Webb Jumps From Frying Pan to Fire

In a pretty clear indication that he doesn’t care much for the advice of people like me, former Senator Jim Webb leapt into the 2016 presidential race without further clarifying his rather anachronistic views on the display of Confederate emblems, or for that matter, doing much of anything else in preparation. The announcement came via his own web page and social media promotion of same, unless I’m missing something.

I don’t think the announcement itself broke a lot of new policy ground, though he did signal a potential opposition to an Iranian nuke deal, and rattled the saber a bit at China. He took credit (as is appropriate to some extent) for growing bipartisan interest in criminal justice reform, and claimed, without much in the way of specifics, that he’ll foster a similar breakthrough on immigration reform.

You have to wonder when Webb’s going to acknowledge that it’s not his policy positions, but his attitudes on cultural issues–not just Confederate imagery, but equality for women, where he was not the most progressive figure back when he was Ronald Reagan’s Navy Secretary–that are most in question among the kind of people whose support he needs–you know, Democrats. There are also issues with his political instincts and understanding of what it takes to run a presidential campaign. On that score, here are a couple of early comments:

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.