Jim Webb: This week’s Obama

Jim Webb’s response to Bush’s State of the Address has been the subject of lots of digital ink over the last couple of days.

Taylor Marsh:

the bottom line is that most of our candidates for ’08 are not leaders. They are products. Webb isn’t a product. He is a leader….At some point leading bloggers have to decide to do the right thing on Iraq, especially when it comes to calling out our candidates, and then let ’08 fall where it may. Otherwise, we’re just the blogger version of them

Matt Stoller:

the only significant outcome of the State of the Union was Jim Webb’s entrance onto the national scene.

Kos, at his subtle and humble best:

We were working on his behalf before you even knew there would be a competitive Senate race in Virginia…Webb exists as our country’s newest political phenomenon in large part because of us.


On the reccomendation of Brendan Greeley (the one who works on Open Source, not the one who works on the Steve Dahl Show), I’ve been reading Robert Timberg’s 1996 book The Nighingale’s Song. Timberg focusses on the use of US global power in the aftermath of Vietnam through the Iran-Contral scandal. His central characters are Jim Webb, Oliver North, John Poindexter, Robert McFarlene and John McCain. Timberg quotes from Webb’s first novel, Fields of Fire. “The Marines in Fields of Fire,” writes Timberg “do not dream heroic dreams or fight for anything beyond the survival of themselves and their friends.” Webb addresses the oddity that everyday life goes on, oblivious to the war:

Airplane drivers still drive the airplanes. Businessmen still run their businesses. College kids still go to college. It’s like nothing really happened, except to other people. It isn’t touching anybody except us.


The scene in which a general speaks to a reporter brings to mind the Boxer-Rice kerfuffle earlier this month:


and who are the young men we are asking to go into action against such solid odds? You’ve met them. You know. They are the best we have. But they are not McNamara’s sosn, or Bundy’s. I doubt they’re yours. And they know they’re at the end of the pipeline. That no one cares. They know.


Lastly, Timberg quoting Webb from the latter’s Emmy-award report from Lebanon in 1983 for the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour:

The lowest private seems to understand the value of this American commitment more clearly than most congressmen. ..I and my fellow veterans from Vietnam still feel the pain of having made a greater commitment than the political process was willing to uphold. These men are trusting their very lives to the wisdom of our leaders. Our government’s obligation to them, which was too frequently betrayed in Vietnam, is to proceed with a clarity of purpose that matches their won trust and commitment.


Who will be the next Senator to become a stary of the Youtubosphere? After his scolding of the Senate on Wednesday, my money’s on Chuck Hagel:


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