The Jim Webb Comedy Hour
Webb was elected to the US Senate in 2006. Virginians decided they
would elect this fellow over the incumbent, George Allen. While I
contributed to and voted for George Allen, I must say that Jim Webb is
much more entertaining than George Allen. I have never met the man, but
his actions and statements put an instant smile on my face.
don’t like putting labels on people. It’s usually an excuse for being
unwilling to debate someone on the issues. It’s a nasty habit, but one
that is very common to the political classes.
So let me
make it clear, I’m not saying that Jim Webb is a left wing nut. I’m not
saying that he’s a right wing nut. He’s just a plain old, garden variety
nut. We all have friends, neighbors, relatives or acquaintances like
Senator Webb. You know what I mean, that odd uncle or aunt who says and
does things that are a little strange. It’s fun to have them around once
in a while for entertainment purposes, and we’re going to have Jim Webb
around for nearly six more years.
Jim Webb hasn’t been in
office a year, and already he’s been entertaining. First, there was the
formal reception at the White House shortly after his election at which
he made a point of refusing to shake hands with the Commander in Chief.
The President ignored the affront and inquired after Jim Webb’s son (who
was then serving in Iraq). Jim Webb’s response was, "It’s none of your
business." Some people would say Jim Webb has no class, and perhaps
that’s true, but I think he was just being Jim Webb. He exhibits erratic
After all, this is the same Jim Webb who
resigned in a huff as Secretary of the Navy. The same Jim Webb who gave
his aide a bag to bring to his office that contained a big handgun and
several additional clips of ammo (He was expecting what, a small war?).
When his aide was detained by security, Webb complained that he had
received death threats. Maybe. But perhaps he just wished he was
important enough to have received death threats.
jumped from party to party like one of those famous jumping frogs of
Calaveras County. He started out as a Democrat, supported Ronald Reagan,
opposed Ollie North, endorsed George Allen for US Senate in 2000,
blasted Bill Clinton, and then rejoined Clinton’s party to run for US
Senate. As I said, Jim Webb is entertaining.
When it was
pointed out that Jim Webb had some pretty blatant pornographic passages
in his novels, he responded gravely, "I am a serious writer." That made
me laugh. I’m not challenging the fact that Webb has writing talent, but
serious writing his books are not. At best they are entertaining
novels, at worst they are a seamy look at the underbelly of Vietnam.
Jim Webb’s response is classic Jim Webb. I understand that Senator Webb
has quite a high opinion of himself. Of course, all Senators and
Congressmen have huge egos. It seems to go with the territory, but most
of them know who they really are. Jim Webb apparently has no clue. He’s
what Forbes magazine might describe as an "overreacher." But
lightning struck Jim Webb. In 2006, the Democrats wanted any candidate
that would give them one more vote in the US Senate. So Democrats were
even willing to nominate Ronald Reagan’s former Secretary of the Navy if
it would give them control of the US Senate. Their gambit paid off, but
Jim Webb may turn out to be more than the Democrats bargained for. They
have already found out that Webb is not some thoughtful maverick, he’s
just a loose cannon that rolls all over the deck.
There is a
positive note. Jim Webb provides great material for Jay Leno. With his
red face and off the wall antics he reminds me of the comic strip
character Popeye, huffing and puffing around. Maybe Ollie North hit him
too hard in the head when they were boxing at the Naval Academy.
Whatever the reason, I promise you that the Jim Webb comedy hour has
just begun. It should be fun. Stay tuned…