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Va. Senate: Winners and Losers

Jim Webb won the Democratic primary in Virginia last night, defeating former technology lobbyist Harris Miller to earn the right to challenge Sen. George Allen (R) in the fall.

Here's a look at who benefits most from Webb's victory:

WINNERS

* John Kerry: The Massachusetts senator not only endorsed Webb but appeared with him Monday for a last-minute campaign rally. Kerry also used his national e-mail list to raise cash and turn out the vote. In a statement released last night, Kerry said Webb will "serve Virginia in the Senate with the same courage and character with which he served our nation in Vietnam."

* Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: Although DSCC Chairman Chuck Schumer's (N.Y.) endorsement of Webb came too late to have any real impact on the primary, his committee now has the candidate it wanted. Schumer began touting Democrats' chances in Virginia last month, but party strategists privately admitted that only Webb could really make the race competitive.

* Electability: Webb's entire campaign was built around the idea that he, not Miller, is the party's best chance to beat Allen. Webb was decidedly vague on every issue other than his opposition to the Iraq war, but voters decided that his resume (former Navy Secretary) was more important than his past support for Sen. Allen and other Republicans.

Steve Jarding: Jarding was the lone member of the political inner circle credited with Mark Warner's 2001 gubernatorial campaign who sided with Webb in the primary. Will the Webb victory will help local sales of "Foxes in the Henhouse"?

* Netroots: It's always hard to gauge just how much influence the blog world has on an election, but there is little question that Internet activists helped propel Webb in this race. Lowell Feld, who runs the "Raising Kaine" blog, was one of the originators of the "Draft Webb" movement. At a rally for Webb on Monday, Feld said the race was essential to the future of the Democratic Party, as a Webb win "would bring back a lot of Reagan Democrats."

* Northern Virginia: More than one-third of Webb's total votes came from Arlington and Fairfax counties. Webb carried the three northern Virginia congressional districts (8th, 10th and 11th) with between 56 percent and 64 percent.

LOSERS

* Don and Megan Beyer: The former lieutenant governor and his wife were heavily involved in supporting Harris Miller, breaking publicly with the DSCC over Schumer's endorsement of Webb. They won't be down for long, however, as the couple is playing a leading role in the likely 2008 presidential campaign of former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

* George Allen: Spin it however you want, but there is no question that Allen's easier race was against Miller. Webb's ability as a candidate remains largely untested, but on paper he is positioned to give Allen a real race -- assuming he can raise the millions necessary to compete with the well-funded incumbent. Allen will also likely have to curtail his pre-presidential campaign travels to places like Iowa and New Hampshire, which could hamstring his '08 hopes regardless of the result this November.

* Traditional Campaign Tactics: Miller ran a picture-perfect primary campaign. Two weeks of statewide television and radio focused on his Democratic credentials while calling Webb's into question. Nine direct-mail pieces and nine automated phone calls drove that message home to targeted primary voters. And yet Miller lost the race -- largely in the northern Virginia suburbs where he was expected to run strongest.

* Virginia's Tidewater: The two congressional districts Miller carried with the largest margins (the 3rd and 4th) are located in Commonwealth's southeast, a region that has long played an important role in statewide politics. Neither district produced enough votes for Miller to match Webb's dominance in Northern Virginia -- another sign of how demographics in the Washington suburbs continue to rewrite political gameplans in Virginia.

Results for the Maine and South Carolina primaries are online here.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 14, 2006; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

The original and current Jewish definition of a born Jew is someone whose mother is Jewish. Even though the Torah forbids a Jewish woman to marry a Gentile man, if she does, her children will still be Jewish. If Allen were to lose this race (and the prophetic omens keep being revealed), he can always take advantage of the Jewish right of return. I doubt Israel would accept him though. There is also an ancient community of Jews in India, though I think they've already blacklisted him as well.

Posted by: Rod | September 20, 2006 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, I dunno! A friend of mine was once obsessed with finding out the family background of Paula Abdul, because he couldn't figure out if she was white or black.

It seems to me that if your concern here is Allen's character, then you could probably find a better basis upon which to challenge it than playing the race card. I mean, it's a little unseemly to accuse him of anti-Semitism by making Jewishness the point of discussion, isn't it? I'm getting old, but I seem to remember when anti-Semitism was about things like jobs & joining country clubs & stuff, not about pointlessly crowing about your insignificant membership in a vastly historic group.

Posted by: Bob S. | June 14, 2006 10:01 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see if George Felix Allen will become the ultimate political opportunist and finally acknowledege proudly and publicly that he is, in fact, Jewish in order to find a way to continue to "ride" the bogus anti-semitic allegations against Webb.

George's grandfather, Felix, was a Sephardic Jew from Italy who moved during WWII to Tunisia and then to France. George's mom never converted. So, under Jewish law, Allen is Jewish although raised in a Christian church. But, he's never acknowledged the Judeo part of his heritage publicly. Isn't the ultimate anti-semitic act to be ashamed to acknowledge proudly where you came from?

Nor, of course, has there been much attention given to the fact that the "family values" guy, who doesn't want gay folks to get married or even have a civil union, is on his second marriage thereby having done more on his own part to "threaten" "traditional marriage" than any committed gay couple.

Isn't it time for someone to ask this guy why we should respect someone who "hides" his heritage in the chaw in his cheek and seeks to apply "moral" standards to others that he can't meet?

Posted by: NOVA Know-it-All | June 14, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

If (as seems increasingly probable) the only likely outcome in Iraq is a good old-fashioned ethnic cleansing and eventual partition, we will still have done a good thing if we can minimize the death toll somewhat. And as unlikely as it may sound, I suspect that our presence is probably accomplishing that, at a terrible cost to ourselves, but a much less terrible cost than Iraq would pay if we left tomorrow. I'm not sure that we OUGHT to be taking on that burden, but I think that's what we're doing, and it's not without some value.

By the way, don't ALL tax increases/decreases affect primarily the wealthy? The last time I checked, the bottom half of the earners only kicked in peanuts in taxes. I'm one of the folks WELL into the bottom brackets, and my effective tax rate is chump change.

I'll have to check out the numbers, but I strongly suspect the the taxes from cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, and even the federal income taxes from the pet food manufacturers all dwarf the inheritance taxes. But we'd probably better tax estates while we can, because gene research and better suspended animation research will probably soon lead to some real iffy situations about whether folks with money actually ever die at all!

Posted by: Bob S. | June 14, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I will also echo what Colin says regarding Iraq. If you think we can "succeed" there, please explain what you mean. Al Sadr or equivalent Shiite fundamentalist takes control of the country? If that's what you call success I don't want to win. I don't want to participate in that one bit.

There has to be a metric for success that isn't totally exhausted by "STAY NO MATTER WHAT". By what measure are you claiming success in Iraq now? By what measure will you claim it in the future?

"Democracy" is a naive answer.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 9:03 PM | Report abuse

FH-

"That's a sad commentary you just put forth about Iraq. Talk about defeatest."

So are you saying I'm right or that you just don't feel comfortable presenting an argument against?

"As for your comment about where are we going to get the money for these programs without the "Death Tax" how about making government more effecient by getting rid of the monumental govt waste, and holding political officials accountable when they use tax dollars to travel on non-govt. trips."

You sound like a Democrat. Bla bla bla we should make the government more "efficient" but you don't offer any solutions. No ideas? Why don't you suggest some programs that need "cutting" or "trimming" and we can have a debate about them. Why make me guess what you mean?

As for the travel? More power to you. I completely support forcing politicians to pay for their own travel. Will this save us any money? Not really, less than a billion. It would certainly be symbolic, but it wouldn't cover the 40 billion a year we generate in revenues from the death tax.

"We lose billions of dollars because people are not paying their taxes."

So tigthen the reins on tax fraud. What you MEAN by "simplify the tax code" is either a flat tax or a "fair" tax. Just tell us which one beforehand so we don't have to guess.

Both plans ultimately place a larger percentage of the tax burden on the middle class. Which is fine, if that's what you want to do. That's not what I want.

I pretty much agree with everything Colin says. The Republicans want to have their cake and eat it too... increase spending and cut taxes. There is no debate in this country about SACRIFICE which is nuts considering we are in the middle of two separate wars and are facing a 500 billion dollar deficit.

If you want to cut taxes FINE, do so. But cut spending equivalent to cover the tax-cuts. Expend the political capital necessary to have a balanced budget. Estate tax is gone? Fine, pass 40 billion in spending cuts a year. You can't get the votes? THEN DON'T CUT TAXES.

Pay as you go, that's all we want. I think 500 billion problems need 500 billion solutions; this is a tax increase AND spending cut solution. But my expectations are so low with the Republican congress I'll take what I can get... keep your tax cuts going, but check spending to match. Is that so much to ask? Is that not a reasonable bear minimum of fiscal responsibility I can expect from my elected representatives?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), addressing the liberal gathering in Washington, recalled Bush's lack of combat experience. "Now, I understand fully that Iraq is not Vietnam," he said. "After all, President Bush is even there today.""

Awwwwwww SNAP!!!!!!

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 14, 2006 8:12 PM | Report abuse

FH -- I agree that we should eliminate government waste and crack down on those not paying taxes. But even if both of those actions were taken the aggregate amount saved wouldn't solve our budget issues. The bulk of our spending, wise or not, really is the entitlement programs and military spending. Eventually, the country is going to have to make a choice regarding taxes and entitelments. At present, unfortunately, no one (from either party) seems willing to actually confront that problem.

On Iraq, I would repeat a question that was posed earlier -- what would you consider "success" in Iraq? And I don't mean that to be a flip question. From my vantage point - which perhaps you view as defeatist - there is essentially zero chance that a democracy is going to emerge in Iraq that isn't dominated by a fundamentalist Islamic regime. I don't pretend to be an expert on Iraqi politics, but every report I've read seems to indicate that that's the likely result. If one assumes that's the case, what then is the upside for our staying in the country? At best we'll get something approaching Iran or S. Arabia, where we pump aid into the country which is then used to teach vitriolic anti-american rhetoric?

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Will in Texas: That's a sad commentary you just put forth about Iraq. Talk about defeatest.

As for your comment about where are we going to get the money for these programs without the "Death Tax" how about making government more effecient by getting rid of the monumental govt waste, and holding political officials accountable when they use tax dollars to travel on non-govt. trips. Make sure everyone pays what they owe by making the tax code simpler and making sure people are paying what they owe. We lose billions of dollars because people are not paying their taxes.

Posted by: FH | June 14, 2006 7:48 PM | Report abuse

We are effectively running 3 budgets right now. Discretionary, Military, and Emergency/War. This is simply not sustainable. The sooner we close out the 3rd budget, as we will inevitably have to do, the sooner we can invest in the culture and technology of America so we can get vastly improve our situation, which we obviously need to do.

Also this "cant cut the military budget" thing really doesnt phase me. b/c
1) we could drastically reduce the cost of this conflict by redeploying our forces to a more containment situation that we had before the invasion
2) that would enable us to fund a dramatic improvement of our military services and VA services for the vets of this conflict and others, and
3) I agreeD (past tense) with Rumsfeld et al about our military force being a light modern high-tech quick strike capacity. And was hoping the Afghan conflict would use that capacity to get OBL and get us on pace to rout out the terrorist network that we were up against. And of course to improve homeland security after 9/11. But then we ditched that half-way and went right in to a Multi-year, guerrilla, sectarian insurgency/occupation, threw the Geneva Conventions in the trash while we were at it, AND lost track of or ignored Osama Bin Laden.

If anything I'd say it's fiscally conservative and responsible to suggest we get back on track of getting OBL immediately while redeploying to a less costly containment of Iraq. It would save our country and its taxpayers a tremendous amount of money and we could use some of that cost reduction to REALLY take care of our vets.

To keep this sort of on topic: I bet you all that Jim Webb agrees with a lot of that.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 14, 2006 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"The insolvency of social Security is well-documented, even by them. they report this every year - the date it will fail entirely."

And they predict it on a base set of assumptions: namely that the cap will remain in place and nothing else will change. We can change these predicitons instantly by changing the assumptions. As a matter of fact, Social Security becomes permanently solvent the day after the cap is removed.

"you forgto to mention that the benefits are capped too, so your suggestion raises taxes with no additional benefit to the taxpayer. More soak the rich."

Zouk, I've mentioned this point in other threads that you have read, so don't treat this as though I'm hiding anything. I know WHY the cap exists and why it is justifiable... but this assumes that the 90% of us who don't make 90 thousand a year have some moral imperative not to overtax the 10% who do. And you know what? We don't!

There is a benefit to the taxpayer, though. I feel so bad boo hoo hoo for that million dollar a year executive who has to pay 9% of his income towards FICA as opposed to less than 1% of his income (THE HUMANITY! OH THE HUMANITY!!!) but frankly I don't care. And I have a vote. And 270 million other Americans are in a similar economic situation to me.

The fact is, when Social security becomes "insolvent" there will be a class revolution and the rich will really be in a bind. So they better get their act together now and fix the system before it's too late.

"you want to starve children in the free lunch program? but this is not the question I asked and is the easy way out."

I don't understand you. I make explicit statements about what I want and you respond "so you want "? You've done this about 3 or 4 times now.

