Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hack Attacks vs Webb's Sizzle

James Webb comes across as his own man. Just the thought of such a creature scares the hell out of hacks on both sides of the aisle. So, Webb and anyone -- such as Leslie Byrne -- who sides with him from now on is going to be attacked. Like it or not, the pattern has already been established.

In an age marked by bland conformity, an authentic maverick with some natural charisma could have sizzle enough to break the mold and get most of his power directly from the voters. That, instead of having to cut all sorts of deals with party insiders and petty poohbahs.

No doubt, strange bedfellows will find one another, plots will hatch and attacks will come from every angle. It’s like everybody in politics today is working from smarmy Karl Rove’s low-road playbook -- using surrogates, attack the opponent’s strong suit with whatever truth or fiction might stick long enough to work.

My hope is that Webb’s ardent supporters will not take the bait to play the game in that same go-for-the-throat style. There’s a long campaign ahead and restraint needs to be used, sometimes. You can’t run the whole marathon of a race like it’s a sprint.

In order for Webb to win he needs to emphasize how different he is from the run-of-the-mill politician. He needs to flush out new voters. If his supporters and aides act just like Republican pit bulls, using the same nasty tactics, it will do much to obscure the differences between their honorable man and George Allen, whatever he is.

That’s exactly what the Republicans need.

The GOP wants voters to see Democrats as just as dirty as their guys, in every way. Note the way the Jack Abramoff scandal is being furiously sold by Republican propagandists and rightwing commentators as touching both parties equally. That’s just one example of the same strategy.

It's no wonder Webb had to think long and hard about running. He was tough as nails as a young man on a mission. Now we'll all see just how good of a fighter he still is, as a man in his 50s, accustomed to calling his own shots.


Josh Chernila said...

As a persistent blogger and decided Webb Supporter, I can fully confirm the result you observe in this piece.

I've been called a "hack", an "idiot", "naive", a "DINO", and worst, I've been attacked as someone who's support is hurting the Webb campaign.

Each one of these stings, and every time it happens I feel the heat and want to fight back. There are some powerful lessons here, which I hope many Webb supporters will take to heart online and off:

1. This isn't about you. This is about a unique, reasoned, powerful candidate: James Webb. Don't take anything personally.
2. In the primary, the bottom line is really that Miller's a good Democrat, but nobody can give you a viable argument why or how he can win against Allen. Webb can win, know why and how and stick to facts. Miller's been a good Democrat for 30 years, and he's going to run for other offices. Whatever the outcome of this primary, Webb supporters should all support Harris Miller whatever he chooses to do in the future.
3. In the General Election against Allen, James Webb makes this a real contest. George Allen has done nothing for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He lead the forces of radical conservatism into control of the state house, his term as Governor lead the way for the gigantic mess that Warner and Kaine had to clean up, and as Senator he's been nothing but a rubbers stamp siding with George Bush 96% of the time with his primary focus on national politics. If you need something from your senator's office don't try to call Allen unless you're registered with the RPV. If you need help in the Senate in Virginia your only hope is to call John Warner.
4. James Webb will redefine Democratic politics by taking it back to traditional roots of fairness, courage, checks and balances, universal opportunity and true American Greatness. When in doubt go back to core values.

Great post F.T. I'm really feelin' this one.

Dannyboy said...

Thank you for this brave and honest post.

Anonymous said...

Here, here. Wonderful post.

thegools said...

Very good points. Great posting and good comments from Josh. I agree fully on Miller and on the uture of Webb's campaign.

Also, Webb is 60. He just had a birthday.