If no cause is said to be truly lost until Joan Baez sings for it, then with Jim Webb’s Presidential ambitions she has all the makings of a platinum album in the bag.
It’s not that Webb is stupid – far from it. It’s not that he has not is a coward, or flinches from a fight, that could not be said of a man who has had a glittering military career winning The Navy Cross, two purple hearts, a Silver star and two Bronze stars in Vietnam . He topped this with experience in Government ending up as Assistant Secretary of Defence under Reagan.
He is also a published author and a film maker, so has experience of the wider world beyond public service.
He has been a centrist Senator in his swing state of Virginia and has carved out a nitch with white working class and middle class voters.
But to say he is a longshot is being charitable. Jim Webb is an outsider and a Presidential no hoper. So why the interest?
His political concerns should be up front and centre with the Democrats. He has concern with high incarceration rates, poverty especially among poor whites, poor schooling, lack of opportunities for working class children. He is a true Jacksonian Democrat standing up for working and middle classes against a system imbalanced to favour the wealthy. That said it is a bit of hodge-podge of a system of beliefs and places him to Hillary’s right.
And then there is the little matter of his age. At 69 he is a bit old for a first run at the Presidency. People are still mindful that Reagan ran at this age, and was thought at the end of his eight years to be showing early signs of dementia. Webb is also older than Hillary.
However he is being floated by a cynical system that seeks to pretend to offer the electorate a wide choice for President from all parts of the political spectrum. So Webb is the working class boy made good, the writer and war-hero-candidate. Others yet to come will be the black-entrepreneur-candidate; the Hispanic-from-a-big-city-candidate; the non-protestant-candidate be he Catholic, Jewish or Mormon (forget Muslim it aint gonna happen); a different woman than Hillary together with a slew of idiots like Trump to keep us all amused whilst the chosen one hoovers up the contacts and the billions of dollars needed to push their rivals out the nest and win the fight against the republicans.
The only good reasons to suppose Webb has any chance is that he is not Biden, who has become too collegial with Hillary and he is not Bernie Saunders. Which is not saying much. True he was anti-Iraq War and is Anti Wall Street but these are as likely to deny him his funding as they will draw voters.
The reasons not to believe he has any chance whatsoever are more compelling. He has no funds worth talking about and he is not by nature a fundraiser. He has never had the ability to glad hand the rich and schmooze the powerful. Frankly he doesn’t actually like campaigning which was one reason why he is said to have left the Senate after only one term. He does not disguise the fact that he cannot abide fools which will not help him make friends!
Put bluntly he is a bit dour.
And he carries baggage. He has always been just a bit too fond of his Confederate roots and his admiration of the South’s decision to secede. His writings have also been criticised by the left in the party as being anti woman.
Sadly he will have as much impact on this election as a piece of damp cress in a vindaloo.
Copyright David Macadam 2015