I said I'd deal with a 5% spending cut in all departments besides military and veteran affairs. During times of war countries have to tighten their belt. That's how things go.

"I want specific programs that can be abolished."

This is a ludicrous question because we can balance the budget without ABOLISHING any programs; cuts in existing ones would suffice. But as a matter of fact I DID name a program I would abolish; FARM SUBSIDIES. Did you not read that part?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- I do indeed agree that that is the CHOICE that has to be confronted. More taxes and/or cutting services like SS. The problem, from my view, is that big government conservatives - who you support - refuse to acknowledge the choice. Result? Huge budget deficits that will be passed on to our children.

If you believe in fiscal resopnsibility, how can you oppose Paygo? Force politicians to make a choice for once. But no - ultimately I imagine ensuring more tax cuts will prove more important to Republicans than ACTUALLY trusting the public to decide whether they'd rather have core programs slashed or their taxes raised...

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"I said without raising taxes and you launched immediatley into a gigantic tax raise. you just couldn't help it could you?"

When you are running 500 billion dollar deficits there aren't enough "cuts" to make it work. Total discretionary NON-MILITARY spending in 2005 was less than 500 billion... so even if it was politically feasible to instantly cut ALL non-military discretionary spending immediately, which it is not, then you'd still have deficits. That's why Bush has ruined us; he's expanded the size of government and the sense of discretionary "entitlement" to the point where spending cuts can't cover the difference.

As interest payments on the national debt increase (they are currently at around 400 billion a year mitigated to about 180 billion solely because of the "shaky" Social Security program which generates hundreds of billions of dollars in surplus revenue every year which will soon be eliminated by the baby boomers) so will the strain on the budget. The deficit builds on itself because increased deficit leads to increased interest on the national debt... which leads to increased expenditures on interest payments which lead to... deficits. See how that works?

Had Bush been a little more proactive with the Veto or a bit less enthusiastic with tax cuts we might not be in this mess. Instead Republicans have bungled it enough so that we can't solve it merely by spending cuts... which they can't pass anyways because Moderate republicans can't survive politically if they cut taxes AND spending (it looks blatantly pro-rich).

So we have an insane system where tax revenues decrease and spending increases dramatically. Thanks for that, by the way.

I mention tax increases not because "I can't help it" but because the circumstance DEMANDS it as an inevitability.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

So you agree that social security and Medicare need to be diminsished or eliminated. I am delighted in your observation. now how to convince all those motivated Seniors that they owe it to their grandchildren to start cutting back. Politicians will not touch this despite the obvious weight behind the simple conclusion.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I said without raising taxes and you launched immediatley into a gigantic tax raise. you just couldn't help it could you? Game set match.
Pork spending may be the current evil but it is actually a very effective measure for a democracy which ties local issues to the person most qualified to find the money. It may be excessive. It is not the source of the budget problem.
The insolvency of social Security is well-documented, even by them. they report this every year - the date it will fail entirely. but the insolvency is not the problem in my book. It is that the G'ment requires you to let them manage your retirement and insurance needs. why is this right? and they do such a bad job at it to add insult to injury. you forgto to mention that the benefits are capped too, so your suggestion raises taxes with no additional benefit to the taxpayer. More soak the rich.
I would love to see the headlines about your 5% across the board cuts. you want to starve children in the free lunch program? but this is not the question I asked and is the easy way out. I want specific programs that can be abolished. Certainly in the last 100 years some have outlived their usefulness. We finally eliminated the spanish american war tax this year. there is hope. how about NPR, EPA, DOT, DOE, D of Ed, IRS, etc.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- Will in Texas just proposed a 5% accross the board cut but you're still blabbing about no one naming programs. What's your problem?

As far as cutting specific programs, I don't think it's a false choice at all to say that the american people better get used to the idea that they're either going to get a tax increase, lose services, or some of both. You and I can debate funding of bridges to nowhere, fish cannaries in fill in the blank, or any other small project you want. The reality is that the only way to pay for the tax cuts we've already passed - without raising some other taxes - is to cut the big entitlement programs (Medicare, SS, etc.) or Military spending b/c they take up the bulk of the budget.

Now, from my perspective cutting Military spending is a nonstarter - just can't do it. Here, you and I probably agree. Assuming that, the only way to actually offset the taxcuts you love so much is to cut the entitlement programs I cited above. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, those same programs are also HUGELY popular and are considered "core services" by the vast majority of the country. Now, one can certainly argue such programs should in fact be cut -- but when the issue is framed that way (which is to say honestly) I think I know what choice the electorate is going to make.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"higher taxes for some or drastic reduction in service - false choice. this is the heart of the simplistic class warfare. either you soak the rich or the poor starve."

The point is much simpler. Either the rich pay for the government... or they don't. If the rich don't then someone else will, either in the form of higher taxes or reduced services.

"And point 2 about never spending a cent that is borrowed is not going to happen."

It did happen, four years in a row. We had a surplus. The only thing keeping it from happening again is a Republican President who cannot veto and has zero concept of fiscal responsibility.

"I have never heard a R admit to wanting to cut anything lately and have never heard a D want to do anything but increase all programs. come on, just a few little programs???"

I'm a Democrat. I want to do something other than increase all programs. Now you have at least one example.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

higher taxes for some or drastic reduction in service - false choice. this is the heart of the simplistic class warfare. either you soak the rich or the poor starve. And point 2 about never spending a cent that is borrowed is not going to happen.
no one believed a thing Kerry said, because he changed his mind everytime the spirit moved him. the only thing to go on was his record, which I provided curtousy of an independent site.

but it doesn't take a budget expert to decide which social programs are warranted and which are not. It may take an expert to decide optimal levels of spending for effectiveness. but tell me in your opinion if there are any programs you have heard of which you think may be suitable for elimination. I have never heard a R admit to wanting to cut anything lately and have never heard a D want to do anything but increase all programs. come on, just a few little programs???

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

FH-

"As for what kind of govt. I want in Iraq...obviously a moderate one, but I'll take what I can get."

And you aren't going to get one. What you will come to understand, a few years down the road, is that Saddam *WAS* a "moderate" one in the sense that he ran a completely secular ship even though it was populated by religious fundamentalists. Now it will be run by religious fundamentalists who are our ENEMY.

Who has benefited from Iraq? Iran. Which is a fundamentalist Islamic republic. Democratic. Not "moderate". And clearly more of a threat than Saddam ever was.

"They know they are not ready to take control yet, and they know the country would fall into a civil war that would make whats happening now look like a picnic."

First off, Webb does not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, but a "careful" one whereas the Iraqis have to actually show PROGRESS for our continued support.

Secondly, I'm not going to assume that a civil war in Iraq isn't just what we need. Maybe it's time the Shiites and Suunis had at each other without American forces getting in the way. It's their conflict, their country, THEIR problem.

I'm glad you acknowledge that Webb is a good candidate. I think you are wrong about him not being capable of defeating Allen. At the very least, though, I hope his reasoned policy stance on Iraq will change the national dialogue for the better.

King of Zouk-

"All you fiscally responsible Dems, please tell me some programs you are going to cut."

Farm subsidies would go first, if I had my way. Second i'd eliminate the cap on the FICA tax from 90k to INFINITE and then lower the rate (9%?) to a point that remains revenue neutral. Probably lower it to about 5%. Then I'd institute a WAR TAX since it is the only patriotic thing to do during war; probably a 10% increase on income taxes (not the rate, just the amount you pay, so if you pay 20% you pay 22%, this would pay for the war and a little of the past 3 years we owe).

I'd make GENERAL cuts to the entire budget to the tune of 5% across the board cuts to every department: Education, transportation, etc. EXCEPT military and veteran affairs (cannot cut during war). I could handle a 5% cut in Medicare (for now, until the budget is balanced) but not Social Security since these people are owed what they've put in. I would cut student loans by the 5%, as well as corporate wellfare. And I'd come down much harder on the wealthy for tax fraud.

I'd also reign in pork spending immediately as it is symbolic and totally unnecessary.

Finally I'd strongly suggest the President utilize his Veto to force Congress to produce a reasonable budget.

"The outlook for social Security is much more grave but you don't want to touch that one. Maybe a math class would help."

False scare tactics. Social Security becomes solvent the day after the 90k cap is eliminated. Right now someone making 1 million dollars pays 8100 dollars in Social Security taxes a year which is... less than 1% of their income. Someone making 90k a year pays... 8100 dollars a year which is 9% of their income. Why do you think Social Security is facing insolvency?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- I'm absolutely shocked that when you add up the spending programs that a presidential candidate proposes during a campaign they add up to more than the government could ever afford to spend. Absolutely shocked. Oh wait, that's just what EVERY politician does - including GWB. Please, is that really the best you can do?

If you want to talk about whether or not Kerry ran on a platform that prominently focused on fiscal restraint, take a look at the debates where he affirmatively stated that he would scale back any and all proposals to get deficits under control. Or the fact that he reiterated time and again that the first thing he did upon assuming office would be to introduce the Paygo rules that helped balance budgets under Clinton. That strikes me as waaay more important that pretend numbers calculated to simulate various half-developed spending programs.

As for what programs should be cut...guess what? I have NO IDEA. B/c I am not and don't pretend to be a budget expert and I imagine you're not either. What I do know, however, is that if you (1)force the american people to actually choose between higher taxes for some (the uber-wealthy if I get a vote) or a drastic reduction in core services; and (2)Require congress to debate spending issues within the framework of paygo, where simply running up a huge bill for our children isn't an option, then I think we can finally start tackling the fiscal mess that we are in from an intellectually honest perspective.

But let me gues -- I'm just a crazy liberal, right?

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

My apologies for accidentally double-posting my last comment. Wish I knew how to get rid of it.

Anyway, as FairandBalanced has pointed out, this blog is supposed to be about Webb's candidacy against Allen. This is an intriguing question. Although I have my reservations about someone who served in the Reagan administration and endorsed Bush in 2000, I researched his record and realized that he could possibly be a viable candidate against George Allen, a man who has always annoyed me with his affected southernism and yahoo mentality. What is it with rich Californians and Connecticut Yankees who feel compelled to become galvanized rednecks?

I watched an interview of Webb on Comedy Central and read up on his background. He strikes me the way he struck F&B, as an independent minded guy who treasures the traditional values of the Republican party and is moderate enough to appeal to a moderate independent like me. One does not get the sense from him of the kind of posturing Bush and Allen do on a regular basis. Moreover, even the repugnant Swifties would have a hard time attacking his war record, and some of them may even be a little embarrassed to do so.

He seems like a bright, hard-working guy. I would like to see him frame his campaign in more than just Iraq, but he's off to a decent start.

Posted by: Carla | June 14, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

All you fiscally responsible Dems, please tell me some programs you are going to cut. all I ever hear is more taxes. And let's leave the military out of this. social Security, Medicare, student loans, anything? How about fraud and abuse and corporate welfare? Ha ha ha.
FYI the present situation is not that overextended. We are running a -2.5% deficit of GDP which is half of most Europen countries. The outlook for social Security is much more grave but you don't want to touch that one. Maybe a math class would help.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I like KOZ...if it was not for him, most of you would just be patting yourselves on the back.

As for what kind of govt. I want in Iraq...obviously a moderate one, but I'll take what I can get. Why don't you get a survey of how many newly elected govt officials want us to leave Iraq. They know they are not ready to take control yet, and they know the country would fall into a civil war that would make whats happening now look like a picnic.

As for Webb: seems like a good guy, a conservative guy...like most Virginia Dems...he'd make a great independent. He has no chance of beating Allen.

Posted by: FH | June 14, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

If you are interested in James Webb as a candidate I strongly urge you to visit:

http://www.webbforsenate.com/

It has his utterly impressive bio as well as his general political stance on a few key issues. I noticed that he is supports ENFORCEMENT FIRST on immigration, which I wholeheartedly support as well.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"Finally, the USS Cole. Happened 1 month before the election and any military response (rightly or wrongly) would have been viewed as an attempt to swing the election. Therefore, his advisors sat in with the new Bush administration to strenuously argue that they needed to hit al-Qaeda right away. We all know how much Bush did there."

Thank you, Appalled, for pointing out that Bush and company never mentioned the Islamic terrorist threat, nor did they seem at all concerned with it, until 9/11. I'm sick to death with the "Clinton did nothing about Osama" crowd, because this administration did nothing until they had to. I don't even remember terrorism being mentioned as a major issue in the 2000 election and am sick to death of the Republicans acting as if they had this country's back the whole time.

Posted by: Carla | June 14, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Finally, the USS Cole. Happened 1 month before the election and any military response (rightly or wrongly) would have been viewed as an attempt to swing the election. Therefore, his advisors sat in with the new Bush administration to strenuously argue that they needed to hit al-Qaeda right away. We all know how much Bush did there."

Thank you, Appalled, for pointing out that Bush and company never mentioned the Islamic terrorist threat, nor did they seem at all concerned with it, until 9/11. I'm sick to death with the "Clinton did nothing about Osama" crowd, because this administration did nothing until they had to. I don't even remember terrorism being mentioned as a major issue in the 2000 election and am sick to death of the Republicans acting as if they had this country's back the whole time.

