Is Webb's departure such a disaster for Democrats?
Jim Webb's long-awaited and unsurprising announcement that he will not seek reelection as U.S. senator from Virginia has the blogosphere buzzing about who's in, who's out and whose bench is simply too small.
There seem to be a number of CWs (conventional wisdoms) out there that may or not be true. Here are a few:
- Webb's decision not to run is a nice gift for the state's Republicans. Maybe, but that assumes that potential candidates such as George Allen, Corey A. Stewart and Jamie Radtke are all that strong. Allen is so, like, 1990s, when everyone was dancing the Macarena. Stewart has only one issue, bashing Latinos. While bright and energetic, Tea Partier Radtke is far too inexperienced.
- Former Gov. Tim Kaine is the Democrats only possible salvation. Maybe, maybe not. As head of the national party, he's buddies with Barack Obama, and he was regarded as a pretty good governor. But he's hasn't done much as party head; in fact, he was at the helm through the bitter midterm storm.
- The Democratic bench is lean. Could be. But you do have a savvy political operative named Terry McAuliffe. If you want high-minded principles, there's Tom Perriello, who unfortunately was badly beaten up when he lost his Congress seat in November. Much of the perceived impotence of the Virginia Democrats is a reflection of the masterful political propaganda campaigns of far right Republicans and Tea Party types, regardless of whether what they said was true or not.
- What about Kenneth Cuccinelli? All I can say is "Yipes! Book me to the Bahamas, Now!"
One other factor. Was Webb all that successful as a senator? I respect the man for his Vietnam War service and think highly of his novels. He also was a Republican who worked for Ronald Reagan. In other words, he's one of those rare, multitalented individuals who is going to bop from one interesting job to another. Virginians would have been naive to think he would have served them in the Senate for very long. And, quick, name one keystone initiative he put through. Myanmar doesn't count.
| February 10, 2011; 11:33 AM ET
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