Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Jim Webb wants to be the Democratic candidate for president, but he has a strange way of showing it. He posted the following on Facebook today:
This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.
Um, I'm confused. Wasn't being "a political symbol that divides us" the whole freaking point of the Confederate battle flag?

Webb went on to write that "honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War" -- though it's accurate to say that honorable men fought on all sides of every major war. Honorable Germans fought for the Nazis. What does this mean?

Max Rosenthal and Tim Murphy of Mother Jones point out that this is a hobbyhorse of Webb's:
Webb ... has two relatives who served in the Confederate Army.... In a 1990 speech at the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, which Webb called a "deeply inspiring memorial," he argued that Confederate soldiers' "enormous suffering and collective gallantry are to this day still misunderstood by most Americans."

... In his 2004 book Born Fighting, a popular history of Scots-Irish immigrants in the United States, Webb complained that present-day attacks on the Confederacy and the Confederate flag were part of "the Nazification of the Confederacy." The book included a lengthy attack on post-Civil War Reconstruction policies, and Webb claimed that the federal government "raped the region" during this period. The passage was repeated in his memoir, published in 2014.
Also, Webb has a longtime political adviser with similar views -- or at least a public posture intended to make you think he has similar views:
Webb's longtime strategist, Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, is an even more ardent fan and defender of the Confederacy. As the New Yorker reported in 2008, Saunders "sleeps under a Rebel-flag quilt, and when challenged on such matters he has invited his inquisitors to 'kiss my Rebel ass' -- his way of making the point that when Democrats are drawn into culture battles by prissy liberal sensitivities they usually lose the larger war." Saunders is currently advising Webb on his potential presidential campaign.
Saunders likes to bloviate this way in the presence of reporters' microphones. He was also the guy who said this in 2006, when an anti-gay marriage amendment was on the Virginia ballot:
"I'm pretty sure I ain't a queer. And I've never had queer thoughts, but I do have several queer buddies who called me and asked me to help. I think it's blasphemy to put this on the ballot and try to divide God's children for political gain. God loves them queers every bit that he loves the Republicans."
This may have been an understandable approach back when America was rejecting the presidential candidacies of Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis, but in 2008 and 2012 America chose as president a Northern, city-dwelling black man who didn't hunt or listen to country music or sing the praises of NASCAR. It's a new day. The Saunders schtick is transparently phony, and of limited use for Democrats dealing with the contemporary electorate. (Saunders's peculiar paean to tolerance when that gay marriage amendment was on the ballot did no good -- the amendment he was opposing passed 57%-43, though it was later overturned in the courts.)

But isn't it good that Saunders is a man of the people? Yeah -- he's such a man of the people that in 2013 he endorsed Republican Ken Cuccinelli for governor rather than Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a veteran smash-mouth Democratic strategist, says he is supporting Republican Ken Cuccinelli for governor, branding Democrat Terry McAuliffe a "corporatist."

"What these corporatists have done to us in rural America and in urban America ..." Saunders said in a telephone interview. "I can't support a corporatist. I just can't. This guy is not my kind of Democrat."
Look, I understand that McAuliffe was not the ideal candidate for governor. But beyond the fact that Cuccinelli was a cro-Magnon on gay rights and abortion (what, does Ms. Bubba never have an unplanned pregnancy?), the Cooch was very much a corporatist:
The gubernatorial campaign of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) raised 40 percent of its more than $1 million haul from donors giving $10,000 or more, according to a campaign finance report filed on Tuesday. These large donations came from a collection of corporations, wealthy individuals and political action committees....

One contribution of note is the $50,000 given by Intrust Wealth Management, one of many corporations under the control of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers. The company is a subsidiary of Intrust Bank, headed by Charles Koch. This is the second Koch contribution to Cuccinelli, who received $10,000 from Koch Industries in the first half of 2012.

In 2011, the attorney general flew to Vail, Colo., to speak at a Koch seminar titled, "Understanding and Addressing Threats to American Enterprise and Prosperity." ...
And incidentally, Cuccinelli collected $1000 in that 2013 race from Earl Holt of the Council of Conservative Citizens, and a pro-Cuccinelli super PAC, Fight for Tomorrow, received $1000 more. But I don't imagine that news would upset Saunders very much.

I'v had it with both of these guys. NASCAR was kryptonite to the Democrats a generation ago. That day is long gone.


Curt Purcell said...

All I can say is, those guys must really believe what they're saying, because there is no conceivable political upside to saying it right now. Even the deepest red Republicans are scrambling for distance from this toxic racist right-wing symbol like it's weaponized ebola. And Webb wants to compete in a Democratic primary where Clinton, the savviest player in a game that's hers to lose, is tacking left on almost every issue? He managed to grab the spotlight for political absurdity on a day when Jindal formally announced his candidacy. SMH

Philo Vaihinger said...

I didn't know all this about Webb. Thanks for the tip-off.

Victor said...

This DINO - who served under Reagan - has just given the GOP and the MSM their, "See, both sides do it!" meme.