Posted by: Carla | June 14, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry's report from National Taxpayers Union:
http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=30
He was ranked 2,7 and 11 for the lack of fiscal discipline in Dems and all of congress. (second biggest spender) this is in stark contrast to his first few years where he was 30,66 and 73. what happened? also from the same site:
"As of July 12, 2004, Kerry has proposed ideas that would increase annual federal spending by $226.1 billion in spending ($2.261 trillion over ten years)". He didn't fool anyone into thinking he was frugal.
You will not find me defending GW Bush on this account.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else enjoy this line (from Dana Milbank's column)?

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), addressing the liberal gathering in Washington, recalled Bush's lack of combat experience. "Now, I understand fully that Iraq is not Vietnam," he said. "After all, President Bush is even there today."

Posted by: Mark | June 14, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

>>>Anyone actually have anything to say about Jim Webb as a candidate? Strikes me we've sort of gotten away from that

This is precisely the intent of the trolls that lurk on this blog. We need to watch out for people who only want to change the subject with factless spew.

Lets try to keep on topic and leave issues like the Estate Tax, Clinton/Somalia, etc for their own appropriate threads.

I, personally, do not know a great deal about Webb's platform, but what I have heard does ring true for today's "New Dems":

Socially moderate to conservative, solid strength of character, usually a military background, independent streak a mile wide, and mad as hell over Iraq and our total lack of diplomacy and improper use of our military forces. While Webb may not be MY ideal candidate, I think he is the perfect candidate to represent a PURPLE state like VA. A state that is teetering on the brink of a wholesale shift in party affiliation PREDOMINANTLY caused by the alienation of traditional values by the current GOP/NeoCon movement.

Again, I might add that I am a Liberal, I am socially liberal, but that does not mean that I believe in a government that is as disastrously overextended as is currently the case. I cannot wait until the Democrats restore fiscal responsibility to the federal budget. Again.

Paygo and balanced budgets, not tax cuts for the rich during a time of war... dummy.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 14, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- I would echoe Will's question; what Dem candidate has abandoned fiscal responsibility? It was one of the halmarks of both Gore and Kerry's campaigns. In contrast, GWB is the guy who has yet to veto a SINGLE spending bill. Not one. In six years.

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"the editor of this blog had to intercede because of a rabid lefty."

Maybe you should go back and reread the posts, Zouk. The editor intervened b/c Karen threw out an unfounded accusation of Webb being an anti-semite. As far as I can tell, Karen is not a "rabid leftie".

"If you can't win on facts, attack character or censor. "

It seems you are the one who has problems with the facts.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 14, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"but why did the party abandon this approach in its next candidates."

Which candidates abandoned fiscal responsibility?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Zouk - Time to put a sock in it!

Posted by: Duh! | June 14, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Rmill, I have stated several times that I give credit to Congress when it comes to domestic policies. Clinton tried to spend much more than this but was reigned in by a Republican congress. Additionally, we were in a period of irrational exuberence. this is not a result of any policies but of a giant leap in technology and productivity. would you like to compare economies before and after the crash of 1929 (akin to 9/11)? the electorate wanted to spend more money and this was the call of "compasionate conservatisim" as opposed to bob dole who wanted to cut everything. the general public still doesn't seem to understand that all this stuff needs to be paid for at some point. I would propose that it is the Federal reserve chairman who can be called most responsible for the state of the economy.
but I will admit that from a fiscal point of view, clinton stood out as quite contrary to most Democrats and deserves seme credit for holding the line on spending. but why did the party abandon this approach in its next candidates. and why is Will Marshal and Al From not given credit for this insight. If you want to win elections, you better pay attention to them.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Anyone actually have anything to say about Jim Webb as a candidate? Strikes me we've sort of gotten away from that, which is ashame b/c I think the guy is an absolutely fascinating political figure. For one thing, he's NOT just the "most conservative Democrat" or a "republican-lite" politician. This guy is built far more in the mode of the old school Southern Populist Democrats -- like Al Gore Sr., Estes Kefauver, etc. Democrats haven't elected someone like that from the South for a Looooong time, so I think if someone like Webb can win in Virginia - and do it by getting some of the Reagan Dems to return to the fold - that could very well be indicative of a more general realignment betweeen the parties.

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Karen, on Jim Webb:

"He has an issue with women in the military, and it seems, women in general."

Yeah, why can't he be more respectful of women, like the Honorable (sic) George Allen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Allen_(politician)

Allen's younger sister Jennifer Allen alleges in her memoir Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter that Allen sadistically attacked his younger siblings during his childhood. She claims that Allen held her by her feet over Niagara Falls; struck her boyfriend in the head with a pool cue; threw his brother Bruce through a glass sliding door; tackled his brother Gregory, breaking his collarbone; and dragged Jennifer upstairs by her hair. In the book, she wrote, "George hoped someday to become a dentist . . . George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession--getting paid to make people suffer."

Posted by: Mark | June 14, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

That previous response to FH was from me, if it matters.

Posted by: Mark | June 14, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I believe that there are legs to stand on.

Clinton fiscal policies eliminated deficits and returned a surplus. All that effort and work was wiped out.

Bush 41's last budget produced a $255 B deficit in 1993 (Split because of Federal fiscal year).

Clinton took action and successive budgets went like this:

1994 -203 B
1995 -164 B
1996 -107 B
1997 - 22 B
1998 + 69 B
1999 +126 B
2000 +236 B
2001 +128 B (Split because of Federal Fiscal Year)

+60 B total

Bush 43
2002 -158 B
2003 -378 B
2004 -413 B
2005 -318 B
2006 Projected -337 B to -428B

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

FH:

"It only took 19 hijackers to carry out 9/11."

And none of them Iraqi (contrary, incidentally, to the notion held by 37% of Americans).

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=508

"5000 people willing to die for their cause is an imposing force."

By the way, the article also documented that many of them were radicalized *specifically* by an American invasion of a Muslim country. So we've made terrorists so that we can justify the invasion of a country based on the outright lie that there were terrorists there before we invaded. Is this the new rationale? Or is it that we need to add to this country's turmoil (the civil war that our media pretends isn't happening) because there are some AQ types there? If so, we should be bombing city blocks in places like Hamburg and Buffalo as well.

"We need to stay if for no other reason than to give hope to moderates in the Middle East and in Korea that if they move on their govt. we will be with them and will not run when things get tough."

The question is, is our presence there creating more hope or more terrorists? The available data shows that the answers are "no" to the first and "yes" to the second.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/10/23/wirq23.xml

The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. It reveals:

• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;

• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;

• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;

• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;

• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 14, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

By the way:

Go Webb.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

I will remind you that Washingtonpost.com informed us first and foremost that:

"Folks, calling a candidate an anti-semite is right up against the line of what we feel is appropriate dialogue on this blog."

And it was the "lefty" Karen who called James Webb an anti-semite.

I do not condone calling people Nazis or anti-semites, but don't think that inflated rhetoric is a "left only" device.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

'Everyday I wake up, I thank God I am not a liberal.'

So do we.

No, Karen has never backed up any of her unbalanced smears against Webb. I kind of doubt she will, somehow...

Thanks to Will for pointing out that our troops are being used as pawns by both Sunni and Shiites. We paid to get rid of Saddam for them, we are paying to rebuild their infrastructure, and our soldiers are paying with their lives to fight their civil war for them. How is this helping the US?

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Fair and balanced - you probably work at a university don't you. If someone disagrees with me or is better at name calling, we will censor them. funny that all those people you want to exclude are right-leaning and you forgot that the editor of this blog had to intercede because of a rabid lefty. typical - first amendment rights for me and my friends only. If you can't win on facts, attack character or censor.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"so you all want to fight about the level of the estate tax and ignore the idea that it is just wrong."

No, I've argued why I don't think "it is just wrong." You are welcome to disagree. I think the estate tax is awesome because it is progressive. Do I think the cap is too low or too high? Don't know. I think 2 million is justifiable because it only touches less than 1% of the population. I could deal with any exemption rate that touches, at MOST, 5% of the population (which would still be the super rich).

I think 1 million dollar estates are still the vast minority. So yea, I think 1 mil is justifiable. If 650,000 still touches only 5% or less then I'm fine with that as well.

What I do know is that repeal is ABSOLUTELY the worst idea. It would rob us from 30-40 billion dollars of valuable revenue a year from a completely justifiable tax on unearned income from the super rich. If the cap is too low we should reform it and raise the cap... not eliminate the tax all together.

"but statements like "we were better off under sadam" are such fringe ideas they don't even warrant consideration. those newspapers you are reading must be generated in a truly strange place."

A secular leader who, turns out, did not have weapons of mass destruction was infinitely better than an elected fundamentalist Islamic nut who thinks the 12th Imam will rise from a well in Qom (or wherever) to burn us all alive. That's comparing Saddam to Ahmadinejad.

We support dictators throughout the world; Musharreef wasn't elected. I certainly prefer HIM over some elected Islamic radical in Pakistan with THE BOMB. So save me this trite nonsense about how "democracy" is an absolute good; Hamas is not beneficial, Ahmadinejad is not beneficial, and Pakistan's eventual democratically elected replacement won't be either. We can play ball with the King of Saud... we likely couldn't with the President of Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

FH-

"Yea, that strategy worked so well in Somalia, I definitely think we should give that a try."

What makes you think it didn't win in Somalia? Would we consider Somalia a "victory" if we had spent 4 years there just to establish a fundamentalist Islamic Republic?

"The fact is Iraq is winnable...and we have no choice but to win."

Why don't you qualify "winning" so that we can evaluate your claim.

"If you think things are out of hand now, you leave Iraq and turn your backs on our allies and nobody...and I mean nobody...will ever trust an American Presidents word again."

Our credibility has been severely HURT because of Iraq. Our continued presence hurts it further; the Iraqi PM has alreayd said it might be time for us to get out.

But who cares? Why do we need countries to "trust" an American President? We didn't international trust to invade Iraq. We don't need it to invade Afghanistan's of the future, or seek out the Taliban, or react to attacks on US soil.

"We need to stay if for no other reason than to give hope to moderates in the Middle East and in Korea that if they move on their govt. we will be with them and will not run when things get tough."

Our daily presence in Iraq solidifies the radical Islamic political groups' opinion that this is AMERICA vs. ISLAM. There were "moderates" (like Saddam, in the sense that he's a secular) in Iraq before the war. There are few now, and will be fewer after the elections.

The fact is, IM NOT WITH THE IRAQIS. They plan on electing a bunch of Islamic fundamentalist sectarian leaders. To hell with that. I'm not supporting that just like I'm not going to support Hamas in Palestine.

Why do you think it is in the United States' interest to support an Islamic regime in Iraq, fairly elected or not?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

so you all want to fight about the level of the estate tax and ignore the idea that it is just wrong. I must admit, that I forgot about the raise in the level because it never was invoked before the change. I don't know everything like most of you Dems seem to. I am also experiencing a rush of cynicism and sarcasm which this site seems to bring out in me. I apologize for that as I try to remain upbeat for the most part. I am sorry if my attempt at humor and sarcasm escaped some of you dimwits. I will remain straighforward from now on.
but statements like "we were better off under sadam" are such fringe ideas they don't even warrant consideration. those newspapers you are reading must be generated in a truly strange place.

RMill - I won't claim that everything is a bed of roses - obviously it is not, but it was a hard job that was waiting to be done. foreign policy is the one thing I would lay at the feet of the President, not the domestic side which is moreover Congress. Yes the Repubs should be scolded for spending so much money, but coming from Democrats is a very funny turn of events and smacks of hypocrisy. did you ever notice when a budget is submitted the Dems pile on more then blame someone else? this is why you have no legs to stand on with this issue. why not announce your strengths before the next election. Take the high road and let the people decide. that is if you can come up with any ideas. I haven't seen any yet. the press is going to run with this, be assured.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

President Clinton will propose the largest increase in defense spending since the end of the Cold War buildup of the 1980s in the budget he will send to Congress next month.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/budget/stories/clinton010399.htm

Granted, it was his final budget after years of fiscal constraint in his first term.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

STOP answering Zouks posts. He is a troll who clearly has no need or desire for common sense or facts. That's the worst thing about this blog. There are some really good substantive debates every once in a while, then a troll pops up and the conversation disintegrates into B.S.

Seriously, please stop answering people like Zouk, SandyK, Tina, Karen who show no sign of intellect or sense of balance whatsoever.

We, as posters on this blog should be challenging each other with substance and not partisan spew. While both sides have their extremists (some may say I am one of them) there are several bloggers on here who are moderate or liberal/conservative but can carry a discussion. Im afraid many of those people choose not to participate b/c of hacks like the aformentioned loonie toons.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 14, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

And to the above that INCLUDES 9/11. It necessitated an increase in spending, but not in the amount of troops on the ground. We occupied and invaded Afghanistan with much fewer troops than we did in Iraq... And now we occupy the latter at the cost to the former.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Will in Texas: This whole thing has been a disaster and the only "winning strategy" in the war on terror is to leave Iraq and regroup.

Yea, that strategy worked so well in Somalia, I definitely think we should give that a try.

Mark: While the foreign fighters may stoke the insurgency flames, they make up only about 4 to 10 percent of the estimated 30,000 insurgents.

It only took 19 hijackers to carry out 9/11. 5000 people willing to die for their cause is an imposing force. Plus, you lost all credibility when you made fun of people's accents.

