Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Webb Out of Sight

His campaign slogan was "Unbought. Unbossed."  But there was one other thing he was - unelectable. Jim Webb, the moderate Democrat and Vietnam veteran who served as a U.S. Senator from Virginia for one term, pulled out of the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign.

Webb, who ran as an expert on military policy and hoped to appeal to working-class white male voters (assuming the Democratic Party has any left), failed to get any attention, probably because of his center-right positions and possibly also because people thought that he was the guy who wrote "By the Time I Get To Phoenix."  Though the 69-year-old former senator says he may run for President as an independent, that doesn't seem likely.
Many commentators thought that Webb shouldn't even have been in the first Democratic presidential debate and insisted that he should be excluded from the second one on November 14; now they're getting their wish.  Though, of course, they said the same things about Lincoln Chafee and Martin O'Malley too.
It's easy to understand the commentariat's hostility toward Webb and Chafee; harder to understand are their put-downs of O'Malley, especially considering the good notices he received, at first, after the October 13 debate.  That night, Rachel Maddow said that no one could complain about Marty's performance; by the end of the week, though, with Hillary Clinton surging in the polls afterwards, Marty went back to being a punchline, with even Mark Shields of PBS dismissing him as a lightweight and swatting him away like a mosquito.
Anyway, Webb's exit will hopefully persuade Lincoln Chafee to drop out as well, because that will benefit Martin O'Malley.  It's not because Marty will pick up Webb and Chafee supporters and do better in the polls - after all, zero plus zero is still zero (and there you have my acknowledgement that Marty's not doing too well in the polls at this moment) - it's because, as the only challenger to both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, he will have a better shot at both of them at the next debate and be less encumbered without any other candidates cluttering up the stage.
Don't get me wrong.  I think Webb is an admirable guy, and even Lincoln Chafee has his good points (articulateness isn't one of them).  But what I believed before Webb dropped out is still true now - as far as the Democratic presidential nomination goes, Martin O'Malley is the long shot with the best shot.
Please note that I never mentioned Joe Biden, also known as Hamlet-on-the-Brandywine.    

No comments: