Hillary Clinton is likely running for president. This is probably the worst kept secret in politics. But how is she running? That is the big question. Will she run as the far left candidate, to the middle, even toward the right side of the Democrat coalition? What ever side she angles for, there is one candidate, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who, if he runs, would surely run to Hilary’s right and he could beat her doing it.
Webb was an unknown quantity when he first ran for the U.S. Senate in Virginia in 2006. In fact, he was so unknown in politics that no one knew which party banner he would pick up for his then rumored run for Senate.
Many thought it was a lock that he’d pick the Republican Party. After all, he was a hawkish member of the Reagan administration serving as the Gipper’s Secretary of the Navy from 1987 to 1988 and before that was Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs from ’84 to ’87. Further he was the author of a book that extolled the martial virtues of the Scots-Irish in the Old Confederacy. Before all that he was a Marine in Vietnam where he earned multiple combat awards.
However, Webb shocked everyone by picking the Democrat Party to represent in his 2006 run for the Senate. It seems fairly obvious he did so more because he saw that as a path to victory than as a strictly ideological choice. After all, the Democrats were resurgent at the time and the Party was advancing all across the country. Only two years later Barack Obama would ride a wave of Democrat success right into the White House.
But Webb only served on term in the US Senate and then chose not to run for a second term. Again, it is likely he sensed the political winds in Virginia beginning to shift back to the GOP and thought he might lose a run for a second term.
Regardless of his reasons for picking the Dems and then not running for a second term, Webb did make those choices and is now sort of stuck with the affiliation. But this might not be a bad thing as he mulls the decision to run for President.
If he chooses to run, though, his main obstacle is Hillary Clinton. But Clinton is perceived as a left-winger, something that Webb decidedly is NOT. For instance, the chief of the far, far left Democracy Alliance–a George Soros-funded activist group–recently proclaimed Hillary to be acceptable to leftists and it was noted in Politico that many in the DA will back her run for president.
But if Webb runs he would certainly run to Hillary’s right. He’ll run as the centrist candidate, one who can appeal to Reagan Democrats and moderate Republicans, one who might be able to peal off just enough Republican voters to win the White House.
A recent article in The Week noted that Webb “poses the biggest threat to a Hillary Clinton” run for the White House and precisely because he will run to her right in an era where the GOP is resurgent.
The Week claims that, “Though pundits eagerly pronounce on Hillary’s alleged inevitability, if anyone can take her down in a Democratic primary, it’s Webb.”
He is strong on foreign policy, willing to adopt an anti-Wall Street demeanor to satisfy lefties, supportive of the military whilst understanding the changing mores of the country, and has a track record for reform of the criminal justice system. These are all areas that can appeal to both the left and the middle and are also attributes that Hillary seriously lacks. They are also ideas that some moderate Republicans might agree with and are timely.
Webb is not perceived as the far left Democrat that Hillary (and especially Elizabeth Warren) is. If there is a hard fought primary consisting of Webb, Hillary and Warren, it would be a very good showcase for the full gamut of views in the Democrat Party and is a debate that the Democrats truly need to shake off the perception that it has become solely the party of communists and socialists.
In any case, Webb is one man to keep an eye on. He really is the sort of candidate that could take the White House in today’s political climate.
Finally, I want to say that this article is analysis, not an endorsement. I am not supporting Webb, only assessing what it might mean if he joined the 2016 race for President.
This just posted by Webb on Nov. 19.