The fact is Iraq is winnable...and we have no choice but to win. If you think things are out of hand now, you leave Iraq and turn your backs on our allies and nobody...and I mean nobody...will ever trust an American Presidents word again. We need to stay if for no other reason than to give hope to moderates in the Middle East and in Korea that if they move on their govt. we will be with them and will not run when things get tough.

Posted by: FH | June 14, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

KOZ,

Marine barracks being bombed and not responding? I suggest right-wing blowhards not go down that path or lest we remember our triumphant conquest of Grenada, right after roughly 250 Marines are killed by Hezbollah, which means by the governments of Syria and Iran. Somalia was a disaster from the beginning, just like it is today. There were no good options, none, and there continue to be none to this day. Next misinformed and ridiculous point. Oh, the first WTC. What did we do about that? Oh yea, we caught the guys who actually did it, imprisoned them and gained valuable intelligence that allowed us to disrupt Operation Bojinka (ambitious plan by Ramzi Yousef to blow up 10 planes over Pacific simultaneosly, assassinate Pope and Clinton). Oh and when bin Laden declared war on US and attacked us, Clinton defended the country by attacking al-Qaeda. Yet the patriotic R's claimed he was only doing it b/c of Monica. And they say we undermine the safety of the nation. Finally, the USS Cole. Happened 1 month before the election and any military response (rightly or wrongly) would have been viewed as an attempt to swing the election. Therefore, his advisors sat in with the new Bush administration to strenuously argue that they needed to hit al-Qaeda right away. We all know how much Bush did there.

Posted by: appalled | June 14, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"What would you call it when a US warship is bombed in foreign waters?"

I call it a US warship bombed in foreign waters. What do you call it?

You've defined "war" in such a way where we are necessarily entrenched in it. That's your opinion, and you are entitled to it. I do not think military spending needs to be increased indefinitely. I consider Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I do not consider Somalia a war. I do not consider USS Cole a war, or WTC '93 a war. You can if you want. I think it cheapens the idea of warfare to the point of irrelevance.

Nothing that happened under Clinton required a drastic increase in the size of our armed forces. Nothing that happened to Bush prior to the Iraq War required an increase in the size of our armed forces... and we didn't "require" the war in Iraq.

But yes, I now support increased military spending. I believe wars should be paid for.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else have their comment blocked in the last 20 minutes or so?

Posted by: COLIN | June 14, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Think it's about time we have a Senator capable of independent thought. What some might call flip-flop (Dem then Rep then Dem again) I would call an independent streak. One of the biggest problems this country faces is the lock-step, party-dominated political process. Caught an ad from Senator Allen this past weekend and I recall the tag line being something like courageous, independent, etc. ... this from a guy who backed the President on 98% of the vote? Some independent streak there. No, give me a man or woman who can cross the partisan divide (and if they have physically crossed it in the past that's fine too) capable of proposing legislation on meaningful issues that will garner more than 51 votes. I can be as partisan as the next person but I for one am sick and tired of the zero-sum game being played by ALL of our elected leaders. It's certainly time for change.

Posted by: Alan in Suffolk | June 14, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"so are you saying that the estate tax is wrong if it slips down to 650 but it is OK at 1M."

No, I'm saying that when a person, let's call them King of Zouk, says that "in 2010 the estate tax exemption will lower to 650,000", they are making a FALSE statement. It is false because the revert occurs in 2011, not 2010, and the amount is 1 million, not 650,000. And 350,000 is a large sum of money, so this would seem to be a relevant difference.

Is the estate tax "right" or "wrong" at 1 million or 650,000? That requires debate. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

"the death tax is just plain wrong at any level. justify your theft of property."

We've been over this. The Government must levy taxes to pay for itself. Much of inheritence is untaxed income because it is gained through capital. Furthermore the recipients have not "earned it" thus we can justifiably tax that income. It also represents a social benefit of eliminating a self-perpetuating elite class who constantly pass their unequal access to the Americna dream on to their children. And it is incredibly progressive in that it only affects less than 1% of Americans who die.

"Hint - start with some polls. Oh rats, most americans don't want the death tax."

First off, it was you who said polls don't matter. Secondly, when informed about the "death tax" IE. that it only affects 1% of the population, the super rich, and it doesn't destroy family farms or family businesses, the majority of people support REFORM of the Estate Tax over repeal.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

We weren't at war during clinton? Really. What would you call it when a US warship is bombed in foreign waters? when marine barracks are attacked. when soldiers in Somalia are killed? When the WTC is bombed by muslim radicals? When OBL vows to kill us. etc. From under the desk this looks like a police matter. better call the UN. It would be the duty of the sitting President to recognize the growing threat and take some measures to eliminate the enemy, like maybe upgrade the military, not cut it - the peace dividend sounds pretty silly now. unless the enemy is the Congress of course. In which case, you should bomb some empty tent to draw attention away from your misdeeds. Clinton was clearly negligent in his pursuit of national safety. especially with all that money flowing around from the dot.com era.

but these same old stale arguments bore me. they are such easy pickings. Let's move on.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick question. When did corpses gain property rights?

Or is it DNA strands?

Just curious.

Posted by: Hey Zouk... | June 14, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

KOZ,

You just posted for us to look at polls regarding the Estate Tax. If memory serves me correct, didn't you say that you don't do polls just a few posts earlier? Talk about having your cake and eating it too. Truth is if you give the person the choice between taxing the transfer of immense wealth from a dead person to their inheritance or vastly increasing the tax burden on middle-income families, I think there is an obviouis choice.

Posted by: appalled | June 14, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"Will in TX, I had no idea you were equipped with such acumen and intelligence. To be able to accuratly assess the situation in Iraq from your cozy chair. can you let me in on some stock picks too?"

It's called a newspaper. Open it up. Iraq is becoming a Sectarian Islamic Republic. We were better off with Saddam.

"Iran offers to negotiate after years of nothing with EU"

Hah! What a win! They take the seals off their nuclear plants and then offer to "negotiate" them back. So what did we gain that we didn't have in 2003? We had them SHUT DOWN!

"Iraq elects constitutional government"

Why you think this is a good thing is beyond me. The most terrifying prospect right now is that Pakistan overcomes its dictatorship and elects a constitutional government... of religious fanatics. this is what is happening in Iraq. Saddam was a secular and ultimately harmless. Sadr and his ilk will not be.

"Palestine exposed as the terrorist state that it is"

Hamas election is an "accomplishment"???? Are you insane?

"Afghanistan elects new government"

And consequently tries to execute a Christian apostate. And we haven't secured Afghanistan which is quickly turning into another quagmire; further evidence that Iraq was the perfect catalysis for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Afghanistan.

"Egypt holds first election"

And the Brotherhood picks up 20 seats in Parliament furthering the trend towards Islamic radicalism in the middle east. This is TERRIBLE news.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Not everything is positive. If you're giving Bush credit for those items, he should also shoulder the blame for these:

Libya still has not paid reparations for Lockerbie, says it abandoned its weapons program- no word on WMD program documents turned over to the US.

Prime Minister assassinated.
Syria pulls out of Lebanon, destabilizing the country further in the process.

Palestinian Authority completely undermined and destabilized with in-fighting of factions.

Bombings and terrorist killings up in Afganastan, Iraq and Egypt.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"I suggest you look up the tax code before the repubs changed it, thanks to Bush, and Delay. the old rate was indeed $650,000 and it will revert to this rate in 2010 if nothing else is done. this is a published figure and calling me a liar demonstrates you have no interest in reality."

That's just typical of the right-wing. When confronted with the facts they bluster and lie. In fact the exemption equivalence will revert to $1 million in 2011 if nothing is done between now and then and your statements regarding the $650,000 exemption are just flat wrong. That's because under the old tax code, pre-2001, the exemption equivalence was scheduled to go up to $1 million in 2006!

And like all right-wingers, you just ignore the truth and go repeating your nonsense even louder when confronted with your blatant misinformation.

Take a look at this web-site that explains the tax code for simpletons like King of Zouk:

http://www.estateplanninglinks.com/epl_course/taxes.htm

Now look at the tax tables! See the part that says "$1 million"? (Now he'll come back and say that we estate planning attorneys don't know what we're talking about! We just do this for a living! )

; ^ )

"Against ignorance even the Gods contend in vain."

Posted by: Cugel | June 14, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Has Karen ever posted anything to back up her "anti semite" claim?

Posted by: jenniferm | June 14, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"No Dems have admitted this was a mistake, despite obvious evidence and the loud-mouth claims about lack of equipment. always trying to have it both ways."

Clinton spent about as much on defense as Bush did as per capita of GDP. He also did not preside during WAR which means there's no need to maintain an inflated defense budget. Certainly I do not fault Bush for increasing the size of the military for our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but these hardly account for his other increases in spending. He's increased the military budget about 40 billion a year, which means he increased domestic spending about 120 billion a year... over twice what Clinton presided over.

Then you rant about Monica, or "Bush lied people died" or Ted Kennedy. Whatever.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

so are you saying that the estate tax is wrong if it slips down to 650 but it is OK at 1M. that makes sense only to a true class warrior. the death tax is just plain wrong at any level. justify your theft of property. and if your logic is typical of those on this site, it will be most amusing to observe. Hint - start with some polls. Oh rats, most americans don't want the death tax. now what? I guess you'll have to go back to the mantra - the rich are evil because...... they create jobs, pay taxes and fund social programs. Maybe you better try something else.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Zouk:

"Maybe we should send Jimmah over to negotiate a deal with Iran - after all he is the expert on grovelling to them and got us into this mess in the first place."

I guess our CIA-engineered coup that toppled the popularly elected leader of Iran in 1953, and installed the Shah as the agent of our oil companies, and ruled repressively for over two decades - had nothing whatsoever to do with the hostage-taking or continued Iranian antipathy toward the US. I'm sure it was all Jimmy Carter's doing. He being such a warlike person and all.

It must be a blissful state of intellectual vacuum, being a Republican lemming.

Posted by: B2O | June 14, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"the old rate was indeed $650,000 and it will revert to this rate in 2010 if nothing else is done. this is a published figure and calling me a liar demonstrates you have no interest in reality."

You are just incorrect. The rate will not revert in 2010, it will revert in 2011. And it will not revert to 650,000, it will revert to 1 million. This is the documented "truth" and can be found at Estate Tax planning websites. Here are a few:

http://www.newyorklife.com/file/other/EstatePlan.html

or here:

http://www.oakwoodcap.com/forum/new_law4.htm

I'll find more if you'd like. I'll need some documentation from you on the 650,000 number, which I believe is incorrect.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Will in TX, I had no idea you were equipped with such acumen and intelligence. To be able to accuratly assess the situation in Iraq from your cozy chair. can you let me in on some stock picks too?
I guess the following accomplishments are irrelevant:
Libya gives up weapons program
syria pulls troops out of Lebanon
Iran offers to negotiate after years of nothing with EU
Iraq elects constitutional government
Palestine exposed as the terrorist state that it is
Afghanistan elects new government
Egypt holds first election
Hmmmm.. positive movement in almost every country

nope nothing there to speak of. Maybe your crystal ball needs a little polishing, or perhaps adjust your tin-foil hat to a different frequency. N Korea got the bomb after Clinton negotiated a deal where we would trust them. Maybe we should send Jimmah over to negotiate a deal with Iran - after all he is the expert on grovelling to them and got us into this mess in the first place. but don't kill any terrorists while you are at it. that would be wrong.
boy exposing your ideas to the light of day is sure enlightening.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

On Federal spending and the Economy-

While growth of the federal government has been in a constant increase, the Clinton administration constrained the rate of growth.

When federal spending, as a % change, is less than that of the economic output (GDP), it acts as an economic benefit.

The economy was in an unprecedented sustained growth period coinciding with the Clinton administration and its fiscal restraint policies. Thus, it acted as an economic multiplier.

Those areas of spending seen as having the greatest multiplier effect include: educational, highway, environmental, agricultural, and foreign aid spending.

These were areas where the Clinton administration focused its investments.

The broadest measure of transfer payment spending, incorporating income security, health, medicare, and social security, shows a statistically significant negative relationship to the economy. Interest payments on the national debt, actually another form of transfer payments, seem to also have a negative impact.

The fiscal policies of the Clinton Administration were designed to specifically eliminate the annual budget deficits and ultimately to reduce the interest on the national debt, thus blunting this negative multiplier.

Growth of other federal "transfer payments"- mainly Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare- have been more difficult to restrain, due to the basic nature of the programs and the aging of the US population.

Unfortunately, these fiscal policies have been reversed by the succeeding Bush administration and why tax relief alone cannot spark the economy into a sustained robust recovery.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

GopBob (on Webb):

"...he OPPOSES killing terrorists in the caves of Iraq"

I guess this snippet capsulizes the ignorance and simpleheadedness of the typical Republican/FauxNews voter.

First of all, the *terrorists* have been hiding in caves in *Afghanistan* - you know, that country we invaded to wipe out the organization that actually attacked us - but then pulled SO troops away from to take over the oil fields? There are few, if any, caves in Iraq (or EYE-rack, as you probably call it).

Secondly, there were no terrorists in Iraq when we invaded at the behest of the deceitful oil company stooges that have the reins of our country. And while we have now turned Iraq into Terrorist University, still only 10% (generously - 4% by some independent analyses) of the insurgency is actually comprised of al Qaida-type foreign fighters. What we are "fighting* against there is actually an internecine civil war.

