What A Difference Three Years Makes!
It was 2006, and Senator Jim Webb had just finished winning an upset election victory over possible GOP Presidential Candidate George Allen. Macaca aside, the result was a stunning slap in the face to many who had come to take Virginia for granted as a GOP bastion. He took a victory lap over on the Opinion Page of The Wall Street Journal. He wrote an editorial explaining why he believed the future of American politics was left-wing populism. He entitled the piece “Class Struggle.”
Three years later, the left has won its class struggle, passed its “stimulus” bills, and taken over major corporations exactly the way guys who write pedantic blither entitled “Class Struggle” always want to do “for the people.” Of course, by U-6 measures, 20% of those people are now unemployed. Most have lost their comfortable sinecures since 2006, when the Democrats took commanding majorities in both houses of Congress.
Thus, Democrats like Jim Webb have gone from taking over Capital Hill to clinging tightly to the back of the tiger. This is particularly true of Democrats who have won office in normally Conservative or Moderate electoral districts where dissatisfaction with George W. Bush led to Democratic gains. Some, like Congressman Moore from Kansas and Congressman Tanner from Tennessee have a new-found love of family time and golfing. They are bailing while the plane still flies aloft.
For others, such as Webb, they have no particularly enticing gold parachute. They will have to gut out at least one election fight against a GOP opponent with far more political momentum than the one he faced in 2006. Recent Gubernatorial Election results from The Old Dominion demonstrate the conundrum Jim Webb could face in 2012.
With the unemployment issue becoming a very personal one for Democratic Congressmen and Senators in non-liberal electoral districts, Jim Webb has curtailed his dorm hall Marxism and changed his tack on leading priorities of the Obama Administration to better fight the sudden change in wind direction.
A letter to President Obama regarding the upcoming Copenhagen Negotiations on Global Warming could only be interpreted as a shot across The Presidential bow. Senator Webb’s political coordinator advised him to say the following in his missive.
“I would like to express my concern regarding reports that the Administration may believe it has the unilateral power to commit the government of the United States to certain standards that may be agreed upon at the upcoming [conference],” Webb wrote to Obama.
“Although details have not been made available, recent statements by Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern indicate that negotiators may be intending to commit the United States to a nationwide emission reduction program,” Webb added. “As you well know from your time in the Senate, only specific legislation agreed upon in the Congress, or a treaty ratified by the Senate, could actually create such a commitment on behalf of our country.”
Senators rarely demand Constitutional prerogative on issues where a popular president, riding to victory boosts their standing with the constituents as a regular guy. What Jim Webb has just told Barack Obama is that the President may not have his support on a major climate treaty if one gets agreed to in principal at these negotiations. He goes further by getting solidly to South Carolina “Republican” Lindsey Graham’s right on the issue of the current Senate Cap and Trade Bill. He made the following comments concerning the Boxer Bill working its way through the Senate committees.
“In its present form I would not vote for it,” he said. “I have some real questions about the real complexities on cap and trade.”
“That piece of legislation right now is something that is going to cause a lot of people a lot of concern,” he said.
When the website VoteMatch.com rated Jim Webb’s political beliefs, they scored him to be a Moderate Liberal. They rated him on two axis of political orientation. One was personal freedom, the other was economic freedom. Jim Webb scored 60 out of 100 on the personal scale and 30 out of 100 on the economic one.
The producers of the political quiz describe the thinking of people who score less than 40 on economic freedom.
A low score (below 40%) means the candidate believes that a good society is best achieved by the government redistributing wealth. The candidate believes that government’s purpose is to decide which programs are good for society, and how much should be spent on each program.
This philosophical description would seem to fit nicely for a guy who entitles his first major political discourse upon taking elected office “Class Struggle.”
Yet, with the Cap and Command Bill put forward by Barbara Boxer; he has the ability to vote for a bill which would literally dictate how much economic manufacturing the society could legally engage in. Would there be any type of legislation that fits Webb’s observed economic philosophy any better than that?
Yet now, the white-hot Bolshevik of the 2006 November Revolution has grown cold to a major plan for the centralized governance of the American economy. He is turning down the opportunity to get exactly the thing his philosophy explicitly strives for. He would only do that out of fear.
Fear that was nowhere on the radar screen three years ago when he was too arrogant to shake George W. Bush’s hand at a White House social event. What a glorious difference three years make. In three more years, Senator Webb will have either successfully grown up, or he will be successfully turned out of office.