edwards didn't get it.

"Because it is clear that the primary assistance they will be receiving over the next two years of the Bush White House is the kind of direct action that John Edwards is organizing as an integral part of his campaign."

But it is not integral part of president's job. Whatever volunteer work Edwards is organizing is irrelevant to the issue.

It is not integral to the philosophy of government vs. the Republicans as to what are US government responsibilities.

Webb got it right. Edwards didn't get it.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-25 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

I believe he means how they are speaking now- not in the past or future.

by bruh21 2007-01-24 05:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

Let's not bemoan that Webb isn't running for 2008.  We have a strong field with several respectable, and very electable people.

It's great to see the Democrats will have a stable for the next open nomination cycle.  Webb will be around in 2012 and 2016.

If Webb had been running, there's no way he would have been picked to deliver this speech, so it's kind of a moot point.

Perhaps his example will instruct Hillary, Obama, Edwards and Richardson to be more forceful.  Every Democrat will see the unusually positive national response to Webb's response address and take note after all.

by scientician 2007-01-24 05:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

I think a better question would be "How do we make our 2008 contenders talk like Webb"

by sterra 2007-01-24 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

I disagree.  The parts of the speech you pulled out sound a lot like what Edwards is saying on the stump these days.  Populism and ending the war.

by Marylander 2007-01-24 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

I agree with you.  Webb was great and more Democrats should sound like him.  But if you want to support a Democrat in '08 who is saying the same things then you should look at John Edwards.

It's wrong to say none of the contenders are speaking out about ending the war-- now.

by KickinIt 2007-01-24 06:56AM | 0 recs
Good night for Dems

I'll join the chorus regarding Webb.  He was awesome.  Most importantly, combined with the fresh face of Nancy Pelosi, I think the Americans who saw the whole speech last night would leave being very impressed with the Democratic Party.

Now as for the Presidential contenders, they were all over the main channels afterwards.  I, too, hope they go home and watch the Webb video.  Please, please, please, someone tell Obama to stop praising Bush at the start of all his responses.  Yes, Obama gets tougher during an interview, but he always starts off by saying nice things to the Lame Duck in Chief.

by exLogCabin 2007-01-24 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

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.

Not if we include Al Gore.

by Alice Marshall 2007-01-24 06:25AM | 0 recs
Who we would want to run

Let's start a list of who we would want to see run for President!

Al Gore
Jim Webb
Eliot Spitzer

...???

by Alan 2007-01-24 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Who we would want to run

I like all three you noted.  I'd add Schweitzer to the list and, down the road a bit, Sherrod Brown.

by HSTruman 2007-01-24 08:09AM | 0 recs
tester too

by TarHeel 2007-01-24 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Be Like Webb?

hard to get humor sometimes on the internets

by bruh21 2007-01-24 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

I noted that Webb repeated his statement that what has transpired in Iraq was predicted. He is on very solid ground in making that statement and others need to join him. I think that Bush is guilty of malfeasance on this issue alone.

by JSN 2007-01-24 07:38AM | 0 recs
Who says he's not a contender?

I have no dog in this fight, not yet.  I very much like the way Webb talks and I like the way his brains seems to work.  I don't know who will get the nomination.

But remember:  Bill Clinton didn't join the race until what would be October of 2007.  Now, I know things are different now and it would be too late to raise money and put together a staff and all that.  And all those things are true, unless of course they're not.  Weird shit happens in poilitcs all the time, and I'm glad to know we have people who could do the job well who are not yet announced but might be able to step forward if weird shit happens.

by bonnieg 2007-01-24 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

JIM WEBB FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by Ethelred 2007-01-24 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

I think Webb has something McCain once had, an non-party driven personal ideology.  He isn't really a progressive, he's a populist.  He doesn't pander. He's what McCain still views himself as.

by pipe 2007-01-24 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

One does: Wes Clark.

Wes Clark for President in 2008!

Jim Webb and Barack Obama's times will come later.

by snolan 2007-01-24 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

I agree with snolan.

Clark isn't official yet, but that's because he's afraid that declaring for president will make him less effective at influencing people toward approaching Iraq as a situation that needs a diplomatic surge, not a military surge.  

If he believed that by staying out of the race he could put us on track to a safer conclusion in Iraq and talking to Iran instead of bombing them, I think he wouldn't run.

But with the SOTU over, and a fairly unified Democratic position on the Middle East now crafted, I think he knows that he can help the country best now by entering the race.

He's promised we'll hear something in the next several weeks.  

Clark is an American we can be proud of.

by catherineD 2007-01-24 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

Funny it seems like not too long ago a certain DC insider was bashing Webb in the primary:

"James Webb should be ashamed today.  He acted without honor, without decency, and without courage.  For shame." Matt Stoller, MyDD.com

It's big of the DC guys to come back and admit when they're wrong and the local bloggers were right....oh wait, I still haven't seen Matt give that long over due shout out to Raising Kaine and Not Larry Sabato, and the rest of the VA blogosphere who had Webb's back in the primary when our Matt was naively repeating the VA insider spin.

by Texas Nate 2007-01-24 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

i found this on Common Dreams...sums it up beautifully...

Webb offered a populist, anti-corporate stand on economics and a blunt attack on Bush for "recklessly" dragging our country into the Iraq war - a sharply-worded address that must have startled millions of TV viewers accustomed to Democrat vacillation.