The fact that the Post and the rest of the Domesticated Media whimperingly parrot Mr. Bush's continued propaganda on what this war is about, is only a weak excuse for being ignorant of that knowledge. If you read the less-censored international media, or the Christian Science Monitor for example (as any self-respecting adult should), you will see articles like this one about those estimates:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0923/dailyUpdate.html

excerpt:

The US and Iraqi governments have vastly overstated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, and most of them don't come from Saudi Arabia, according to a new report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS). According to a piece in The Guardian, this means the US and Iraq "feed the myth" that foreign fighters are the backbone of the insurgency. While the foreign fighters may stoke the insurgency flames, they make up only about 4 to 10 percent of the estimated 30,000 insurgents.

Posted by: Mark | June 14, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say Clinton is the first President since 1969 to preside over a budget surplus.

"cutting and running in Iraq may sound good to you Dem Dwebes but the militaristic state of VA will never subscribe to losing another war. we are still smarting over the war of northern aggression. this one issue will make the contest severly one-sided."

I am certain that Webb's campaign is depending on the "militaristic state" mindset of Virginia to help his candidacy; he's a decorated War Veteran, well respected in the military community, and served under Reagan as the Secretary of Navy.

What you'll find, win or lose, is that James Webb will transform this debate. No longer will you be able to insist that leaving Iraq is "cutting and running". He will explain why it is a military and strategic disaster and what steps we can take to avoid future disasters. He will speak in Military language with an utterly informed tone and mindset. He is as qualified as anyone in this nation to speak on matters of national defense, the armed forces, and effective use of limited military resources.

In other words, he's everything that Allen cannot be on the War in Iraq. And he's also everything the Democratic party is not; he actually has ideas and a plan and an explanation for why he knows what you do not, Zouk. The rest of the country recognizes Iraq as a disaster and you are quickly joining the ranks of the uninformed and irrelevant who cannot see Iraq for what it is.

Go Webb.

"VA Democrat is more of a Republican than most of the Yankee RINOs. It is very amusing to see the Dem base come to the aid of this guy. If he were in any other state they would put as much distance as they could between them and him."

I love DINOs and RINOs because they exhibit an ability to think independently, to act on their principles as opposed to blindly following their parties, their centrist leanings which makes them necessarily less polarizing, and the fact that they represent more Americans than extreme partisans could.

These are qualities I absolutely adore in leaders and will happily support any RINO or DINO I come across. I'm of the impression that I do not exist to serve Political Parties, rather Political Parties exist to serve me. People who are willing to buck their party on issues represent this philosophy well.

You are an extreme partisan, as despicable as Michael Moore or Ann Coulter. What you and your ilk from both sides have done to this country is inexcusable. People like Webb represent a chance for the middle to take this country back.

"My Ann Coulter remark was to point out that simply being a veteran does not mean much when the issues are anti-veteran."

Being against the war is not anti-veteran. Murtha and Kerry cannot articulate this point. James Webb can.

"Kinda like Kerry was supposed to be some un-reproachable war hero. well the facts turned out to be a little more muddled than that and his war cred evaporated."

Do you think that will happen with Webb? A Navy Cross is not a Purple Heart. And Webb was chastizing Kerry for turning his back on Vietnam troops... which is one of the largest critcisms Kerry received. Webb really is one of those untouchable few who didn't just SERVE in the military, he WAS the military. He was a soldier, an officer, and had a position at one of the highest echelons in the military. He doesn't just speak to politics; he speaks to military strategies, historical lessons-learned, and what needs to be done in the future from a MILITARY PERSPECTIVE.

"Why do you want us to lose the war? Answer that one simple question."

What you don't understand is that the war is over. It was never winnable, it cannot be won. There is no good outcome. We will replace the likes of Saddam with the likes of Sadr -- this is no great win. What we are losing with each additional day is our standing as a global superpower. We are stretched thin, and our resources invested in Iraq cost us elsewhere; our influence in every region throughout the world has decreased. South America will become Chavezstas, N. Korea got the bomb and Iran will follow. Our standing in the middle east is weaker than it was in 2001. This whole thing has been a disaster and the only "winning strategy" in the war on terror is to leave Iraq and regroup. Again, I'm with the majority of the country on this... why aren't you? Why do YOU want to perpetually lose in Iraq?

Webb predicted all this in November of 2001.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't do approval ratings. I understand sampling very well and as you may have found out, exit polls do not equal voting tallies. (ask that dingbat kennedy jr) If I was asked if I approve of Bush I would say no. but the implied conclusion is that I want someone else, which is not a valid conclusion. If you lack facts and evidence, cite a poll. works great for the press who report this as news every day. but the reality is that we win elections and you lose elections.
I suggest you look up the tax code before the repubs changed it, thanks to Bush, and Delay. the old rate was indeed $650,000 and it will revert to this rate in 2010 if nothing else is done. this is a published figure and calling me a liar demonstrates you have no interest in reality.
I admit those stats from Cato are damning for bush as far as domestic spending goes, but conservatives have faulted him for this. you may also notice that clinton slashed the military budget, resulting in a need to replace it later. No Dems have admitted this was a mistake, despite obvious evidence and the loud-mouth claims about lack of equipment. always trying to have it both ways. Ignore the facts and chant "Bush Lied" or "No WMDs" or some other nonsense. When will you all admit that those old social programs have either been tried and succeeded, or failed or are not desired. Give it up. Ted Kennedy needs to pass the torch. now show me one of those reports about human freedom or world democracies under clinton and Bush. the wasted 90s. fiddle while NY burns. "I was too busy under the desk with Monica to worry about being attacked by crazed Muslims." Or better yet "I am the victim here"

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Re: Estate Tax

For people who die this year, the tax is levied on assets valued at more than $2 million at a rate of 46 percent. The tax rate drops to 45 percent next year. In 2009 the exemption level increases to $3.5 million. In 2010, the tax is repealed for one year. Beginning in 2011 the exemption drops back to $1 million.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk-

"how many people out there think that their estate will be in excess of $650K. you are going to be subject to the death tax (millionaire tax to you lefties)when it reverts. I never did get any substantial reason for this particular tax the other day."

I don't know about the estate tax in Virginia that Webb, as a Federal candidate has no control over, but the national Estate Tax is well over $650 thousand dollars. 99% of Americans are unaffected by the Estate Tax and pay not a penny to Uncle Sam when they die.

You received a number of "substantial reasons" for the estate tax. You didn't agree with any of them, which is fine. But don't pretend like they weren't offered.

"Clinton reduced G'ment? where do you get this stuff? you can say this nonsense all you want, only the true believers are going to swallow that one and the rest of the voters who are actually up for grabs know instinctively that Dems represent big G. you can't put lipstick on a pig."

The number: Since 1962 the Federal Government has decreased EXACTLY once under LBJ in 1965.

What above commenter was speaking to is that Clinton was the first President since 1969. The government expanded (reasonably) about 50 billion dollars a year under Clinton. Under Bush it has grown on average about 150 billion a year.

Whether or not you are willing to extend Clinton any credit for being fiscally responsible is largely irrelevant. The argument at hand is whether or not the Republican party can be trusted to be fiscally responsible. And, facts show, they cannot. Bush's refusal to utilize Presidential veto, perhaps the best budget busting measure in our government, should be interpreted as complicity in extreme spending. He says as much but calls it "Compassionate Conservativsm".

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- I posted a ton of stuff on the estate tax that you never responded to. Go look at it if you want to discuss that some more. Your 650K figure is just a lie, incidentally. Complete and utter lie.

As for Kaine and Warner's tax positions, the VA legislature is still arguing about the budget so that's not actually finished. What already happened, and what you don't discuss of course, is the fact taht Warner raised taxes and cut spending with the net result being 70% approval ratings.

Government Spending -- Here's a table from an article by the CATO INSTITUTE (libertarian think tank) showing government growth rates for different presidents. They seem to agree with my views, so apparently even the conservative think tanks are now conspiring against Republicans.

Table 1. Real Annualized Growth Rates, by Category and President
Total Defense Domestic Entitlement
Johnson 5.7% 4.9% 3.9% 8.9%
Nixon 3.0% -6.6% 5.5% 12.5%
Ford 2.9% -2.8% 6.3% 2.4%
Carter 4.1% 3.0% 1.8% 4.1%
Reagan 2.6% 4.4% -1.2% 2.0%
G.H.W. Bush 1.9% -3.8% 3.3% 4.8%
Clinton 1.5% -1.7% 1.8% 3.3%
G.W. Bush* 5.6% 8.8% 7.1% 4.7%

Link -- http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-0510-26.pdf

If I have time, I'll refute some of your other "points" later.

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Excellent retooling of KofZ post, RMill; thank you so much for adding daily good sense to this blog.

bhoomes stated at end of post, "Everyday I wake up, I thank God I am not a liberal".

Please, bhoomes, don't blame God for that. Accept responsibilty for that defect yourself. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!

Posted by: Jason | June 14, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

RMill: Yea, I almost said in yesterdays blog that I wished Lieberman would run as an Independent, but I could just hear the howls. If that's the way we have to get'em, by having defections...I'll take it. It's getting harder for people like me, who actually see merit in both side's arguments, to pick a dog in this fight.

Posted by: FH | June 14, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You all seem to know so much about VA politics, even though it is not clear you are within 100 miles - riddle me this:
1. why did Kaine's tax raise go down in glorious defeat about a month ago if we in the Old dominion are so tax happy? try the tired old class warfare stuff but america is not buying it and VA certainly is not. how many people out there think that their estate will be in excess of $650K. you are going to be subject to the death tax (millionaire tax to you lefties)when it reverts. I never did get any substantial reason for this particular tax the other day.
2. Clinton reduced G'ment? where do you get this stuff? you can say this nonsense all you want, only the true believers are going to swallow that one and the rest of the voters who are actually up for grabs know instinctively that Dems represent big G. you can't put lipstick on a pig.
3. cutting and running in Iraq may sound good to you Dem Dwebes but the militaristic state of VA will never subscribe to losing another war. we are still smarting over the war of northern aggression. this one issue will make the contest severly one-sided.
4. Warner, Kaine and Wilder wouldn't dare state those beliefs during the campaign if indeed they hold them. Kaine didn't even bother to list the fact that he was a Dem in most of his ads. Why are they hiding from this? Simple - a VA Democrat is more of a Republican than most of the Yankee RINOs. It is very amusing to see the Dem base come to the aid of this guy. If he were in any other state they would put as much distance as they could between them and him.

My Ann Coulter remark was to point out that simply being a veteran does not mean much when the issues are anti-veteran. Kinda like Kerry was supposed to be some un-reproachable war hero. well the facts turned out to be a little more muddled than that and his war cred evaporated. "Reporting for duty" - going to go down as one of the more foolish images of the political campaign. Kinda like Dukakis in a tank. Why do you want us to lose the war? Answer that one simple question. That sure will teach that mean old Bush a lesson.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

FH

You might get two-
Sanders VT
Lieberman CT

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

You give me just ten independents in the Senate and we could change the entire nature of congress. We would see more bipartisanship, more common sense policies, less posturing by the two major parties. Unfortunately, in this country to be electable to the Senate or a national office you almost have to be associated with one of the parties. The deck is stacked against you financially, as well as in media exposure. When you look at this blog it is so obvious that this country has degenerated into two camps that simply are so far apart that any compromise is seen as being a traitor to your party. Webb would be a fabulous Independent candidate (he's a Dem. in name only), but being tied to the Democrats and their leadership will limit his ability to vote his conscience. Moderates in this country need to wake up and see the two political party system for what it is...a disaster!!!

Posted by: FH | June 14, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- You Said;

"If elected, I promise to go along with the rest of the Democratic caucus and raise taxes, enlarge government, cut and run in Iraq, liberalize abortion, divorce, and marriage." Hmm, lets pick these "criticisms" of the Democratic party apart:

1. Raise Taxes -- Right, the boogey man for Republicans. Warner raised taxes and his approval numbers went over 70%. The good people of VA get that not ALL taxes are bad, KOZ. If Webb says he's going to raise taxes on Millionaires to cut the deficit, I don' think there will be any mobs in the street.

2. Enlarge Government -- Afraid your thinking of the Republican party. You know, the one that has expanded government more than ANY ADIMINISTRATION SINCE LBJ!! What two presidents reduced government the most, incidentally? Bill Clinton and JFK. Now, what party were they from again...

3. Cut and Run in Iraq -- Yes, those folks in VA that think we shouldn't have gone into Iraq will DEFINITELY be upset to learn that Jim Webb agrees with them. I hope Allen talks about this one a whole bunch.

4. Liberalizing Divorce, Abortion, and Marriage -- Well, Divorce has been liberal ever since a certain Governor from California -- Ronald Reagan -- signed the first no-fault divorce bill. Webb's views on abortion and gay marriage (supports civil unions, not gay marriage) are exactly the same as Warner's, Kaine's, and former Governor Wilder's - so I don't think that seems to be too big of a problem either.

Got anything else? Like, perhaps, the fact that Allen didn't realize Ben Bernacke had replaced Greenspan as Fed Chairman?

