Thursday, June 15, 2006

Webb won on his own merits

Well, the corks have popped and the gloat-fest has begun. Breaking news: Jim Webb did not win the primary. No, the bloggers for Webb won it.

After reading too much of what the blogging self-styled titans of political strategy posted relentlessly during the campaign -- to uplift Webb chiefly by trashing Harris Miller as if he was the spawn of Satan -- why should I, or anyone, be surprised when that same smug set claims most of the credit for Webb’s victory?

Well, I’m absolutely delighted that Webb won. My short take on his success is that Webb represented change and hope to the disillusioned. Furthermore, his candidacy said there are honest Republicans and other moderate conservatives who have finally given up on denial. They have wised up -- too much Iraq, Katrina and sleaze -- and if that trend picks up steam it threatens to scald the incumbent, George Allen.

Webb’s resume said "authenticity." So, I say Webb’s win came in spite of having no TV ads, and in spite of the tactics some of his well-meaning supporters stooped to employ. In spite of all the off-putting noise, Webb still came across as a man who does his own thinking, an honest man.

Jim Webb won on his own merits. The key was his natural ability to motivate regular people, including the volunteers who got out the vote on Tuesday. I know some of them were also bloggers, but most weren't. Moreover, his woefully under-financed campaign did little to put him over, other than to make enough people realize there was a primary. That's something, but it's not much to brag about.

As a lifelong Redskins fan, my take on the me! me! me! attitude of the credit-grabbing on display from some bloggers who ought to know better is this: They bring to mind another tower of modesty who likes to think he’s a great team-player, too, the Dallas Cowboys’ newest star wide receiver, Terrell Owens.


Howling Latina said...

I agree that it was Webb's authenticity and great resume.

The bloggers just tried to create some energy.

And believe me, some of us worked our tail off to try to help Webb win.

But the key is the word "help."

When all is said and done, if you dress up a pig, no amount of frills and makeup is going to make her a beauty queen.

We had a great candidate!

spankthatdonkey said...

Good Post!!! The Shad Planking turnout of Webb vs. Miller supporters was very indicative of what really transpired in the final tally.

Webb excited a lot of Dems who apparently are chosing the lesser or two evils.. if I am getting an accurate read on your post?? Webb vs. Allen thinking Miller unelectable.

Us Bloggers, are pretty much our own fans... I think I saw an estimate of 5% of the actual voters were estimated to have read... "a blog".

Bill Garnett said...

Open letter to Jim Webb -

As if you needed more advice, and certainly not my advice, I’m going to add my two cents worth anyway – DON’T LET ALLEN GET AHEAD OF YOU ON ANY ISSUE.

And my other bullet pointed advice:

• Don’t waver on your civil rights views; be candid and sincere and not waffling or apologetic. Virginians are smart enough to recognize the real item.

• Br clear about your immigration policy. Virginians can appreciate your conclusions when succinctly and rationally defended.

• Challenge Allen to debate often and constantly and as publicly as possible.

• Don’t lose momentum, keep fighting, expand your audiences - as those who have a chance to experience your common sense, pragmatic, intelligent, modulated presentation and response, will begin to weigh their ballot choice.

• Have and publish and promote your approach, your position, and your suggested solutions for the main issues facing the electorate.

• Have fast and overwhelming response to negative and anticipatable attacks and personal attacks from the Allen team (they don’t fight fair; they fight to win and aren’t above doing whatever it takes to win) – do not engage in negative attacks, but merely suggest or contrast differences in policy - and suggest that Virginia deserves better - and that the solutions require better.

• Constantly look for ways to leverage your visibility and favor with the broad moderate middle class voters.

• Keep your focus on the clear communication of your core three principles you so well explained at your recent appearance at the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee meeting – and retain your refreshing candor - remain true to your best values.

• It's important that those who vote NO to the marriage amendment vote YES to Jim Webb; and that those who vote YES for Jim Webb vote NO to the marriage amendment.

• Get John Edwards or Barack Obama or Joe Biden, or others of their character and public policy stance, to campaign with you.

• Have the best, creative, democratic, productive, and accessible campaign team that your supporters can build

• Recognize and mention that this is a not just a key race for Virginia. But this is a nationally spotlighted contest - between our currently polarized and unproducing Congress, and the need for common sense, pragmatic, intelligently thought out solutions for major threats facing all Americans. This is about both holding the Republicans accountable, and offering a better alternative. It is about a united moderate center governing rather than two opposing poles in intractable procrastination. And that Virginia is more properly seen as purple - and that we will help turn this great nation towards a more hopeful future - and coincidentally trip up Allen on his mind-boggling aspiration to actually take the helm of this nation in 2008 (I’m already checking for the life boats).

Oh . . . and KEEP FIGHTING !!!


Bill Garnett

Virginia Centrist said...

Something caused Northern Virginia to trend heavily towards Webb. I think blogs were a small part of that. Not DIRECTLY, but INDIRECTLY. Of the rank and file members of FCDC, for example, probably 60-70% read the blogs regularly.

There was a huge volunteer presence in NOVA. The campaign certainly didn't create that buzz...Webb did his part, but most of it was created by an online presence. Forget the nasty posts at the end of the campaign -convincing activists to support Webb (early on - even before he decided to run) was a huge step towards recruiting the volunteer army in NOVA. And my god, it was huge.

Look - I don't really ascribe much influence to the blogosphere, outside of courting activists for volunteer activity. However, I think wonder: have you changed your opinion recently? A couple of weeks ago, you warned that the blogosphere might be responsible for Webb's loss. Now you're saying that they played no part in his win. Are you saying that the blogs hurt webb, but not enough to make him lose? Or are you saying that they had no effect, and that bloggers are only capable of hurting a campaign, but not helping it?

F.T. Rea said...

Virginia Centrist,

A couple of weeks ago I decided to weigh in to the Harris/Webb blogging frenzy with three things in mind:

1. To urge some people with whom I agreed with about the candidate, as well as many issues, to consider that their runaway train approach could have a downside to it. It was a risk they seemed to be ignoring. Since there was almost no conventional media campaign, no ads, I worried that the bloggers were filing the vacuum in an unprecedented way, mostly to perhaps put an ugly face on the candidate, himself.

So, I wanted to rein in some of the bloggers, if I could.

Can’t claim much success there.

Rude talk may seem ubiquitous and inconsequential to people in their 20s, and 30s, who live in population centers. But there are a lot of older voters who live elsewhere. Trust me, some of them are quite put off by overblown rhetoric, outright slander and mean-spirited language.

Portraying a 60-year-old man as cocky might seem adorable to his groupies, to others it is alarming.

2. To create a timely debate on ethics and tactics in the Virginia political blogosphere. I’ll have more to say about that at the Blog Summit. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the faceless people I’ve engaged in recent days.

And, I’m utterly fascinated with the potential of what is now being called “blogging.”

3. Most importantly, to demonstrate to wavering Webb voters reading SLANTblog that it was possible to be all for Jim Webb and still not agree with the extremes splattered all over the Lefty Blogs.

A certain set of people in Richmond has been reading opinion on politics from me for a long time. My following isn’t so broad, as it is deep. Consequently, I know I won votes for Webb, but I certainly don’t claim I put him over the top.

No, I was raised to try not to be compared to the likes of Terrell Owens.

You say, "...Something caused Northern Virginia to trend heavily towards Webb."

I say it was Webb, not any Mudcats, or fatcats, or catty talk on the Internet. If they want to play in the Big Leagues, Webb’s most sincere bloggers should have the class and foresight to give him all the credit.