Meet Junior and Felix. One Will Be Your Senator.
Jim Webb is a tough guy. Wears combat boots every day. Marine. Secretary of the Navy.
He's running for United States Senate in Virginia. His opponent's campaign has taken to calling him "Junior." (He is named for his father.)
George Allen is pretty macho himself. Wears cowboy boots. Chews tobacco. Talks in football metaphors.
He's a United States Senator from Virginia. His opponent's campaign has taken to calling him "Felix." (It is his middle name.)
So here we are four months from Election Day in Virginia and the press releases from the two campaigns are boiling over with the kind of rhetoric I associate with my eighth grade class president election, a campaign in which Neil Skolnick's posters--"Put Your Dollar on a Scholar"--were defaced by his opponent to read instead, "Put Your Buck on a Schmuck."
Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams put out a release that managed to call Webb--a former Republican who served as Navy secretary under Ronald Reagan--a "liberal," and a Kennedy ally: "By announcing his opposition to the Flag Protection Amendment, James H. Webb, Jr. puts himself firmly on the side of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Charles Schumer." This, because Webb dared to oppose the pathetically cynical attempt to amend the Bill of Rights for the first time in American history by removing the right of free speech when it comes to the use of the American flag as a political symbol. In another release, Wadhams dubbed Webb a "Hollywood film producer" because Webb indeed worked on producing the movie "Rules of Engagement" (Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson) from Webb's story of the same name. Webb, after all, has made his living in good part from writing novels and non-fiction.
The Webb campaign quickly flamed back with this doozy from campaign strategist Steve Jarding: "George Felix Allen Jr. and his bush-league lapdog, Dick Wadhams, have not earned the right to challenge Jim Webb's position on free speech and flag burning. Jim Webb served and fought for our flag and what it stands for, while George Felix Allen Jr. chose to cut and run. When he and his disrespectful campaign puppets attack Jim Webb they are attacking every man and woman who served. Their comments are nothing more than weak-kneed attacks by cowards."
Isn't that nice?
Virginia Republicans have for some years made a habit of campaigning on a "Quien es mas macho" theme. Fat lot of good that did Jerry Kilgore, who in last year's governor's race even used the Hitler card in a TV ad slamming Tim Kaine's personal opposition to the death penalty. Now, both parties seem intent on showing just how tough their version of Virginia values is.
Four more months. Heaven help us.
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