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Webb ad retooled-

I am a Virginian with Virginia values. I am proud of my service to this nation as a miltary officer. For too long, we have not goven the due respect to the men and women of our armed forces. If elected, I promise to end the tax giveaways for the richest among us and corporation to evacuate overseas, reduce the size of government which has swelled under President Bush and Senator Allen's watch, vote for military action only under the principles once espoused by former President Reagan- mainly to win with overwhelming, properly equipped force and to have an exit strategy, follow the laws of the land with respect to a woman legal health rights and the Consititution with respect to the rights of all of our citizens.

I could have run as a Republican, but that party has left behind the ideals that I fought for. But make no mistake, my ideals are intact and they are those that Virginians share.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Um, Zouk, if such a line were to play well in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Newport News, then Webb WOULD win the election. If Webb were to carry those areas, that would give him a lock on a victory in November.

Posted by: Political Junkie | June 14, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Webb campaign add: I am a conservative and very principled. Just ignore the flip-flopper I am with, my old war buddy John Kerry. If elected, I promise to go along with the rest of the Democratic caucus and raise taxes, enlarge government, cut and run in Iraq, liberalize abortion, divorce, and marriage. but I couldn't win a Republican primary so I fooled a bunch of Dems into thinking that I was the answer to their prayers. vote for me and don't pay any attention to that D next to my name. It may play in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax and maybe even Newport News but the rest of the state isn't going to fall for this line.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"Webb is exactly the kind of candidate you need? you mean a DINO? then what is wrong with Joe Leiberman?"

Their position in the War on Iraq would be the distinction. The majority of the country feels that the President's approach to Iraq is incorrect. James Webb has a different approach then the President and Liebermann.

"and let's ask ann coulter about Webb's military service. It is a nice credential but it doesn't matter if he goes against the military. he will be just as much a national fool as Murtha - lionized by the press and laughed at by everyone else."

Let's ask Ann Coulter about HER service. Since when is she a spokesperson for America? She's a partisan marginalized within her own party.

The military supports James Webb, which is why it sees fit to reprint his articles at www.military.com. Further there is a PRO-TROOPS withdrawal opinion regarding the war in Iraq. Do you think people LIKE being in Iraq? Being shot at?

No one will be laughing at James Webb's military credentials, or his service, or his opinion on the war. What you'll find is an immenintly qualified military mind with a reasonable response to the Ann Coulter's and King of Zouk's of this world who equivocate dissent with Iraq as "cutting and running". You should be terrified that this man won a primary... he can change the national dialogue on War far more than a Murtha can. I don't see how smearing Reagan's Secretary of the Navy will do you much good... or his Navy Cross. Or his sharp military mind.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow....the comments by Karen, GOPBob and Zouk are just scary. While the silver lining in their statements is that they are nervous and feel the need to lash out and make improper and ill-informed statements, what really scares me is that these people represent the Republican Party. I used to be a Republican, but its because of people like Karen, who are so full of hate and spew such inane vitriol, that I left the party. To think that a man who served his country and has the national security credentials to show it, would not be a welcome nor well-qualified Senator for the Commonwealth is just plain crazy. Republicans clame liberals are out of touch. Reading some of Karen/GOPBob statements, I can only conclude that they are completely out of touch of reality. These are scary days for our society and its grip on democracy.

Posted by: Political Junkie | June 14, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Hilarious! Webb is a "flip-flopper" because he was *Gasp* a REPUBLICAN before he was a Democrat!

"Oh! The humanity!" Does anyone with a brain in his head think that's going to be a PROBLEM in VA? That Webb has changed his party?

I used to think that switching party mattered before I watched Ben "Switchorse" Campbell do it and become even more popular in Colorado.

Frankly, that is a Webb strength! He gets to point out what the Republican party USED to stand for: limited government. The current Republican party is a neo-Stalinist party of uber-conformists that wants government intrusion into every corner of our lives, but wants our unquestioning obedience, lining up and saluting the flag while they sell us down the river! Our founding fathers would be agast at this crew!

And Webb is going to start to STEAMROLL! All he has to do is ask "Allen supports Bush's policy in Iraq, where the U.S. just announced that they are building permanent military bases. Do you want to look up and see the U.S. troops in Iraq 10 years from now? Then vote for Senator Allen! If you want an end to this mess, vote for me!"

The VA Democrats deserve praise for choosing a guy who will FIGHT for what's right rather than a paid flunky who runs a smooth media operation.

Currently Bush's popularity in the "Old Virginia" is at 58% disaproval (virtually unchanged over the last month): http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollTrack.aspx?g=31e15c7e-622c-449a-bd44-a381084bea9d
And the overwhelming reason is Iraq!

So, how is it that Webb is going to fail taking a position totally in line with the majority of VA voters? Don't make me laugh!

Posted by: Cugel | June 14, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes -- I actually have a different reason for not being a Redskins fan, even though I do live in the DC area - I'm from Pittsburgh. :)

Allen is a very capable politician and much like Bush gets "misunderestimated" quite a bit. Although I disagree with him accross the board, I certainly recognize that the guy is a formidible candidate. All that being said, I think Webb is EXACTLY the kind of Dem who can beat him. He's for actual fiscal responsibility (Allen clearly isn't - just look at our deficits), he's libertarian on social issues (Guns, as well as abortion, etc.), and he's planning to run on the same theme that Ronald Reagan used early in his career: I didn't leave my party (in this case, the Republican Party) - it left me. I think there are an awful lot of disaffected moderate Republicans who may find that that message resonates quite a bit right now.

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It is indeed unfortunate that racial and ethnic comments were thrown into the Webb campaign. I believe these should be supported by factual accounts. I doubt that such exist.

Posted by: owing2@adelphia.net | June 14, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Could be Colin, I haven't lived in Virgina for quire some time and surly don't know it as well as my present state of Ohio, but I do remember Doug Wilder being elected Governor, so Dems can win there with the right message but I stick by my guns that message can't be too liberal if they want to have any chance of winning. A lot of conservatives think George Allen(me included)would be our best candidate for 08, so I will be heartbroken if he should lose(plus I am still a diehard Redskins fan) but right now I don't see it happening. I image most of you dems are no longer Redskins fans who live in the DC area because of there terrible racist name. Everyday I wake up, I thank God I am not a liberal.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 14, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Forget the fact that the Confederate Battle Flag has been used as a racist emblem... it is foremost an emblem of fratricidal treason. People who display it shouldn't be singing the National Anthem with tears in their eyes.

Posted by: CrozetGuy | June 14, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

To be really fair-

I think there are plenty of examples to go around for which the editors to take to warning the group.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me but I didn't get 'slapped down' by the editors. i was asked to refrain from characterizing someone as a Nazi, which I admit was imprecise. I was referring to the propaganda techniques of the Third Reich, which republicans have clearly mastered.

You might also note that kaen was asked not to call a candidate an anit-semite. That could be construed as libel and legally actionable. You might want to that under consideration yourself.

You really don't understand the distinction between Webb and Lieberman? Lieberman is a sellout to republican cronyism. Webb is a real, old-fashioned conservative [not the fake kind you people push] who is not afraid to buck the forces in power.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Bhoomes,

To be fair, I think the editors had both Drindl and Karen in mind when they posted earlier.

As for your statement about power, well, a party has to have power in some capacity to implement an agenda. Of course the "liberals" are desperate to have power back; they and other types (for lack of a better word) of democrats want to be able to implement a different agenda than the one the GOP has been pushing. This is somehow a sign of craven, immoral powerseeking?

As for "liberals" supporting the Webb campaign, it's not like this kind of voting behavior is unique to the Democratic party. Plenty of people who disagree with the social conservativism of the GOP vote for republican candidates on the basis of economic principles. There are only two viable politcal parties, so most of us end up voting for candidates we don't agree with on all the issues, in hopes that they'll implement parts of the agenda that we DO agree with. I guess we all crave a little bit of power, huh?

Posted by: rkb | June 14, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Baldacci Victory Erases Some Doubts for Re-Election

Governor John Baldacci, the embattled Democratic incumbant, easily fought of a primary challenge, topping 75% of the democratic ballots with about 95% of precincts reporting.

Baldacci has battled low approval ratings for months (Survey USA Approval- 43% in May, high watermark for 2006, up from 41% in Feb and a low of 39% in Marhc and April).

More good news came from the Republican primary, where Chandler Woodcock won a tight GOP primary chellenge from David Emery and Peter Mills, with 39% of the vote, to 35% for Mills and a disappointing 26% for Emery, who led in two polls in the two weeks prior leading up to Tuesdays face-off.

In earlier polling, Woodcock was considered the weakest of the three potential GOP challengers.
Rasmussen
May 4
Baldacci (D)*46%
Woodcock (R) 33%

Baldacci led both Emery and Mills by a margin of 44%-36%.

This is an improvement over a similar April poll, where Baldacci led Woodcock by only a margin of 43% - 37%.

Governor Baldacci is probably breathing easier this morning but still has his work cut out for him over the summer to improve his status with the voters of the State of Maine.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Job Well Done Webb!

Now, let's go get Allen!!

Posted by: Stacey | June 14, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes - Your observations regarding Virginia may be a bit dated, given the fact that the State has now elected two consecutive Democratic governors in a row, has expanded its reach into the ever growing Loudon County exurbs, and has picked up state legislative seats in traditionally Republican-rich areas. In short, Virginia is trending back towards a two-party state again and has shown it can be receptive to a moderate Democrat. I think Jim Webb is exactly that kind of a candidate.

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Webb is exactly the kind of candidate you need? you mean a DINO? then what is wrong with Joe Leiberman? why are you all so hopped up at someone who won't conform to the public spirit yet deride Bush for the same thing. the illogic in the Dem roots is stupifying.
today is a good day - Drindl gets slapped down for her idiotic comments by the editor. haven't seen that one before.

and let's ask ann coulter about Webb's military service. It is a nice credential but it doesn't matter if he goes against the military. he will be just as much a national fool as Murtha - lionized by the press and laughed at by everyone else.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

'That is the difference between the two parties, we conservative want power to implement our ideas and liberals just want power for the sake of power and all of the perks that go with it.'

Thank you for the hearty laugh of the day.The party of overreaching presidential power grabs and Halliburtion and the K Street project has a lot of idea allright -- and all of them involve picking my pocket.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes-

"That is the difference between the two parties, we conservative want power to implement our ideas and liberals just want power for the sake of power and all of the perks that go with it."

I find this comment insultingly naive. It's speculative because it assumes you know something about what goes on in the hearts of all "liberals". Further it is contrary to recent historical evidence. The Conservatives have promised tax cuts and spending increases to the American public just to get elected. Such "principles" as "small government" are quickly abandoned the day after elections... just like gay marriages.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Adam-

"Perhaps Webb will have something concrete to give to voters besides his anti-Iraq War position. Perhaps not, but the similarities between the two are striking."

And one was running for President and the other is running for a Virginia Senate seat. And the one we are talking about has already won a primary.

If you really think Webb will remain silent on non-war issues that's your opinion. I think you will be pleasently surprised to hear what he has to say.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Adam-

"That should go over REALLY well with southern voters. If your party can't understand the south and the complexity of its history, then you'll never win there."

Well, we can't all be from the deep south like George Allen. Deep south California, I mean.

I like your condescension about "your party" (Democrats) not understanding the history of the south. So the Confederacy was made up of mostly Republicans, was it?

Maybe *YOU* need a history lesson.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Will,
Clark and Webb were both "drafted" to run. Both avoided taking any firm positions. Both relied on the hype of being "more electable" then their opponents. Both were former Republicans running as Democrats. Clark fell apart when he had to answer hard questions from the press. Perhaps Webb will have something concrete to give to voters besides his anti-Iraq War position. Perhaps not, but the similarities between the two are striking.

Posted by: Adam | June 14, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Don K, for your service and your information about Jim Webb, I agree with you wholeheartedly that he is exactly the kind of candidate we need more of in this country.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Drindl I believe the editors had you specifically in mind when talking about blocking out certain commentators. Nobody on this blog does more name calling than you. I used to live in northern virginia before I joined the military and I remember it being quite conservative once you got of the burbs. So Allen should win because he is more conservative than Webb, but not by much. That liberals would support him tells me how desperate they are to regain power. That is the difference between the two parties, we conservative want power to implement our ideas and liberals just want power for the sake of power and all of the perks that go with it.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 14, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

South Carolina Results Disappointing for Sanford's Presidential Ambitions?

Incumbant South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford won his Tuesday primary easily but the level of discontent within his own party should give him pause. With 100% of precincts reporting, Sanford fell just short of 65% of the GOP votes.

Democratic challenger Tommy Moore also fell just short of 65% mark, which should be considered a strong primary win for the democratic challenger. It should be noted that Sanford still pulled nearly twice as many primary votes as Moore due to the strong registration advantage the GOP holds in the state.

While it does not appear that Sanford should have too many problems holding the state for the Republicans come November (Rasmussen April 20 poll of head to head match up with Moore has the incumbant with a 52% - 33% lead), the perceived discontent from within his own party could damage his chances to make a 2008 Presidential bid. His popularity inside South Carolina was pegged at 53% for May according to Survey USA, the high watermark for 2006, up from 47% in February.

