Saturday, March 11, 2006

Is Miller Going High Road, or Low?

Who, in his/her right mind, really thinks knowing the precise date of James Webb’s conversion to the Democratic party is actually important in determining his potential to become a good senator? What Democrat, in their right, or left, mind doesn’t want disillusioned Reagan Democrats or progressive Republicans to join their ranks today?

Webb, quite correctly, says the Republican Party has moved to the right. So now the man says he's a Democrat, and happy about it. I say welcome aboard.

Yet, if one took seriously the catty chatter from some purebred Democrats -- who see themselves as way-more-donkey-than-thou -- newcomers can't necessarily be full members right away. No doubt they see Webb’s maverick streak as a threat, instead of an asset. They have recently sought to undermine his campaign with silly distractions that smell faintly of a swift boat-like strategy.

Well, it says here that if candidate Harris Miller wants a future in Virginia politics, beyond just being a well-connected guy, he should put the kibosh on this sort of thing, pronto! Chalk it up to bad advice, fire somebody and swear off such tactics from here on. Show some class.

Yes, I suspect that Webb, a populist, will win this primary because he will have widespread appeal. But that remains to be seen. I also think the Democrats, with any good candidate, are rather suddenly in an improved position to win back this seat in the US Senate, unless they self-destruct.

For the Democrats, what's it going to be this year, high road, or low?

Virginians need to see a clean campaign of ideas from both Webb and Miller. How about a campaign that makes everyday people see the plain reasons why they should trust today’s Democratic Party more than today’s GOP?


Anonymous said...

I disagree.

The issue is not whether Harris Miller is well-connected, or whether James Webb is a newcomer or 7-year Democrat. Yea, clean ideas would be great if both of these candidates were Democrats. However, one is really not.

The issue is whether or not which candidate will remain a Democrat and caucus with Democratic leaders in the Senate.

1. Harris Miller supported three Democratic Virginia Governors during their respective elections. Where was James Webb in early 2001 when Mark Warner’s candidacy for governor was a steep, uphill battle? I remember those days, and Harris Miller was there for Mark Warner. In fact, Harris Miller and Mark Warner have been working together in Virginia politics for over 20 years. And they are good friends.

2. Harris Miller supported numerous Virginia senatorial and congressional candidates who did not even win their respective races. Don Beyer and Chuck Robb come quickly to mind. Where was James Webb? No where.

Oh, wait! How can we forget November 1, 2000. James Webb publicly endorsed George Allen for US Senate. There was even a news conference. AP sent out the story and the Pilot and the Times-Dispatch printed articles on the endorsement, including pictures of the news conference.

Did that endorsement really matter? Maybe not, but Allen did win by only 4.6% of the vote. One thing did matter: Just 5 years later the very same James Webb is asking the thousands of Virginian Democrats who supported and volunteered for Senator Robb to, well, forget about that endorsement. Makes sense that most of the fanatic Webb bloggers support his campaign—they either were not active in 2000 or were in secondary education.

3. James Webb was a Republican (in the late 1960’s), then a Democrat (sometime in the 1970’s), then a Republican (in the 1980’s and 1990’s), and now a Democrat (sometime still unknown). OK, there is no crime here. However, we are now talking about a seat on the United States Senate! How can Mr. Webb possibly convince the thousands of active Democrats—who volunteered for the DPV for 2, 3, 5, 15, 20, and 40 years strong—that he will not, never, ever switch parties while a Senator?

I’ll be voting for Harris Miller. Harris already knows the Senate dynamics very well, and he will work with all the Democratic senators while supporting this party and this commonwealth.

As far as I’m concerned, James Webb has no real credibility as a Democrat. Heck, just Lexis-Nexis James Webb. He has managed to insult, degrade, or dismiss McGovern, Carter, Bill Clinton, Kerry… How can we work so hard to get him a Democratic victory when there is no reasonable evidence of representing the Democratic Party?

A Harris Miller Supporter

thegools said...

The democratic tent has become to small and exclusive for too long. We are fools if we don't welcome those like Webb in with open arms.

If he says he is a democrat, and he says he thinks the Democratic party holds the solutions to our nations problems. I say Welcome aboard!!! Welcome back Jim!!!

"Those who seek the companionship of others exactly like themselves will live a life of solitude."-Anon.

Anonymous said...

I agree!

Welcome/Welcome Back James Webb!

But does this mean that he should be a Democratic United States Senator, a national figure for the Democratic Party?

No. This is a classic case of placing the cart before the horse. It would be one thing if James Webb publicly switched parties and actively helped Warner, Kerry, Kaine, or ANY Democratic candidate within the past 5 years. But James Webb did not help any Democratic candidate, the DNC, and/or the DPV.

James Webb wants to be a Democrat. Terrific! Come join us and show us that you support the Party, the Principles, and the Candidates.

Publicly switching parties and immediately running for the Democratic nomination to win an exclusive seat in state and national politics is, well, ridiculous. It does not pass the smell test.

