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Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Loud flows the Don. The eleventh commandment has been officially retired from GOP politics. If you doubt the point, take a look at this amusing National Review response to Donald Trump's presidential bid:
Donald Trump, being Donald Trump, announced his candidacy at Trump Plaza, making a weird grand entrance via escalator — going down, of course, the symbolism of which is lost on that witless ape. But who could witness that scene — the self-made man who started with nothing but a modest portfolio of 27,000 New York City properties acquired by his millionaire slumlord father, barely out of his latest bankruptcy and possibly headed for another one as the casino/jiggle-joint bearing his name sinks into the filthy mire of the one U.S. city that makes Las Vegas look respectable, a reality-television grotesque with his plastic-surgery-disaster wife, grunting like a baboon about our country’s “brand” and his own vast wealth — and not see the peerless sign of our times?
Funny stuff.

Of course, Trump's real sin (in the eyes of the NRO) is not his tackiness but his One Big Idea: Retiring the national debt by taxing the wealthy. If Trump had instead suggested that we could eliminate the debt by eliminating taxes on the wealthy, the response would be quite different. He could spray-paint his toupee florescent orange while wearing a gold-plated codpiece, and no-one on the right would criticize his taste.

By the way: Trump wants Oprah Winfrey to be his VP. Sublime!

And now for a more serious candidate: Jim Webb is that close to an announcement.
“We’re gonna make a decision within the next two weeks,” Webb told Iowa radio show Mickelson in the Morning this week.

Webb said his decision would be based on if he could run a viable campaign without having to take large donations, something he called “damaging to the country,”
Webb, not Bernie Sanders, is the true anti-Hillary. I admire Sanders, but a man in his 70s who calls himself a socialist is not going to become the next president of the United States. Jim Webb could beat anyone currently riding in the GOP clown car.

Yes, I would prefer to support a female candidate; we should have had our first woman president centuries ago. But I would also prefer to support a candidate who has not compiled a despicable record on the Middle East. The great lesson of 2008 is that we should make our choices based on policies, not identity; identity politics is an easy fix for ninnies too lazy to study the issues.

Jim Webb has a lot of credibility as an anti-intervention candidate, because he was a highly-decorated Marine who saw combat: He once shielded a fellow Marine with his own body when a grenade landed nearby. A man with that kind of history can risk peace without fear of insult.

Webb says that he doesn't want this country to pursue a course that would involve us further in the Middle East. His focus is where it ought to be: China.
Webb said focus should be placed on the South China Sea, as China expands its claim to certain areas and threatens more vulnerable surrounding countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

"Any of the policies we put into place now should not be viewed as containment of China or anti-China," Webb said. "They should be viewed as stabilizing a region."

With Chinese hackers reportedly behind a recent federal data breach, Webb said the U.S. need to treat those acts as aggression and respond by suspending military cooperation and sanctioning trade.
Moreover, as Jimmy Soni notes in The Observer, he was Elizabeth Warren before it was cool.
As early as 2006, he was calling out economic elites in the kind of blistering language that seems to have anticipated Warren’s appeal: “The most important—and unfortunately the least debated—issue in politics today is our society’s steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America’s top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country.” In the Senate, he supported a tax on bonuses for executives whose companies received government bailouts, as well as a higher capital gains tax.
Beyond all that, Webb is the only candidate who can fetch 'em back:
Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a Democratic strategist who’s still close to Webb, put it this way: “His constituency is people who feel like they’re getting screwed.”

If working-class, white voters represent the Achilles heel of the current Democratic coalition, Webb is the candidate best placed to bring them into the fold.
Let me put it this way: I know that there are many "working class, white voters" here in Maryland who would be very happy to vote for Jim Webb. I'm not persuaded that there are many working class white voters in (say) North Carolina who are likely to swoon over Martin O'Malley. Or Hillary Clinton.
He also wrote an excellent book on the Scots-Irish, which anyone who uses the pejorative "hillbilly" or "redneck" ought to read.
Webb's war history won't do any good. Remember Kerry being swiftboated by the chickenhawk. That's the tactic: attack the other guy's strengths. I also don't see much to admire in his paranoia over China, or the silly idea that America could put any sort of trade restrictions on China without starving itself. If his USP is that he can do it when others can't, well he can't either. He has no chance at all. Not to be a drag.
I hope he runs. Webb is an asset. He and Delahunt sponsored our last chance to reform the prison system. I, too, want to elect a woman: right now the only reason I'm not sorry Hillary didn't win access to the candidacy she won last time is that we'd still have to deal with Obama instead of finally be done with him.
Jim Webb is the best choice that the major media players have not offered the United States citizenry.
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