This will likely require Sanford to expend a significant amount of resources (about $5 M banked for re-election) to repair damage to his image and polish up for a big win in November to provide a suitable launch pad for 2008.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Um, JayD, concerning your "one-term governor" remark about Warner, it might save you some embarrassment to check your facts before turning that into a talking point; Governors in Virginia can't run for re-election. The state constitution specifies a one-term limit.

Posted by: David | June 14, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I happen to be a former Marine Officer and I actually know Jim Webb (full disclosure: I sent him a small campaign contribution, if I could've afforded more I would've sent more). Jim Webb won the Navy Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor) among numerous other awards for valor. He was forced to medically retire from the Marines because of wounds received in combat. I would venture to say that anyone who meets him would immediately sense his directness, his moral and physical courage, and a "strength of character" all too rare in contemporary American politics.

Posted by: Don K in Richmond, Va. | June 14, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

>>>that means that while he FAVORS killing defenseless innocent unborn babies in their mother's womb, he OPPOSES killing terrorists in the caves of Iraq.

Did he SAY those things? Has anyone EVER said those things?

>>>Sounds like he'd make a great Senator for San Francisco or Manhattan or Vermont....

Nice. Way to be patriotic and stand up for your country. Or did you forget that New York City was attacked by terrorists? Or do you prefer antagonism against your fellow citizens as a way of life. Maybe you'd be happier if we just had another Civil War.

btw, did you ever stop to think about how stupid it sounds to say "he'd make a great Senator for SF or Manhattan...". Last I checked SF is in the STATE of California and Manhattan is in the STATE of New York. Both clearly have huge rural areas that are mostly socially conservative, akin to middle America. Bust out a map and see for yourself. Or dont and be a fool, I dont particularly care.

Unbelievable unbelievable unbelievable the divisive and spurious rhetoric from the insane Right.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 14, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

wow - the moonbats are out in force today. how does the choosing of a Dem to run against Allen warrant any analysis? they had to pick someone. they picked the guy as close to a republican as they could get - the same as they always do in VA. but being against the war in VA is a losing position anf that will be all it takes. Zouk predicts an Allen win. this is a good issue and will reflect the feelings of the voters. what a great country.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 14, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Drindl,
Yeah, great idea for Democrats. Push the message that anyone displaying the Confederate flag is a racist. That should go over REALLY well with southern voters. If your party can't understand the south and the complexity of its history, then you'll never win there.

Posted by: Adam | June 14, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Adam-

"Ask General Clark how that worked out."

Ask General Clark how being an untested single issue Presidential candidate worked out... how is this relevant to a Virginia Senate seat? Do you think Webb will remain silent on policy?

Long Beach:

"or apparently that guy "Will" in Texas who just posted."

Not sure what this is for. I don't remember making any intrusive statements about your sex life. What I did point out is that James Webb, like the majority of Americans, is pro-choice. And that's one reason why I support him, because I think a woman's womb is precisely the kind of place where the Government doesn't belong.

I really don't care what you do with your girlfriend in the privacy of your own bedroom. Knock yourself out. Or don't.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Love the fact that Webb isn't interested in what I do with my girlfriend in my bedroom, or interested in controlling her body... unlike Rick Santorum, or apparently that guy "Will" in Texas who just posted.

Love the fact that Webb isn't a wacko left wing nut Democrat... he's a MODERATE.

Love the fact that Webb sees the cherry picking of intelligence that Cheney used to LIE us into a war for what it is.

Love the fact that he's a Military legend and as a military man knows the Iraqi's need to clean up their own terrorists in their own police department, and then control their own streets.

The problem with the wingnut right is they like the sounds of their parroted words lifted from their parroting talking heads on TV regardless of the effects on the ground that those words deliver... and it is the same for the wingnut left who think Moderates will vote for Hillary becauase they'll have no other choice.. BOTH ARE WRONG.

Go moderates!

Posted by: Long Beach,CA | June 14, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Karen is using an old Republican trick, calling Webb an anti-Semite when the true racist is George Allen. Don't waste your time defending Webb, instead, Democrats need to go on the ATTACK. Point out the PROVEN racist tendencies of George Allen as opposed to the FAKE anti-Semitism of Webb.

Karen, the hate oozing from your post made me really sad for you. You must live a miserable life.

Posted by: Curtis | June 14, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Here is backup [there's lot's of it] about Allen's confederate flag obsession...

" It is the Confederate flag, and it appears in the very first ad that Allen broadcast in 1993, when he ran for governor. "

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20060515&s=lizza051506

This is not an inconsequential issue. It's a blatant appeal to racism and should be thoroughly examined by the press. Will any Washington Post reporters acknowledge the controversy [it is quite well known in DC] and ask Mr. Allen about it?

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Mark,
Now I see there are smear tactics on both sides. So much for Karen's detractors.

Webb seems great on paper, but has taken no positions outside of the Iraq war and is untested as a candidate. Ask General Clark how that worked out.

Posted by: Adam | June 14, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

GopBob-

"Has anyone noticed the huge contradiction in political turncoat Webb's philosophy? He's 'pro-choice' but 'anti-war'...that means that while he FAVORS killing defenseless innocent unborn babies in their mother's womb, he OPPOSES killing terrorists in the caves of Iraq."

No, it means he supports a woman's right to choose but he doesn't support the war in Iraq. What you've done is just insert some boring partisan rhetoric for those two positions. It must be nice equivocating those who happen to disagree with your position on Abortion as Baby-Killers (despite the fact that James Webb does not actually have a uterus and thus could never actually kill a baby). Or identifying dissent with the Iraq war as being against killing terrorists in the caves (????) of Iraq (you mean Afghanistan?). The majority of the country is thus against killing terrorists in the caves of Iraq, by that rational.

"Sounds like he'd make a great Senator for San Francisco or Manhattan or Vermont but a very poor one for The Old Dominion."

If The Old Dominion thinks that overqualified bipartisan War Veterans aren't good enough for them then you deserve whomever you get.

"So the question is, with Webb having cornered the Islamic Terrorist vote, will be get bin Laden's official endorsement or will it remain sub rosa?"

What a great country this is where we can have a reasoned policy debate about... nothing.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Please. This guy is no Chuck Robb who lost handily! The most important result here is that the fired up liberal base managed to get a whooping 3% of their voters to the polls.

Posted by: Dave | June 14, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"...we reserve the right to delete offensive comments and block commenters who regularly cross the line."

Posted by: washingtonpost.com editors | June 14, 2006 11:04 AM

Gee, I think all these people are just swell. We really must try and be sweeter to each other! Or, as my friend, Goody Two Shoes says, have a good day!

Posted by: Lee Pefley | June 14, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

GopBob: i guess physically and mentally abusing your sister just comes with being part of "George Allen country"..you probably genuflect before your Confederate flag each night before you say your bed time prayers also..ps. don't think the terrorists in Iraq are hiding in caves..cities maybe caves no......

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | June 14, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Karen is apparently a paid operative of the Allen camp. All of that anti-semitic bilge - what a pile of stinking CRAP! Webb didn't even write that.

Posted by: POed Lib | June 14, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

FYI

New polling

ARIZONA
Rasmussen June 5
Pederson (D) 35%
Kyl (R)* 52%

OHIO
Survey USA
June 13
Governor
Strickland (D) 53%
Blackwell (R) 37%

US Senate
Brown (D) 48%
DeWine (R)* 37%

RHODE ISLAND
US Senate
Rasmussen June 5
Whitehouse (D) 42%
Chafee (R)* 44%

Whitehouse (D) 60%
Laffey (R) 25%

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I think the Republican gibberish you're hearing today from Karen and others is the ranting of some very nervous partisans. These are the same people who were actually heartened last week when the GOP spent over $5 million to end up with 49% of the vote in CA-50, a district which gave 64% of it's vote to the GOP candidate in the district just 19 months ago. Not a good trend, but go ahead and keep thinking everything's fine. Also, I read last night that Republicans in Virginia were actually voting in the Dem primary for Harris Miller trying to derail Jim Webb. It didn't work and George Allen now has a real fight on his hands. Should be quite interesting to watch.

Posted by: michael in florida | June 14, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Mark,

You forgot Allen's confederate flag fetish -- a rather curious hobby, considering that he's from Whittier, California.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, J. Sarge for pointing out that the 'Fightin' Ninth' is NOT in Northern VA. We're way out here in 'George Allen country'...Southwest Virginia.

Has anyone noticed the huge contradiction in political turncoat Webb's philosophy? He's 'pro-choice' but 'anti-war'...that means that while he FAVORS killing defenseless innocent unborn babies in their mother's womb, he OPPOSES killing terrorists in the caves of Iraq.

Sounds like he'd make a great Senator for San Francisco or Manhattan or Vermont but a very poor one for The Old Dominion.

So the question is, with Webb having cornered the Islamic Terrorist vote, will be get bin Laden's official endorsement or will it remain sub rosa?

Posted by: GopBob | June 14, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

This race was ALL about Miller's promotion of off-shoring and his vast fortune, gained by selling America and American jobs down the river.

He had appeared in INDIA at TECH CONFERENCES giving them THEFT TIPS.

I'm not a VA citizen, but if I was, NO way could I ever vote for an economic traitor like Miller.

Posted by: POed Lib | June 14, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, now that the Allen-Webb race has officially begun, if the media will continue its apparent agreement with Allen's team to pretend his sister hasn't written a book detailing his violent and abusive history. This stuff is pretty digusting.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/0679452028/ref=cm_cr_dp_2_1/104-5918917-7919112?%5Fencoding=UTF8&customer-reviews.sort%5Fby=-SubmissionDate&n=283155

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Allen_(politician)

Allen's younger sister Jennifer Allen alleges in her memoir Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter that Allen sadistically attacked his younger siblings during his childhood. She claims that Allen held her by her feet over Niagara Falls; struck her boyfriend in the head with a pool cue; threw his brother Bruce through a glass sliding door; tackled his brother Gregory, breaking his collarbone; and dragged Jennifer upstairs by her hair. In the book, she wrote, "George hoped someday to become a dentist . . . George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession--getting paid to make people suffer."

Posted by: Mark | June 14, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Will for rebutting that vile, scurrilous, sneak attack on Webb. It's depressing to contemplate how low repuglicans have already sunk, and we've barely started. It's going to be an ugly, ugly campaign.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

chris (not CC)

I would think that a more "gutless" choice would be any of those persons not choosing to be constantly derided by the GOP and the right on a daily basis (which liberals certainly are) or those who simply choose not to get involved at all. But that is your word, not mine.

And your "well-respected" junior US Senator from Virginia is barely keeping his head above 50% in state approval ratings.

Survey USA Approval
Feb 51% Mar 51% Apr 49% May 53%

Not exactly a stunning endorsement.

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Karen-

"He has an issue with women in the military, and it seems, women in general."

What makes you think he has a problem with women in general?

As for the former accusation, it's just blatantly false. Two months prior to his resignation as Secretary of Navy, James Webb tripled the amount of combat-support jobs available to women. That means he is the person MOST responsible for integrating women into the United States Navy in American military history.

What you probably *MEANT* to say is that, in 1979, James Webb had a problem with women serving in combat roles. I'd remind you that such a position was hardly controversial in 1979; it was a little moreso over a decade later when Newt Gingrich made the same point (were you complaining then??)

As a matter of fact James Webb has supported women in the military throughout his career and continues to support them. What Allen will find out, if he is stupid enough to challenge Webb on that point, is that what separates Webb from other integrationalists is that Webb was an immenintly rational person with a completely defensible position. He supported integrating women... but gradually in a way that the Navy could handle.

"His support of the caricature of Miller is offensive, and does worry people who see rising anti-semitism around the Mosques in the D.C. area."

But does it worry YOU Karen, or is this just blatant partisan trite garbage? Conservative commentators are backing away from this one... didn't you get the memo? It's embarrasing racial baiting nonsense.

"Allen can show all his votes for support of active duty military women and Webb can show his rantings about how weak women are."

Or maybe you could show us, since I don't think such "rants" exist. What Webb can show, that Allen cannot, is a history of ACTUALLY integrating women into the United States military (as opposed to just talking about it).

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

One big loser: our beloved Washington Post. You endorsed the war, the status quo, Harris Miller. Your readership evidentally sees things differently.

Posted by: Jeff | June 14, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I realize this was a big news day for the Republicrat Party, so maybe the timing is less than ideal, but I posted this question for Chris today. I wonder how many people this resonates with.

Chris: Given that a third of the electorate does not identify with either the D or R parties, and polls show the country disgusted with both ot the above, is there any chance you might provide more than one article per year (the piece on the Unity folks) covering America's many "third parties"? Or perhaps something about Instant Runoff Voting? It would be a breath of fresh air.

Posted by: Mark | June 14, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Karen -- If the best attacks that Republicans can mount against Webb are that (1) He's sexist; and that (2) He was a Republican who worked under Ronald Reagan, then I somehow think you've proven my point that Allen should be nervous right now. Either that or I should expect to hear about Senator Allen's new found support for gender-based affirmative action and renunciation of Ronald Reagan. Let me know if the latter is coming -- maybe I'll give Allen a second look. :)

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Editors,

My apologies for likening someone to a Nazi. It's an emotional and inappropriate response. I am simply sickened to watch yet another election season open, with any Democrat who gets traction being ceaselessly and baselessly smeared by Republicans. I know that's all they've got, but it still makes me sick. I use that example, as you know, because the propaganda techniques perfected by Nazis have become the paradigm for modern campaigning, and Karl Rove is the master of that school.