A Harris Miller Supporter

The Richmond Democrat said...

Alice, is that you?

Anonymous said...


This is not Alice.

Let me clue you in on one important fact. While 20-30 of you internet fanatics are aspiring to support Webb at any cost, including demeaning or degrading any Miller supporter who tries to voice his or her opinion, there are thousands of long-time Democratic activists who are very wary of James Webb, and who are inclined to not only vote for Harris Miller, but who are beginning to openly state that James Webb will receive limited front-line support in the fall election (assuming he could actually win in June, which is doubtful).

And so you mock, "Alice, is that you?" Ask yourself this, "Is there one prominent Virginia Democrat who supports James Webb?"

Jim Moran has endorsed Harris Miller, and he understands that James Webb cannot be trusted with the Democratic nomination.

Lt. Gen. Kennedy has endorsed Harris Miller, and she understands that James Webb cannot be trust with the Democratic nomination.

Governor Mark Warner has openly, and now publicly, supported Harris Miller and confirmed last Tuesday that not only will he not offer a fundraiser for James Webb before June 13th, he is committed to helping Harris Miller behind the scenes to ensure Harris is well funded, well supported, and well positioned. Mark Warner is smart--he is looking at the Presidency. But Mark Warner is also a long-time friend to Harris, and he encouraged Harris to run for this office to represent Virginia on a national level.

F.T. Rea said...

Anonymous: What the hell have we got with someone calling an ad hoc group of people names, anonymously? Furthermore, your strident comments seem to underline/illustrate my original post's sentiments more than they make any point in opposition.

And, Anonymous, just who are you calling a fanatic when you say, "you internet fanatics are aspiring to support Webb at any cost?"


Anonymous said...


Hold on there, Chief.

Your blog allows readers the opportunity to post their respective opinions anonymously. If you cannot respect that opportunity (particularly since you indirectly condone it), then you should prohibit anonymous bloggers. Period.

Don't worry though, I won't bother to further comment on your blog. God forbid I again assume that an offer for anonymity is really an opportunity for you to proclaim weakness in anonymity.

Oh, and the shame that I support Harris Miller and question Webb fanatics on the blogoshere. The shame. The shame.

Have you ever thought that maybe I am a state or federal employee? Or maybe it would have been better if I just lied to you by giving a false identity?

Questioning whether to discredit my opinion because I am anonymous is petty.

Take a deep breath, Chief.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Webb is not a career politician!! Seems to me Miller is, as well as being a lobbyist.
We need fresh ideas.
The democrats would be foolish to not see what Webb would bring to the table. It's exactly what they need.
Or do they want to keep on whining and losing?
I totally agree with this post. Great job!

Howling Latina said...

Sometimes I think Democrat party hacks are a little-too closed-minded for me.

To their strength, Republicans are certainly more united in their quest to win elections; and more accepting with their open tent policies than we are.

Remember Ronnie Reagan? How about our favorite movie hero, Arnold...?

A senator should reflect the state he represents; and let's face it, only when Democrats unite with Independents and progressive Republicans can they win statewide in Virginia. Webb has government experience, national exposure, military kudos, and so on.

What does Miller bring to the table, besides the fact that he is Warner's best bud and a lot of Democratic loyalists like him?

That's not good enough for me. What I'd like to hear from Miller supporters are a few good reasons why folks should support Miller instead of Webb.

No tired meme about how he supported this candidate or that one in the past.

It's who can win and has the background to be an effective voice for Virginians, not just Democrats, but Independents and progressive Republicans as well.

If you can't argue the merits, then maybe you don't have many, if any. The answer is clear. Webb must be our nominee, no ifs ands or buts unless you can make the case that Miller can win in the fall.

Alice said...

I always post under my real name.

The Richmond Democrat said...

I've been struck by how shrill some folks have been when challenged on their reasons for supporting one candidate or another.

I think we can figure out who is a "fanatic" by the tone of voice they adopt.

It's also disappointing how many people refuse to look at both candidates and are content to let a handful of parety insiders pick their candidate. Why bother with a primary if the candidate is going to be chosen in a smoky room?

Anonymous said...

Maybe some Democrats are just programmed to lose. I mean, Webb gives you a real shot at winning, yet you push him away and attack "internet fanatics." Ironically, those so-called blogging nutjobs also include quite a few Democratic officeholders, Central Committee member, local committee members, and even a few prominent past and future office-seeker. These Democrats are the only ones who actually have the guts to put their views out publicly everyday, while the frontline folks only show up during the campaign season.

Miller seems like a nice guy, and all, but he's got a slim shot against Allen. None of his Democratic supporters are giving him a real chance at winning. Thus, I go back to my initial hypothesis - Democrats are afraid to win.

Alice said...

Why bother with a primary if the candidate is going to be chosen in a smoky room?

'cause we're going after the Phillip Morris vote?;)