It was the kind of stirring appeal, both progressive and patriotic, that could win over voters at election time -- including swing voters, NASCAR dads, soccer moms, even Republican leaners. The new Senator - a novelist and former Secretary of the Navy -- reportedly discarded the speech handed him by Democratic leaders, and wrote his own.

But Webb's speech was not just a rebuttal to Bush. It was also a pointed response to the tepid pablum that comes out of the mouths of mainstream media-anointed Democratic presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

TV viewers could easily see the contrast between Webb's words and those of Clinton and Obama, since the two candidates were featured one after another on TV network after network soon after Bush and Webb. Yet they said so little.

Clinton and Obama were the only two Democrats so heavily spotlighted last night - which is how corporate media shape and bias the Democratic race while pretending to just be covering it. John Edwards appeared on a couple shows last night, and was more forceful. (Jeff Cohen)

by joe in oklahoma 2007-01-24 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

Anybody who actively runs down a viable Democratic candidate without a very pressing reason is a Republican troll. The very idea of having this be an expression you're going to use all the time, the name of some Dem candidate plus the word troll? I don't think that is language you want to be repeating.

The generic Democrat is not winning by ten points. He is winning by twenty. Of course the margin is much smaller for known quantities.

Only Obama has a ceiling in the seventies. no matter how unlikely this seems to you now, you have really no right to let your artificially stimulated combativeness run crazy and overlook what I guess must be the least likely outcome to you trench warriors. The Republican candidates for 2008 are mere gamblers. The Dem nominee is likely to make history, not in the trivial "first in category" sense but in terms of permanent global power realignment.  

Only Obama can shine a magic wand over the fundies, causing the scales to fall from their eyes. Only Obama can really conciliate the world on new terms.

Obama is the world. In Obama, the enmity between black and white Americans must come to an end. All this talk about how black is he. Black as he wanna be, black as he need to be, and if any harm is directed toward him the nganga will not only fly through the air to destroy it, but to destroy he who sends it. So beware.

The Indonesian episode locked in something that wasn't clear about Obama: like Tiger Woods, he appears part Asian. His father was African, and he has family there. If he can learn to read a speech in Spanish, he can get elected President of the Hemisphere - or call it MERCOSUR.

Obama's religion is very important, because religion is part of the political future, like it or not. The sort of economic and scientific mastery that allowed Americans to imagine a rational state in which religion would no longer shake things up - that is slipping away now. In a sense, religion is what you have when you can no longer afford lottery tickets. Religion plus soup.

Obama is something different from the standpoint of identification and feeling. How odd it is to hear the anti-single-issue crew denouncing Obama for not having his policy file in order. In the Indonesian footage, the picture of little Barry was quite obscure. But the picture of Obama was positively Christlike.

You're going to have to endure the whole nightmare of hearing people say that they believe God and Jesus have chosen Obama to lead us out of darkness, out of the wilderness. And yet, it is just that sort of attachment that constitutes (an aspect anyway) "activism". I realize that some "activists" say "I support X because of his position on Y." But others' attachment is to the candidate and a Gestalt he represents, and this is perfectly clear in talking to many Dean supporters, for example.

Obama is kind of like Koizumi was: different-looking. Bush had to strut to make cowboy. Obama is young, Kennedy-young. But looking at the way the Presidency has worn out the last two (and the first Bush was considered in Alzheimer's in 1990), people realize that we're going to have to try a younger guy.

I would really not compare, but just connect Obama to the spring of 1980. This is really when the connection was broken, between Old Left and New. Carter had failed in terms of leadership. He couldn't get the government to obey him. Kennedy was gradually coming around to challenging him. Then he drove off a bridge.

Ever since, the electorate has applied a very simple equation. If it's a Democrat, they have to be without sin. If it's a Republican, anything goes as long as we haven't been invaded yet.

All the Republicans ever had was national security. First against the Soviets, then against Latin America, then against Eastern Europe, then against half of Asia.

The world evidently terrifies them.

I'm not actually comfortable with there being a Republican Party anymore. I hate the personality cult. I would prefer to vote for a Policy for President and collective leadership. But in the present case, the foreign policy challenge is going to be so daunting - the Republicans have screwed things up so much - that no sail-trimmer can be allowed. The candidate who would be most cautious, not to say conservative - no can do. The candidate who has no international experience - no go. (Obama has international experience of a different and even more valuable kind.)

We have to make an effort to charm the world. It's an image thing, but here the national brand was worth trillions and it's been trashed. I hope we end up nationalizing the oil industry and making most of Texas Federal land. I hope that George Bush doesn't even get to go to Paraguay.

And I hope that Obama ends up touring the world like The Pope. Heck, with the Pope. With Bono. Traveling to rural China to talk to the people that make our stuff. Playing baseball with Hugo Chavez.

The real question we should be asking ourselves: can Obama dunk? Talk about Mission Accomplished.

Look at Chavez' TV show. Obama will be on a TV show to the whole world.

Phi Slamma Obama. That's good, it's got the hard "a" like Alabama.

Ali Obama and the Forty States. And 58% in the general. 400 House seats.

Complete unity in the Senate as all sitting Republicans renounce their party.

Come on, shit, MARKET this guy. If we can make the Chinese laugh we're golden.

Don't fight the last war. Isn't that what you always tell the hippies?

by frenchman 2007-01-24 05:04PM | 0 recs
by nachnachoo 2007-06-26 07:59AM | 0 recs

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