Former Democratic presidential contender Jim Webb is speaking in Dallas today, and he may be ready to re-enter the race -- as an independent.But it's not going to happen:
Speculation that Webb, a former Viriginia senator, might attempt such a bid began soon after he left the Democratic race in October. He’s appearing before the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth today and will reportedly announce his decision.
Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who ran a brief campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2015, said Thursday he won't mount an independent presidential bid.I'm sorry he won't run -- simply because, even though he now considers himself a Democrat, he would have taken far more votes away from the Republican candidate than the Democratic candidate. Yes, Webb can occasionally be skeptical of the use of military power, and yes, he can be an economic populist. But he's also a guy who posted this on his Facebook page a week after Dylann Roof massacred nine black churchgoers:
“Theoretically it could be done, but it is enormously costly and time sensitive, and I don’t see the fundraising trajectory where we could make a realistic run,” Webb planned to say during a foreign policy speech in Dallas, according to prepared remarks provided by spokesman Craig Crawford.
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.Max Rosenthal and Tim Murphy of Mother Jones have noted that this is a hobbyhorse of Webb's:
But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect.
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."This is a fixation Webb shared with a long-time political adviser:
... 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."
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.Both Democratic contenders embrace a multi-ethnic America. Both were opponents of the Vietnam War, in which Webb served. It's hard to imagine that there are very many Americans who would have voted for Webb but said Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders was the second choice. Webb, I'm sure, would've taken votes from the GOP candidate, whoever it might be -- especially Trump, a guy at least some cultural conservatives recognize as a Johnny-come-lately to both conservatism and militarism, particularly given his avoidance of the Vietnam draft.
Webb would have been a second Republican in the race. He wouldn't have run up much of a vote total, but maybe, like Nader, he would have flipped a close state or two to the Democrats. (Virginia? North Carolina?) Too bad he's out.