Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Yes, there is that, and I contend daily with barely suppressed rage at what this administration has done to my country and the world, but that's not really what I meant.

Jim Webb's seeming sudden appearance on the national political stage is something very special, very personal for me.  Way beyond what he might be able to do in reining in or bringing down this administration.  That first quote, about a realignment in American politics by bringing together the Scots-Irish and African-Americans, was and is quite literally the single most interesting political statement I have read in my lifetime.  I do not exaggerate when I say that.

I am one of those people Webb describes in that WSJ article and in his book.  I come from the same people Webb does.  Almost every anecdote he tells about members of his family might easily apply to my own.  For almost every stereotype about poor white working class, Appalachians, redneck Southerners, I can point to perfect examples within my own family.

And for the few of us who have come to have, may I say more enlightened views, I can point to a direct correlation with better education and better economic opportunities.  The majority who try to make do with high school educations or less at menial jobs, mostly fit the stereotypes to a remarkable to degree.  To the extent that some of us have been able, one way or another, to acquire more and better education and more and better economic prospects, we tend to be less like the stereotypes and more like the general population around us.  Those who are left behind in ignorance and poverty comprise a significant portion of Bush's twenty some percent dead enders.  The few of us who managed to escape the cycle look back in sadness and in anger at a system that perpetuates that cycle.

I have thought for most of my life that poor working class blacks and poor working class whites, of whatever ancestry, have more in common with each other than either does with the wealthy and privileged few who own and control almost everything about our society.  Yet since the days of Reconstruction, when newly freed black slaves suddenly became new competition for the poorest white underclass in the post Civil War South, the two have been set against each other like two cocks in a pit.    Two centuries of tragic history have made them into enemies and rivals when they should have been natural allies.

Occasionally black civil rights or religious leaders have tried to make this point, usually to no avail.  Occasionally one or another white liberal, usually wealthy and educated and not from the South, tries to make the point, also to no avail.  In both cases they are dismissed or ridiculed or threatened into silence.

Along comes Jim Webb.  He represents the other side of the table.  He is not an outsider, some effete latte sipping liberal from San Francisco or Boston.  He is one of us.  One of the few who escaped the cycle to be sure, thanks to Annapolis and Viet Nam, but one of us nonetheless.  He is an authentic war hero, a lawyer, a deep thinker and prolific writer, and now by all accounts a promising political figure.  He is perhaps the only person on the planet who can make that case from the other side of the table and win a fair hearing.  I don't think he can be dismissed or ridiculed.  I am quite sure he cannot be intimidated.  And I think the more they try to silence him, the louder he will get.  We're kind of like that.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:14:34 PM EST
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Informative, personal, and pointing to something which is fundamental - the politics of the right are about distracting from class conflicts via the use of clanism and other 'us vs them' fearmongering.

And how Webb can cut through that bullshit via his credibility, coming from both his origins and his life. A very hopeful comment.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:28:20 PM EST
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Kerry was also a war hero - more so than Bush, who was a loser - so factually I'm not sure Webb has an advantage.

That won't be proved until the Right tries pulling its usual bullshit line about something trivial which 'proves' he's not a winner or a patriot. If Webb passes that test with a good two-syllable smack-down, he could be in with a chance. Otherwise he'll be Kerry'd - especially if he tries to be too thoughtful or measured.

What's bitterly disappointing about the Dems is how they always legitimise these trivial playground talking points by play defence against them.

Obama doesn't wear a flag pin, so for weeks afterwards dKos dissects and repeats the flag pin comment to 'prove' that Obama is really a patriot and the flag pin isn't an issue.

Really, it's not.

And so on. There are examples every few weeks, so you can bet another one will roll up soon.

What's ironic is that if the Dems went on the attack and savaged the bullshit records of the Right's so-called patriots by nailing how all they do is posture, yap, bark, flail around and only deliver impression management with no substance, they could destroy the credibility of the Republicans for a generation.

The voters are ready to hear it. And there are so many potential talking points in that angle, it would be huge fun to see them turned into an offensive weapon.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:44:03 PM EST
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Remember Dan Rather?  He was a buldog on Bush's National Guard "Service."  So some "retired Air Force Colonel" "forged" an exact copy of a document that clearly showed his utter contempt for his obligations, right down to using paper from the era, an IBM  Selectric with the same ball, provided signatures indistinguishable from the original, "aged" the document and leaked it to CBS.   Rather bit and ran with the document, using it in an on air piece.  Then, in an act of stunningly evil genius, (KR?), the fact that it was forged was announced to the world and the White House, in high dudgeon, demanded that CBS apologize and discipline Rather. It ain't for nuthin they call him Turdblossom.

Under Paeley CBS might have fought back.  Under the accountants they caved, in the process betraying a legacy going back to Edward R. Murrow's coverage of Europe before the US entered WW II. I won't watch Katie Curic.  She should have stayed on the morning show.  But then the accountants didn't know there would be any demand for "real news."  They are just selling Viagra.

But I do think that Webb would take their shit and pump it back up their own asses.  Further, if it is a battle of angry white men, he might give McCain a stroke.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 10:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Further, if it is a battle of angry white men, he might give McCain a stroke.

VP candidates rarely make much impact on the final electoral college vote, and not so rarely become President. So there is a strong case for the argument that the VP should be chosen in terms of being the replacement President rather than in terms of benefit on the campaign trail.

And yet, nobody ever seems to do more than give lip service to that approach. Since, after all, facing a Presidential election, and especially following two that went down to the wire, with Gore and Bush only barely winning the election, nominees go for the possible marginal electoral benefit over the more important question of the structure of their administration should they win.

However, there is one possible scenario where a VP nomination for Webb could possibly make a major contribution. And that is if Sen. McCain goes down the "Sen. Obama did not serve in the military, therefore he has to shut up about military strategy" track again. As VP nominee, and as a bit of a bulldog, Sen. Webb could very well make the argument that the best test for being in charge of a nation's strategic direction is being right on big issues, and Obama was right on the biggest issue while McCain was wrong.

Given McCain's temperament, its easy to imagine him becoming apoplectic, and reinforcing the meme that he is too unstable to be trusted as CiC.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 12:31:48 PM EST
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Furthermore, much as the evil presence of Cheney as V.P. has been, (in jest?), considered as providing insulation to Bush against impeachment or worse, so might Webb provide Obama with a buffer against the most ruthless of RWNs who might otherwise consider "executive action."  He would likely take the approach of "let justice prevail or let the heavens fall."  And in such a situation he would be seen as almost certain to command the loyalty of the uniformed services when push came to shove.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 12:45:18 PM EST
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... current scenario rather than a Science Fiction scenario for the US ... however, fortunate for constitutional democracy in the US, the Bush/Cheney administration is led to a lot of dissatisfaction in the army in the crucial middle ranks where a golpe de estado benefits substantially from a coherent faction in support and disorganized opposition.

That is, the radical reactionary faction in general control of the Republican party can no longer expect to enjoy the same support among Colonels and Majors that they might once have expected.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 01:12:18 PM EST
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