I will pledge not to use that kind of incinderary language again, if you will ask posters to not resort to undocumented accusations against candidates.

Thank you for enabling uncensored discussion.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Nice try libs! See how much Kerry gets you miserable people in the general election. Sen. Allen is well known and well respected. The DemocRATe challenger will be nothing but negative comments and no goals, besides RETREAT, RETREAT, RETREAT!!!
It must be so depressing to wake up every morning realizing your a liberal...which is the most gutless decision any American could make in life!

Posted by: chris | June 14, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Karen: why would Jim Webb switching parties be such an issue? i like the fact he has stood on both sides of the aisle. Proves to me he sees inconsistencies with a parties stance and has the courage to do his own thinking..pretty refreshing to see a politician stand his ground, and not take the "mob mentality" when confronted with an issue...George Allen on the other hand is an imbecile who does so perfectly fit the description of "stooge"....

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | June 14, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Karen-

"Webb has a mandate?"

No, he won a primary.

"Kerry got the votes to the polls?"

No, he supported a candidate, through a last minute rally and an email campaign, who happened to win the Democratic primary.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

3.4% of registered voters turned out to vote. Webb has a mandate? Kerry got the votes to the polls? Heck, he could have driven all of them personally in 2 hours!! Webb was a democrat, then a republican, then a democrat. He has an issue with women in the military, and it seems, women in general. His support of the caricature of Miller is offensive, and does worry people who see rising anti-semitism around the Mosques in the D.C. area. Allen can show all his votes for support of active duty military women and Webb can show his rantings about how weak women are. Miller would have met Allen head to head in a debate, and it would have been issue oriented. Yes, the media loves Webb, they are still in love with Kerry. Enough dems sided with Miller to make you wonder how much the national dems are in touch with the voters in VA.

Posted by: Karen | June 14, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Webb's primary victory may give Virginia Dems a better shot at defeating George Allen in November, but it's a sad comment on the state of the Democratic Party in VA that the man picked as the most viable candidate is a re-tread Republican with (so far) only one clear stance on the issues -- against the war in Iraq. Virginia Democrats had a great potential candidate who chose not the run -- former Gov. Mark Warner. What does this say about his Presidential ambitions and chances? A one-term governor who has won only one state-wide election who turns down a chance to go head-to-head with another former VA governor with Presidential ambitions comes out looking silly, timid, or both. Granted, it would be tough for a freshman Senator to be both an effective legislator and an effective fund-raiser and campaigner on the national scence, but at least we would know where Warner stands on the real issues confronting the Congress every day. To get back to Webb, maybe it would be good to have at least one Democratic Senator from Virginia, but one wonders how much Webb will fight (as promised) for the little guy and if he has really repudiated his Republican past. At any rate, the VA Dems have a daunting task of organizing, fundraising and campaigning ahead of them. From what I've seen of my local party organization, they're going to need a lot of help!

Posted by: JayD | June 14, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Webb has everything I wanted in a candidate. He is an old-style conservative with moderate ideas. Who better to know the faults and flaws of a candidate than one of their own. I have no problem with the "flip-flop". The Dems need to have more conservative values when it comes to government and our taxes, but they need to stay right where they are with social programs for the disadvantaged.

And I ABHOR this war. When the Great Pontificationer declared the war, my first reaction was "Oh, NO!". Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, who voted FOR the war in Iraq should be removed from office.

Maybe Virginia will have a Senator who thinks on his/her own rather than the Yes-man we have in office now.

Posted by: Independent Voter | June 14, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Folks, calling a candidate an anti-semite is right up against the line of what we feel is appropriate dialogue on this blog. Likewise, we'd prefer that readers not call each other Nazis. We do try to patrol the comments, with mixed success. We'll let the comments above stand for now, but we reserve the right to delete offensive comments and block commenters who regularly cross the line.

Posted by: washingtonpost.com editors | June 14, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Karen-

Anti-semitism accusations are from Forbes which likely has a vested interest in the results (pro outsourcing, perhaps?). In any event, the accusation was completely unfounded and based off a cartoon that Webb did not draw. You mention it as race/religious baiting. You are pathetic. Even conservative commentators, such as Captain Ed, found those accusations shameless. This is the kind of thing you accuse the Democrats of doing; don't drag yourself into that muck.

Go Webb.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 14, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Compassion and toughness and branding are important, yes. Republicans have been able to win on branding alone for years.

But as has been amply demonstrated by this administration and congress, winning ain't governing.

We also need REAL solutions to the actual challanges we face -- declining standards of living for the middle class at home, and declining influence abroad.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Webb is just the sort of candidate the Democrats need to rebrand the party as combining compassion with toughness. Historically combining compassion and toughness is the winning formula for the Democratic Party.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | June 14, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the funding thing will be that big of a problem for Webb. First off, the national scene is going to go to bat for their boy. Also now Warner can jump in the mix. He said all along that he was not going to get involved in the primaries. Now he can push his tremendous political weight around and maybe get Webb elected. By the way if Warner can get Webb elected then watch out 2008 cause he will be on a tear.

Also RMill, I always thought Baldacci would win in a walk, good to see the folks in Maine agree.

Posted by: Andy R | June 14, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Outsourcing,
You've hit it right on the head.... JOBS. Jobs are being lost to outsourcing, to cheap foreign labor, to illegal immigrants. Interest rates are rising and wages are not keeping up. And health insurance and college are increasinglly out of reach for most people. These are the real issues. Everything else is a diversion. From CNN:

"Prices paid by consumers for goods other than food and energy rose more than investors expected in May, as the closely watched government inflation reading raised new fears of more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The Consumer Price Index, the government's main inflation gauge, posted a 0.4 percent rise in May after jumping 0.6 percent in April. That was in line with forecasts of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

The report showed that prices overall are now up 4.2 percent over the last 12 months, more than the seasonally adjusted 4.0 percent rise in average hourly wages over the same period, according to a separate government report.

That means that average workers' paychecks aren't keeping up with inflation. Perhaps more importantly, it is likely to spur the Fed to raise interest rates further than many investors hoped as recently as the beginning of the month.

More rate hikes from the Fed will raise the cost of borrowing for many consumers on credit cards and home equity loans, and is likely to cause businesses to curb spending as well, slowing economic growth."

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The 9th Congressional District is in the far southwest of Virginia, not in Northern Virginia.

Posted by: J. Sarge | June 14, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Both parties better get a clue on this really, really fast. So far, our data points are...

Busby is running neck and neck in CA-50. Then, a few days before the election says something that appears to be inviting illegal aliens to help out on the campaign (it wasn't, but it sounded like it out of context). Boom, crash.

Now Miller, who didn't see a US job he didn't want to send abroad during his time as a lobbyist crashes. Even with more endorsements, money, VA establishment support, etc...

Cluetrain folks. People aren't down with the present trends in employment. And no amount of harranguing about "nativism" is going to cause them to say "okay, outsource my job for the betterment of the US". I expect to see more little surprises like this, if our elected officials keep throwing US workers under the bus for the sake of corporate profits.

Posted by: Outsourcing | June 14, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic party hasn't had a Senate primary in over ten years. The low turnout for this one, when neither candidate was on the airwaves till recently (and even then, it was only Miller), really isn't much of a predictor regarding what turnout for the general election will be.

Viva and Karen -- Out of curiosity, where exactly did you use any facts to address the merit of Webb's candidacy? If you would like to address facts, here are some for you: (1) He is a national security expert who served as Sec. of the Navy under Reagan; (2) He is strongly against the Iraq war and is ITCHING to talk about why. Although I'm sure you both disagree with this view, a majority of the country think Jim Webb is right. This will be an asset in the general; (3) He is moderate on social issues and is preaching a tradionally conservative message (think Goldwater and Reagan when he was in California)that Government stops at everyone's front door. If you think that's a message that won't sell in Virginia, you've never been in the state.

If he can raise enough cash to just be competative financially with Allen (he doesn't have to match him, he just can't get swamped by a fundraising advantage), Webb can make this a very interesting race. Beating an incumbant is never easy, so I'm not pretending that Webb is anything but an underdog at this point. But who would have even thought this race would be competative 12 months ago? Should be fun.

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Baldacci of Maine cruised to a surprisingly easy victory (75%-25%) and will face Woodcock, the GOP candidate with the worst polling figures in head to head match ups with the Governor.

Rasmussen
May 4
Baldacci (D)* 46%
Woodcock (R) 33%

Posted by: RMill | June 14, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm waiting, Karen, where are the examples of Webb's anti-semitism? Give me even a single one, loser.

As for Webb 'flip-flopping' by changing partie:. Maybe he's just smart enough to recognize a sinking ship when he sees one. I consider that a positive trait.

And I love the idea that Webb will be 'good' for allen becuase he's a tougher candidate. Spin, little people, spin. Fox has taught you well.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

LOL...I see Bush's paid operatives on this blog are already chewing their fingernails. If anyone needed more evidence that Webb was going to make a mess of Allen's ambitions (if not his career outright), then Karen's post mortem endorsement of Miller is it. This is going to be a wild ride.

Posted by: swb | June 14, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Too bad we can't edit. Primary turnout was abysmal, but it's a whole new ballgame now. It's unfortunate that primary turnout was low but that's been the case for years.

Posted by: Lynn | June 14, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Karen -- my you are brilliant. You start right off projecting --the Dems favorite candidate won, so somehow the Democrats lost. Then you start a vicious smear campaign [Webb is an anti-semite] with absolutely nothing to back it up, except you say so.Then you smear Democrats with a Rove talking point [they sit around Starbucks]. You swallow the propaganda, than you regurgitate. It's really ugly to watch.

You don't have a brain, you don't have any integrity, you're simply an obediant dupe, a patsy and a parrot. You really would have been a good Nazi.

Posted by: Drindl | June 14, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

What about All of Northern Virginia's elected officials as losers?

The only current legislator who endorsed Webb was Sen. Patsy Ticer, and the unelected Chap & Leslie.

The elected Democratic officials are in invory towards and not in touch with their base.

Posted by: Yella dog | June 14, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Colin: "I think George Allen should be nervous right now. How exactly is he going to attack Webb?"

Well, you've heard it here - flip-flopper. Expect a lot of "you were with me before you were against me."

Karen, as for no one showing up, ask Governor Tim Kaine how big a problem that was for him in the primaries last year.

Posted by: Lynn | June 14, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

In the long term this will help Allen because Webb is a tougher candidate and this will Allen in getting into campaign shape mode for 08. If for some fluke Webb should win, not to worry, Ill bet we could offer him a chairmanship to jump parties. In his heart, I believe he still a conservative.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 14, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Bravo Karen,
You let the facts speak for themselves and tell it like it is.

VivaDeWine06

Posted by: VIVABUSH04OH | June 14, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Webb is clearly the better candidate to attempt an Allen ouster. That said, if I were an Allen supporter, the low voter turnout in general and Webb's low share of the minority vote would make me feel slightly more comfortable this morning than I would have a week ago if you told me that Webb was a lock for the nomination.

Posted by: Mike | June 14, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The losers are the democrats for sure. Where were the voters? To pretend that this was a grassroots, motivated, educated electorate thinking about John Kerry, the Iraq War,etc. is a bunch of hooey. Dems should be hiding that NO ONE SHOWED UP!! Miller was a much better candidate, Webb is an anti-semite and a horrible candidate. Just like the Fix likes to think Kyl is going to get beaten in Arizona while he is up by 17%, the people of Virginia are not going to vote for Webb, another flip-flopper. Just like Kerry was supposed to beat Bush in Virginia in 2004, while in fact Bush did better in than he did in 2000. It's the liberal media version of "I don't know anyone who voted for Nixon". They sit around Starbucks in the cocoon section wondering how anyone could not vote democrat.

Posted by: Karen | June 14, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

One of the first, and most important, steps for the Webb campaign will be to figure out exactly what happened in the Tidewater area. There are a variety of demographic factors there that make it complex - racial, military, etc. - but for Miller to dominate so completely down there shows that for at least one big corner of Virginia, traditional campaigning, with ads, fliers, etc., works very effectively. People in NOVA may've been tuned into the Internet, may've been more familiar with Webb and the electability issue, but downstate, it's pretty significant that Webb lost some areas by not small margins. His campaign will need to bring those people into the fold.

And most importantly, the Webb folks will really NEED to raise a ton of money. Allen is already on the airwaves with ads, Webb has comparatively little name recognition. He needs to get himself on TV and on the radio, get some serious mailings out there, etc.

Posted by: Arlington Mike | June 14, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I think George Allen should be nervous right now. How exactly is he going to attack Webb? In every other election Allen has ever run he's focused on painting his opponent as a "liberal." Clearly, that's going to be a tough sell here since Webb served under Reagan and is a moderate Democrat. Moreover, if he tries to run the "national security" scare the bejesus out of people playbook that Karl Rove has perfected, I think he may again be in for a surprise, as Webb is better prepared for that debate than just about anyone. If Webb can raise some money, this really should be fascinating to watch.

Posted by: Colin | June 14, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

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